Posted in All Articles, Writer's life, Writer's problems

The downsides of being a full time writer

Who doesn’t want to be a full time writer? To get up whenever you please, prepare breakfast for yourself, and just write?

Becoming a full time writer was a lifelong dream for me, and then – I was suddenly dragged into it by life circumstances that didn’t go as planned.

Although I really love being a full time writer, there are downsides about which nobody speaks. The main downside is, society seldom accepts lifestyles that vary from the norm.

Here are some challenges that I am facing as a full time writer.

Working long hours in a “phantom job”

On my writing journey, I used to work on writing from as little as 1 hour a day to as much as 15 hours a day. It all depended on how much time I had available.

Now, I’m a college graduate, but because of some visa complications I know I won’t be able to be employed on place for the next 20 months.

It’s a difficult situation that kind of forced me to try to earn an income online; and since writing is what I do best, I started a publishing house company.

Even though lots of people know my situation, and I often work in my company for 10-15 hours a day, I don’t earn a real wage yet. And when you aren’t earning a real wage, people tend to invalidate what you do, as money is the physical proof of success. If you aren’t earning money, then you are just not successful.

What is more, to most people, only the lucky ones can make it as writers, and I’ve totally  lost the touch with reality. In their eyes, I’m just another nini (from Spanish ni trabaja ni estudia someone who doesn’t work and doesn’t study). Because what value could my work have if it’s not bringing money (yet?).

I know that most people don’t believe in me and think that I’m crazy. And I’m ok with that. I know what I am doing. I trust in what I am doing and I know I will succeed. I don’t need others to acknowledge me ’cause I am acknowledging myself.

Yet, it’s not only about comments. Some people in my life will go as far as disrupting my writing routine on purpose. I know that they have mostly good intentions, but it truly bothers me.

Declining invitations most of the time

The main reason why I am declining invitations are my depressive moods. Most often, I am just too depressed to go out. I often use the writing work as an excuse, yet, I do writing work even when I am really depressed, as it helps me pick myself up and gives me energy and optimism. To me, writing is a strong antidepressant that helps so much more than pasting asmile on my face and chit chatter with party people.

Yet often, if I am dragged away from my writing work, which drives me crazy. I’m really frustrated when I can’t complete my everyday duties. People can’t understand this frustration, as they hate their everyday jobs.

We have two different situations, two different perspectives, and suddenly, I just don’t know what to talk to people about.

Being a one-track minded bore

When I was younger, I was interested pretty much in everything (I wrote about it in here). I knew that scattering my attention on too many things at once wasn’t a habit of successful people. So, I narrowed my interests to writing and new age spirituality. Let’s put the new age spirituality aside for a moment, and focus on writing. Writing is tied to mastering your skills, publishing, doing marketing, interacting with readers, reading… It’s all fascinating to me, but to somebody who isn’t into it, I’m probably an incredible bore.

Losing (or gaining) too much weight

I know that slouching all the time in front of your laptop (or phone, or notebook) isn’t healthy, and promotes weight gain. For this reason, I was tweaking my diet for years, until I found the perfect spot: intermittent fasting. I’ve been doing it for 7 months already, yet, I constantly hear people protesting: skipping breakfast is unhealthy, you aren’t eating normally, I could never live like that. The rational arguments that IF’s benefits have been proven scientifically, that I feel better, that I’m not even losing weight anymore – don’t work. Eat more. You aren’t eating enough. 

Not enough time to train sports professionally

My bucket list is full of sports I’d like to try one day, when I don’t have to work so hard on my writing. These sports are mostly martial arts, oriental dances and street sports. I know that being in your 20s is the best time to do these things, however, I’m so busy writing, being a writing coach and running a publishing house, that I just lack time to dedicate myself seriously to anything else. I am trying to be active when I can, yet… You should work out more, why don’t you go out to take a run, it’s unhealthy to sit in front of a screen for so long… etc. Like I didn’t know it. I have only 24 hours, like every single person on this planet. I dedicate them to what matters the most to me at the current moment, and becoming a sports pro isn’t my priority.

