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Worry much?

So, lately, I’ve been having a bit of a freak out due to the fact I’ve read many articles saying that the only way to make a career as a self-published author is to write series of books, which I don’t.

Now, I try not to let things like this affect me, and so far I’d done pretty well. I like to forge my own path into this career, and learn as I go. But for some reason this got to me recently, maybe it was just the sheer amount of articles that have been around on the subject.

I panicked a bit and suddenly wondered if my books would fail because they’re stand-alones. Then, I started freaking out they wouldn’t sell at all because people wouldn’t like the stories. Then it just became everything I worried about!

It was a bad time for a little while 😀

And that freaking had a huge affect on my writing. Yesterday I was writing my newest novella, and I just couldn’t do it. The writing felt flat, things weren’t going right and it was just all going wrong. And I thought it was because of the story, but I realised it wasn’t.

I was worrying so much about what might happen in my future career of writing and what I was ‘supposed’ to be doing, that I was struggling with writing in the present!

I write stand-alone books, I like them, so I write them. Yes, I have an idea for a series of books later on, but it’s not what I will concentrate on at the moment. For now, I write what I love and write the stories that I have a passion to get onto paper, and I hope that passion comes through and shows through my work.

Series of books are great, and I enjoy reading them, but that doesn’t mean I have to write them just to make a career in self-publishing. Part of the draw to self-publishing for me was the fact I can control my own future, and produce the stories I love and hope people will want to read.

Worrying about what is the ‘best’ way to get ahead is not helping me now. And I don’t want to turn myself into a statistic. I am an individual writer, and what works for others won’t always work for me.

So, basically, the summary of this is not to worry about what others say you should be doing, but to do what you love and what works for you. Freaking out over it definitely does not help you get ahead! 😀

Have you ever worried over something so much it has affected your writing?

Progress Report

Word Count: 5987 (12,098 total)

Status of Third Manuscript: Writing first draft.

March E-book Review: 37% read.

73 thoughts on “Worry much?

  1. I understand your pain and worry about something that might or might not happen in your future. I have been there myself lately. Though I wonder if the term “series” is being used incorrectly in all these articles that have been around lately. While yes a lot of people do read series, but I read a lot of works by a single authors that are stand alone books. Perhaps the original meaning was you might need a multitude of books within a single genre to make it as a self-published writer! 🙂 (That’s how tend to feel.) Since I get demotivated more by others views on writing, I tend not to read too many “technical” how to or how to survive as, or even top 10 reasons why to articles, but instead tend to read more posts about the actual writer and their individual journey.

    Just keep your will strong and write the way you love to write 🙂 Don’t worry about “making” it. I just think those types of articles are written by people who think the book market is a competition and try to discourage people from writing instead of creating a support network.

    • Thank you for the encouraging reply! It is true, I think reading these kinds of things can really have a bad affect, rather than a motivating one.

      I want to be happy in my career, and writing what I love is going to achieve that, not trying to fit in with what is expected!

      Thank you for the comment, it helps to put things in perspective 🙂

  2. I’m petrified I won’t make it as a writer. I think you would be hard pressed to find another author out there who hasn’t let their own personal feelings or worries affect their writing.

    I’m working on a series, but have a few stand alone books in the mind mill also. I also don’t think that because you don’t write series means that you can’t make it in the self – publishing world.

    Just keep going and try to release that anxiety. You’ll be fine.

    • I guess worrying is kind of a good thing, if we were all just confident then we wouldn’t push ourselves to get better and produce the best books that we can 😀

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  3. I have read the same and had the same reaction. I don’t particularly like series as a reader, especially if that series is not complete so I can finish at my leisure, without having to wait on the author. I write stand alones and that is what I like to read,, a good well rounded off book. Call me old fashioned but I like exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and denouement…all in one book, even when that is repeated several times in one book. It is trendy to write series, but I think the key to success is not so much writing series, but getting A LOT of books out there. Even if they are stand alones. Think of all the many multitudes of writers who are successful authors who write stand alones. The other thing that is trendy that bothers me as a reader is opening with an action scene. Often this is done without me even having opportunity to build any sympathy for the characters involved. Maybe I’m old school…but the classics did not become classics by following trends.

