I was crying, shaking, and sick to my stomach. I put my face down on the desk and resisted the urge to scream. It was a familiar feeling; it was happening to me with far too much regularity.
The feeling came over me every single time I tried to fix my perpetually crashing blog.
Yup, I was having pre-scheduled breakdowns right along with my site. I’m embarrassed to admit how much it bothers me, but anything remotely technical turns my brain to mush and dials my emotions into overdrive. I’m just not any good at it, and it makes me unhappy when I’m forced to do something I am not equipped to do.
This is normal. Everyone has something like this: your brain and personality simply didn’t come wired for that ONE THING.
And, chances are, you are making yourself do it right now – even though it drives you crazy.
Indie authors are famous (or infamous) for “doing it all” – and the rumors aren’t wrong. We wear a dozen different hats and strive to do our best at each task because we either don’t (or feel that we don’t) have a choice.
By necessity, we are some of the most flexible writers on the planet, skilled at juggling a dozen different balls.
But we all have our limits.
I can’t do it all, and neither can you.
We need to stop lying to ourselves that we can.
In the early years of publishing, I was in the red. Indie authors cover the costs of publishing and marketing out of their own pocket, upfront, and it takes a long time to see that investment pay off.
As I saw my very expensive hobby struggling to get off the ground and saw post after post of indie authors “slaying it” at writing, formatting, designing, and marketing – I felt an immense amount of pressure from without and within to be like them.
I’m multi-talented, I thought. Surely I can handle it all. I’m good at multitasking, surely I can do it all. I have a brain, surely I can learn what I don’t know.
This was a stupid decision that resulted in mental anguish, emotional meltdowns and—consequently—physical pain.
I finally broke down and hired someone to run regular maintenance on my author website and troubleshoot all difficulties involved with that.
It’s one of the best and wisest decisions I ever made. Not once have I regretted or resented a single penny I have spent on this monthly fee – because it is a need.
The peace of mind I gained by turning over this problem to someone who was actually skilled enough to handle it was incomparable.
And, because of the time and mental space and energy that I saved by handing this task over to someone else, I was able to launch a small stream of income that pays for this service so that I am not paying out of pocket, but of earnings!
By realizing my limitations, I was able to make smarter author decisions. By investing in one thing, I was able to create something that enabled me to pay off a monthly expense – and I was avoiding the thing I hated and doing something I loved! And I was supporting another small business owner, like myself.
Maybe taking care of yourself isn’t enough to motivate you. In that case, here’s another way to look at it. How about helping someone else?
That freelancer trying to make a little money to cover some of their bills? They depend on people like you and me. Just like you with writing, they are trying to turn something they love and are good at into a stream of income.
It’s frustrating when someone doesn’t buy your book, right? It’s frustrating for a freelancer when people pass by their services.
So, by refusing to outsource one (or multiple) pain points to trained professionals, you are not only tormenting yourself; you’re withholding support from someone else.
You’re hurting two people.
Don’t buy into the myth that an indie author can do it all. Don’t buy into the dangerous practice of saving money on literally everything.
Indie publishing requires a lot of capital: but far more costly than money is your health and well-being. I am here to testify that no amount of penny-pinching is worth it, if saving money comes at the cost of your health.
Don’t make the mistake I made. Sit down and make a list of all the things the indie author life requires of you and do an “energy audit.”
What is the number one thing that drains you? Is it writing blog posts? Is it website building? Cover design? Formatting? Then start doing some research and find a freelancer that you can depend upon and make the decision to let go of the thing causing you pain.
Of course, there are always exceptions. There are a few indie authors out there who are really so skilled they can cover every aspect of publishing (pretty sure they’re actually androids, but that’s a topic for another post). There might even be a few indie authors who claim that they love every single part of indie publishing (pretty sure they’re liars, but that’s an accusation for another rant).
But for most indie authors, you’re not good at everything – and that’s okay. Even if it means delaying publishing in order to save up to afford the services you need, believe me, it’s worth it.
Even if you are good at multiple things, you simply don’t have the time to do it all.
Maybe you’re a student. Maybe you’re a mom. Maybe you work part-time or full-time. Maybe, like me, you are struggling to prioritize health and recovery.
You don’t have time to waste doing stuff that you hate. You don’t have the energy to spare working on things that drain you, instead of filling you up. You don’t have enough left-over mental space to tackle a certain distasteful task along with your burgeoning book.
Give yourself permission to invest not only in your writing business, but your own peace of mind and well-being.
Go ahead – free yourself from that burden. And, at the same time, empower and support someone who is actually good at and ENJOYS the thing you dislike.
You won’t regret it.