Friday, December 23, 2011

Turning the artist into a businessperson

I am a writer.

Therefore, I am also an artist, with the medium of my craft being words instead of paint and a blank canvas.  Words that are molded into sentences, scenes, chapters, short stories, novellas, and novels.

Artists have a tendency to feel that their art has to be created in their own time, with no motivation to set even a deadline for its completion.  But if that artist wants to make a living at their craft, they need to wear at least two different hats.

One is the creation hat.  This is where the work gets done--although most starving ones don't view their craft as work.  If you want to make a living at it, you must get in the mindset that it's your job and you need to work at it.  I consider writing as my second job--okay, my third job, as I already have two jobs, one FT and another PT.

The second is the business hat.  This is where you need to get your mindset of treating your craft as a business.  I've spent a number of blogs exploring this notion, but let's take it a step further.  Set a deadline for yourself to complete it.  Make the deadline both realistic (subjective, I know) and difficult.  Meaning, difficult to achieve unless one puts a little bit of elbow grease--in other words, W.O.R.K.  And when I say realistic, don't say you'll complete it in two weeks.  Unless I wrote twenty hours a day, I'm not sure I could write over 6,000 words in a single day while juggling everything else in my life right now--that would be close to 30 pages . . . something I've only done a handful of times.  Honestly.

If I say I'll set a deadline of two years to complete my 85,000 word novel, that's only around 116 words a day.  But if I say I'll do it in six months, that's a little over 467 words a day--not even the minimum specified in NaNoWriMo.  To set a six month deadline may be enough for you and I'm okay with that.

Personally, I love holidays.  Any holiday.  I may say, I'll finish my novel by Memorial Day or Labor Day or Christmas (or Halloween, if it's horror).  Holidays are a perfect milestone, but really any day will do.

Setting a deadline to complete your art is a great start to getting yourself in the mindset of a businessperson.

Then, once the deadline has been set (both realistic and difficult), get to work.

Because working is the only way to turn your art into a way of life.

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