We’ve all been there. We get to work and immediately encounter a boss who makes almost impossible seeming demands of our time, talent and resources. We come home at the end of the day exhausted, wondering if this is really what we should be doing with our life.
So what happens when you work for yourself? Do you tell your boss she’s crazy for the schedule she wants you to keep, or do you blindly follow everything she wants you to do in order to run a successful business?
As self-employed people we have a great responsibility resting on our shoulders. We’re everything in a company from intern to owner and sometimes it’s really tough to keep at it day in and day out.
And, if I’m being truly honest here, that dedication can be more intense for a writer running a self-publishing business. Why? I think this quote pretty well sums it up:
Because it can take years, decades even, to become a writer who starts making a steady income stream from their words.
If at all.
We can type, scrawl and scribble for years and never make any headway at being able to do it full-time. Hell, I wrote fiction since I was 14 but didn’t even publish my first blog until I was 34. The books came later and the income? Well, that’s an entirely different issue.
Disheartened yet? Thinking of quitting? Believe me, I’ve been there.
But bear with me and hopefully you’ll see why:
Quitting is the last thing you should do!
Last fall something amazing happened and not only did I blow my own mind but I completely changed the way I looked at my writing. It’s made all the difference in my dedication level to running this thing I call a business and I actually can see an income stream beginning to grow. Yes, as a fiction author!
Want to know what happened?
It was two-fold.
First, I fractured my wrist in early October last year. I’d love to tell you I was doing something super cool like playing hockey but not so much. Drunken patio yoga did me in for almost 2 full months. Sigh. What can I say, I’m human. AKA: sometimes a freaking idiot.
But, second, and this is actually where my mind-shift began, I had to do that to myself. Because, in the end, it led to my ah-ha moment. It was imperative I allowed myself to go through the physical and mental pain of that injury because it solidified my thoughts from the entire prior year.
So let me back up and give you a bit of that story.
Will write for pay
I was freelancing for a couple years ghost-writing/tweeting, blogging, writing web copy and other marketing pieces for clients. It was okay. I was pretty good at it. I made money. That’s where my love for it ended, however.
Because I didn’t want to do that shit for someone else. I wanted to do it for myself. I just struggled to see how all that blog, tweet, newsletter writing could lead into anything for my company.
My flailing, sinking, haven’t-released-a-book-in-3-years company.
If I could just figure out how to write blogs and tweets for my readers, I could probably re-launch Writesy Press, LLC.
All the work I’d been producing for clients for two years was my training. I learned how to write to entice. To write marketing stuff and keep it going consistently by establishing a schedule.
And I had all of this old work (fiction and reference) just sitting around doing nothing. Like I had been doing for 8 weeks with a broken bone. We both needed to get back in the game.
I bought voice-to-text software immediately.
No way was my stupid identified drunken injury going to keep me from doing my job anymore!
And at that moment, my job was all about getting my real message weeded out, shared, and to start connecting with people. Helping other writers who might be struggling with writing their first book.
Because I was a fiction author at heart, not a freelancer. I’d already written 3 books, released 2, and it was the only job I ever did as a writer that brought me joy and income (regardless of how small that number was to start).
Once I started dropping freelance clients I simply replaced the hours I worked for them with doing the same thing for my company. Blog client gone? I write blogs for my readers. Web copy client gone? Time to start that newsletter I’d been mulling over. You get the point.
When the last client dropped off, I knew the time was there to get back to writing my books too. So I started and in the process lost sight of all the other stuff – blog, newsletter, twitter – making real connections.
Enter Oktoberfest and broken wrist
Isn’t it Murphy’s Law that as we get ahead we fall behind? Well, after a few weeks of introspection & lack of activity due to pain (Hallmark movies rule!), I turned it into a sign to get my shit together before trying to move forward.
During my downtime I handwrote a lot of the book Reckless Hearts (broke left wrist & I’m a righty) and started getting my marketing materials in check:
- First and foremost, wrote a business plan.
- Second, wrote and implemented a marketing plan.
- Blogs that furthered my message were left alone.
- Blogs that didn’t were deleted or moved.
- Created shortened links to remaining posts.
- Developing a spreadsheet to track/organize/manage tweets.
- Researched hashtags for writers.
- Started a tweet database with hashtags & links.
- Opened a hootsuite account so I could schedule my tweets (AKA: free up time for fiction).
- Created a newsletter template.
- Established a monthly schedule for work days and days off (very important!)
And within three months not only was I following the schedule, I was crushing it! Why? Because I birthed a viable monthly schedule out of 2 of my darkest months ever.
What’s that quote about doors and windows opening and closing?
If I never got hurt I wonder if I even would have finished Reckless Hearts, not to mention seven months of consistent tweeting/connecting and a second title this year – Creative Writing Kickstart. That title is a culmination of six months of writing prompts, plus a lot of new ones, that I shared with my fiction writer following.
Even writing it out I’m amazed I was able to pull it together to write a business plan but it was that very document, coupled with my marketing plan, that forced me to evaluate in total honesty where I came from, where I was and where I wanted my business to be.
From misery came determination and if I learned anything on that journey it was this:
When you want to give up is when you’re most honest, your emotions are raw and that truth is going to come through in every word you write.
Use it as fuel to stoke the fires of your business building and you’ll never look at your boss as the crazy person ever again. Instead, you’ll build a business you can be proud of, high-fiveing yourself for being the best boss you’ve ever had!
If you need a nudge at killing writers block and want some cool story starters check out my book Creative Writing Kickstart. With over 365 writing prompts you’re sure to find something that jumpstarts your fiction and career.
Because there’s no better way to shut up the boss than by doing your job, am I right?
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