I am passionate about my art.
More than that, though, I have taken my art and turned it into my business. My brand is the writing I do on all the various levels where I get to do it.
Though my first love is fiction, the nonfiction I write is also important to me. That’s why I blog regularly and write these weekly articles about the business of writing.
Presently, I have ramped up my fiction writing work. Because of this, I have successfully written two whole novels (hovering in the 50,000-word range) over a little more than 2 months. Part of this has been due to a new practice that came of working as a plotter for the first time; part from using NaNoWriMo as the impetus to get a novel finished in 30 days (which I did in 26).
Though I have learned over the years what goes into the formatting for articles online — as well as novels, and how to get my ebooks and paperbacks onto Amazon — to go to the next level requires non-creative work.
What does that mean? Let me clarify that here.
Non-creative work is not entirely non-creative
I need to put that out here right off the bat. This work isn’t truly non-creative — but compared to writing and editing, it is.
What am I talking about? Marketing, promotions, and sales.
I have worked in one form of marketing or another in a couple of different businesses over the years. While I am not inexperienced, neither am I a whiz. There are lots of experts out there who do this for a living that know way, way more than I do.
Yet I have reached a point where to go to the next level, I need to work on marketing. That’s the only way I will be able to get my work out to a broader audience and — from that — increase sales.
Spending money to make money is uncomfortable — but it’s a lot better than trying to do this myself. Largely because doing this myself doesn’t get the job done like it should be done.
Then, because that’s not enough, it also gets overwhelming.
- Write the book? Check.
- Edit the book? Check.
- Send the book to the editor? Check.
- Get the cover artist onboard? Check.
- Approve editing and cover art? Check.
- Upload it all to Amazon. Check.
All of the above still is creative. But once these steps are done, it becomes a new ballgame.
- Publish on Amazon. Check.
- Get reviews.
- Buy some advertising.
- Post and boost posts on Facebook.
- Market to the ideal audiences.
- Grow my mailing list.
- Get on podcasts and guest post on blogs.
After the first of the above, checking off the rest feels overwhelming. Maybe it’s not so long a list — but — it’s still a lot of work, and a lot more non-creative than the rest of what I do.
Overwhelm is a stopping point
Once overwhelm begins to set in, I tend to get flustered. That frustration that comes from feeling flustered makes me uncertain, uncomfortable, and unsure of how to proceed. That, then, creates a stopping point.
The problem is, once the non-creative business needs to be attended to, it can interrupt my creative flow. When that happens, I get lost, procrastinate, and sometimes even self-sabotage.
Which does me little to no good, since that will keep me from going where I desire to go.
Writing, for me, is not just a creative endeavor. This is my business. My brand is my words — whatever form they are taking.
This tends to be easier when I do business writing for websites and the like. But that’s neither here nor there.
The answer is to get help. So that is what I am working to do. But the thing about help is that it will not take me out of the loop. Nor should it.
Help will direct me to the places I don’t understand entirely how to get to. It takes the unchecked items above out of my immediate focus so that I can remain free of overwhelm.
I can’t do it all. No matter how good I believe myself to be at multitasking, I can’t do it all. And there is NO shame in asking for assistance. Especially in hiring professionals.
The biggest issue with that for me is breaking free of my comfort zone, trusting my help, and taking the risk of spending money to get it done.
Less creative, not non-creative
The other thing I need to keep in mind is that the less creative aspects of the business are not non-creative. It’s just a more technical form of creativity that, while my inner-Virgo likes order and technicalities, my inner creative gets overwhelmed by.
In the words of Bureaucrat #1 on Futurama,
“You are technically correct. The best kind of correct.”
This is necessary and unavoidable — particularly if I intend to make this my living. My business can’t just exist in a creative void. There need to be the less creative (sort of non-creative) elements to grow to the level I desire to.
Ironically, I once created a small business focused on doing some of these technical things for other small businesses. I have met many creatives over the years who are less adept on the business end. And perhaps, I need to admit, that I am also less adept, too.
At least when it comes to me. But then, maybe this is where it’s good to have an outside perspective.
Can’t be my own editor — can’t be my own marketer. That makes sense when all is said and done.
I am still a part of the less creative aspects of marketing and selling my work. But by hiring help, it keeps it from being overwhelming.
As a creative, the non-creative aspects of the business of writing can be overwhelming. But there are ways to deal with that. I know that it is up to me to do what needs to be done and make it happen.
Thank you for being part of my ongoing journey, for joining me, and for inspiring me and my craft.
Thank you for reading. I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, my creative process, and similar life lessons.
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Originally published at https://www.mjblehart.com on November 28, 2020.