Do your words flow through you, and out onto the page; like the notes flow though a jazz musician and out through their instrument? In essence, do you write with passion and conviction?
Ernest Hemingway said this about writing: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Hemingway knew about writing with passion — filling the words with the contents of your very soul.
But good writing requires more than passion
You can get lost when trying to find your ideal writing voice; or in pouring out your soul, so that your readers actually experience your message in a meaningful way. Unchecked, your overzealous attempt to write something of permanence and universal meaning can send your career on the fast track to obscurity.
The business of writing represents the other side of this double-edged sword – the razor sharp side known simply as the business of writing. If you do not attend to the business of writing, the emotional and painful story you tell may be that of your own.
Crashing through stereotypes — the path to a lasting legacy
There’s an old fable, wive’s tale, or what-have-you that sets up the great divide between writer, artist or musician, and business person. The general public views professional writers as eccentric, and fickle, with little interest or natural wisdom in business. Those not engaged in a creative, artistic field tend to think that most writers cannot balance a checkbook, have no idea how to properly budget or handle money, and lack any analytical problem solving skills — all unfounded, sterotypical views perpetuated through media depictions of irresponsible creatives.
We may have to apply ourselves more than others when it comes to organizing and managing our writing businesses. The financial aspects of our calling may not come as natural to us. But in most cases, this disconnect has little to do with writers’ ability to manage a business, and develop a sound financial strategy.
Writers simply put their energy and focus elsewhere, often leaving the very important, but not as compelling, business aspect of their careers to drift along, unattended. The message here — attend to the business of your writing career with the same high energy you put into your creative sessions — crash through the stereotypes about professional writers by developing and running a sound business foundation that reveals the author as businessperson.
Writing and profiting on the flat side of the sword
The two sides can come together, you can write with passion, and still deftly handle the associated business of writing. You decide which holds more importance for you at any given time — writing or money. Just because you may, for a time, decide that words hold more value to you than money in your wallet, doesn’t mean you’re a financial buffoon.
Country music superstar Toby Keith represents a prime example of a creative that also possesses expertise in business. He knew his original recording company couldn’t deliver on his financial goals, so he started his own record label. Both his music, and his financial position profited strongly from this astute decision. Other artists admit that Keith’s business savvy and professional attitude toward his career make him a trustworthy, and easy person to work with.
Writers, feel your writing. Bleed onto the keyboard. Open your soul and lay it out there. Don’t hold back because you fear financial issues and business management. Tend to them as well. Don’t believe the old wive’s tales. You can write with passion, and run your business with as well. Rather than following advice to quell your passion to forge financial success, use that passion to secure success in, and through your writing business — do it your way — you won’t find lasting success by any other path.
It doesn’t matter what you do — writer, musician, painter — you know how to let life flow through you when practicing your craft. It can flow just as smoothly in all areas of your life, if you’ll just let it.
The jazz musician lets his creative life flow through his being, into his instrument to move the listeners. Let your words flow like a saxophone wails its bluesy tune, and do the same for your freelance writing business.