A Small Change of Plan

What with the effect that the Corona virus has had on the stock market and the fact that I keep reading advice from established writers that says “keep your day job”, I think I’m going to push off retirement a couple of more years. Every year that I keep adding to my retirement fund makes the prospect of writing for a living seem more feasible. If I can ratchet my retirement fund up to the point where I can live comfortably on it, I can use my income from writing, such as it may be, to invest in promoting my writing. I’ve never gone to many conventions because I couldn’t afford to. I’d love to be able to go to them and take it off my taxes as a business expense.

Another benefit of postponing retirement is that I can spend my spare time getting better as a writer so that when I do get ready to write full time, I’ll have more experience and maybe a sale or two under my belt. I know. You can’t make any sales if you haven’t made any submissions. I’m getting there.

One challenge in putting off retirement is finding time to work full time and go to all my (and my wife’s) doctor appointments. I’m lucky there in that my employer is very liberal in their flexible work schedule policy. The other thing that I appreciate is that they have changed from having sick leave and vacation to having one combined paid time off (PTO) bucket. They are also letting us take PTO in tenth of an hour increments after the initial hour. That will help.

Another issue that I have is avoiding exposure to the pandemic du jour. It’s not that I’m that afraid of them but rather that by working with people that have children, I am routinely exposed to any illness that is going around. My wife has a number of autoimmune disorders and is often left with a compromised immune system. My employer is very understanding about telecommuting but there are certain things that can’t be done remotely. I will be glad when the bulk of my work can be accomplished from my home office.

The final issue that I’m struggling with is the fact that I’ve never been self employed. My ignorance of basic business operations is staggering. I’m scared of failing not because I’m not a good writer but because I’m a lousy businessman. I guess I’ll focus on becoming an excellent writer and do what I can to improve my business acumen along the way.

I understand you can hire business managers. You need to have a business in the first place for that to make sense though. Kind of like the reason I’m not looking for an agent yet is that I’m not producing product that an agent could sell yet. If I make a sale on my own, maybe I’ll look for an agent.

Then there is the other approach to the business. The dreaded self publishing. Publishers do a lot for a writer. If one decides to self publish, one takes on the responsibility of doing everything that the publisher normally does for an author, provide an editor, a copy editor, a development editor, book designer, produce the book, distribute the book, etc. You have to know a lot more about publishing and work a whole lot more on the aspects other than writing which in itself is hard enough.

To conclude, I am overthinking things (again). I need to let the problems arise before I worry too much about them. In the mean time, I intend to enjoy the process of becoming a better writer. If I didn’t enjoy writing to begin with, none of this would even be an issue.