Message from the President

November 2022 RWR
Clair Brett
“Stop thinking you’re doing it all wrong. Your path doesn’t look like anybody else’s because it can’t, it shouldn’t, and it won’t.” – Eleanor Brownn

Ah, November, we meet again. For me, November has always meant the start of the holiday season and all that entails: deep work into whatever my daughters were taking part in (which often meant lots of time spent in the car) and, of course, NaNoWriMo! I also spend a good deal of time in November creating my business plan for the coming year so that I am off to the races on January first instead of just figuring it all out.

When I look back on Novembers spent doing all the things, I regret nothing—and everything.

I was tired. When I think about it now, it makes me tired.

I am not suggesting you stop going to dance rehearsals or soccer games or to not send the Christmas cards you enjoy making every year. I am not even going to tell you to not do NaNoWriMo. Many authors use November to get their book ready for the next year. I know people who win NaNoWriMo every year. However, I know people—myself included—who have never won NaNoWriMo, and the stress of it all just doesn’t make me more productive.

We are constantly hustling, trying to find the secret sauce for our next book launch or pitch session. We do webinars and workshops in search of our next move. Then, one day, we creatives wake up and the words are gone, or we are so tired we just can’t anymore.

I am here to ask you one question: Do you really have to do all the things? Writing is hard. Being an authorpreneur is hard. Marketing is hard. It is all hard. We know that if we have been doing this for a hot minute. Yes, there are things that you have to do as an author, but if it feels “wrong” to you, if it drains your energy to do a thing the way Author B told you to, maybe there is a different way.

Every person who puts out advice to help authors means well, and their methods may work for some, but if you do not find success or if you just don’t like it, that is okay. Just like we all create stories in our unique way, it is the same for everything else. I see writers who are so daunted by what they think they must do, they are too frozen in fear to continue.

Remember, this is your business. You get to decide what feels right for you, no one else. But I caution that before you choose to not do something, know what you are leaving on the table. Don’t like a certain social media platform? That’s fine, just know that you may leave readers on the table. If that means you will enjoy and be more engaging on the social media platforms you choose to be on or will spend that time to draft your next book, then the tradeoff will be effective.

I tried many years to hunker down, as so many do, to write that elusive 50,000 words. Then came time to cook for ten people, send out the Christmas cards, do carpool, and I was feeling horrible about myself because I wasn’t going to win NaNoWriMo again. Then, I realized I am not a competitive person and that alone was sucking the joy out of the process for me. Instead, what I decided was to take that time. I would plan the coming year in my business, so when I sat down to write, I had a plan. It was a game changer. I am still happy to do writing sprints with my NaNoWriMo-loving friends, and I cheer on their progress and congratulate them on their success. An entire month dedicated to writing the words is a wonderful thing—just not my thing.

Being a successful author requires us to do all the things and step out of our comfort zone daily. But I have not seen where it says you can’t make that feel right to you or that you must experience burnout within the first six months of this journey or you’re doing it wrong.

Do you have to publish a book a month? Must you post on all media outlets daily? Do you need to send out a newsletter weekly to your followers? The answer to all these questions is no, not if you don’t want to. Should you have a newsletter? Yes, but how you handle your email list and how frequently you engage is your choice. If you don’t like newsletters, there are plenty of people out there that would love to do your newsletter for you.

My point is, in life and in our business, we do not have to do all the things. What we need to do is to choose the things that speak to us and bring out the best in our brand. At the end of the day, if you aren’t loving your job as a romance author, something needs to change, and it isn’t necessarily you but what you are doing.

I give you permission to say, “No, thank you. That isn’t for me.” Try it just once and see what happens. Enjoy the upcoming holidays if you celebrate, and if you don’t have a holiday that you celebrate, I suggest you celebrate cheese, because I hear it is also “fun with fondue month” in November. I know that you can be a successful author without doing all the things.