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message 1: by James (last edited Aug 23, 2015 10:29AM) (new)

James Livingood (paperbackward) | 21 comments I am cooking up a blog post in my brain, but wanted to air out some thoughts here first.

When first starting writing, I got excited that someone is actually paying me to write words. The next natural conclusion was: wouldn't it be amazing to do this full time?

That conclusion often leads new writers feeling frustrated. On an instinctual level, some new writers feel the first works are "job interviews". After all, many of us are trained to live and die within the 9-5 framework. That perspective needs to shift, as writing isn't even building a job - it's building a company. Building quality products, interacting with readers, sales funnels, finding a niche/voice, financing, taxes, etc.

While that new perspective of company creation looks bleak / insurmountable; here are some amazing truths:

* Writing can be a retirement job, if built correctly first. A retirement job may be as, or even more, important than a 401k. Furthermore, you don't have to wait to 65+ to retire.

* Written works are investments, not single sales. If you earn royalties of just $20 a month on a new book - it might feel soul-crushing. However, that's $240/year. It would take an investment of $2400 (10% return) to earn similar results.

-Your book is not $20/month, but rather a $2400 investment.


* Skills build on skills. Writing may seem like a confusing, winding path at first. However, little successes slowly start to light more and more of the path in front of your feet. In other words, each step forward means your momentum shifts forward too.






Anywho - These are just some marbles rattling around in my skull. Let me know what you think!



James


message 2: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) I like it, James! That's exactly how I see writing... as a long term investment, as career/brand building, business building and all the responsibilities that go along with that. It's not a flash in the pan thing; it's a long-haul thing. And the value of individual books don't matter as the cumulative value of a writer's whole catalog. Writing is a number's game. One book won't get you far, but a dozen will, and it takes time to build to that level.

I just published my first book last month. I'm working on books 2 and 3 right now, with books 4-6 waiting patiently in the pipeline.

April


message 3: by Jay (new)

Jay Cole (jay_cole) James wrote: "I am cooking up a blog post in my brain, but wanted to air out some thoughts here first.

When first starting writing, I got excited that someone is actually paying me to write words. The next natu..."


Where did you find $20 worth of marbles? :)

I agree with your perspective, but I also see that writing is a very strange profession. The drive to write is often far removed from a profit motive. I never heard a doctor state a burning desire to remove gall bladders, but a writer's genuine need to express his or her creativity can be very overwhelming for some people...with or without money.

Still, cashing checks is certainly nice, so there's nothing wrong with giving it some thought. I look forward to seeing your blog post.


message 4: by Morris (new)

Morris Graham (morris_g) That has been my thought, too. I am 60 now, and moving to writing full time when I retire.


message 5: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments I like this perspective. I tend to view publishing (as distinct from writing) as playing a roulette table where the bets are never cleared and accumulate over time. If you keep playing, the chances your number will come up also accumulates over time. But that neglects the important points you make here.


message 6: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Jay wrote: "I agree with your perspective, but I also see that writing is a very strange profession. The drive to write is often far removed from a profit motive."

Personally, I've split the two. Writing is something I do, and I'd do it whether it paid or not. Publishing is a profession I fell into to take advantage an opportunity that didn't exist before. That fact that what I'm publishing also happens to be something I wrote is incidental. Maybe the fact that I work with a co-author and thus don't have full ownership of our work contributes to this separation, but I think it certainly helps in making business decisions.


message 7: by Cori (new)

Cori Dyson | 23 comments Owen, I agree with you that writing should be a creative process and publishing a business decision. The two are separate just as writing and editing are separate. You should write what ever you want to write then once completed, evaluate each completed work as a product and what would be the best way to publish, market, etc. That mindset requires some separation from the completed piece, whether you have a co-author or not. Like you stated, I'm sure having a co-author does help with that separation. I'm still working on my first novel, and I hope that when it comes time to publish/market I can hold true to my ideal above and be able to view it as a business decision.

James, I agree that writing should be viewed as an investment as well. I like how you put numbers to it. Great conversation!


message 8: by Jon (new)

Jon Stonecash (jon_stonecash) | 1 comments I am in a different place. I am comfortably retired. I write because I like the process of world building and creating something out of "nothing" (even if it has taken me 70 years to come up with that "nothing"). I want people to read what I have written; that comes from a professional lifetime of shipping useful software: it is never done until someone is getting value from it.

I write with the clear intent to publish and market what I have written. It is readership that I am after; it would be nice to cover my expenses, very nice to make some additional income, but both of those are secondary to communicating.

That said, most of the tactics aimed at making a living at writing would also seem to apply to making an impact as a writer. I am in the "I finished the writing, now what do I do" phase of this novel, trying to learn all of the tricks about publishing and marketing. A day without learning something new is a day wasted.


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