#IWSG JULY: There will be ups and there will be downs.

It’s another IWSG posting day when we share our insecurities and encourage each other. For today’s hop, Captain Alex’s trusty helpers are Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan.

What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

There will be ups and there will be downs, but all along the way, there will be people to help you up, to tug you along, to help you see past--and hurdle--the upcoming challenges and frustrations.

Writers are encouragers, and we need one another to talk us through giving up, to talk us out of packing up and going home.

Even John Green, an author who reached enormous success, had a down period. I know this, because he's like many of us--he shared it. He was honest and open and he admitted to feeling scared, to hitting a low point in writing. He'd had so much success that he ended up with writer's block, afraid to fail. He felt he would be measured against his previous novels, and then couldn't bring himself to write-- because of the possibility of writing poorly and failing.

But, I heard recently he has another book coming out! So, he faced his fears and is willing to face his readers again with something new.

We need to do the same.

We need to face our fears and look failure in the face. It's the only way to find success again.

Now, each of us will have a different measure of success and failure. We all have goals, and, while our end goals may be the same, our daily, benchmark goals are probably different. My current goal: I want to have consistent sales. For many that may be 25 sales per day. For me? I'm happy if I sell 1-3 books per day. My goal right now is consistency, and I'm not meeting it. My sales fluctuate, and consequently, my Amazon sales rank continues to fluctuate also (between 19,000 and 300,000).

Do I look at authors who sell consistently and have sales rank I envy? Yes. Do I imagine they don't have days of failure? Yes. But I'm assuming that can't be true. I'm sure they see another goal in the distance and, therefore, while working to meet it, they must also have days where they feel like they are failing. Or, at least, they may feel they haven't found the success they are working toward--yet.

When our goals are not being met, when we are in a down period, we may need to make changes.

The ups and downs may mean being reactive. Making changes. Researching. Learning. Being malleable. Knowing we'll never know everything--no, accepting we'll never know everything. Allowing ourselves to learn little by little. Listening to others. Taking chances. Growing and evolving. Celebrating small successes and looking forward to larger ones, even when in a valley of doubt, insecurity, and failure. Taking those failures and turning them into successes, because we've gained knowledge from them and allowed them to help us move another direction. Or, to keep someone else from falling in that same pit.

Watch, listen, and learn from other authors.

Other authors can serve as our role models. Many are open with what they've tried. What's worked. What hasn't. Pay attention, and give their suggestions and advice a try.

While my success (1-3 sales per day and 1,000 page reads per day) may be seen as failure to an author who's found greater success than that, it's my current place on my journey. It's not my starting point, I'm a couple months past that, and each week has brought new challenges and new successes and my goals continue to evolve.

An author whose advice I follow is Derek Murphy. One of the things that draws me to his advice is that he's humble and willing to admit when he's messed up. That is what has given me confidence to try new things, because he's hugely successful and yet, his road hasn't been perfect. Sometimes he's impulsive. Sometimes he tries something new and it doesn't work. But much of what he does DOES work, and he's open and willing to share it with other authors.

Be patient, but know when to move on. Know when something is or isn't working.

Marketing has been my biggest challenge, and learning to be patient, as well as making changes, is what I'm working on right now. Sometimes I'm too impulsive and I make too many changes too quickly.

Sometimes I don't know what the problem is.

Right now I'm changing direction, changing gears, and trying something unknown and scary, but what I was doing wasn't moving me in a new, more successful direction, so it's time to make a change and see what happens next.

Get organized.

I also need to better organize my spending and income. My husband told me that unless I am keeping detailed track, writing is still my hobby and not my business.

I have my excel spreadsheets now, but I still need to work on consistently updating it.

Be smart. Be strategic. Have foresight.

I've been working on making sure my books match the genre they fit into and recently changed my e-book covers.

I took my first book out of the Kindle Unlimited program this week, which is a scary, scary change for me. I was finally reaching 1,000 page reads per day and now I've eliminated that income for this month, BUT I know I need to find my readers. And so, I'm including it in Book Funnel giveaways with the hopes that readers will find me and my books, and though I'm losing income this month, finding readers will help my business down the road when I continue to release book after book in this series.

I hope.

Share the knowledge.

I'm pretty low on the pole of author-know-how and I'm pretty fresh at publishing and marketing, but I've learned since I started out, and that means I have info and strategies and resources to share. I'm a first grade teacher, so sharing and teaching is who I am, but I also feel like I'm failing when I'm not sharing. I wrote a So You Want To Be An Indie Author (part one) post MONTHS ago, and every week I plan to write the part two and part three, and at this point, part four. But I haven't yet. So, a goal for this month is to get those posts out there.

I couldn't be more grateful for the other writers and authors who are transparent with their journey, so I need to be open and honest with you all out there too. Just in case there's someone out there in need of a hand or a word of encouragement. Because my know-how posts will NOT tell you how I've done everything perfect and right or how I became a best-selling author overnight. No, my posts will tell you what I've done, what a new indie author might expect to do or sell or experience. What NOT to do, what to try, what has worked and what has not worked for me. I will share the questions I've had and the resources where I found the answers.  I will share how even though I'm NOT, nor anywhere near, making my same income as teaching, how I still plan to--someday.  And I'll make a plan to learn how to get there. With your help. Because you're someone who makes a difference and helps me get through the constant ups and downs of writing and publishing.

So, thanks. For being here. Or for being there for someone on their journey.

And whether you are currently at an up or down point on your journey, keep going, and never give up.

#IWSG rocks.