Authors’ Circle Q and A – Part One
It’s been a hot minute since we’ve done a Q and A. It’s also our first Q and A on our new site. We hope you like the changes.
This month’s Q and A talks about cultivating your writing path.
Our Q and A comes from feedback we’ve received, social media, and authors from our authors’ circle. The questions are also answered by authors at different stages in writing careers.
1. Do you write for business or pleasure?
For most writers, writing is a combination of the two. Each choice having its ups and downs. Pleasure writers for example may not tap into or embrace the business aspects of publishing or may not be open to critique that threaten to change beloved parts of a story. On the other hand, writing solely for the purpose of income could suck the creative joy out of your work over a long period of time.
Here’s what our authors have to say;
Definitely pleasure. My dad was always telling me I should be writing, for therapy. Now that I’ve started, I can’t stop! —Lee Penbrooke
Where I come from, sadly, the profession of writing is considered as one that undeniably will end up making you a poor, struggling-artist, hopeless-dreamer, with no real future to sustain a family or even yourself economically. So, obviously, writing is not something you are encouraged to pursue unless it is taken on as a hobby. Interestingly enough, I also grew up in a home where I was taught to love books and in which we read a lot, and a lot of good literature. Authors like Mark Twain, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jane Austen and Miguel de Cervantes broadened my view of what writing really is. For many years I thought of writing as, yes, an art, a creative expression of one’s self and one’s passions, and especially a magical way of travelling and transporting yourself to worlds, eras and lives you would never have the chance to experience otherwise. To me reading what writers wrote was magical.
Naturally an introvert and a deeply imaginative child I too felt I wanted to be able to communicate, to share what was in my mind, to say what I think in an articulate way, to convey what I feel, to feel understood and ultimately as belonging. So writing my own stories was the obvious way to go. Turns out writing became not only a fun thing to do, it became pleasurable, and also a crucial element that’s helped me establish and maintain relationships, to express myself and to be heard.
Growing up life took me through different countries which opened my eyes to see the world with different perspectives and understanding. I ended up studying psychology and I had varied work experiences and writing never ceased having a part in my life. It invaded every other area of my life, from school, to my work, with friends, and even my marriage and as a mother.
Today, living in a place where things happen and where the arts are regarded as high value, social contributions I think I’m finally ready and able to freely say that I want to build a writing career for myself. I also want it to be a sustainable one. —Laurie Hazel
A pleasurable hobby that can become a business. —Christine Colorado
It’s defiantly a dance between pleasure and business. I think tapping into both is essential, especially in the current publishing climate. Both traditional and independent publishing requires authors to manage their platform, market, and network while creating thrillingmarketable stories. We can’t do the latter by being oblivious to the former. —Robecca Austin
2. In what ways have you treated your writing as a business?
Have set writing hours like business hours, searched the internet for ways to sell my work. —Christine Colorado
Four years ago, I realized that writing takes up so much of my everyday life and is such a big part of me, that it is ultimately what I want to do for a living. With that certainty in place I found myself in the same bag as most people who write and take their writing seriously. One of the things I’ve been doing is to continually invest a lot of time, effort and money into perfecting what I do. When that is the case, there is a clear objective behind. The goal is to ultimately get published one day. When getting published is one of your goals and hopes as a writer, you have two main responsibilities: 1. to improve your writing and 2. to understand the publishing industry.
I personally believe the main one of the two is working as hard as you possibly can to improve your writing, and honing your craft. It is paramount to learn about the writing process, its stages and the creative development. First and fore most you have to produce work and not just of any kind. What is required is your best quality work. But without a clear understanding of how publishing works, especially in today’s digital era, there is little possibility to achieve that dream considering the enormous competition there is out there. The Association of Canadian Publishers state that every year in Canada there are more than 10,000 books published, not including self-published titles, e-books sold online and the amount of self-proclaimed writers all over the internet, as well as bloggers and fan-fiction writers out there. So, something has to make you shine, and set you apart, right? and it better be your writing.
So what you require is a plan. Jane Friendman cleverly puts it in her recently published book, ‘The business Of Being a Writer’, you need to apply a business plan to your writing career. Friedman, explains that learning about the industry and understanding it can help a writer set realistic expectations and make informed decisions regarding their careers for writing on a full-time or part-time basis. Because the truth is that just writing for publication might not be the only way to be a writer. A writer needs to make a lot of compromises on the way.
–Laurie Hazel Writer of romantic escapes and active member of the Hamilton Mountain Writers Guild.Connect with Laurie @ www.lauriehazel.comor Twitter: @Laurie_Hazel