    • Very good points. I do like a story all in one book, waiting on a series can be hard at times and I’m ashamed to admit I forget what happens in the previous books sometimes! 😀

      I think writing a lot is a major thing in being successful, the more you write the better you get, but also I think readers can see you’re serious about it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, very much appreciated 🙂

  4. It’s a good point and one I’ve read about myself but I think if we go looking, we could find articles telling us the complete opposite as well, since advice is always based on experience and no two lives are ever the same.

    The truth is that anyone who wants to do something creative has to do it in the ways that work for them as creativity stems from passion, not conformity. All any of us can do is be the best version of ourselves and if that leads to success, all the better! 🙂

    • Choosing a career in something like writing or art is not so secure as going for a 9-5 job, but it got to a point where I have to give it a go. I guess I just want this so bad, I worry about things going wrong too easily and before I have even put one book out into the world yet! 😀

      It is true, you can find things on the internet nowadays that say pretty much anything, contradicting advice you could find somewhere else. It’s best just to go with the plan you have, and stick with it all the way through.

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  5. I do think writing a series makes it easier but if someone likes your writing, then they will keep coming back for your books, even if they’re stand-alones. Personally, I much prefer stand-alones as well as I don’t like to be left hanging in the air. If everyone writes series because that is the market trend, what happens to the poor folks who like their stand-alones? 😉 Write what you love and don’t let the dictates of marketing trend paralyze your creativity.

    • Very well said! 😀

      You’re exactly right, going and doing what’s popular at the time isn’t always right. It may suit some, but not others, and I got to follow what’s right for me.

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  6. One of my favorite authors ONLY writes stand alone novels and I love her writing. Write well and write like you and people will keep coming back. Define success on your own terms. Is success selling a lot of books or getting your story out there for people to enjoy? Once you define success make a plan to reach it then take action. Do NOT WORRY! That’s a killer to the creative process. When I begin to get into a worry cycle i clean my house. It’s a stress relief.

    • Thank you for the encouragement. I want to write the stories I love and want people to enjoy them too, so that’s what I should do, as you say. It’s not about what’s on trend, but what we as writers want to write 🙂 Part of the reason self-publishing is so popular!

      Worry is such a killer to writing, after I calmed myself down and told myself to stop freaking out so much, things got a lot better. Today writing was fun and I did much better because of that.

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  7. Hi Harliqueen, you are a creative individual, be proud of that, and I can’t wait to read your standalone’s…. a series can become boring. Your posts are always lively and jolly, and that reflects you. Take no notice of articles that say, you should do this that and the other….. who are they? Now, you keep doing your thing, and enjoy the journey.xx

    • Thank you so much for the nice words!

      It’s really encouraging to know there are others out there who feel the same. Writing is a passion, and that shouldn’t be stifled by what ‘advice’ is hanging about the internet 😀

  8. I’m not a reader that has to have a series. Some of the series I’ve tried to finish couldn’t hold my interest to the end. As a writer, there’s only been a couple of secondary characters who’ve inspired me to consider them for a book of their own. I’m feeling your pain about the writing feeling flat, as I work on a revise and resubmit. Will it make the cut this time is hanging over my head.

    • Revising and submitting is always nerve-wracking! Plus by that time, I’ve usually been around the book so long it starts to get blurred in my head 😀

      Good luck with it! 🙂

  9. I think we all worry too much about a certain aspect of our writing. As a reader I’m always looking for something unique. Like you I enjoy a good series, but I also like the stand-alones – the stand-out reads that stay with you long after you turn the last page. The best part is going back to them time and again. Don’t forget you have to love what you write first before you send your stories out into the world, and you wouldn’t love the process half as much if you were forced into a box. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • Thank you for the encouraging words 🙂 Writing is such a personal thing that you have to pour your heart and soul into, it really does have to be what you want it to be rather than what might ‘sell’ sometimes.

