Nancy Nichols on Writing and Self-Publishing


Secrets of the Ultimate Husband Hunter (Copyright Nancy Nichols, 2008)

Motivational speaker and best-seller Nancy Nichols knows a thing or two about nearly everything in the writing business. She’s tried nearly everything on her road to publishing, and has a witty anecdote about each pitfall along the way (“Beware the Vanity presses. Vanity publishers are gonna stroke your creative feathers, and you’re going to cock-a-doodle-DO when really you shouldn’t.”). For her, self-publishing was the only way to keep hold of creative control, even if it meant learning every step of the business herself. Now she can do it all.

A native Memphian with the perfect list of links, the perfect book posters, and even the perfect hairstyle (seriously? How does she do it? When I write I wind my hair around my fingers or my pen and end up with Medusa-curls) manages to do it all by being hyper vigilant and perfectionist about the publishing process. Five minutes into the Nashville workshop on Self-Publishing, she got up and had to correct a crooked picture frame. As her students scratched their heads, she laughed, pointed to herself, and quipped “Anal!”

Nichols then asked how many of us had a book ready to publish. About half of us raised our hands. She then asked how many of us had a book in our heads, ready to write. Up went the other half.

She addressed them first. “I’m gonna call you wannabes until you start writing, because that’s what you are. Wannabes. You don’t wannabe a wannabe – you wanna do it!”

And that’s where her best advice came from – an unplanned motivational speech in the middle of our workshop. “Don’t worry about the writer’s block. Don’t worry if it’s going to be any good or if anyone is gonna read it. Just start writing.”

Nichols said that if writing a book is intimidating, to think about it as a journaling journey and just begin free-writing.  As you start, your ideas will come together and the next steps will be obvious. It takes a long time to get the process together and what you start now will look nothing like your finished project.

I know she’s right, because I’ve felt this sentiment myself. Writing is growing- you are growing in your mind and head. When you finish your book, you will not be the same person as you were when you began. People might write to inform others, but really the writer learns more than their reader ever will, and that goes for both fiction and non. That’s not something you can give up on, even if writing a book is intimidating.

Every time you say “I don’t believe in writer’s block,” someone’s writer’s block dies.

Say it with me.

I’d like to thank Nancy Nichols for sharing so many writing and publishing tips during her free workshop on self-publishing. If you live near Nashville and want to soak up some of her moxie and know-how, she is giving a 3-part extended self-publishing workshop at very reasonable prices (like $30 per person reasonable). You can sign up here.


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