Writing IS a Business
Why is it that so many people don't take writing-as-a-job seriously? I once heard it said that writing is one of the most under-rated cottage industries in the world. I believe it.
Perhaps it is because many of us do so much writing in the course of a day anyway. We write reports for work. We send emails. We take down messages. None of that is creative writing (on second thoughts, some work reports might fall into that category) - but it's part of the reason that "writing" per se is taken for granted. Since the people around you write frequently anyway, they can't see your hours tapping away at the keyboard as being anything much more difficult. It's your 'hobby', isn't it?
Sometimes, you can change people's attitude towards writing by changing your own attitude first. It's very easy to lose track of the reality that writing IS a business when you're creating fictional worlds. (Imagine having so much fun and getting paid for it as well!)
1. Talk About Writing In Businesslike Terms
Let's imagine for a moment that you're not a writer. You run some other business. To make it a paying business, you have to look at income and outgo carefully. Note that not all businesses make a profit in the first year. (Many go into business expecting to run at a loss for the first year or even two years.)
A writing business works in just the same way. You're likely to put in a lot of hours, a lot of effort and at least some money before you can expect to see any results. Those results - payment for your labour - might be in the form of a flat fee, or an advance payment with royalties at intervals later.
Try putting it all down on paper. Work out:
2. Plan Your Expenditure
Any business requires some start up money. Traditionally, writers have not spent much at all on their craft. (Even today some writers still have that 'starving for my art' mentality... writers should sit and scratch away with a quill in a cold room and hope for a government grant so they can afford more than soup.)
Let's get real here. If you want to establish a thriving writing career, you need to plan as carefully as you would for any other business.
Sit down and look at your budget. How much does your writing career mean to you? Are you prepared to go without other things in order to invest in your career? Do you need to sit down with the family and say: "This is important to me. This year instead of spending money on XXXX, I want to put aside $500 to go to this conference," or "I can't write while I'm trying to fit it in around the rest of the family's computer usage. I need my own computer."
Only you can know (a) how much money you can put aside in the next 12 months for your writing career and (b) the best way for you to spend it. A computer may be your most urgent need. It could be a fast internet connection. It could be an advanced writing course.
Here's a list to start you thinking:
If you've been having trouble getting your career on track - or getting people to take you seriously - then start with your own approach. If you treat writing as a business, then it's much more likely that others will too.
(c) copyright Marg McAlister
Marg McAlister has published magazine articles, short stories, books for children, ezines, promotional material, sales letters and web content. She has written 5 distance education courses on writing, and her online help for writers is popular all over the world. Sign up for her regular writers' tipsheet at http://www.writing4success.com/
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Balance your life ----------------------- Writing is a solitary task. Writing needs concentration and quiet. Writing requires absolute commitment. Are all there scary statements true?What is more, is it possible to balance your writing career and family without turning yourself into a zombie? Everything is feasible; I am the living example of it. There is only one secret: TIME PLAN.This is step one for the aspiring writer's success. Without it, nothing can be achieved. How can you do it? Simply make a rough plan of the time allowed to your writing project every day. It is highly important for the writer to know exactly WHEN he /she is going to settle down and write, feeling free of all the other responsibilities that he has. I have made a simple schedule. You can work out yours according to your family needs.Every morning just after breakfast, and as soon as the family have gone, I allow myself to work on my PC for one to two hours, depending on the workload of the day. Then I go on with the house chores and all the rest of the family tasks till noon. At 2 o' clock everybody is back so I serve lunch, but after that I have 2-3 hours free to work on my morning assignment. Thus, there is plenty of time to care for the family , while in the afternoons I still have time to go to my part time job in time , feeling satisfied I have worked at home on my project. In the evening I sometimes find an hour or so , when the family watch TV . This time I sit with them in the living room , having pre arranged to do the easiest tasks for my writing job, such as note taking or layout planning of new stories or articles. I use pen to paper and I don't bother if I make mistakes. Next morning, there is plenty of time to revise them and complete them. If this plan has been working perfectly for me, why not for you as well?You only have to calculate when and how long you need to write every day. Of course , you must stick to your plan and never give it up , apart from very urgent cases. Remember that your work is also urgent, so never skip it. If you respect your writing job, the others will do so too. What is more, they won't feel neglected as you will give them your care and attention at the time they are around. Furthermore, your house chores will be done in time and you won't feel overworked. " A little every day" is my motto, and, in the long run, everything is done and everybody is happy. Keeping your writing and family under control will make you feel satisfied and everyone, including you, will be happy. Also, keep in mind that there is nothing odd if you work in unconventional places.I sometimes find it stimulating to work in the living room with all the family around. Noise does not bother me ,on the contrary, it brings me more ideas. This article was outlined last evening while we were all watching a football match. Well, the truth is I did not watch much of it! I was absorbed in my new article, but that's how this idea sprang out. I can perfectly work in a chatty setting. Have you tried it? You may come up with fresh ideas and great articles. Finally, who says that writing can turn you into a zombie? Shatter the myth! It's up to you to enjoy both your family and your writing career. Simply make a time plan! Ends 622
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