Taking Neil Gaiman’s Advice to Heart

“…Let go and enjoy the ride, because the ride takes you to some remarkable and unexpected places.” – Neil Gaiman, Make Good Art speech.

As I mentioned (and posted) before, I watch/read Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art speech regularly as a way to stay on track with my goals. In his speech, Neil talks about the best advice he’s ever gotten, from Stephen King no less. King saw all the insanity surrounding the success of Sandman and told Neil: This is really great; you should enjoy it. Neil said he didn’t follow King’s advice.

Maybe it’s because I keep watching this speech over and over, but I’ve decided to make a effort to let go and enjoy myself. It isn’t easy, let me tell you. I keep worrying about all the novels I want to produce as quickly as I can so I can keep to a regular posting schedule, the social media to master, the need to learn SEO so my website ranks higher, etc.

Couple that with all the excellent articles and advice in my Twitter feed about adding value to the readers, being your authentic self on social media, tweeting about something other than the book you’re promoting so people will like you; all so you can sell/promote your book. All good advice and probably worth doing too.

Fuck that.

Sure I’ll do some of that as a matter of course but my focus isn’t on selling something or providing value to my readers. My focus is to enjoy the ride, dammit.

My website has only been live a few months and already, ALREADY I’ve been to some fantastic places. Here are some of them:

  • Lovely, heartfelt comments on my LiveJournal where I first started posting my Viewfinder fanfiction. Those wonderful readers were the ones who gave me the idea and courage to start my own website and work on my own original fiction. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for their early support. They are the reason why I’m here in the first place.
  • My Beta. When I think of my Beta and how she makes my stories even better, I just want to cry. It was just a random request for a beta on Yamane Ayano LJ Community and she replied. I’m so damn lucky.
  • Learning about creating a website using WordPress. I’ve spent a long time trying to figure it all out and it’s been so much fun and a little nerve-wracking too.
  • Tumblr! I’ve been blogging for eight years on another platform about random stuff and didn’t know how to approach Tumblr but it’s been so much fun. I scroll through my dash and laugh my ass off everyday. I’m moved to tears sometimes and some things make me mad as hell. I love it. Oh and there’s super sexy stuff too. 😀
  • Camping. I started out camping on Teahouse by Emirain and have had so many fun times. Then I found The Young Protectors by Alex Woolfson which is hands down the best camping experience ever. So many funny, thoughtful people. We have such a good time making each other laugh, swapping theories, and talking about serious things too. Camping takes place Friday nights for sure, and Tuesday nights if enough money has been donated towards an extra page. Join us!
  • Putting my own work out there for anybody to see and getting used to that. I’m starting to think I’m not too terrible a writer.

I could go on but I think that’s enough for now. All these lovely things and I’m at the beginning of this journey!

Being a writer of stories is a fantastic way to live. It’s exhilarating, terrifying, surprising, and the most gratifying thing I’ve ever done.

Don’t add value or sell or market or connect with your readers, please. Instead, put yourself out there whole-heartedly and reach out with your hand. Don’t put all of your posts on an automatic feed. Spend time, look around, see what others are doing, talk to people. Don’t be in a hurry…slow down enough to be moved and excited. When you do you’ll find great and wonderful things, small and large. The world needs your stories, it’s true, but it also needs you having fun, enjoying yourself, seeing all the small wonders in this life.

Thanks so much for reading. And thanks to Neil for keeping me on track.

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