by Jon Biddle
Whenever we make a mistake, we end up making more mistakes because we refuse to acknowledge the mistake in the first place.
What’s worse is we are hardly ever honest with ourselves about the mistake. We need to consistently examine our actions and make amends. There’s nothing wrong with making a mistake however we seem paralysed by the notion that failing is something bad, negative and should be avoided at all costs.
The mantra in Silicon Valley is to fail often and fail fast. This is a philosophy that saw the likes of Bezos and Musk triple their net worth in recent years. This is the philosophy of the Apple too, they encourage People to fail, it’s by testing this, that allows developmental advances determine the course of the immediate future. The buzzword in the business world pivoting.
Through failure we learn, and you’re only judged on the measure you make after the failure, not the failure itself, that is key in getting over yourself and the mistakes you make.
I think it was Einstein that said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly but expecting different results.
This is where I see myself in my writing journey. I need to pivot daily. Someone asked me the other day writing a book must have been tough?
The book bit was the easiest, the writing is the joy. Writing is the escape from the voices that dog me daily, it brings harmony to my soul, even when writing about the horrible bits in my story lines. Writing is a leveller in my consciousness, and it heals me.
Selling my book, marketing my books, speaking with customers and trying to fathom the ever changing marketing portals and plug-ins; well now, there’s the mind fuck. That’s where it gets hard.
Now my other role, which pays the bills, and is now a part-time job, I save people’s lives for a living. This bit is quite easy, we have such a high regard for the cast of the medical dramas, and that’s not because of the medical bit, it’s the human dynamics. Trust me, the medical bit isn’t that sexy.
I pump the chest, get the defibrillator on, analyse, shock, pump a bit more, analyse, shock again, squirt some drugs into them, analyse, pump again, and repeat until they either cough and splutter (That never happens by the way, in Greys anatomy there seems to be an absence of mucous and vomit), or it’s just their time and there is no coming back.
My full-time job is an online marketer, social media magnate, book publisher, shit the bed, somewhere in there I’m an editor, writer, blogger and podcaster – is it any wonder that I am constipated!
And its these things that are constantly changing.
Self publishing isn’t something you can jump straight into and suddenly replace your day job.
It takes months, even years, to gain the experience to be that best seller. It takes dedication to find ways past the gatekeepers in the publishing world and make a significant income.
I remember publishing my first book, Harvester, in January 2019. The book went live in the morning. I went to work; the excitement was palpable. I could barley contain myself, this was going to be my last day at work, I was the next Wilbur Smith; I was going to go home via the Ferrari garage.
At lunch time I logged into the KDP dashboard where my book sat. I had sold eight books and I knew everyone of those people who had bought that the book – because they had texted me, told me the book was amazing.
So they all bought it in the morning and read while at work themselves. One of them was in America and would have been in bed asleep. When I went home, I sold another three books, and these were to friends.
I had to settle with a visit to the BP garage and a pasty from M&S instead of the Ferrari.
Dejected, beaten, and it was just the first day of my publishing journey. It took a couple of harsh words from my wife Sam, who incidentally is a bona fide digital marketer and all round badass when it comes to computers and business.
She highlighted my first day as a writer was way back, when I was eleven years old, captivated by the pulp fiction of a Star Wars book. With my legs hanging out to the caravan window in the hot German summer day, I leafed through this book transfixed, captivated in this other world.
The endless stories that I started but never had the guts or the wherewithal to finish throughout my adulthood. It was those days where my writing started. The publishing bit wasn’t the beginning and certainly isn’t the end. It’s just another stepping stone of many.
And I am gleefully failing every day, pivoting my tac, continually addressing and changing course to that rosy horizon.
One day I will be that best seller. One day I will look back and see the journey that I have made, like surveying the Road of Bones by Magadan. It will be a journey worth reading about.