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Part 2 of my Self-Publishing Journey: Confession Time!

Ok, time to ‘fess up and give you the second instalment of how I’ve been getting on since I last wrote about my new adventures in self-publishing. (Click here in case you missed that post).

First off, my ‘beta reader’, in other words, my trusted reader who will give my finished manuscript the once-over has given me the green light! You know who you are, so seriously – thank you. I have also found both a professional editor and a cover designer and I’m good to go on those fronts.

So what’s this talk of confessions, then?

Because this is hard.

I have to set my own deadlines. I have to be accountable to myself, and myself only. Without that safety net of a publisher, this can all feel daunting. Scary even. Juggling my time between writing my novel and my other job and childcare and managing my insomnia, sometimes it all feels like too much.

And my biggest confession of all?

I don’t even feel like writing this novel right now. I have been through periods of intense love with it; believing this will be by far my strongest piece of writing yet. But I’m not there at the moment and I’m really not feeling the love – quite the opposite. It feels painful, protracted, pointless. I feel as though I have waded into deep waters and I am way out of my depth.

I am currently reading Rising Strong by Brené Brown, luminary storyteller and author. She talks about Pixar’s traditional three-act structure of storytelling and this is how Pixar describes Act 2:

The protagonist looks for every comfortable way to solve the problem. By the climax, he learns what it’s really going to take to solve the problem. This act includes the “lowest of the low.”

Well, it occurs to me now that there is no difference between what the protagonist goes through and the journey of the protagonist’s creator. Creatively, I am going through the ‘lowest of the low’ and no matter which way I try to solve the problem, there is nothing vaguely comfortable about it. The only thing I can do is dive into the discomfort or, as Brené Brown puts it, it’s a process of ‘…recognizing and leaning into the vulnerability of discomfort.

Pixar’s Act 3 is all about redemption and resolution, but the point is that we can’t reach that stage until we have been through Act 2. Really been through it – viscerally, emotionally, intellectually.  We can’t skip Act 2, not matter how much we’d like to.

For anyone making art, there’s nothing romantic about it. Yes, it is truly amazing to hold the finished product in your hands. But the journey to reach that point is fraught with pit-falls and many-armed monsters of self-doubt.

I am learning so much about myself in this process; what helps to make me feel better when the discomfort of Act 2 feels overwhelming. I sit or walk in nature. I write a haiku. I play the piano. I make a healthy smoothie. Ok, so these are small things, yet these small acts of self-respect can help us through those lowest of low periods and have far-reaching repercussions.

As difficult as it is not to have the luxury of a publisher this time round at the end of a phone call or email, I am really excited about having complete control over the design of my front cover. The person I have found (after trawling through a number of websites offering this) is original and visionary and I have every faith in him that he’ll do a fantastic job. And the editor I have found will do exactly what the editor employed with my publisher did, so there’s no difference there. Trusting in the process is not easy to do, but this will work out.

What do you do that helps you through Act 2 of your creative journey? I’m not just talking about self-publishing here, or even writing. I’m talking about those small acts of love we gift ourselves when we’re feeling low and vulnerable. I’d love to hear about them.

Thank you for reading 🙂


If you enjoyed this blog post, complement it with New Adventures in Self-Publishing; What makes writers writeThe Art of Letting Go for Writers.

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Not read my latest novel yet, The Girl and the Sunbird? Here’s what some reviews from Amazon are saying about it:

‘This is a poignant, heart-wrenching, impactful story that I won’t soon forget.’

‘I envy anyone who is still to read this.’

‘It’s one of those books that weaves itself into your soul and stays with you long after you reluctantly read the last page.’

‘A brilliant book, an epic story, this book deserves to be read by everyone.’

2 replies
  1. Renita D'Silva
    Renita D'Silva says:

    Love this, Bex! So true. When I am at my low point, I read. Lose myself in other people’s words. And spend time with children, mine and others’. Brilliant post. Cannot wait to read the finished book.

    • Rebecca Stonehill
      Rebecca Stonehill says:

      Thank you so much Renita. Yes, reading is a brilliant one. I was so resistant to writing this blog post, which was why I decided I needed to write it 🙂


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