Monday, September 18, 2017

Authoring 101: How to Fake It, till you Make It

I’m sure we’ve all, at some point in our writing career (and I use the word ‘career’ ve-ery loosely here!), felt like just giving up. I mean, we write, we edit, we join writing circles and Facebook groups and talk about writing a heck of a lot. It’s all so...inspirational...well, no, it’s actually quite depressing sometimes, especially when it feels like everyone else is ‘making it’ while you just struggle to find time in day to write a couple hundred words…

This is my honest take on what it’s like to to be a writer. It’s flippen’ hard. It’s a ton of work with so little credit it’s almost as insane as having kids - the ultimate around the clock job with no 13th cheque, I mean, no pay cheque at all, in fact the exact opposite: a bottomless financial and time leak that just won’t go away - because it’s still so worth it!

I hope this post is for you.

I hope I’m not the only one who feels this way…

So last week I felt just like this this, and then I exchanged a mail with Romy Sommer and admitted I felt I wasn’t sure if I should bother renewing my ROSA membership. I had a shopping list of reasons: I still haven’t finished my book, my beta readers ripped it to shreds, I’m not a real writer anyway etc. etc.

You know the refrain.

I know you do.

But then, a teeny tiny voice, from the very depth of heart whispered: “Do not give up on your dream.”

What did you just say?


The kids will grow up, and if you raised them right enough, leave the nest to chase their own adventures. The people who love you, get it, and will support your efforts, don’t underestimate them, tell them how you are feeling.

Own it.

Own the fact that you are writer - and take yourself seriously even if your WIP is in a bigger state of crisis than the Western Cape and the current drought situation. You can do this. You CAN, but it’s up to you. No-one is going to give you what you need (time, money, discipline) those are things you are going to have to make contingency plans and trade-offs for. Recognise that it (time, money, discipline) will come at a price - and pay it. And you must if you are going to make it. Because the only thing that separates a struggling writer from a successful one is Perseverance. With a capital P.

So here are some of my strategies to Fake It Until I Make It as an author.

  • Be your own PR person. Get a professional photo taken, website and FB page and share your writerly thoughts on it. Put yourself out there in the world as an author.
  • If you have a book, brag about it, talk about it, tell EVERYONE about it.
  • Immediately ditch the idea that you are going to be discovered. Give copies of your book to local libraries, offer to give talks and go knocking for the exposure you want. Local radio stations and newspapers are looking for fresh news - be the fresh news!
  • Get your fans together (on mailing list) and ask for things that will help you sell your book: reviews, reviews and more reviews.
  • Mingle with other writers, collaborate, learn and show your support of their work.
  • Read books in your genre like it’s homework.
  • Write consistently. Don’t overthink it, just write. A messy first draft is better than No Draft.

Most importantly: DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAM.

Why should anyone believe in you, if you do not believe in yourself?

Words by Cindi Page 2017


  1. Hi Cindy - as I said to you last week, we ALL have those days. I sit here as a multi-published author with a Rita nomination behind me, and I still have days when I think "sod it, I'm getting nowhere. Look at all these people flying past me on the road to success. I should just chuck this all in." So you need to learn to deal with these feelings, because they're most likely not going to go away!

    Your advice is also spot on - keep writing, and put yourself out thre as an author because, if nothing else, not living up to that image of how others see you is what can keep you going!

  2. I want to give up all the time. Never in a million years would I have imagined how many years, YEARS, I would put into this craft to encounter so many trip ups, false starts, let downs and plain bad luck (my one publisher folded the day after my birthday and my book was the last to be published with no NOTHING behind it). And yet, there are two manuscripts open that I'm busy working on. Sucker for punishment? A dream that won't quit? You betcha.

    Writers are the hardest working people I know, and so often their craft is undermined at every possible opportunity. Whenever I hit a dead end, I read other author's paths - the majority aren't easy; they didn't score As for English or win essay writing contests, or land a publishing deal by being at the right cocktail party. They plugged and plugged and plugged and plugged. Never give up. You have no idea how close you could be to succeeding...BEYOND your wildest dreams!

  3. Great post Cindi!

    I would add, be authentic to your own writerly self, embryonic though he/she may be. If bragging about your release or asking for reviews isn't comfortable, don't do it! One of the most important lessons I've learned is that marketing drains my creative well to the point it becomes counterproductive, so I do as much as I can stand, and don't beat myself up if my new releases arrive with more of a whimper than a shout. They always seem to find their audiences eventually. :-)

    I think most writers find themselves on the edge of the cliff of quitting at one point - or at multiple points. So glad you found the resolve to back away from it and continue to chase your dream!

    1. I can barely take much marketing and blowing my own trumpet anymore.

  4. Thanks for a great post, Cindi.

    This was meant for me today.

  5. This is a great post. I've come pretty close the last month. Then I suddenly had inspiration to revamp my website and brand. It's helped inspire me and I'm going to write in a new way. It still takes immense perseverance to write. Almost daily, I want to give up!

  6. Cindi,
    Your post really touched me. Thank you. Joss xxx

  7. Thanks Ladies! I only saw today that so may of you left comments. I really appreciate it! Together is Better, so let's keep encouraging each other.x