I think you can learn a lot about the patience and dedication required of the publishing process, however you choose to publish, by being a parent. My son is now two and just beginning to master the art of complete sentences. He gets frustrated a lot, because of the communication barrier; so I’ve been working with him on teaching him new words. His especial favorite thing is drawing, and being a child of the 90′s myself I one day started drawing on him to cheer him up. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working–at his insistence–on learning all of the body parts and his reward is that every time he correctly names a body part I draw a star on it.
Usually, this ends up in smudges of marker everywhere (thank God for Crayola’s washable markers line) and even pools of brightly colored water all over the kitchen floor (and everywhere else) as he splashes in the puddle the cat has made by flipping over his water dish in disgust at the entire situation and then tracking the results through the house. But he’s happy, and that’s what counts.
Now, as far as how this applies to the self publishing process, what you can take away is:
- Nothing’s instantaneous. Expecting yourself to become an accomplished writer overnight is like expecting your toddler to master language in one afternoon. Success comes from a combination of patience, diligent (and repeated) effort, and realistic expectations.
- Creation is messy. You learn more, and you have more fun, when you’re willing to get a little ink on your feet.
- Balance is essential. As a parent, the balance is between respecting your child as an autonomous individual and helping him to actually interact with the world around him. But in either case, you should be doing whatever you’re doing for his benefit. Likewise, as a writer, the balance is between telling your story and making your story fit for public consumption. Things like grammar and correct punctuation aren’t restrictive to your creative process, any more than teaching your child not to hit other children is restricting his development as a human being. Rather, it’s doing the opposite; it’s giving someone (or something) you love the tools they need to succeed in the broader world.