      Thank you for reading and commenting, it’s always really appreciated 🙂

  10. Oh how well do I know the mental freak-outs that block writing creativity! I used to read a great deal of “writing how-to” books, but found that I focused so much on the advice, catching every mistake and trying to follow someone else’s lead that I blocked my own path. The same thing happens to me when I am stressed or overly distracted…and there are a lot of distractions in this household. I have been through some stressful situations lately, and that wrecks havoc on the mind of a writer. As far as the stand-alone novels, I love them. I love series too, if the characters have sufficiently captured my heart. Sometimes a series can fall a little flat – one or two is good, a trilogy, fine…but I have seen some series that grow and grow, and have to wonder how the story spans such an enormous distance…does it lose something? My current project is a stand-alone book that is rapidly growing into a small series in the back of my mind; but it can stand by itself too. I am learning a great deal by experiencing the journey of writing; all I can say is that for me, a writer’s best work is when they are uninhibited; working with the freedom to write what they love and in their own style. I think that speaks volumes…volumes over writing a series/stand-alone just because it’s what people expect. Plenty of stand-alone book lovers out there who love a great story no matter how many novels it comes in.

    • Thank you for the encouraging response, it’s nice to hear from others who have dealt with this kind of thinking as well.

      You’re so right, I think reading too much advice or ‘how-to’ articles can really affect the freedom of writing. You got to write the best way for you as an individual, or you’re not getting your best work out.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, it’s really appreciated 🙂

  11. Great post. I too worry about things like this that distract me from my writing. Book series have become highly popular and “trendy” lately, but I think it is better to write a stand alone book and stay off trend so that its not competing with popular book series, if that makes sense. Don’t worry whether people will like your story or not, I believe every writer has an audience and there is an audience who will want to read your book 🙂

    • Yeah, I think just trying to fit in with what’s popular is the start of a downfall 😀 You got to make sure you write what you love, or what’s the point?

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  12. Wow… I was gonna say – well, what everyone else already has, haha. Jesus how’d you get so many followers? Anyway, I’ve never read those articles. But fuck ’em. The beauty of self-publishing is that it has allowed the industry to shed its formerly uniform, tightly regulated skin. Do what you love. I know I sure do. ;]

    • You are right, part of the reason I was so drawn to self-publishing was I had control over what I wrote and how I wrote it. Now, I just got to make sure and stay away from too many of these articles 😀

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  13. Most best-selling authors have plenty of standalone works in their catalog in addition to any series they’ve been doing. There are plenty of authors out there who have made a living on the backs of standalone books. Hell, Barbara Cartland, possibly the most successful romance author out there, produced almost entirely single titles. You’re in good company. If you want to dabble in a series later, that’s something you can try out and see for yourself how it affects sales, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

    • I wanted to go into this with the idea of getting my stories out there into the world for people to enjoy, and with the secondary aim of making a living out of it. But if I just start worrying about the money, then it just will be like any other job. I want this career to keep my passion, so I refuse to look it at that way, I will forge my own path through this writing world! 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting, your support is always very welcome 🙂

  14. I get what you mean. When I first started looking into self-publishing I was a total worrywart and even now at times the worry still hits me from time to time. Choosing the self-publishing company was my biggest worry. And sometimes I still wonder if I made the right choice or if I should look for a better one.

    • It’s such a personal and individual journey, and you pretty much have to learn as you go! I am still doing that in a major way, but it’s nice to know there are others out there in the same boat 😀

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

      • You’re welcome. Thank you for this post. I feel better too, knowing there are others like me. I didn’t who to talk to about this. I’m still blundering my way around as well.

  15. I dont beleive this. Soem people do not like series.. I like both Stand alones and Series.. Write what you like!! I decided to quit worrying about all the advice out there and write what I like and for myself and not worry whether it will sell or not. If I did I wouldnt be able to write at all from all the worry!

    • I think I will definitely follow your example and stop worrying so much! 😀 It definitely puts a halt to my writing when I freak out like that.

      I will write what I love, and hopefully because of that, the writing will be better for it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  16. I think getting good feedback makes it easier to write, and conversely, fear makes it harder. My books aren’t selling all that well at the moment, and it’s more difficult for me know to get the job done that it was during the period when I was selling ten copies a day.

