I was at a low. I’d just broken up with my literary agent after three years, and it felt as if my publishing dreams would never come true.
I couldn’t sleep.
I was cranky.
When The Secret by Rhonda Byrne was published in 2006, I didn’t read it but at 2am one night the Netflix documentary seemed like just what I needed. Leading scientists, authors, doctors and philosophers discussed the Law of Attraction. They claimed that people drew into their life whatever they focused on. Everything we think or feel, positive or negative, is basically our request to the universe for more of the same, and so by extension—by changing our thoughts, we could change our lives.
I watched The Secret night after night.
Like I said, I was at low.
I followed thelawofattraction and manifestationtools on Instagram and read affirmations like: This is the week you’ve been waiting for. It’s going to be filled with great news, answered prayers, miracles, advancement, and abundance will flow like never before.
I practiced these steps:
- Ask—Place an order with the Universe.
- Believe—Have total faith that your dream will be realized.
- Receive—Feel it now as you will when you get it.
Over and over, I reminded myself: Visualize. And it will Materialize.
“Instagram has been a sort of therapy,” I told a friend.
“You didn’t really just say that did you?”
But I did. And I kept it at, filling myself with positivity, attracting my dream as if I were a magnet.
I’d been hearing great things about She Writes Press, an award-winning hybrid publisher for women authors, and ready to take control of my own destiny, I decided to submit. And then— just like that—it happened. Brooke Warner, a proficient, talented editor, exactly what I’d been asking for as I’d decided to skip the agent step, wanted to publish my book.
Life and Other Shortcomings, a collection of linked short stories, had a publication date set for August 2020. Finally, my dream was coming true!! Almost instantly, I worried. I’d have to find readers and sell books. Yikes!
Typically, an author begins promoting a forthcoming book six months before publication. That would’ve landed me in March 2020, exactly when NYC was at the height of the corona pandemic. I held off. Promoting was daunting enough. I needed time to muster up some energy.
My brain wouldn’t focus. I couldn’t write. Instead, I scrolled— Instagram, Facebook, Twitter— and learned how to be a good literary citizen. I followed new people, trying to build genuine connections and did for others what I’d want them to do for me, liking their Tweets and posts and commenting on their platforms. But energizing my own Instagram page and initiating my own material proved frustrating as I had ideas but couldn’t implement them. I didn’t have any Instagram savvy.
One morning, after months of quarantine, my daughter called. Newly married, out of a job and stuck at home, she said, “I’m bored.” She is creative and a social media wizard and that’s when it hit me. “Work for me,” I said.
Dan Blank, author of Be the Gateway, writes about the importance of collaborating. I’d been reading his weekly newsletter for years but before I had a book deal, the ideas in his blog seemed lofty and unrelated to my reality. Now I know his advice was delivered kind of like how a parent has to talk to their adolescent about sex when their child seems way too young and not ready. The foundation has to be laid in advance, and this was no different.
Collaborating was rewarding. I’d come up with an idea and my daughter would make it better. She pushed me to do an interview and to take more risks. Just as I had to find my writing voice, I had to find my Instagram voice. And doing this work, meeting this challenge, side-by-side with my daughter turned out to be a milestone in our relationship, as our dynamic changed from me doing all the scaffolding to one of mutuality.
Dan also writes about Human-Centered Marketing, a way for writers to connect with their audience in a meaningful way.
I had things to consider:
Who was my reader?
What did I want to say?
How could I engage with followers in a way that was authentic and honest?
While I wasn’t writing fiction or personal essays, I was being creative. Wanting to offer something, I worked to make my posts informative, inspirational, funny. Coming up with ideas, altering pop culture images, learning to take appealing pictures, and finding the right note for each caption took time and imagination. With our approach being Human-Centered, the dread just disappeared.
And people signed up for the journey. In two and a half months, I gained 250 new followers. Plus, I was having a blast coming up with content and spending additional (virtual) time with my daughter.
I’d love for you to follow me on Instagram @corieadjmi. While you’re there check out the image of my face on Ann Hathaway’s body, accepting an Oscar.
Visualize. And it will Materialize.
(Originally published on Women Writers, Women’s Books)