Being constantly asked Why can’t you live normally?

You have only one flaw, darling: you can’t live like a normal person. Why can’t you be a normal person, with a normal lifestyle? Why can’t you pay more attention to the mudane things? I always have to put up with your strange choices.

I had actually heard all these words, and yes, they hurt.

So why can’t I live normally?

Well, let’s start from the beginning. I was lonely, isolated and unheard child. My caregivers were very stern. I was expected to excel in everything, and if I didn’t, love was taken away. When I turned 16, I was so disciplined already that I didn’t need any external motivators.

When I turned 22, I went through a deep personal crisis. One of the outcomes was a  realization that I wanted to be free from the system: I didn’t want to work from 9 am to 5 pm for a perpetually unhappy boss and beg to be able to take a free day when I needed it. I didn’t want to be the slave of a minimum wage for 30 years, and then live off a minimum pension.

In the new age spirituality, we believe that thougths lead to actions and actions create the reality. I knew I would never be able to create a different reality for myself if I follow the flock. I wanted to be a writer because that’s what I’m most passionate about. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all had jobs that we were passionate about? What’s the benefit from having an employee who hates what he’s doing?

Of course, creating a job for yourself isn’t easy. It requires much effort. But I’m great at putting effort into things that I care about. I’m programmed this way. Even if I decided to turn back, and follow the flock, I certainly wouldn’t be happy.

And this is why I can’t live normally.

Because I am willing to sacrifice lots of things now in order to get my dream life later. This is called the delayed gratification. I don’t feel like I’m missing out; rather, I’m postponing the fun life for later (although writing is really much fun as well). But you know what I mean.

So yeah, this was my perspective on the downsides of being a fulltime writer. Sometimes it’s hard. But, most of the time, it really makes me happy.

I hope this was interesting for you.

Stay inspired.

Posted in All Articles, Writer's life

How I fell in love with e-books after years of being a die-hard fan of paper copies

When I was younger, I was a die-hard fan of paper copies. Now, I’m a die-hard fan of e-books.

What changed?

First of all, I discovered some books I was interested in were available on Kindle only. It always takes at least a month for a paperback to arrive at my place. It’s impractical because if I want to read a book, I want to read it now, and not after a month. With e-books, I’m a few clicks away from reading, and it’s very comfortable.

Second, my grandfather had always complained that we already have too many books at home. And he was right. There is a perpetual mess in my room, because books occupy half of my wardrobes, half of my shelves, half of my desk, and the whole window sill. I wanted to throw them away, but it felt somewhat heretic.

I planned to give them out, but: antique shops already have too many books, orphanages want new books only, and libraries need classics. An option would be selling books online, but this requires more effort and patience that anyone would think: take one book, make photos of it, put it away, then take another book… It’s a great solution if you have 10 books not sell, and not 300.

After you’ve read the book, it becomes more or less useless. Yes, you can go back to it, but how many times can you read the same thing over and over again? 3? 4?

What’s worse, I often bought books and never read them. The cover was better than the content, or I had bought another ambitious books that wasn’t what I truly wanted to read. Money was spent, space was taken, the book was getting dusty on my shelf. “I’ll read it one day”. Of course. When is “one day”? Probably never.

In 2017, I moved to China. China cured me from buying paper copies. I am fluent in Chinese, but I’ve always spent little time with characters, hence, I can’t read that well. Also, books are always written with a literary language, which means slightly different grammar – and in Chinese, it does make a difference.

This helped me discover the pros of e-books:

  • I can take them with me wherever I’m going.
  • They don’t take space neither on my shelf, nor in my luggage.
  • I can read them on any device – not just on the Kindle reader.
  • There are many more e-books available online than there are paperbacks in local bookshops, which means a greater choice – and a greater exposure to indie authors, who are given equal chances in this way.
  • My virtual shelf is private, I can read whatever I please without feeling judged for it.
  • I can always buy ebooks in my preferred language, even when I am in another country.
  • I can start reading immediately after purchase.
  • E-books are much cheaper than paperbacks. I can buy 5-10 e-books for the price of one paperback.
  • E-books are often available for free.
  • E-books are ecological (no more cutting trees for paper!).

