So, I’ve been a good author and a bad creative entrepreneur. Because my book exists! Wine Dark, Sea Blue has it’s very own special site, and we’ve been busy making it look all pretty, so you lovely people will buy it. Check out the new website here. It’s lovely.
If you modern types would like to download a copy to your kindle, you want to go to Amazon. Please remember that authors want reviews. Pretty much more than anything. Well, preferably good reviews. But interaction is the key here.
Stay tuned for my upcoming blogs on How to Deal with the Post-Launch Slump, What to do When you Start to Hate Your Work, and Essential Social Media Tips for Writers.
Having been spreading the gospel of creative entrepreneurship left, right and centre, you think I would have figured out how to be a millionaire by now. Sadly not. It still remains that often creative fulfilment and the ability to buy a pair of Louboutins are not aligned.
I am (technically) quite successful at the moment. I am working, I am getting published, I’m moving into the area of adult creative writing workshops, something I’m absolutely passionate about, and all in all, life is good. To feel creatively content, I think the only qualifiers are that a) you’re writing and b) people are recognising that you’re writing.
However, that doesn’t mean that you’re being commercially successful. Talking to another creative entrepreneur recently, we came to the conclusion that whilst both reaching artistic milestones, and being happy with our achievements; we’ve never been this broke.
How can the creative entrepreneur align this? Surely the idea is to make art, and then sell it and make a lot of money doing it. Or alternately, make two types of art: one for your own enjoyment and one for the monies.
So does being creatively ‘in the zone’ mean that you’re not focusing enough on profitability? Perhaps you’ve just wanted to create something you love. Fair enough. If you haven’t been focusing on your cash cow, maybe you should be considering your target market. How can you maximise profitability on your current project?
I have never written books expecting great wealth. I do, however, lead classes and do workshops and work with kids, and explain the themes in ‘Of Mice and Men’ over and over again until I want to punch myself in the face. These are the compromises we make. I’ve recently been wondering if maybe I could just do a nine-to-five and write in the evenings, like countless writers do. But somehow, that feels like it reduces my sense of legitimacy. Plus, I hate routine. And being told what to do. And sitting down for eight hours a day.
So, as my mother very politely tried to offer me alternatives, I realised one thing: Commit to a career in the same manner you commit to a project. I write a novel knowing that there are going to be certain bits I love (the random scribbling) and the bits I hate (the fourth round of editing) and that it will eventually have a purpose and an end. I may not know what that is whilst I’m writing it. I have a chic lit book I wrote last year sitting in a box, that I may not use for years or so. But I trust that at some point, it will find its purpose. I must look the same way at my career. The jobs I am doing now may not be particularly profitable or enjoyable, or easy, but they are paving the way to their own purpose. I just may not be entirely sure what that is, yet.
Dear entrepreneurs, we have always said to have an endgame, and find your focus. But sometimes, it’s just about riding the waves and getting on with it whilst you’ve got your creative head on. And that’s fine. You don’t always know the end before you’ve written the middle. Trust that what your doing will either serve a purpose, or it will reach its limit, and be left behind. If we do that, perhaps, the penniless artist will cease to be a cliche, and the business-minded artist will have both creativity and cash.
Just a little update, because ladies and gents, drum roll please…I’ve finished my novel.
Clocking in at just under a year, it’s about 60,000 words and it’s called Wine Dark, Sea Blue. So I would give you a little teaser, but you know what, I’m sick of the sight of it at the moment. It’s done, it’s fine and that’s what matters.
No, actually, what matters is that I FINISHED something. I completed my first big project as a writer, and now comes the difficult part- marketing it, publicising it and getting it out there.
So, I’ll be entering this Mslexia Novel Competition, which I urge everyone who has a novel sitting about to do. Oh, you have to be a woman. So if your reproductive organs are on the outside, afraid you’ll have to pass on this opportunity. Mslexia are an excellent magazine for female writers and I’d really recommend checking them out. I intend to subscribe as soon as I’ve got some spare change.
Whilst we’re talking about magazines, I’m finding Writers’ Forum a really good resource. I usually feel quite isolated when choosing a magazine. Occasionally, a copy of Vogue or Glamour will hit the spot, but there doesn’t seem to be anything aimed at creatives trying to survive, or sharing their work. Writers’ Forum focuses on both the professional and amateur writer, but try not to let that dissuade you, there’s a wealth of information concerning getting paid for your work, where and how to market it, plus competitions and festival info. Also, I don’t know about you, but just reading something to do with writing makes me feel more in touch with what I’m meant to be doing.
So, I’ll be hopping off on my travels for a while, to recharge my batteries and start throwing around ideas for my new projects (including kids books, teenage and YA fiction) and preparing my DumbSaint Creative Writing Workshops for when I get back.
Until then, you can find my random wonderings about various topics over here with the lovely folks at Pop Culture Play Pen. And of course, I’ll be keeping up the anonymous fun over at Cafe Disaster, the home of the enraged barista who judges mean customers and ridicules them for your reading pleasure.
Keep an eye out for some guest writers whilst I’m off gallivanting, and some special ‘straight off the road’ coffee updates from Oz and the USA. Will Aussies order things like triple shot extra hot decaf soya cappuccinos? Or will they likely tell me to calm down and have a beer? I hope so. Also, I’ll be hanging around in LA Airport for six hours…I feel like this will be a prime opportunity to see an American Starbucks in action. I have a certain feeling about LA-ers. Let’s see if it’s correct.
And I’ll be back as soon as there’s some writing-related excitement to relate! Ciaou!