Carpe Diem

I just finished constructing a business plan for my writing. This month is the second anniversary of when I began writing the first draft of The Prophecy, my first novel, so the business plan was well overdue. Although I’d done quite a bit of research on publishing a novel before then, particularly self-publishing, it took a long time for me to understand all the various aspects of writing as a business.

Trust me. Writing itself is the easy part, as any author can attest. It’s what comes after that’s tricky and challenging. I’ve found that out the hard way over the past couple of years. That first-hand experience made compiling a business plan so much easier than if I’d tried to write one before I published my first novel.

The business plan is geared primarily toward helping me focus on that after part, things like marketing and gaining a readership and publication schedules and all the minutiae that go into building a good writing business. Because it is a business, a potentially lucrative one, and I need a way to organize my thoughts on how to proceed, which that plan helps me do.

But writing isn’t really a job for me. It’s not a career so much as a lifelong desire now realized. And because of that, I’m determined to make it work. Not every author succeeds. It’s like anything else. Luck and timing play an equal role to hard work, but part of that is simply being prepared when opportunities present themselves, and that’s why having a plan is so important.

But that’s not what this post is about, in spite of the title. This post is about something too many people fail to do: Pursue their dreams. I have been losing myself in story since I was very young. That love of the written word led me to dream of becoming a writer, and I tried, over and over again. When I finally figured out how to actually complete a story from beginning to end, I could’ve chosen to stop there, to not dip my toe into the often bleak world of publishing, to cling to a more reliable job with benefits and a regular paycheck.

In other words, I could’ve forsaken my dream in favor of security.

At that point, though, I had nothing to lose. I was already self-employed as a professional genealogist. (If you think writing is tough, try making it in that field.) I’d had my fill of working for The Man, those rigorously, narrow-minded individuals who bury their heads in the sand for decades while toiling under someone else’s thumb for a paycheck and the promise of a good pension. And I was home-schooling my son, who faced forced medication at the hands of his teachers if I had to re-enter the work force and return him to the not so tender care of America’s public school system.

Writing offered me and my son a way out of that soul-grinding world. I chose to take it.

I’ll be honest. Not everyone is cut out for this life. It takes a lot of hard work, long hours, severe discipline where money is concerned, and a love of solitude. I’m glad I took the plunge, though. I’m glad I had the courage to seize the opportunity when it presented itself and I regret not one step I’ve taken since. From the outside, I may seem like an eccentric old bat cooped up in her home, hammering away on the keyboard all day, but on the inside? I’m one happy gander, and I intend to be for a long time to come.

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