Yesterday, I asked to hear what you’re all up to–what’s your action plan?
I’m reading through your comments today. Some of them require responses:
I have four projects in various stages of completion and I know that is a serious case of fractured focus. Is there a way to tell which one I should commit to? Does this mean that they’re all fatally flawed and just don’t want to admit it to myself? Help!
Randy sez: That depends on what your goals are. Do you want to:
1) Make lots of money?
2) Write what makes you happiest?
3) Change the world?
My hunch is that each of your projects has a subtly different goal. Which of those is most important to you? Do the project that meets that goal first. You don’t have to trash the others. Just put them aside for the “opportune moment.”
I have had this problem myself in the past. One reason I like Simpleology 101 is that right from the get-go, when I started using its tools to help me decide what I wanted my life to look like, I could see clearly what I needed to work on RIGHT NOW. And embarrassingly enough, that wasn’t what I was actually working on. So I changed my short-term goals to reflect what I REALLY WANT out of life.
Randy, how did you first get into writing as a business? I have just returned from the first night of a book-keeping for small business course, hoping to get some idea of how to organise a freelance writing business. Of course, I realise I am putting the cart before the horse since I haven’t been published yet apart from in a writer’s newsletter a few times. Still, the opportunity was there so I took it hoping that the business would soon follow. I did pick up some very useful tips and it has fired me up to write even more so it wasn’t a loss. I also feel that I really do have to take action now as I have openly committed myself to being a writer. I originally thought that if it wasn’t going to be useful then it might be so boring that my imagination would take over and I would write something fantastic.
I didn’t actually start treating it like a business until recently. I spent my first nine years writing without earning a dime, so there was no business to organize. After that, I sold a short story, then a nonfiction book, then a novel. And I felt that basically I wasn’t earning enough to really be businesslike about it. That was a mistake, I think. I should have thought harder early on about developing a brand–a reputation for consistent and unique quality.
In the last year, as many of my blog-readers know, I’ve gotten serious about treating this career like a real business. That’s all chronicled in the series of teleseminars I did with Allison Bottke. So I now have a clear focus for my writing. But this is a new development. Watch my career over the next five years, and you’ll see if it makes a difference. I predict that it will, and I am betting my future on it.
Daan wrote quite a lot, but I’ll snip all but the end:
My short term target is to work through all the E-zines by the end of November when I will promote myself to sophomore and enroll for “Fiction 201″.
In the mean time Randy, I once again wish to thank you for ALL your advice.
Randy sez: You’re welcome! It’s a real thrill to see a writer who’s COMMITTED to taking action and who is making rapid progress. That’s why I do this site and my e-zine and blog–to see people turn from wannabes into gonnabes. Work hard, Daan! I’m watching you and rooting for you.
Lynn wrote quite a bit also, so I’m snipping it down:
Randy, my mother was applauding a course I took a few years ago for my success. However, I believe the course did not help as much as what I have learned in the last year through your blog, through Swain’s book, and through John Olson’s lectures at a writer’s conference. These are what really turned my writing around.
Randy sez: Wow, this is so exciting, to see you making progress! I’m so jazzed! (And it’s been a long day. I need to feel jazzed right now.)
Karla is doing NaNoWriMo this year, and writes, in part:
I am now using simple*ology to help me get through the next harrowing thirty days and I am finding it so effective I’m sure I’ll make it a permanent part of my schedule. I have a biography deadline on Nov. 15th, as well as a grant writing deadline on the 15th and my husband and I are renewing our vows Dec. 1 (25 years!) and I’m throwing a huge party and there is much to do to get ready for that!
Randy sez: Wow, you have a whole lot on your plate. Go for it! And I hope you make your fifty thousand words for NaNoWriMo.
Another 10 of you wrote comments that I don’t have time to respond to tonight. I’ll do so in the next day or two. By then, I hope to be able to wrap up our mini-course in “Time Management for Writers” and transition to the next topic you’ve all requested, which will be “Self-Editing For Writers.” I hope to have a nice surprise for you on that, but I don’t know yet. But stay tuned.