I have now started and deleted this post three times. Not good, considering I only gave myself 25 minutes to draft it as part of a blog challege. Fortunately, though, that did inspire me to truly focus in on what authorpreneurship means to me. At face value, of course, it’s made up of two nouns combined into one: author + entrepreneur. When you decide to become an author, you’re deciding simultaneously to become a brand and a business. Gone are the days (for the most part) when one could be the crazy, cloistered writer typing madly away at the keyboard and trusting that one day another crazy, cloistered writer would tell your story about writing your stories. Now, you have to be that person who wears two madhatter hats: writer and business(wo)man.
What It All Means to Me
I have been involved in some part of the writing and publishing industry, either part time or full time, now for going on twelve years. Twelve years, and of all the lessons I’ve taken away as being the most widely applicable to all areas of my life it has been compartmentalization. Especially because I’ve worked from home and been my own boss for all of it.
As a work from home entrepreneur, it has been very easy to succumb to two main pitfalls:
- The 24/7 Push
- Busy Bee Fever
The 24/7 Push is when you are stuck with the mindset of you should be working because you could be working. Regardless of family time, sickness, burnout, other priorities, etc. When you are in the 24/7 Push, you are in one costume trying to play all the different roles on the stage of your life. Couple the ease of falling into this pitfall, too, with the fact the world will be an enabler by shouting out praises for your willingness to push, push, push and be ever more busy.
With Busy Bee Fever, you get stuck in busy work, because it makes you feel like you’re getting things done, even though, in reality, you’re accomplishing absolutely nothing. Well, you’re accomplishing something–just not what needs to be done.
Compartmentalizing stops you from becoming a fatality of either of those conditions. When you compartmentalize, you also prioritize, and you set… you shift your mindset from one of doing equals success to accomplishing equals success.
Unfortunately, I’m already running out of time now, since I did so much deleting and restarting at the beginning of this post draft, so I need to start coming to some sort of useful conclusion here. So, here it is: To be an authorpreneur is to be your own boss and to dictate the best use of your time to create a results-oriented plan.
As writers, we become focused in the process. We are writers. Writing is a verb; to be a writer, you must write. We’ve all heard that saying, and it’s not wrong… but to be a successful author, depending on how you define that success, you also need to be a productive writer. If your process of writing is resulting in nothing, then while it might satisfy an itch, it’s tipping the balance too far from productive to prolific. Which is utterly fantastic, if your own history has shown that prolific writing equates to more sales or greater readership numbers for you. However, if you have twenty books already written and none have taken off, then it may be time to spend less time producing more words and more time editing those words already produced, or focusing on the craft, or building your platform–or anything that is going to get you the results you’re aiming for.
The key part here, though, is to know what you’re aiming for. Are you aiming to complete as many works as you can in your lifetime, regardless of whether the market is hungry for your words at this time? Are you aiming for success with the one book you already have out on the market? What are you aiming for, and are you in control of your schedule and career enough to compartmentalize your tasks lists? Are you prioritizing based on being results-oriented, or are you prioritizing based on the dream you haven’t yet achieved? There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, but there is something, in my opinion, inherently wrong about being angry you haven’t attained what you haven’t yet worked for.
Good thoughts, Jessica! We only have so much time to create, and those times need to count.