You love to write. You tingle when you hit the zone and are exhilarated when you have so much to share. Perhaps you have written a chapter or two around a beautiful pool on vacation, camping in the mountains or on a beach while inspired by the glorious ocean. You dream about quitting your day job and writing full time. Dreams can become reality if you are willing to do the work. But do you truly treat your writing like a real business? Here are a few ways to tell…
1. Do you have defined goals? As in a typical day job, you should have a writing space where you work daily. Next, set a timeframe with specific goals and deadlines and adhere to it. You can plan for so many written words per day or week and then make sure you hit your mark. Honestly, some days are golden and some days are not, but the point is you show up for work and put words on paper. You can give yourself “days off” for sick time and vacation, but keep the amount reasonable. Otherwise, go to work, sit down and write. You will always take time to edit and polish later in the process.
2. How do you feel when you “go to work” as a writer? Are you excited to get to your desk and type all you have written in your head overnight? Or do you feel guilty you are not doing the laundry, mowing the lawn or shopping? Do you procrastinate or redefine your goals each week, allowing yourself to do one household chore and double your writing goal the following week? Do you ever accomplish the new goal? You would not be able to perform household chores if you drove fifty miles to work each day. Do not let working at home distract you. Many writers admit they do not treat their writing as a “real” job. You can set the timeframe for the work flow which is best for you. Beyond that, ask for support to allow you to accomplish the goal you set.
3. Do you keep good business and financial records, using an organized system? Do you log all your material expenses and time as well as your income? Are you ready when tax time approaches? As writers, we do not always have to approve a specific budget each month, but do not become complacent about the materials, software, marketing expenses, conferences, computers, smart phones and other items you need on a regular basis to write. Keep great records and have them handy when needed.
4. Do you have your sales/marketing/metric plan all set? Are you building your social media platform on a regular basis? Decide which social media platforms and blogs work for you and then put aside a specific time period each week or day to post, respond, share and comment. Have defined days to review the analytics of your platforms to see what is “working” for you and what approach is not. Try to reach out and make new connections on a regular basis. Keep a well organized system of beta readers, bloggers, and author friends who are willing to share, tweet, or post for you. Be prepared to do the same for them. I like to write in the morning and take care of “business” in the afternoon.
Writing is a wonderful, creative outlet where you can express your thoughts, dreams and opinions of the world in which you live. For some, it is a wonderful hobby and for others a very involved occupation. Only you can decide what is best for you, define your goals and go for it! Happy Writing!”