Part 3 of The Business of Writing – Taking the Plunge — Preparing to Write Full Time
(This is a special guest post by one of our favorite writers. Grant will visit once or twice a month and explain the business of writing. His articles are spot-on for authors and writers interested in developing business sense or refining the way they run their writing businesses.)
By Grant McDuling
Strange as it may seem, the one thing you don’t need if you want to be a full-time writer or author is a degree in journalism or communications. Sure it helps if you have a degree, but it isn’t a requirement. A writing degree isn’t even a requirement for a traditional job in journalism. You can make a living as a writer or author no matter what your level of education.
I’m assuming you know how to string a few words together in a manner acceptable to paying editors. Your ability to write is a given. This blog aims rather at presenting you with something you don’t already know about what it takes to become a full-time writer. At the very least, OnText tries to give you a fresh insight into something you may already suspect.
So what, then, are the requirements to successfully operating as a full-time writer, author, or ghostwriter in private practice? The requirements can be broken down into two basic categories: Mental and physical. This post looks at the former.
Prepare Mentally to Be a Marketable Writer
The number one key element is your attitude. You absolutely must have the right attitude to work for yourself. You need to take full responsibility for your future, for your life, and for what you are and what you want to achieve.
Forget about comparing life as a self-employed writer to that of the traditional journalist. What you’re embarking on is not traditional. It’s far better – or it will soon be if you have a disciplined, positive attitude.
Now you need to jettison your view of yourself as a freelance writer. Go one step
further: Banish the thought from your mind that you are a writer.
“Come again?” I hear you say. “What’s that you just said?”
Let me say it again. Banish the thought from your mind that you are a writer.
You see, from this moment on you are a business person. You are in business to make a
profit. It’s as simple as that. Realise that the goal of every business is to make a profit, and
it’s exactly the same for your writing business. The only difference between your writing business and the vast majority of others is that yours is a business that sells words. Get it?
From this moment on, you are in business to make a profit. You have to get used to thinking like a business person thinks. You must drastically change your very approach to life. How do you do that? Simple.
Everything you do in your business must be for one purpose – to make a profit. Ask yourself continuously what you’ll make from doing this or that. Begin by setting a price on your time, a value on your skills.
How to Turn the Writing of Words into Real Money
Decide what an hour of your time is worth. It could be any figure to start with, for instance, $50 an hour. Then, when you get to the stage of weighing up whether to take on a job or assignment, all you need to do is estimate how long it will take you to complete it, multiply that by your hourly rate, and then you’ll have an instant snapshot of the value of the job to you.
You’ll have something to compare what your client is offering to pay against the value you have put on your time. If, for instance, you only stand to earn $150 from a job that is going to take you the best part of 12 hours to complete, you would pass this one up. If you valued your time at $50 an hour, you would lose $450. You could take the job on if you knew you could subcontract it to someone else at $100, then you’d at least be making $50 profit for no effort at all. You would then spend the time more productively chasing after better paying work.
Are you beginning to get a feel for how you approach your writing as a business person would?
If you would like to speed ahead and dive into the world of full-time writing straight away, you can download my Kindle book Write For A Living In 7 Easy Steps.
Grant McDuling, author and ghostwriter
Grant McDuling is a Brisbane-based author of 35 books, so far. He has published three as Kindle books and says that since buying a Kindle, his reading habits have changed. Grant is a well-known ghostwriter, having written for a range of clients all over the world, Many of his books are now international best sellers with sales in the millions. Grant has been writing since 1978. His other interests include amateur radio, computers, electronics and classical music. He is also working hard at improving his golf swing. Read Part 1 of Grant’s series on writing for a living. The Business of Writing — How to Make a Living as an Author or Writer
Part 2 is Secrets of a Successful Writer: What’s in Your Mind Counts