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 Most successful writers have a drawer full of unpublished manuscripts they wrote before hitting the big time.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!

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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