The Business of Writing
Now that people are starting to get to know me, I get questions that come my way. Questions that make me reflect on things that have taken me from a hobby writer to someone close to getting published. Mind you, "close" is the operative word her since I can't yet claim to be published. However, I know that, in time, it will come to pass.
Maybe I have an advantage over some of you. I am really good looking. No that's not it. It may be true, but it's not an advantage.
The advantage I'm actually speaking of comes from my background in business. I've been a self-employed business man for the last thirty-plus years. The nature of the business is as relevant as the process of the business. Being self employed requires by its very nature to be self motivated, self disciplined and self critical. Being a writer takes a lot of all three.
Self Motivated: The definition is in the title so I won't dwell on the concept. The reality is much more difficult than the description however. I hear it all the time, "I could do that." "I could write a novel." or "My family (insert any other quality aspect of a individual's life) is a story that show be told. I think that's something I could write about." Everybody has a story to tell. It's like the old saying, "million dollar ideas are a dime a dozen." Whether it be fact or fiction, we all have a story to tell. However, the motivation doesn't come from the story. It comes from the story teller. When you wake up in the morning and can't think of anything but the story. You are a writer. When you drive down the road and turn off all influences because they are interrupting your thoughts on the story. You are a writer. So write it.
Self Disciplined: So let me ask you this. What's your excuse today for not writing? Okay, so maybe that's a little "in-your-face". Never mind my lack of sensitivity. The question is still valid. What's keeping you from writing TODAY. I know you'll write tomorrow. That's a given. You want to write. You need to write. And tomorrow you absolutely WILL write. I know that and so do you. You actually believe it. So what's stopping you today?
Here's the deal. Are you ready? If you can figure out how to stop buying your excuses. You'll stop putting off till tomorrow what you really want to do today.
Self Critical: Boy this is a hard one. Nobody likes being criticized. So what do we do? We insulate ourselves from the outside world so it doesn't happen. If we don't feel the pain of criticism, then we don't have to be weighed down with all those negative feelings that will keep us from being the best we can be. Right? Wrong.
I don't like being critized any more than anyone else. I hate it as a matter of fact. But the truth is, without evaluation (self or otherwise) there is never an opportunity for improvement. Look hard at what you do. Open yourself to the comments of others. And if you want to know how I approach it here's what I do.
I offer my manuscripts to a few select people and tell them there are two rules when reading my work. Rule number one is: When they are finished, I want nothing less than their honest opinion. No sugar coating. No glossing over things. I want the truth about their perspective. Number two: If they have a suggestion about what they think I should do to improve my work, they should feel completely free to express their thoughts. However, they should be warned ahead of time that about this, I will consider their suggestions, but make no promise of doing it the way they suggest. They should also know that if they want it done their way, they need to go write their own damn book. This one's mine.
Writing is a business. It's a dirty, cutthroat business that is hard as hell to get in to. I've been at it for years and I'm still trying. But it's a business. As a business, there are rules and there are other things that will make it happen for me. I KNOW it will happen and you are here to witness it as it happens.