Your Artist Self and Your Business Self
One of the biggest challenges for many writers is being able to separate the artist self from the business self, and figuring out ways to nurture both.
I find this to be an issue for unpublished authors more than those who are published. Once a writer is published, they seem highly motivated to stay published, and therefore more open to considering ways to increase the commercial appeal of their work.
But for some new or unpublished authors, there seems to be a resistance to “commercializing” their art. That’s fine, if you want to write for yourself, your family and your friends. But if the goal is to ask strangers to pay money to read your work, then it deserves a different approach.
It recently occurred to me that writers might benefit by taking a break from reading books on writing, and occasionally read some business-related books.
All the specifics in a business book might not apply to the writing life, but the overall message can be helpful in learning how to approach writing as a business or even a career. It can help you adopt the mindset of running a successful business and teach you to ask the right questions as you consider what kinds of books to write, and how to write them. These books can open your eyes to everything from how consumers make buying decisions, to how to create a successful brand, to how to organize your time for maximum effectiveness.
As I’ve spoken with several of my clients who have multiple books published, it’s been interesting to see how they approach the constant necessity to keep drawing in readers: rather than feeling like they’re “selling out,” they savor the challenge of getting better and better at crafting words into books that people want to read. They are able to see the art in running a successful business. They look for the stories or topics that interest them, and then ask themselves where their own interests meet the demands of the marketplace.
Are you comfortable with approaching writing as a business? What helps you nurture this mindset? How do you balance your artistic self with your business self?
Below are some good business-related books to consider. Feel free to add your own in the comments.
To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink
Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée A. Mauborgne
Lean In by Sheryl Sandburg
The Everything Store by Brad Stone
Getting Things Done by David Allen
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin
The Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill
Purple Cow by Seth Godin
Making Work Work by Julie Morgenstern