Technique: The Business of Writing

(These are my notes and thoughts in relation to the Writing Excuses podcast Season 1, episode 11. I will also disseminate this information to the topical sections of my resource section).

In episode 11 the podcast talks about the important question of what changes do you have to make when you decide to become a professional?

Work hard, the norm.

Realise that you are self-employed and you need to be self-motivated.

You are both an employee and an employer.

The podcasts discusses many of the same things I excerpted from Fiona McIntosh’s book in the blog post Get Serious about Writing.

(Note that this self-deprivation of recreation isn’t permanent or total. Give yourself reasonable rewards… but don’t over-indulge).

Make a writing schedule and do everything within your power to stick to it.

Work multiple jobs, the norm.

Not only do you need to become adept at the skills of writing, but also get skilled at being a business manager. e.g. be aware of the competition, the editors, publishers, understand contracts etc.

You are in a business, learn the business.

The businessman sometimes must override the artist. The artist might want to give signatures away for free, but the businessman understands that it is taking time away from writing; and so compensation must be had.

Dan Wells admits that (to his own detriment) his internal artist quite often overrode his internal businessman; which resulted in his earlier books being genre-less and wildly un-sellable.

I sense there be danger in this particular shadow. Perhaps in time I will take a closer look at this, because I don’t think I have yet. Fool, be I.

Work productively, the norm.

You can’t just not work. You have to work.

Some times the muses won’t be singing and the story won’t flow.

Here the podcast provides alternative approaches with how to deal with this problem.

One way is to queue up your different types of work so that you can always be productive, even if you’re working on non-core writing activities. (For example, researching, editing, blogging…)

Brandon says that he just forces himself to write, even if it means he ends up throwing most of it out later.

I’m not sure yet which of these two approaches works best for me. Part of me struggles to switch between different writing tasks, but the worker in me balks at the idea of not writing when I should be… Good lessons to be learned, and bad lessons to be unlearned, me thinks.


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