I’m not sure, but I think I might have mentioned a few times that writing is my job. I might also have been saying something derisive about stamp collecting at the time. It’s true, though. Writing is my job, my real job. I don’t get paid nearly as much as I do at my other job, my day job, but I put in more hours, more passion, more commitment, and certainly more pride. I work at writing, and so it is, indeed a job.
There are some who will be shocked, or say I’m not a real writer. I’m not a real artist, considering the writing a job. Well, that’s just stupid. All artists work. Artists work harder than anybody. If you’re a true artist, here are some of the things you do that are real, honest, work.
Once the first draft is done, that raw fleshy bit of fiction you’ve labored over, and slaved over, it needs some work. That’s when you go from being a writer, to being an editor. You must read your work with a critical eye. My grandmother accidentally gave me some good advice about this when I was very little. She came into a room I was supposed to be cleaning, and said, “Look at the room like someone else cleaned it. someone you don’t like, and you want to get them in trouble.” Mean spirited as that sounds, it works for cleaning a room as a little kid, and it works for editing as well. Read your book like it was written by someone you don’t like very much, and you want to find a reason to not get it published.
Once your work is edited, it’s got to be sold. You’ve got a product, and you need to sell it the same as any other salesperson except for one crucial difference; you actually like the thing you’re selling. You know the qualities, all you’ve got to do when you’re sending out queries is to sell them.
Small business owner
Writing is a business, and as we just discussed, we’re selling a product. But it’s all your product, and you’re solely responsible for making another. You’re not printing more copies unless you self published, but you’ve got to write another book. Which means you’ve got to manage the incoming money to make sure you’ve got the cash to keep all the lights on and food in the house long enough to write another book. Which brings me to the next job.
Financial books, I mean. You must learn, and as soon as possible, to keep track of your business finances. How much do you spend on supplies, computer upgrades, even if you host a website instead of using a lovely free one like WordPress here. All this will have to be kept track of, if for no other reason than tax purposes.
In a perfect world and if you’re lucky, your publisher and agent will do a lot of your promoting for you. But the chances are good you’re going to be doing a lot yourself too. Planning signings, promotional tours, maybe even some advertising if you’ve got the cash and go ahead from your publisher.
Writing your book is only half the battle. You’ve got a lot of hats to wear in the course of your career, as well as keeping the writing flowing.
So don’t let anyone tell you writing isn’t a job. You’ll work harder than anyone with a day job. But to have that, that book with your name on it, is the end goal. And it’s worth it.