Writing as a Collaborative Art

I’ve been doing some thinking lately. Mostly, I’ve been thinking about why I write. What do I want to accomplish? Am I writing with the intention of selling my writing to someone else to read? Or, am I writing to figure out what I think about things? In either case, there is a desire to engage with my readers. At my age, I don’t expect to make a living with my writing. It would be nice if I could swing it but I’m not betting on it.

This puts me firmly in the category of amateur writer, in the sense that an amateur does something for the love of doing it. Any income derived from writing will be welcomed and probably immediately reinvested in producing more writing.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to become a good writer or that I don’t want to figure out how to publish my work and make enough from it to at least pay the costs of writing and promoting my work. I have the added luxury of being able to retire and live partially on my pension. I face the challenge of all pensioners of trying to ensure that my retirement money lasts as long as I do.

I have discovered as I look into the business of writing that I know more than I realize about running a business. I know that you have to account for everything, time, materials, services, relationships. You’ve got to keep meticulous records. Records of expenditures, details of the things that you’ve tried and how well they work. Ways of stretching your time and money to accomplish as much as possible with the least investment. You look for win-win situations and ways to get investments to serve double duty.

This leads me to the conclusion that, like it or not, I’m going to have to develop some level of skills at running a business. This may actually have the added benefit of helping me manage my personal finances more prudently. It is rather late in life for me to be figuring these things out but I guess it is better late than never.

I have made a good start on an important aspect of a writer’s career. I have begun meeting other writers and forming support networks. No one ever truly accomplishes anything totally alone. This is particularly true of writing. After theatrical productions (in which category I clump stage, screen, and concert productions), publishing is one of the most complex of the collaboratory endeavors.

Engineers, Doctors, Lawyers, can all practice their professions solo. They often choose to employ teams of support personnel but they aren’t totally necessary. Writers can write by themselves but to produce a salable product they most collaborate with editors, artists, graphic designers, typesetters, publicists, the list goes on and on.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.

Get Er Done!

I recently read a book called Getting Real by the folks from 37signals, creators of Ruby on Rails, Ta-da List, Writeboard, Backpack, and Basecamp among other Ajaxian web application goodness. While superficially a book about how to start a successful business selling services based on web applications, a topic they have plenty of credibility with, the advice in this book is applicable to a much broader realm of endeavors.

I was so inspired by it that I have dusted off several projects that were laying dormant and started actively doing them again. Of course this is also aided by the insights that I have been gleaning from the Getting Things Done book. I have also bought a Backpack Basic account so that I can use their wonderful calendar. Enough raving for now. Got to get some things done :-).