Business or Pleasure? Defining Your Writing Goals

As the term winds down, my students in the Business of Writing class will hold what I hope will be a spirited discourse on the pros and cons of self v. traditional publishing. But no matter which method any writer chooses, that writer must also determine if writing is a hobby or a business.
Writing Tip for Today: Deciding where your writing belongs in your life isn’t easy. You love writing, are committed to learning your craft or you have this great breakout idea for a book. But at the end of the day, is writing a guilty pleasure or a fledgling business?

  • What Am I Willing To Spend? No business succeeds without some sort of initial investment. Right now, you may be putting in mostly hard work. But at some point you’ll need to decide: is writing (and publishing) important enough to me to shell out some cash? Whether you spend it on writing classes, conferences, editors or ads, every writer today must face this question.
  • How Long Am I Willing to Wait? Success, however measured, usually doesn’t come overnight. Are you willing to spend a few years (OK a lot of years) in a writing apprenticeship, learning your craft? Are you willing to practice, be rejected again and again until you finally get that first sale? Most successful writers have a drawer full of unpublished manuscripts they wrote before hitting the big time.
  • Why Do I Write? Are you obsessed with seeing your novel in print? Do you dream of being interviewed by Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 ***or GMA? Or are you content to leave a legacy for your family’s enjoyment? The answer will tell you a lot about whether you write for the sheer joy of it or if you really are driven to publish.

***A special shoutout to Northwest author Cheryl Strayed, whose memoir, Wild, was chosen as the first selection in Oprah’s new book club. Congrats!

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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