Monday, September 8, 2008


I am not very good at the business side of writing.

I get lost in details and tend to resist too much structure. The creative side of me yearns to be free to create--whatever and whenever the mood strikes me. But I've learned that it's essential for writers--especially freelancers--to balance their creativity with administration. Here are some things that have helped me conduct myself in a more business-like fashion:

  • My planner: While I tend to be the computer-savviest author on the Grit team, I prefer pencil and paper for my planner. I keep this little book with me at all times, writing deadlines on the calendar (with reminders a week or two before the deadline), to-do lists in the back, and random thoughts with ideas for future projects. My planner keeps me organized and focused. Plus there's something extremely satisfying about checking off completed tasks with a perfect 0.7 lead mechanical pencil.
  • My mentor: I have recently fallen into a relationship with a business mentor and I must say it is fabulous. She is helping me focus and provides accountability. She asks great questions and is a wonderful listener. Find someone to play this role in your life. It could be a fellow writer, or a task-oriented friend. Perhaps you could barter one of your services for theirs.
  • My software: I recently purchased a great little piece of software called On the Job. It's for Macs, but surely there's something comparable for PC's. I love it because it enables me to keep accurate time-records for my freelance clients (so that I can bill properly). It's also handy for keeping me focused when I'm working on book projects--something about being on the clock keeps me from drifting into the laundry room.
  • My schedule: I've mentioned I resist structure. But my mentor taught me that it's important to make some kind of weekly schedule. It can be as structured or unstructured as you wish, but a schedule provides a framework for getting your work done. Be sure to include business development time each week--time to network, write queries, read up on the craft--the nuts and bolts that will help expand your business.

I'd love to hear about the things you do to run your writing business.


Suzanne said...

You TEND to be the computer savviest author of Grit? Tend?!

How about...HANDS DOWN! You're incredibly gifted with understanding the mysteries of the computer!

As in...we couldn't have done it without you. ~Suzanne