Let's face it, there are times when you are going to feel like you made a bad choice. Like writing for publication was foolish. Maybe. Probably not. Here's the thing about being published, regardless of the from (indie or traditional): You put it out there! You did it. You created something and you shared it with the world.
The problem is usually when the world doesn't respond to your creation the way you had hoped. I won't get all philosophical or religious on you, but take a moment to consider how well YOU are treating YOURSELF as a creation.
You need a kick in the ass or a feel good vibe, here are 10 strategies that can help you boost your ego. They are designed for writing, but could apply to other parts of your life as well.
Make a list of all the things you have done. We tend to make lists of things we need to do and forget to do a balance check against the tasks we have completed. It feels good to check things off a list as you do them. It feels great to look at a list of things you don't have to check off because you already did them!
Write up 2-5 mottos or phrases that mean something to you. Could be a compliment you received or a quote you memorized. Say this out loud to yourself as a reminder that brighter days exist and you HAVE done something right.
Get dressed. Seriously, this works to help with depression as much as with boosting your ego because when you get up, get moving, take a shower, pull on clothes with intention (even if you go nowhere) you tend to feel better about yourself.
Print and read your positive reviews.
Look at some really negative reviews for Best Sellers. It doesn't feel as bad to find out a reader thinks your book sucks when you understand readers also trash something Oprah or Reese is recommending as a must read. I don't want to say take joy in someone else's misery, but learn from those best sellers because they don't give up and stop writing. They keep writing for their fans.
Listen to your fans, not your critics. You've heard this one a hundred times, but just as the post above mentions, you need to get a fan club. One person excited about your next book will do the trick. Focus on writing your best story, putting out your best product, and making that loyal reader happy.
Measure your success with qualitative benchmarks rather than quantitative ones. Remember when you just wanted to be published and that was all you needed to be happy? Yeah, doesn't last. That is a quantitative (numeric) measurement. You need qualitative (emotional) measurements. Finishing a story for an anthology. Sending something to the editor. Getting a cover for an upcoming project. All the author things that remind you why you love writing are what you need to focus on sometimes. You could be making six figures and still be miserable as an author if you are not enjoying it. You could be making barely enough to buy a cup a coffee a month and having the time of your life as an author.
Carry yourself like you are a winner. Seriously, who gives a shit what your physical appearance is in comparison to someone else? It's about your physical appearance in comparison to YOU. How YOU feel. I'm not willing to sacrifice sleep or funds to compete with some of my fellow authors at these events. I still carry myself like a professional. I WEAR MY OWN LOGO. I support me! Do what makes you feel good. If that is dressing to the nines, go for it. If it is casual and confident, cool. The better you feel about yourself when you interact with readers, the better they will receive you.
Challenge any and all negative "talk". From yourself or others. Again, what works for one person might not for another and be glad of that since we wouldn't need such a diverse reading spectrum if everyone only wanted the same things all the time.
Finally, be your own damn cheerleader. Sure, having outside support is awesome, but sometimes you have to grab those pom poms and cheer on yourself. Dance like no one is watching, all that other feel good ish. If you like what you are doing, eventually, you will meet the right readers and they are going to make it so worth while because they need your voice and perspective. Until then, be your own best reader and remind yourself how much you like your own books.
For more author insight, be sure to catch episodes of the Creative Writing With Dr Nagle podcast on all major podcast outlets!