Managing a writing career is running a business where I am secretary, assistant, and CEO, coffee gopher, and every company VP in one.
Writing and working from home is far from sitting in your pjs and writing fantasy story that comes to mind. To truly be a full-time writer and actually eat (and I do prefer a cut above ramen noodles) and to keep a roof over my head it takes dedication and hard work well beyond a topic of talent. I utilize past work experience, especially directing, leadership, and management, as well as secretarial and administration skills learned and worked in along the past two decades and also sales and marketing also learned. I’ve had a great amount of experience that feeds the work I do now…as long as I utilize it.
Some of the tasks to “run my own business”, my writing career involve:
- A 3 and 5 yr business plan for writing AS a business, something that many work-from-home and artists and writers do not put in place and something that I have worked at and defined over the past three years heavily. Putting in place an overall plan which is then broken down into small and achievable steps lays a clear path to follow. This turns a goal into an achievement. From knowing what a year ahead looks like to knowing the next step after I make coffee in the morning helps me stay on track and not veer off realizing months later that I’ve lost time I can’t get back.
- Past the 3/5 yr plans, each year in the past three years has it’s own plan lay ahead of time before I find myself spinning my wheels and getting nowhere or finding that I’ve fallen off track of the main goal and the steps needed to get me there. I take time and set an easy to follow guideline before the new year even starts. This current year I had a booked year of projects to start with and placed deadlines in the entire year which was then broken down by quarter. Had I a two month period of extra time I and not booked up I would easily lay in “project novel” or something as a block to know I needed to come up with an idea to fill that time with a new book. Some blocks of time are filled with commissioned jobs as they come and if I approach them unfilled I add in extra submitting and writing articles and pieces to submit or other project work so as not to waste and lose time. I also set blocks of time to be filled by new incoming projects along the way. Weekly and even daily schedules have an even further breakdown of plan and schedule management. It did take me a few years to find a best way to follow such a schedule of so many multiple projects in different forms from my own writing to actual production to writing/submitting/publishing new works to taking on new jobs and commissions. Currently one of those is a series for a Texas book in literary prose. I am writing of childhood drives on HWY 6. (Which took place in the 80’s). When approached by this publisher to do so I was able to input them into my schedule with ease even with a short time-line to do so without even setting my own work aside by simply filling a few of the gap blocks. Creating a never-miss-deadline and an at-a-glance calendar. Adding literary events and locations into my travels as well as lectures and readings is also a part of utilizing such a scheduling system.
- I’ve begin a discussion group work for work-at-home writers and women focusing on establishing dedicated leadership of oneself and management of your own “company”.
- I read and attend events on the subject of managing and the literary industry. I am currently enjoying the book HBR’s On Managing Yourself. Utilizing LinkedIn is a great part of this.
- My own “business” takes on-line media and social-media as well as print media and event media works. This is a balance with writing projects to also place in my schedule and thankfully my invested schedule allows this time needed without getting lost or wasting time (especially on social media).
- 2018 has a motto of No Wasting Time. Because time is our most valuable possession and one we can not get back what has been lost.
- In my own writing, writing works on the platform and promotional level, travel, and events attended I also put into place continuing education (I have a Better Me segment on this which is health/writing directly and indirectly/and mind, running a business and learning from top companies and CEOs, industry, reading materials from books to articles and lectures and utilizing video, and attending events and classes to do so and utilizing the time I spend on politics to put into Action, even putting my writing to good use in politics, mental illness, immigration, and other aspects. Time is set into my schedule as “Lesson: and type of the moment”. I believe that we can get too busy to stop and correct our mistakes, thus we end up running on a hamster wheel and getting nowhere when we don’t stop and make a plan to follow. Not only do I want to be a writer, but I want to be a successful writer which goes beyond talent and digs into the management of my business.
- Tasks include taxes, filing, tracking, submitting, writing, press release and media writing, promotional, event planning, readings, researching, spreadsheets and multiple writing and computer programs, editing, phone and email, mail and shipping, budgeting, scheduling, business plans, and extended education on marketing/sales/industry/publishing industry/writing how to/management and so much more. I have created and built several tracking systems, submitting systems, scheduling systems, and mapping systems among more that work to streamline my own daily process.
- Hobbies have basically been utilized in photography for promotional reasons and literary event attending such as book festivals and lectures, auditing college classes of particular subject/professor/author have been more than just a hobby now. Attending and performing book signings and readings and poetry events. I have managed to incorporate music, arts, film and my enjoyment of reading and other authors into my own career tasks. Often I am able to write reviews and articles about events and subjects and people/artists for local publications along my travels. Or offer for my blogs. I also turn my traveling into a writing of consistently submit and publish. The regular flow of in and out and working give me more ability to learn. Visiting and then writing about historic sites and visiting bookstores even moves from hobby to utilized as part of the job.
- I feel that it is important to know your industry and in mine I am constantly striving to learn about the traditional and self-publication industry. The who/what/why/when/where/how and happenings of it all, including the financial and economic side. The authors/the books/ the publishers/ the editors/ the reviewers/ the awards/ the news/ the events/ the literary agents and more. Also the changes in industry in library research from library to library in cities as I travel. Knowing what is happening in libraries and education falls into some of this as well, and politics, too.
- My own writing falls into the categories of fiction, non-fiction, memoir, essay, articles on about any subject that keeps me published and food, politics, film, and more can end up on this list.
- I utilize my writing in social activism in women, domestic abuse, mental illness, education, writing programs for middle and high-schoolers and adult men and women, jail programs, and politics.
- My job also entails keeping up on reading the publications and publishers of which I’d like to submit and publish with. (This is a long list. Thankfully I like to read…but scheduling all the time to do so is a fun trick because I have not all the time in the world and to publish I must write, but I must also read to write, and to do it all I must do the tedious of scheduling and media and even taxes. Having a set way to do this that works best for me (I’ve tried many) smoothens this so I spend as little time actually planning and more time doing as possible.)
- An example of my daily discussions that help keep me on task follow as https://peggyjdavenport.com/2018/04/21/accountability-for-the-writer-and-work-at-home-pt-1/
- Face to face meetings, discussions, classes, workshops, readings, lectures and more are also a part of the job which is really healthy for the work-from-home (or coffeeshop as often happens) job.
- From goal planning to scheduling to blog planning to writing to editing and posting to opportunity searching to writing and submitting to writing editing and submitting to publications and writing the long term projects to the media platform promotion and creating connections this is far from a day of sipping coffee and working on a novel (though coffee is always involved). To truly make a career out of writing at my current point now I don’t work on just one project but multiple at a time. Eggs in one basket thing and all. I am not spending three years on one novel that may or may not do anything and go anywhere, but I am not missing out on writing a novel, either. Usually one long project (such as a novel or art show production) and currently what I call 365 which is a daily write and submit a piece to poetry that I do as it to travel and review writings and mid-sized projects such as essays and essay series that I have in the works currently and all of this aside from writing for a few blogs that I do (of my own and others). All my own works do receive a deadline and timeline with an outline before beginning. Even now before beginning the year.
This is the write life.