And now pros of e-books for authors:

Of course, if you have the possibility to release your book both in the digital format and in the e-book format, you should go for it. It’s not a mystery that books with more formats available sell better.

E-books have their cons as well – they are way easier to pirate than paperbacks. However, new laws are introduced to protect creators (and their earnings). I think that it would be a real pity to miss out on what e-books have to offer, just for fear of pirates. Also, I’ve noticed that more and more people are actually willing to buy e-books; because e-books are so cheap now, that nearly everyone can afford them.

What do you think about e-books? Or are you still for paper copies? Let me know in the comments!

Stay inspired!

Posted in All Articles, Writer's life

Should authors make New Year’s resolutions?

My dear friends, today is a very special day! It’s the day of our 50th article on Always Inspired Writing! Thank you for all your likes, comments and subscriptions! It’s motivating me to write more! And I hope that next year, we will reach 100 articles!

* * *

Next year, I’ll write my book. Or, I’ll sell my book. I will lose weight and become world’s most attractive writer!

Then, the next year comes. We run out of steam in the middle of our new book, and apparently getting huge sales isn’t as easy as it seems (we’ve all been there, huh!). On top of that, we gain weight in December. The internet honks that 63% of UK adults in 2014 failed to keep their resolutions and this is really discouraging.

Still, I strongly believe that we writers need New Year’s Resolutions and should make at least 3-5 of them each year.

Why? Well, if we want to get somewhere with our writing, we must constantly strive to be better. And how are we supposed to get better if we don’t decide in which direction we need to go at the beginning of our new race?

Everything changes constantly, and each year opens new doors. Behind these new doors are new rooms to explore, and these new rooms might bring new ideas, truths and knowledge, that will change our path towards something better. For this reason, I recommend setting areas in which we would like to improve, rather than number specific goals.

For example:

  • I want to sell 100 books -> I want to sell more books.
  • I want to publish this particular book on Amazon -> I want to publish anything on Amazon.
  • I want to get 10 author friends -> I want to become friends with more authors.

In this way, we are making a commitment to improve in general. With these kinds of goals, it’s hard to fail. I think that this is a better option than setting unattainable goals and later getting frustrated about them. It’s easier to climb the mountain at our own pace, focusing on the path, rather than looking at the peak, and wondering “how will I get there?”

This year, I’ve met 8 of my 14 goals. I think that this it not a bad score. New Year is approaching again, and it’s a great chance to keep some goals and discard others.

A goal that I want to keep is reading books. I failed miserably at reading this particular year, probably because I’ve spent nearly all my time on writing, blogging, pen-name work, distribution and marketing.

A goal that I want to discard is writing “Cassidy”. “Cassidy” is a spin-off of the mermaid series that I plan to write and publish in the next 5-7 years. “Cassidy” can’t be published before the series is complete, hence, it’s out of the priority plan for a very long time.

To our list of resolutions we should add “New Year’s eggs”.

Especially that I achieved many other things that I am proud of, that weren’t on my resolution list. I call these “New Year’s eggs”.

It’s a term I coiled for other achievements that weren’t on our resolution list, but are our successes. Example: a guy goes persistently to the gym in order to lose weight. At the end of the year, he discovers that he built stunning shoulders. While “losing weight” is a resolution, “stunning shoulders” are “New Year’s eggs” – an unexpected blessing.

For me, the “New Year’s eggs” were building an audience on Twitter, writing 50 articles on Always Inspired Writing and becoming a publisher. Nothing I expected, but I’m proud of it nevertheless.

Did you complete many resolutions this year? What were your New Year’s eggs for 2018?

Happy 2019! I hope that it brings you much inspiration, new books, great sales, more readers, awesome reviews and overnight success! Stay inspired!

Posted in Writer's life

Are you a workaholic writer?

The end of the year fatigue is real… especially for workaholic writers.

