A shorter blog tonight because I’m under the weather and pretty tired (and suffering from RSI – top tip, typing on your lap is not a good way to maintain your wrist health)
Last week we looked at some of the top “do nots” that spring from treating your writing like a business. The TL/DR version pretty much being don’t spend money you either havent got or don’t need to.
This week we’re looking at the top three “do” lessons I’ve taken from treating my author journey like I would any other business.
Do say goodbye to excuses
Imagine you were running a cafe. Everything goes swimmingly for the first two weeks then on the third Monday your cook calls in and says “Hey boss, I’m not cooking today, I’m just not feeling it”
Would you say “that’s okay mate, just Netflix ‘n chill til you feel more like doing some cooking” ? Or would you be more likely to issue a number of choice expletives, ending with a threat to get his or her arse in here now or sooner ?
If your writing is a business, then you are your own employee. So if you wouldn’t accept that behaviour from others, don’t accept it from yourself.
That’s not to say you can’t give yourself time off, but plan it just like you would for an employee.
Do live your brand.
This sounds a bit woo woo, but you are your brand, and how you behave is your brand reputation. This is particularly relevant online and on social media. Personally I don’t use my Writers twitter account for anything other than writing related chat. I don’t rant about politics, religion, brexit, gun control etc etc. Not because I don’t have opinions on these things but because that’s not what my brand is about. I also don’t share quizzes, cat memes, or whether I’ve had a bad day (unless the bad day relates to my creative business)
Another part of this is keeping your promises. For example I committed that I’d blog for writers every Monday, so here I am blogging despite the fact that I’d far rather be in bed. Likewise I committed that 5% of the cover price of the Dusty Miller series will go to Help for Heroes. If I went back on that I’d be breaking faith both with them and with the readers who trusted me to do the right thing with their cash. (all three of them so far)
Do think long term.
It is a rare business that makes money or even breaks even in its first year. But a lot of writers seem to think that their first book is going to go double platinum, make them millions and be optioned as the next big Hollywood blockbuster. Not happening, at least not in 99.999% of cases. It’s a nice dream but an improbable dream not happening isn’t grounds for disillusionment. Joanna Penn from the Creative Penn podcast sums this up when she says “self publishing isn’t a get rich quick scheme, but it can be a get rich slowly scheme”
Each of us can make it happen if we keep our self belief, but the quickest way to fail in this game is not to try. Giving up never got anyone anything worth having.