Lao Tzu, traditionally the author of the Tao T...

Lao Tzu, traditionally the author of the Tao Te Ching (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was in elementary school, I read a quote from the Chinese philosopher Lao Tse (also known as Lao Tzu, Lao Tze, Laosi …), and it stood with me for the rest of my life. In Spanish, because that is the language in which I read it, it read “De las cosas ni lo mucho ni lo poco, en el termino medio reside el equilibrio.” Translating it to English it means, “Of things, not too little nor too much, in the middle resides the equilibrium.”  I don’t know why when I read this from a book being read in the classroom that day, this quote made a home in my memory but it has lived with me since. I remember reading it over, and liking it for some reason. In a way, I think it has permeated how I lived my life, and I don’t know if that is good or bad. It sounds the opposite to “live to the fullest all the way!” But I have always beware of excess. Thank you Lao Tse?

As a writer,  I applied that philosophy, most likely unaware of it. In the beginning, I wrote, and wrote, researched the craft, learned, pondered, kept learning, pondered some more, and decided to take the plunge. I became an indie and published my work.  The key here is that it was not a rushed or prolonged decision; it was taken after much research and deliberation, but at a comfortable time for me as a writer.  I think this quote applies to the process I experienced before self-publishing. Thank you Lao Tse.

At times, aspiring writers follow the advice “write, write, write” but that is as far as they go. They get stuck in the writing phase, and maybe do a little research about the craft, and begin doubting themselves. Fear is a normal part of the process, so is doubt. Researching and learning, while writing, will take care of those two nuisances. However, not too little nor too much (or too long) that you become paralyzed and do nothing about your future as a writer, whether that is embracing the traditional model of publishing or becoming and indie writer. At one point, you will have to find your equilibrium before taking the plunge.

The middle is where balance resides but you have to find your own middle to find your equilibrium, and decide when it is the right time for you as a writer to take the plunge. Not too little as to be unprepared, not too much as to become paralyzed by procrastination or doubt/fear. In the later, you might have to see if there are some areas where you need strength by learning a bit more, and find your balance. Once you find your equilibrium, you can make a comfortable and informed decision.  You will have found your equilibrium.