Learning… UGH

Learning… UGH

One thing I’ve been meaning to do for a while now is expand the distribution areas for my ebooks. When I first started this Indie publishing thing a decade ago, I had them on a lot of places and painstakingly formatted them for each individual outlet. That was years ago. For the last several years I’ve only had them on Amazon. I knew I needed to put them elsewhere, but times have changed. I’d have to learn new ways to get them out there. I’d have to reformat everything and make mistakes and learn some more. Sigh…

So I put it off and waited to see if my ebooks would be distributed on their own somehow. Haha! Maybe a magical book fairy, my guardian angel, or even God himself. I mean, if God wanted me to be a writer, He’d make sure all this was easy for me, right?

We used to have a woman in our Bible group who said, “God never promised you a rose garden.”

This woman was right, belief in God doesn’t make life easier. On the surface, anyway. I won’t go through less struggles, but I’ll have God with me. I won’t have to work less, but God will give me strength to do what I need to do.

I may be given the gift of writing or art, but if I want to earn a living at it, it will be difficult. I will have to read books on how to build my business, seek out different income streams, go outside my comfort zone in just about anything having to do with promotion and public (and that whole “talking to people” thing!)

And when it comes to being a creative entrepreneur, I will have to continually learn new things. That is the age we live in. In every job I’ve had as a freelancer I’ve had to go outside my comfort zone in learning how to post or promote my articles. Writers never had to do that before. In my early days as a freelancer I didn’t even need to be all that picky about spelling, if I’m being honest. Editors helped polish and someone else typed it up. All that has changed, and because I’ve wanted to stick with this career I’ve had to change also.

When I start feeling overwhelmed by everything that is necessary to be a creative entrepreneur, I take a step back and realize that I need to trust God. Learning this stuff, feeling uncomfortable, and mostly, putting stuff out there that you don’t know will sell, is a calculated risk. It takes trust. But on the positive side, that is WHY I am able to sell my prints online and develop a following for my writing.

I tend to be someone that reads and studies and networks, and sometimes that means I’m trying new things. I’ve noticed over the years that many people have asked me to do a variety of things for them, anything from format their books to market to proofread to create book covers. I am happy to share resources and advice but I just can’t do it for them. I’m not an expert, and besides that, it’s a responsibility I don’t feel I can take on.

What I’ve learned in doing these uncomfortable parts of my job is that they never stop. If I put my feet in the sand and refused to learn one thing, I’d get stuck, because inevitably one by one new income streams or ways to connect with readers and buyers would become unavailable to me simply because I wasn’t open to pushing the boundaries of my comfort level.

When I first started doing all this, I didn’t have a tribe of other writers to bounce ideas off of. I went forward and made mistakes and then wondered if I was doing the right thing. But God gave me nudges here and there. I think this is the way of it, sometimes. The “path” we are supposed to be on isn’t some big highway filled with flashing lights, directing us one way or another. God gives us free will in everything, and I know that I will make choices and God will work with me on them. He will be there, even when I’m uncomfortable and frustrated. Especially then.

There are so many things I’m doing now I didn’t think I would ever do, and the reason is God. This whole blog? With all these amazing writers? That’s God. Selling art? Never thought in a million years I would do that and couldn’t imagine how it would happen. But God put these thoughts in my head and He didn’t leave it there. He keeps showing me. Keeps encouraging.

Yesterday I sat there trying to figure things out and making mistakes… and none of that feels good. And then I do it. I get my task completed. It’s not without errors. I find them, I do it again. I know this will be repeated later, when I decide to change something in a book or when someone points out an error that despite being looked at by a gazillion proofreaders and editor, no one saw. But then, it will be slightly easier. This is the nature of it. This is the vocation I’ve chosen, and more importantly, the one I believe God wants me in. So I have learned to embrace this uncomfortableness. More importantly, I have learned to embrace God in these times.

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Cherie Burbach About Cherie Burbach

Cherie Burbach is the founder of Putting on the New. She is a poet, mixed media artist, and freelance writer. She's written for About.com, NBC/Universal, Match.com, Christianity Today, and more. Her latest book is: Art and Faith: Mixed Media Art With a Faith-Filled Message. For more, check out her website.

Comments

  1. What great advice, Cherie. As I pursue the publishing domain, your insight will be a valuable asset.

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  2. I’m glad, Barbara!

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  3. Wow, Cherie, this post is right on! I feel like this is where I am actually. I’m trying to explore where God wants to take my creative exploration. Right now, it’s still a “side thing”, but I’m praying if God wants me to take it to the next level. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

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  4. Thanks, Audrey! I believe God is always there with me, helping me learn and make choices, even when I choose the hardest way to do something. 🙂

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  5. There are days I am completely overwhelmed with the business of publishing. And I’m just starting out. Thank you for reminding me that I will be living with uncomfortablesness. I hope I get to the point of embracing it.

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