Writers often get started with the image of sitting alone in our homes, surrounded by our pets of choice, churning words out at the keyboard. Sure, there may be a little reading thrown in to break up the monotony. But, then we just hit “Send” and it’s on to the next project, right?
That is the life of a writer who has already made it or has money from another resource.
If you are working as a writer, particularly if you are working on more than just writing novels, there will be plenty of tasks that you will need to do just so that you can write.
Before you even get work, you will have to learn how to market and sell yourself. Finding regular jobs can be tough enough when you have a clear and solid skillset, but it is taken to another level when you are trying to sell an artistic talent. Art is highly subjective. You will have to learn the art of explaining why your skillset is the best match to the project.
If you are a novelist, you will have to learn how to pitch your book to publishers. As a journalist, you will have to learn to pitch to the media. As a blogger, you’ll have to convince the general population that you are worthy of their time to read.
I have worked in law for over 20 years and still have to convince law firms that I am qualified to write blogs for their websites. This includes pitching to partners who don’t have half the legal experience that I have while trying to not rub that in.
You are going to get on your friends’ nerves. You will be posting a lot of social media blurbs asking friends to forward your links, read your materials, leave a review, etc.
Sometimes, your warm market will be a huge help in your endeavors. Sometimes, it will redefine “useless” leaving you feeling levels of solitude you never thought possible given how many people you know.
Either way, you’ll be giving them a shot.
Where do I even begin with this one? Novelists often get to draw the line by having their publisher help with a book cover. Indie writers may have a friend to help with that. The rest of us have to get adept at visual art.
You will be familiar with web design…
And so much more!!!
With so many people using online presence to market, to not play the game is to not exist. (Please pardon the split infinitives; they just worked better.)
There are local businesses that I would love to use for a project I am working on, but these businesses refuse to update enough to do automated or online services. It would take a lot more manual effort on my end to use these companies. I’m not in a position to be able to do the extra work.
Your clients might be in that position. They may be interested in using you based on reputation, but lack confidence because you have no online presence.
I would not be the writer that I am if I had not met and befriended the writers I crossed paths with while living in Nashville. This is for so many reasons.
First, I moved to Nashville to be a songwriter. I befriended a couple of fiction writers who liked me enough to drag me to their events. Before I knew it, I was sending true stories to share on stage. That’s how I wound up performing at Zanies Comedy Club a couple of times.
If you are a non-fiction writer, you will probably wind up making the business networking rounds in order to fish for local clients. Online networking communities will be reviewed. You will always be speaking with new people.
This destroys the dreams of everyone who turned to writing for the joys of solitude.
Bookkeeping and Admin
The biggest problem with writing is trying to keep track of all that money that comes in.
If you had that kind of money, you would also have an accountant doing all of the work for you. For the startup writer, you will be doing a lot of contract work for a lot of prospective clients. Come tax season, it will be your responsibility to know how much of what you made came from each source. You will have 1099s and W-documents galore.
You’ll be keeping receipts and studying tax laws like a finance student. You’ll be counting pennies for your overhead expenses, swimming in invoices and statements, and paying a lot more attention to loose cash.
That’s just the money. You will be submitting pieces to publishers with a variety of submission requirements. Some will not allow for you to submit material to them that is simultaneously out for submission elsewhere. If you get caught violating terms such as this, you may be blacklisted from that publication.
You may be spending as much time tracking your writing as you spend writing.
Can’t forget that not 100% of everything that goes out is accepted exactly as it is. Publishers and major clients often require edits before things go to print. You’ll occasionally be doing writing work that is not necessarily creating anything new, just changing what you sent into what they want.
In All That, We Get To Write
This is why most writers have tight schedules that are blocked for these tasks. Some might block it by day: Handle money on Mondays; Bid on Tuesdays; Produce on Wednesdays; etc. Others may choose to break it up and do a little bit each day.
The rest just dream about writing.
Many thanks, and Best Blessings,
Related Journaling Prompts: How much time do I spend on my actual activity versus the prep work of that activity? What value do I get out of that time?