  17. My stress over the myriad of opinions on successful writing for any kind of publishing HAS overwhelmed me. I honestly froze – solid. (You know that from FB). Anyway, reading your blog makes me feel so much better. I want to tell a particular story. That’s it. I want to share it with others. Hopefully, they are discerning enough to see the story’s humor and wisdom:) Thanks, Mishka. Great post.

    • I totally agree with you. Though it does sound like you are starting to make progress again, I hope it’s going well now 🙂

      Fear is such a demotivating thing at times, and can really put a halt to everything. But I realise I love writing and stories too much to let fear stop me, and I just got to do what I want to make it work 😀

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

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  19. I have two words – good post. Ahem. But honestly I agree with you – write what you love and what works for you, maybe in time you’ll feel comfortable with writing a series, but until then – write what you are happy with, and I’m certain it will shine through in your writing. The end 🙂

    • Good post? Why? What did you like about it? Was there something specific? Lol 😀

      But yeah, I definitely think it’s about writing what you like, what you love and what to get out into the world. The rest will come later 🙂

      • It was the uh, background. Yes, that’s it – the background. Colour. Your background colour complemented the post er, wonderfully. And the font! So wonderful and, er, scintillating. Really it was. And the text colour – black! Brilliant choice. Just brilliant. And the words. The words were wonderful, and um, full of er, letters.


        Oh – and agreed, definitely.

  20. This was a very encouraging post! I definitely feel the same way, and have been trying to write a series for the same reason. This helped me decide that I don’t need to write a series or connect the novels I’m working on, which was something I was really worried about when trying to decide what POV to use on my next project. Thank you so much for your insights!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post. Writing series is perfectly fine too, I just realised I was worrying about it only because it was apparently the only way to be successful! 😀 Which just simply isn’t true.

      Go with what feels right, and your books will be the better for it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  21. I understand your uncertainty. It’s interesting that you’ve blogged about this as it’s something I’ve been considering lately too. It seems that if you write a series it can potentially get you a bigger market than if you just write stand alone books.

    But I’m like you – at the moment I don’t want to write a series, I want to write what I want to write about and right now that doesn’t include a series. I don’t really feel drawn to writing a series – yet. Maybe in time it will come. Who knows. 🙂

    • Yeah, I am with you, I know I may want to write a series later down the line, but I don’t want to do it just because it might get me ahead.

      Need to focus on what I love to write now.

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  22. If it makes you feel any better I don’t read anything that is in a series and much prefer stand-alone books.

    Stop worrying about the market and the readers, just write what’s in your heart and you can never go wrong 😉

  23. You sound just like me. Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself and I just freeze up and can’t move forward. When this happens it usually helps for me to take a walk and listen to some music or read a book I really enjoy. Reading especially helps because it reminds how much I love stories and why I started a book to begin with. Anyhow, hang in there. Sounds like you are working hard and that you love what you are doing. Focus on that and you will push past this.

    Btw thank you for following my blog. It was a pleasant surprise today to discover your blog and I look forward to reading more of your posts! 🙂

    • It is good to take a step back and remember why we do what we do, what must a love it in the first place.

      You’re welcome, I really enjoyed reading the posts on your blog and look forward to more 🙂

  24. The way I see it is, if it’s meant to be a stand-alone, don’t force it into the series-box. Especially not to suit someone else’s opinion. There’s a deluge of advice out there, and if you’re not careful, it can feel overwhelming. Choose what resonates with, and works for you. The readers for your books are out there, waiting. 🙂

    • Thank you for the encouraging words 🙂

      You’re right, you have to go with what feels right for the story. Trying to fit it into something that doesn’t suit it, isn’t going to help at all! Think I need to read these articles in moderation from now on 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

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  26. Hello Mishka,

    I believe most writers have the insecurities you mentioned from time to time. You’re absolutely right, though. A writer should always write what they love. What they are passionate about. You’re doing the right thing. Don’t worry! 😉

  27. Spunky woman, you are terrific coming to your own conclusions. When I began writing just four years ago, I didn’t even know about series. I did what you’re doing-wrote a story that came to me and the next also a stand alone and the third, I suddenly realized a character called to me from the second book so I wrote never thinking it was the beginning of a series. then the fourth and when I wrote the fifth, in the middle of the book I re-introduced characters from the third. Readers commented how happy they were to revisit familiar people and they suggested I reveal a secret from the first in what they called a series. WOW! The beauty of writing. Now I’m writing long/short Mature Romances all stand alone with one thing in common. You’ll have to read one to find out or just look on Amazon. I do believe there are free chapters listed. Are we having fun or what!!!!!!!! Best to you, my friend

