Hey friends, today I wanted to share with you my journey to self publishing my first poetry book after 2 years of struggling with it. In the video I go over some of the issues I had to overcome. When creating, especially something so personal the work you are producing drains your soul. It is emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting.
How Do I Feel Now That The Book Is Completed?
When I look at this poetry book collection, I have a lot of mixed emotions about finally finishing it.
– The first thing I feel is that I am putting out a book that has a lot of mistakes
I had 25 poems that I have worked on and kept editing for two years, and I have 25 poems that I haven’t looked at since I wrote them because I thought I was saving it for another time. Half of the poems in this book I am sick of and the other half I decided to add only 2 months ago and I haven’t spent a lot of time editing them.
For my first poetry collection book I thought I wanted to put two collections together, one was called ‘7305 days old’ and the other was ‘About Us’. I was meant to come as sample, to show a little of my both sides of me. The obsessive girl who thought she was in love and the hard working but fragile girl who is scared of her dreams.
However, when I made this book I didn’t feel right. And I didn’t publish it.
At first I was so excited, and then I felt confused.
I thought About Us was not finished and there was more to the story. I was unhappy with the collection because I was not ready to truly move on.
Holding onto this book from being published was a way for me to hold on the believing the person it was about might come back.
The End had a question mark after it.
Now, The End had a period. It is over and I have finally moved on.
I wanted to create this book and honestly forget that part of my life.
My first book is my break up song.
Why It Took So Long? Dealing With Burnout, No Motivation and Not Feeling Good Enough
When creating, especially something so personal the work you are producing drains your soul.
It is emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting.
While I as typing out my poems into a document, my wrists would be in so much pain; and when I was drawing the same thing happened. I had to use my hands physically to produce this work and hurt. Also sitting down for long my bum and legs would go numb. Looking at the screen for long was not good for my eyes either and sometimes words just moved, jumping about. Like can I just be honest. It is a strain on your body. If you are doing it full time it’s consuming your life and if you are working on it part time it makes your days longer and tires you out as you have other things to prioritise.
I had to learn a lot about self publishing, a lot of trials and error when using sites and softwares. It was very challenging at times trying to understand everything. Formatting your document wrong means having to change everything. I created my first book on canva, because I saw it had an option for that; however putting into amazon kdp everything looked horrible. The size was off, you could not see the word or the images. I had not formatted it properly on canva, I was using the free version what I could do was very limited.
All the time I spent creating the collection on canva was basically wasted. I had to start again. However, this time when I did it on the document I literally just focused on putting the word on the page. I didn’t play around with background and moving pictures in cool locations like I did on canva. I need to focus on something that would work. That whole process was so frustrating, but I moved pasted. However once I had I experienced burnout.
On the emotions side, I was reading my poems and I would get taken back to the exact moment I wrote it; all the feelings kept resurfacing, it always felt fresh and painful. I would be so sad, then embarrassed, then I regret and what ifs start playing in my mind.
I slowly started losing interest in my work, I had no motivation to work on it. I was burnt out from trying to create this project and I was sad from thinking about the past. And so yeah when I had finally go the first sample and after all the excitement was over. I put the book on my shelf and walked way from it.
Occasionally, I would look at it and think maybe I show start this up again. But the thing the that held me back, was thinking I was not good enough. That this book was horrible and I am airing out my business for no reason. I started telling myself I was a bad writer and that no ones cares. I will create a book that no one will read because I did not to it well. I was not good enough to make this leap.
What finally made me start again, was knowing what I wanted to say and knowing I had to let it out to move on. I wanted to write a break up song. And this was it. Between singing and writing I know my strength leans more towards writing. I can’t make a mixtape, so guess what the poetry collections had been revived.
And that is why this whole final burst of energy is being done in 3 months. The main thing I had to work on was the illustrations. And during it I made sure to take breaks and give myself time to breathe in my current life so I don’t get so depressed about the story. It is also why I one of the changes I have made is from it being about love to about me being needy. I was never in love. It was unrequited attention. Nothing more.
Not Seeking Perfection, But Progress
Initially I wanted to show two sides of me, but I have let that go off that because I know I have more time to share that in the future. Right now I want to focus on this needy girl and share her journey. In my head I wanted to release something that will show me in the best light. But I am okay now with showing this vulnerable side. I know now that in the future what I write will have a badass heroin who knows exactly what she wants, but to get to that growth is still needed.
In term of me self publishing as well I was scared that this will not give people a good impression of me as an author. I have had to so everything to create this book, from the editing to the graphics. I am literally just managing to float. It is so overwhelming, trying to make everything look good but not being able to see what is wrong objectively.
Like I said I have been editing 25 poems for 2 years, at this point I can’t see them any more. I have looked at them so long that the spelling mistakes and incorrect punctuations aren’t as visible to me anymore. I am so comfortable with them and I think they sound right, but that is just my opinion. And then there are the other 25 that well, it is what is with them; because I don’t have enough time to keep coming back. So they might look rushed and awkward. I honestly just wanted to be done with this chapter of my life.
One thing I am proud go myself for is improving the graphics/illustrations. They could still do with some work, but I feel like my progress with that at least is evident. The front cover especially, it looks so much more professional.
Also with the book samples I got, each time I made a change to make it feel right. I didn’t like the first size and I thought I cover satined easily; so for the next sample I made the book size smaller and the cover matte so it would do better for longevity.
I know this book is not perfect, but it is a start. It will show me what to work on for next time.
It’s Your Turn Next:
The biggest critic when you are trying to create is yourself. I am doing this because I want some else to release their project. I was chatting to a friend who has some fire songs that he ain’t releasing yet because he is not 100% happy with the audio quality and is thinking to record everything again. I told that boy no. We will always find something wrong with what we create. Because I heard his song and I was listening out for his story. I was not with my pen and paper to note down the problems with the mic. I was just vibing.
I just want to encourage everyone to take the step of faith. It does not have to be big, you can grow with time.
If you have something you want to create and share, don’t get caught up in comparison and perfectionism. You will go insane and there will be many unfinished projects.
When there are people who want to hear your story.
No matter how embarrassing and cringe you might feel it is, as long as it is your truth and you know it can help someone else.
Be brave, its your turn next. Put on your project, I dare you.
My Book Goes Live On Amazon March 9th 2022