I Am Writing

I’ve been busy typing away on my newest nonfiction book.  So happy to be in the zone.  How about you?  Are you making progress on your latest creative project?  How does your space look when you’re in the throes of creativity?  My space tends to get a bit messy, but I don’t mind.  Tap, tap, tap, my fingers race to keep up with my thoughts.  Today I am thankful to be a writer.

  As Lawrence Kasdan says, “Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.”

Top 10 Signs that You’re an Author Entrepreneur by Beth Barany

Top 10 Signs that You’re an Author Entrepreneur by Beth Barany

You’re a creative writer, a novelist or short story writer, or maybe you write novellas, too. In any event, this article was especially written with the fiction writer in mind. If you write creative nonfiction and use the tools of story telling in your work, you’ll probably relate to these signs as well. If you’re any other kind of writer, I’m sure you’ll find some value here too!

#10: You notice the bestseller’s list in the newspaper and online.

You track the New York Times, USA Today’s, your local newspaper, and Amazon’s bestsellers’ lists and day dream about having your book on the list.

Secret: Author entrepreneurs think big and aim for the top.

#9: You’re fierce about protecting your writing time and get upset or cranky or [fill in the blank with something not fun] when you don’t get your writing time in.

Creativity is a habit and when we go off our good habit we don’t feel right. Okay, I’ll speak for myself; I do get cranky, and a little bit snippy to my husband. (Good thing he’s a writer too, so he gets me. But still! Sure sign I need to get back to my writing routine if I start snipping at him.) As a good friend once said to me, “You need to work on grand projects, otherwise, you get crabby.” What could be more grand than creating whole worlds in novel form?!

Secret: Successful authors are productive.

#8: You have a million story ideas a day.

Okay, maybe not a million, but lots. I’m working on one story and another clamors for my attention. My system is to note the new idea in my journal, or if I’m at my computer, in Scrivener (a cool and affordable writing tool). When I’m really on fire about a new idea, I’ll take the time to research and document my findings and story ideas.

Secret: Author entrepreneurs say YES to the creative flow, and know how to manage their time and focus.

#7: You know what you want and you go for it.

Let me get more specific. You want to be an author and make money from your books and other creative ideas and be able to sustain and grow your income.

Secret: Author entrepreneurs create goals and plans and know their numbers. Practice setting goals. Actually do it. Revise your goals as you go. Review them regularly and update them as needed. Numbers can include how much money you want to make, how many books you’d like to sell, and how may clients you’d like to serve.

Admission: Writing goals? I’ve done that, after over 22 years of practice. Growing a business? I’m relatively new at it, having run my business for just 7 years. Managing the numbers is a big growth area for me right now.

#6: Other people’s success encourages you to work harder.

When I go to my monthly Romance Writers of America meeting here in the San Francisco area, I am so inspired by the success of my colleagues, and go home with renewed focus and determination.

Secret: Success leaves trails. Who is successful in your specific genre and what can you learn from them?

#5: You’re coming to terms with how art and commerce intersect.

In the last few hundred years a myth has arisen especially in Western culture that art and commerce are like enemies and don’t even speak to each other. Yet, there has been a growing awareness in the business world that they need creativity. And now with the burgeoning DIY market for all artists, and most definitely authors, we’re seeing how we need the skills of business – sales and marketing most specifically – to succeed in this new world. I see learning these skills as an extension of what it means to be an author today. Just like we learned editing and — OMG — writing a synopsis, we can learn how to sell and how to market. Because, guess what, we creative writers already have some of the most highly prized and useful skills needed to succeed, which brings me to our last few signs that you’re an author entrepreneur. So read on!

Secret: Successful author entrepreneurs see the creativity in business and the business in creativity.

#4: You like to think of excellent ways to do harm to your lovely characters.

You are a novelist, or a short story writer, or somewhere in between. You daydream for a living, and not only daydream, but scheme and plot and think up marvelous ways to surprise yourself and your readers. That type of thinking, called lateral thinking in the business world, is key to your work, and to your success.

Secret: Apply lateral – creative — thinking, to how you can best market and sell your books.

#3: You’re in it for the long haul.

