Digital Marketing, Novel Writing, Publishing

Writing is your business: justify the investment

Zemanta offered this image up in response to my blog post. I love it! Could anything (even writing) be more fanciful than selling balloons on the street? How is that somehow more acceptable than investing in a writing business? | BALLOON SALESMAN ON SOUTH SIDE CHICAGO’S 47TH STREET MANY OF THE CITY’S BLACK BUSINESS OWNERS STARTED WITH… – NARA – 556217 (Photo and description credit: Wikipedia)

Did you know 50 to 70 percent of small businesses fail within the first 18 months? I am curious as to how that statistic stacks up in the entrepreneurwriter world. How many would-be writers give up within the first 18 months?

Have you ever considered taking time off work to write? Did you then decide not to because you couldn’t “afford it?” How do you justify the time spent on an activity that may or may not pay out in the long term? Well, let me ask you this: How do most small business owners justify the time and expense sunk into the more than half a million small businesses opened in the U.S. each year? When you consider the odds, how can anyone believe they can afford to open a small business?

Small business owners choose to open their own businesses for many of the same reasons you and I decided to go into writing. In many cases, these business owners have found something they are passionate enough about to want to spend the rest of their lives doing it. They justify the decision to chase this dream by considering the time and expense sunk into the business as an investment. This can be an extremely risky business investment (remember, 50 to 70 percent of them will fail,) but few will argue that it is not an investment.

So, why can’t writers view their time and expense as an investment as well? I don’t have any hard statistics to support my view, but I would venture to guess that the number of writers who succeed in their chosen profession is comparable to those small business owners who do not end up shutting their doors within the first 18 months of opening.

Why is it somehow less acceptable to invest in writing? Is it because it is an art – something that we are producing out of our own heads – rather than a tangible product that can be sold across a counter? Is it because a novelist is unable to project earnings based on the number of words written each quarter? Maybe it is because of the years that it can often take to show any kind of profit. Or the “evil gatekeepers” who have traditionally blocked entrance to most would-be authors.

I believe I have at least as much of a chance of succeeding as a writer as the average small business owner has of succeeding in his or her chosen profession. The biggest difference between the small business owner and me is the fact that he or she will often need to invest a great deal of money in the beginning, while all I really need is time. And I don’t have to fill out an application to get my hands on time. All I need to do is make writing a priority and schedule it in on a regular basis.

The small business owner’s greatest investment may be a monetary investment, while mine will be a time investment. But it is an investment. So next time you’re tempted away from writing because you can’t seem to justify the time, just consider it an investment. It may be a risky investment, but I believe it is a risk worth taking.

Just remember, like a small business, your writing business must have a plan to succeed. You should set goals and monitor your progress toward those goals. What are your plans for succeeding in the writing business in 2014?

~Amanda L. Webster

5 thoughts on “Writing is your business: justify the investment”

  1. Reblogged this on Michael D Woods and commented:
    Reblogging this post because it covers some of the same ideas I’ve been considering lately. I’m investing a bit of my own money and quite a bit of my time into editing and self publishing an original anthology. I’m taking a chance on what others consider a hobby.

  2. Shared this on my Facebook page: Christine Campbell, Author, WriteWhereYouAre
    Enjoyable and thought provoking post. Very helpful and encouraging.
    Thank you.

  3. Oh, and Congratulations to a fellow NaNoWriMo winner! Hope you had as much fun as I did. A great investment of time. Let’s hope we both profit from it. I’m still editing that first draft, though been a bit distracted by preparing my third novel, Flying Free, for its imminent release.

    1. Thanks for sharing my blog post. I’m with you, still editing my NaNo project while working on another novel. Hopefully I will be a little less distracted after the holidays! Good luck to you in the new year!

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