    • I think when something happens like that and it’s organic and natural, that’s the best time to write series and keep going with characters. Definitely not just writing it for the sake of what others say! 😀

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  28. Write what you love; that’s the most important thing. The love will come through. Series weren’t always the norm, and it may be that we’ll see an upsurge in the demand for great standalones, so keep on doing what you do. I love standalone books best, too. There’s something extremely satisfying when getting to the end of a great romance and seeing the hero and heroine sail off into that sunset, knowing all will be well.

    • Yeah, I do like when everything is resolved at the end of a book 😀 Everyone lives happily ever after, well most of the time anyway!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  29. Yes, I’ve let that happen numerous times and have learned to tune out all else while in writing mode. I let too much information spoil my creativity as happened to you, and it hurt. It was interesting to note that you found articles that encourage series novels. Thankfully, I haven’t come across any of those because like you, I only have one series in the works. The rest of my writing is stand-alone, too. When I see all of the series publications on my Kindle, I will avoid them, Not that they’re bad but that I just want to read a good story, not a series. I seek out the individual book to download and read. Maybe it’s too much work hunting down the first book in a series, I don’t know.

    • I do tend to find stand alones catch my interest more, I don’t mind series, I just tend to forget to read the rest of the books sometimes! And I do like when things are resolved, I am not much a cliff hanger fan 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  30. I am writing a series, but I did not set out to do that and I doubt I ever would. It just happened. With one published stand-alone book to my credit, I looked forward to writing another. I like the idea of completing one story, then delving into something completely different. About halfway through my second novel, now published, a nagging little inner voice started telling me it would take at least three books to conclude the story. I freaked out! At least three! Very slowly, I allowed the world “trilogy” into my consciousness, but when it came time to publish wisdom told me to go with “series.”

    Now, well into the second book in “the series,” I wake up excited every day and can’t wait to get to the page. I surrender myself to the writing process, then pedal fast as I can to keep up with wherever it takes me.

    • I think the best series are ones that go like that, where the story just needs to be a series to conclude it better. I just am not good at setting out a series of books from the get-go! 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting :

  31. I couldn’t agree more. I write standalones because I am not a fan of the series. I always say to write what’s on your heart. People love great stories. Period. And they don’t have to be in a series to be successful or impactful. That’s my view.

  32. Yes, I do worry! I think it’s a common writerly trait. We stress out over the uncontrollable. But when it comes right down to it, all you can do is keep writing. One book after another. You never know who will hit it huge, but we can all hope, right?

  33. I have had a lot of people ask me if the book I’m working on now is a sequel, and it’s not! I tried to write a sequel to my (only) book, but I feel like I am “done” with those characters for now. So I started working on a new book, and I worry that the people who read my first book won’t want to read this one! So I can relate. . . but, like you, I feel that I have to go where the strong feelings, the recurring thoughts and ideas are. . . I feel involved with my new character, so that’s what I’m trying to try to do! I do think that I will write more about the characters in my first book later, after some time has passed. This is a great post and a great topic; thank you!

    • I’m sure people will love your next one too, if they enjoyed your first one enough to hope for a sequel! 😀 That is credit to your writing, and being able to create stories and characters that matter to the reader. Just have to be prepared when they ask for more from your second book too, lol.

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

    • Yeah, it is definitely better to go where your writing and passion leads rather than trying to force yourself to write something just because of what is popular, etc 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  34. Personally I like Stand alone books… Series have their place but I prefer those series that finish a story and then go onto another chapter… such as Nalini Singh does in her Psy-Changling or Guild Hunter Series, I Dont like Cliff hangers either.

    as you already know from the comment above -dont force it let it flow 🙂

    • I definitely agree, you got to go with what feels right as a writer, and the reader will appreciate it all the more instead of trying to force something that doesn’t fit right 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

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