It takes, ahem, a while to write a novel. Yes? Even plays, short stories, screenplays, and novellas take time. Writers I know who have finished at least one book (Congratulations!) are persistent, keep going even after long breaks, and see things through to the end of the book.

Secret: Author entrepreneurs persevere.

#2: You finish books.

This point bears repeating. And leads up to the Secret:

Secret: Successful author entrepreneurs finish their books.

And the #1 sign that you are an author entrepreneur: You take risks.

Being a creative is risky business. You put your vision and dream out there for all to see.

Secret: Author entrepreneurs risk and risk again, growing and evolving with the times, trying new things, experimenting, playing, and enjoying the ride.

Do you see yourself in these signs? Share below. I’d love to hear from you!

Guest post: Top 10 Signs that You’re an Author Entrepreneur

Author, speaker, and author’s coach Beth Barany

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Beth Barany is the editor and publisher of the Author Entrepreneurship Magazine. She’s an award winning YA fantasy author, keynote speaker, and author’s coach. A certified Creativity Coach and a Master NLP Practitioner, Beth brings to her work with authors a deep experience and understanding of the creative process. Beth lives in Oakland, California with her husband, bestselling thriller author and speaker, Ezra Barany, and together they enjoy their two cats, watching movies, and travelling to the big cities of the world.

More about her products and services to help fiction writers create successful and sustainable careers at: BethBarany.com.

To sign up for the next issue of the Author Entrepreneurship Magazine go here: AuthorEntrepreneurship.com.

To get fun tips on creative writing from other creative writers, visit Beth’s blog, Writer’s Fun Zone: WritersFunZone.com.

Check out Beth’s courses for authors:

Blog Tour Course Beth BaranyBestseller Weekend Beth Barany

Check out Beth’s books for authors:

Writers Adventure Guide Beth Barany  Twitter for Authors Beth Barany   Overcome Writers Block Beth Barany

To learn about Beth’s award-winning fiction, go to her fiction author site.

Author Entrepreneur Magazine Beth BaranyBeth loves staying in touch via the social media channels:

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Creative Spaces — Guest Post by Flick Merauld

Creative Spaces

I suppose, in many ways, my workspace is like an extension of myself – though I’m not the only person who uses it: my granddaughter claims the computer whenever she comes here, and my partner collects his email from it from time to time. It’s in the hub of the house as well, in the dining room, not in some cosy office or den tucked away from noise and disturbance. Consequently I have people stopping to chat when I’m trying to work (why is it nobody thinks a request not to talk to you can possibly include them!) But somehow this arrangement seems to make it easier for me to get on and write. There are no barriers to break; there’s no countdown to when I have to be there and knuckle down. I can wander off to the kitchen for coffee or a snack or out to the garden. I have dogs coming to lie at my feet and cats wandering across the keyboard. And, of course, the Internet is slumbering under my fingertips, waiting to surge into life whenever I get stuck and need a brief (or not so brief) distraction. Not only that, but the huge mirror behind the computer space reflects the garden, so that I can watch the changing weather and the wheeling seasons, comfortable and sheltered but still feeling connected to Nature and all her inspiring beauty – as I write this, I can see the frosty trees, while later in the year there’ll be daffodils, the unfurling of apple blossom and lilac, then roses, and the flurried activity of birds and squirrels.

Beginning work is easy. I kind of drift in and out, potter and do other things, slip into my space and get absorbed in whatever the current project is, drift off again to the shops or to read for a bit, make some food. I don’t write to music, though, as I find it incredibly distracting. While all this seems very casual and undisciplined, I actually do get a huge amount done when I’m in full creative flow. As I’m a photographer as well as a writer, and process images in Photoshop, my space isn’t for one activity only, and I think that makes my approach more fluid than it might have been otherwise.