10 signs you are a workaholic writer:

  1. You usually spend more than 80% of your free time on your writing work.
  2. You sacrifice something (meetings with friends, binge watching TV shows) in order to do writing work.
  3. You do writing work on weekends.
  4. You do writing work even if you are burn out.
  5. The four above have been going on for months.
  6. You tell everyone you will take a break, but you do the writing work anyways (silently).
  7. You tell everyone you will take a break, and everyone is either surprised or says “you really deserve it”.
  8. If you don’t do the writing work, you get anxious.
  9. Sometimes, you are not quite sure why you always racing forwards like this, but you can’t stop.
  10. Joy from reaching goals is only temporary, as a new, greater goal is waiting behind the corner.

Does any of them sound like you?

If yes, then you are probably a workaholic writer. Watch out for creative burnout – it might happen to you in no time.

There are several reasons why writers become workaholics. I’ve listed some of them:

  1. Pressure to show everyone who didn’t believe in you, that you can.
  2. A belief that once you become famous/successful/rich, people will love you.
  3. A need to escape the real world, which isn’t anything special at the moment.
  4. Pressure to become a full time author as soon as possible, so that you can quit your job.
  5. A desire to finally finish writing your newest book, so as to publish it before the end of the year.
  6. A wish to do better with marketing this, than the last time, and actually sell some books.

I think that workaholism is tightly connected to meaning in life.

Workaholics put the work on pedestal, because work is what has most meaning in their lives.

This might be the result of a stern upbringing and having to “earn” love.

But it may also be the result of a disappointing life situation. We’ve all been let down by our lovers, friends and family members. Money comes and goes,  but work is a constant. There is always something to do: extra homework, dishes to wash, e-mails to answer. And new chapters to write. The Law Of Attraction, about which I write more in detail here, states that the more we focus on something, the more of it we will attract.

The internet is full of stupid and worthless articles on how workaholics can help themselves. Examples include “get out”, “play”, “exercise”. When you really have a problem with workaholism, and somebody tells you to play, you will just shrug your shoulders. You won’t go out to play WHEN THERE IS SO MUCH WORK TO DO, will you?

I’ve already written somewhere that we should all try to work smarter, rather than harder. But working smarter isn’t always that easy, especially when there is a lot of quack advice on the internet. For example, there are thousands of people who claim that they earned a fortune on the internet by affiliate marketing, or answering surveys. I’ve tried it, and, it isn’t as easy as it turns out. Most surveys are already solved when you open the e-mail link with them. And to even qualify for affiliate marketing (not to mention any sales!) you need a strong website with real traffic in the niche. It can be done, but definitely not quickly, and effort must be put into that.

Working smarter often includes spending money on services rather than doing everything yourself.

Learning to delegate is something that requires trust. Workaholics are people who often worry that others won’t be able to do the work as well as them. But, they need to understand that others also have valuable skills and deserve to be given a chance. This is one of the challenges that workaholics must overcome.

Another challenge is setting boundaries that work for you.

In general, I don’t think that writing a lot is a bad thing. If you enjoy it, if it makes you feel good, well – it’s not like you can get physically sick from it (like from drinking too much coffee or smoking too much).

Consider this: most people are able to swim vigorously for an hour. But for olympic swimmers, an hour is just a warm-up: they spend around 4 hours in the swimming pool each day.

Maybe you are an olympic writer, and spending so much time on doing writing work feels right to you. The important thing though, is for you to learn to recognize your limits and push them slowly.

If you feel you are doing too much, slow down. If you are a person who likes spending their time actively, choose something that you haven’t done for a while. Alternating between tasks will help you take a rest from one, and do the other with pleasure. I wrote about this here: A lesson from agriculture: why writing multiple things at once is a good idea.

I hope this helps. Stay inspired!

Posted in All Articles, For young writers, Writer's life

What to do when nobody believes in your writing dream?

“I will be an author,” I declared as a 9 year old. Did anybody take me seriously? I doubt it. At the time, I planned to be an artist, and actress, and a witch. Oh, and date Harry Potter.

