by Rebecca “Head Elf” Flansburg
Nothing quite like a bright shiny New Year to help wipe the slate clean and fuel one’s desire to conquer the coming months with enthusiasm and intent.
I was looking back at old notes and even older blog posts and it dawned on me how far my writing has come from the days when I used REALLY tiny print, very few paragraphs (can you say “slab-o-text?”) and not much “meat.” Even this last year has brought about noticeable changes in writing style, thought processes, and hopes for the future. I, like many, many folks out there, would love to write a book someday. What book, I have no idea. It will come to me when the time is right.
SO, as I look back on all of this, including this last year, and I have some thoughts and perspectives I’d like to share.
1. Toot Your Horn: It’s easier now, more than ever, to create a writer’s platform for yourself. WordPress.org has plugin for darn near everything but mowing your lawn. It makes it so easy to create a “place” where you can share facts about you, create a media kit, and grow a base of raving fans. If you are green-as-grass about blogging I will start with using the Blogger platform just for the sake of simplicity. However, if you ever want to get truly serious about having a blog, including selling your books and products from it, I highly recommend starting out immediately on a WordPress.org option. You can start out on Blogger until you get your feet wet and migrate it over to a WP.org, but it will cost at least $300 to do it properly. The key word here is properly. SO, stop making excuses. Get a blog going ASAP.
2. Go Into Business for Yourself: It’s more cost effective than ever to start an on-line business. Stuck in a crappy job waiting for your writing/publishing break? Starting an 0n-line biz is not as daunting as you may thing. Jeff Goins just wrote yet ANOTHER stellar post called Everyone Should Start an Online Business (or How You Can Be Your Own Patron)
What it really costs
If you want to start an online business, here’s what it’ll cost you:
- $10/year to buy a domain name (e.g. goinswriter.com)
- $5/month for web hosting
- $0 to download WordPress (website-building software)
- $0 to install a free design theme for your blog/website
- $5/month for an online shopping cart (to sell stuff)
- $0 to accept purchases through Paypal
- $0 to start an email newsletter
Pretty eye-opening, ‘eh?
3. Know when to ask for help. As Valarie says “everyone needs a Head Elf.” Too many writers or business owners try to “to it alone” to save a few bucks. One of my favorite quotes lately is from the sour Roy on Shipping Wars. His rant “it’s a nickle holding up a dollar!” rings true for many reasons. If you are spending hours doing bookkeeping or social media, that’s fine..if you want to me a social media manager or an accountant. Hire a virtual assistant, check out Fivrr, or hit up your cousin, but Ask.For.Help. At least check into the possibility of freeing up some of your precious time to do what you do best-WRITE.
4. Find Like-Minded Folks to Hang With: Everyone needs a good support system. People who won’t laugh at your ideas, will comfort your fears, and help you feel not so alone in this writer’s world. A place where you can go to share your struggles and also triumphs because they “get it.” It could be a Writer’s Group, or just a good BFF. Either way, find other human beings that will join and support you on your journey.
5. Take Care of YOU: Last year I fell into the trap of “grinding it out” hour after hour, day after day. Yes I was growing a business and that goes along with the territory, but there was a day when I looked out the window and the leaves were turning and Fall was in the air. I was mortified. Where did summer go? I had forgotten the Cardinal Rule of Self-Care and that was to take the the time to stop and smell the roses. Set aside time everyday to get out and walk, play with your kids, and socialize. It’s not only head-clearing, but your creativity will appreciate the change of scenery as well.