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There is a lot that goes into writing for self-published authors—blood, sweat, tears, ego—and a lot that goes wrong with it.

The blood and the sweat, and even the (buckets of) tears, are a part of a valuable learning process. No one ever learns without the effort, and no one ever improves without the learning. Writing classes, feedback from peers, and even rejection letters—believe it or not, Mr. or Ms. “I refuse to submit to snooty literary magazines for fear of rejection”—they can all be a viable part of that process.

However, as we all know, practice only makes perfect if you’re trying to learn something new and better yourself in the process. You can write “2+1=4” over and over again; write it eight million times on a blackboard and share it with anyone you like, but you haven’t learned anything by doing that. You haven’t even tried to learn.

So why do we do this so often as self-publishers?

Ego.

Yep, I said it (and I should know because, baby, I’ve got a big one).

Ego is often the only thing preventing us from seeing the wrongs, learning from them, and subsequently righting the writing.

Nietzsche said it best:

“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.”

So, my proud brothers and sisters in ink, my challenge to you (and myself), going forward into 2016 is this:

  • Accept you are fallible—not just as a human being, but as an author.
  • Don’t just accept your fallibility, challenge your ego.
  • Challenge those etched-in-stone personal beliefs about your writing (this is the best I’ve got, other people are just too critical, etc.)
  • Whatever your biggest “2+1=4” is, identify that sucker, and make a commitment to learn how to permanently revise the equation.
  • Don’t just be willing to learn, actively seek it out, and practice, practice, practice.
  • Engage yourself fully, commit what time you have, and allow yourself to not only grow but to thrive.

*Seriously, the self-publishing industry is booming in comparison with the traditional route these days. I believe we owe it to our readers to continue to grow with the industry—and the best way to do it (and get a bigger slice of that pie) is by continually striving to give our readers something truly extraordinary in return.