I don't know! Ideas are hard for me to come by, sometimes I have dreams that I then turn into stories, other times I will see something on TV, or hear a song, and get an idea that I can expand into something else. With novels I tend to just write and see what comes out, with no real idea of where anything is going until I get there.
It can be. When I get stuck, and can't think how to progress, or an idea isn't coming out properly, then it can be a real struggle. It's also hard when I'm just not in the mood! But when I am, and I have an idea that excites me, then the whole thing flows and it's fairly easy.
With short stories it helps to plan, to make sure that you keep the end in sight and that you keep the plot simple. I tend to write it in segments, each one building on the one before, heading towards the ending, and make sure that it's all planned out beforehand. That way I don't go off track and end up with a lot of waffle. With novels I also keep the end in mind, although I may not always use it, as it helps to guide me to where the characters need to be. I also regard various events, within the book, as segments, although they are less obvious than the ones in a short story, and then move them around as need be to build the plot and the tension. I find that too much planning with a novel makes the plot constricted and limiting.
My novels are not self published. They were published with a small print publisher, who is based in Australia. This means that my books were edited properly, which isn't always the case with a self published book, but that means I have to do a lot of marketting myself, which is often the cased with a self published writer. This is why you will often find me out and about at varies events, without a publisher. I do have one, she's just not in this country! My short stories collection, Rules of War and other stories, was self published, but all the stories in it have been published by different magazines at one time or another.