Creative Spaces Guest Post by Flick Merauld

Flick Merauld in her creative sanctuary

Thirteen years ago, when I first began writing for publication, I was quite superstitious about my workspace and wouldn’t move or change anything while a book was in progress. Between 1999 and 2004, I wrote a series of books on Paganism for the American Mind/Body/Spirit publisher, Llewellyn, using the pen name Elen Hawke; from the time each of these books was started till it was sent off to the publisher, I wouldn’t move so much as a pen from it’s place on my worktop. When my partner first came to live with me, he decided to tidy up around the computer and I went ballistic – I actually felt invaded. Nowadays I’m less pernickety. Since I began publishing onto Amazon KDP/Kindle, I find I’m quite happy if things get removed or displaced. Maybe it’s the nature of my novels, the Aunt Sally series (The Aunt Sally Team and Aunt Sally & More) and The Sacred Marriage, but I find the whole process of writing much more enjoyable now. Maybe it’s also because I can set my own deadlines, rather than writing to a publishing schedule as I did for Llewellyn. I’m even writing two books at once at the moment, a third Aunt Sally and a sequel to The Sacred Marriage.

I think kind of catching myself unawares — sitting down and looking at what I’ve written, making corrections etc. then deciding to write a bit more, rather than giving myself a strict schedule — works best for me. I love writing, whether it’s answering questions in email discussion lists, chatting on Facebook or Twitter or getting stuck into a new novel. I think I’m privileged to spend my life in activities that I enjoy so much: reading, writing, photography and illustration. So my workspace, where I do all this, is a happy place for me to be.

Bio: Flick Merauld is a writer artist and photographer and plonks around on harp and guitar. As well as training in photography and graphic design at art school, she’s travelled all over the world and done many different jobs including barmaid, farmhand and factory worker. She’s now very happily settled in the beautiful but eccentric city of Oxford (United Kingdom) with her partner and family.

Having had several well known non-fiction books published by the American publisher Llewellyn, under the pen name Elen Hawke, she turned her hand to writing fiction, resulting in novels that include the best selling The Aunt Sally Team (UK visit http://amzn.to/MgZRmW) based on a riotous summer spent playing the old fashioned English pub game of the same name, and its sequel, Aunt Sally & More ( UK visit http://amzn.to/12fQSIy) Both these books combine love, sex, relationships and humour with depth and insight. Her novel The Sacred Marriage (UK visit http://amzn.to/LhdwVm), set in Brittany and Oxford, is written in a more serious vein.

You can visit Flick Merauld‘s blog, cats dogs & eBooks: life love & having a novel published, and visit her Facebook page

Creatives Spaces by Flick MerauldCreatives Spaces by Flick MerauldCreatives Spaces by Flick Merauld

Creative Spaces is a new guest blog series that invites you to take a peek into writer’s special workspaces. Come back often to read the intriguing guest posts.

Shopping For Writers (Or Anyone Else)

Wondering what to ask Santa for this year?  Or uncertain what to buy for your dearest writer friends?  I started compiling a visual shopping list on Pinterest to help friends who asked what they should buy for other writers and to assist those who were stumped when their spouses asked what they wanted for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or their birthday.  101 Gift Ideas for Writers and Book Lovers is my compilation of awesome literary gift ideas for anyone who wants suggestions to give to their loved ones, or find something unique for a writer or anyone who loves books, or to buy something special for yourself.  Are you the kind of writer who rewards herself for making a deadline, or for completing a first draft, or for kicking butt during NaNoWriMo?  If so, look to this list for that amazing reward.

I included practical items for those writers who are like me and are buried under mounds of paper.  We long to free ourselves of paper clutter.  I know others must also want to be more productive so I added a few gifts to aid a writer’s productivity such as Dragon dictation software.  What writer doesn’t want to be more creative?  I recommend fun items to stir the creative juices like a Shakespeare love pillow, a banned books bracelet, and typewriter tote bags.  Then there are health and well being suggestions such as a gift certificate for a soothing massage.  Count me in!   Any woman, whether a writer or not, wants to look and feel good, so I included a couple of  jewelry and beauty ideas, too.  But, most of the items work for men as well.

Writing Prompts and Story Cubes

Now, I do mention gift cards like iTunes, but it’s not a cop out.  Some friends love to buy apps or ebooks.  And if you include a printout of a specific app like the Note Taker HD as a suggestion, then that makes the purchase more personal.

I’ll continue adding to the list on http://pinterest.com/byvictoriaj/gift-ideas/ as I do my shopping and providing the links so you can easily locate each item.   If you have any suggestions for a great gift, let me know and I’ll add them to my growing ‘Shopping for Writers’ list.  What are you asking Santa for?  Let me know in the comments.  I hope this post and board will make Santa’s job easier this year.  Happy shopping!