Consistency is always key! Until a few years ago, my everyday life and journey were all over the place. I've always had a massive passion for writing, and I always try to write as often as I can, even if it's only for an hour a day. But back then, I now know I had no apparent short term and even long term direction. I was all over the place. All I was doing was writing, but I didn't know for who and what. I was lost. Ok, I admit, inspiration can come from the most unexpected places, and you may feel the need to write something on the spur of the moment, and that's valid. I still sometimes do this unless I'm writing to a specific brief or for a particular project. Still, I now always try to incorporate everything I write into my core values and brand, and that's disability, acceptance, friendship, love, music and family.
The past few years have been life-changing, personally. Honestly and wholeheartedly accepting myself as a disabled person took some time, but now that I am in a place where I have accepted this, my life's journey now has a meaning.
I want to inspire and show others that being disabled doesn't have to stop you from following your dreams and achieving them. This changed when I met my children's book collaborator and publisher Clare Thomas. Before my stories were published, we spent hours talking about the future and why I am really and honestly a writer. The most important thing I learned during this time is that I never identified myself as being disabled in the past, and by doing this, I wasn't being honest with myself.
Most importantly, I wasn't being honest with other people by trying to hide my true feelings. If I hadn't met and started working with Clare sometime ago, I would probably still be floating around somewhere in literature limbo! I want to take this opportunity to say thanks to Clare for our many past hours of conversation and for helping me with my personal and writer's soul searching!
Now I know that being and staying true to the person you are is vital. How you brand yourself is one of the most challenging yet most important things you will have to do. Still, I now know that getting your branding correct will help you further along your journey. Always be honest. If you only want to be known as an author, then great. Make sure you use the correct narrative and keywords within your branding to let people know that you are indeed an author. In my case, I'm also a lyricist, songwriter and disability blogger, so I need to make sure my brand portrays this.
Furthermore, I also needed to bring my disabilities into the equation. Therefore, I decided to call myself a 'WRITER', and because I am now confident within my own body, I'm not scared to let people know that I have disabilities. Hence my brand name is 'THE DISABLED WRITER', and I couldn't be more proud. Always be you and never change.
To conclude this blog, I am going to leave you with three tips which will hopefully help you on your way to becoming an author, or even a disabled writer just like me:-
WRITE, WRITE, OH, AND WRITE MORE - Never think that your first draft is complete when writing a story. I've learnt that your story is never finished quickly. Re-writes, re-drafts and editing are all part of making sure the meaning and structure of your story will be relatable to your target readers. So, if you are writing a children's book for a particular age group, make sure it's written so your audience understands what the story is about and the message.
MAKE SURE YOUR STORY AND MANUSCRIPT IS FORMATTED CORRECTLY - If you choose to go down the path of pitching to Book Publishers and Literary Agents instead of self-publishing. Make sure your final draft is structured into an exciting story format, and I advise you to research the structure of your chosen category before starting. Also, make sure your final manuscript is formatted correctly before submitting it to your preferred book publishers. Use an easy-to-read and reasonably sized font, and use doubled line spacing. Finally, please research what books certain publishers and literary agents like to read and publish before submitting your manuscript. There's no good sending your children's story to a publisher who doesn't publish these books.
AUTHOR OR WRITER BRANDING - Make sure you let people know who you are and what values you portray as an author or writer. I want to be known as not just an AUTHOR but as a WRITER. I'm not just a children's book author. I'm also a lyricist, songwriter and blogger. This is why all over my social media, I call myself 'TheDisabledWriter.' So when people look at my social media, they see what my disabilities are and how I want them to see me as a creative writer. As well as being an author of children's books I write other pieces too. REMEMBER, your branding needs to be consistent across your social media pages, using the same name, headers and profile photos. This will then allow people to find and interact with you more easily. It's also good to have a website, but I will explain why another time.
Stay safe everyone
Bye for now