“I will be an author,” I repeated as a 13 year old.But writing is very hard,” my Polish teachers told me, “you need a lot of knowledge“. ‘Ok,’ I thought to myself, ‘I will become a librarian when I am an adult. In this way, I will be able to read many books and maybe write one.”

“I will be an author,” I told my father as a 16 year old.An author? Yes, you can be an author, but you are not going to earn on it. Get a more realistic job.” I felt hurt by these words, but I kept writing nevertheless.

“I have become an author,” I thought to myself as a 21 year old, when I wrote and published my first novel in a vanity press. “M. R. Foti hides behind a pen name, but this won’t save her,” wrote one of my readers, “she is a mediocre author“.

“I am a failed author,” I believed as a 22 year old. I didn’t have any audience, hasn’t sold a single copy of my first novel in 10 months, and my second novel was rejected by all publishers. “If I give up, it’s going to break my heart. I’m already broken by life. I can’t give up on my dream to be a writer, I can’t, no matter what,” I told myself.

“I’m either gonna succeed as an author, or die trying,” I decided as a 23 year old. I started reading blogs by Joanna Penn, Jeff Goins and Michal Stawicki. I actually wrote an e-mail to Michal Stawicki, who kindly replied and encouraged me to try my luck on Amazon. I stopped waiting for traditional publishers to acknowledge me and let go of the “paperback-in-libraries” dream. I started writing in English, committed to building an international audience, and launched Always Inspired Writing.

You will be famous one day,” I heard as a 24 year old. You have so much talent. I am sure that you are going to make it. You just need time. Keep writing, because you must write, there is no other way for you.

So what to do when nobody believes in your writing dream?

Believe in it yourself.

If you check my social media, or even this blog, you’ll see that I always like my own posts. I am my own fan, and I will always be.

It really doesn’t matter what age you are, or how good you are at writing, or how bad. The only thing that matters is how bad you want it. If you want it really bad, you will structure your whole life so that you can work for it. And once you work for it persistently and ignore your failures, you will start succeeding.

There were so many people that didn’t believe in me. My friends, my teachers, even my husband. “You know,” he told me one evening, “in the beginning, I didn’t quite believe in your writing. But after I’ve met you, and saw how dedicated you were… I changed my mind. I am waiting for you to succeed, and I wish you all the best.”

When I was younger and somebody didn’t believe in me, I was sad and doubted myself. But then, then I thought, “Screw you. I’m gonna show you. I’m gonna show everyone. You don’t believe in me? Just wait and see.”

If you read the Ultimate Manifester, where I am much more personal than on Always Inspired Writing, you’ll learn that I’ve been fighting depression for 7 years. It started at age 17 and never actually went away. When you are depressed for so long, it really shapes you and your way of thinking. Why am I telling you so suddenly about this in here?

Because I want you to know, that it wasn’t easy for me to believe in myself, others and the world in general. If you knew me personally, you’d know I always have tons of doubts and question everything that I’m told. But I cared about writing so much, that I just forced myself to believe in it unconditionally.

With time, my writing dream became stronger than my depression.

There are days when I’m swimming in total darkness. But I still get up, wash my face, dress up, eat. I know I have to keep going. For the people around me, and for the writing dream. When the electric lights of my soul go out, my writing dream is like a spare candle, which makes everything brighter.

I know that there will be low sales, bad reviews, hateful comments and other nightmares. But, the love for my characters and their stories is giving me strength, and pushing me to do what I can each and every day.

Your writing dream is a small seed with the potential to grow into a powerful tree.

For this reason, you must take care of it. Water it regularly, fight pests and protect it from cold. Why? Because if you let others step on your writing dream, and trust that it’s never going to come true, you will finally stop believing in it and let it go.

Sometimes I’m walking quietly in the desert, when hounds of depression appear out of nowhere. I’m running away to my tree, and climb it. I am not powerless anymore; for the strength of my tree is with me.

Your writing dream has the potential to shield you from reality, and sometimes, we need that more than anything else. For this reason, ignore the people who don’t believe in your writing dream, and help it grow into something amazing.

I hope this helps, stay inspired.