Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Professional Focus

I have a theory: I'm much more likely to get my Dream Job if I'm already working in the field in some respect. As far as theories go, that's not awful, right?

For me, it's publishing. I'll always be a writer, but there's only so much help I can offer to the writers who are looking for it from a desk in my small bedroom. I want to be able to help writers complete their books, publish their books, see their books for something more than a vague idea in their head.

However, since I have the whole "Do a Masters" thing to consider, I can't do either of two things at the moment: get a full-time job (period) or start my own business. With that in mind, I decided I would re-evaluate my plans for some books. Specifically, I would take the books that looked like I was just piecing them together and turn them into something more useful.

Seriously, though: I literally had a book that consisted of vaguely related ideas. Not. Any. More.

I'm taking what I call a "professional focus" on this. Yes, I've been treating my books professionally from day one, but to the end of being a writer. I've decided that my books should also be related to what I want to get from life.

I've already got Planning Before Writing and 25 Ways to Beat Writer's Block. To them, I'll be adding a few other titles, covering various areas of life as an author. The focus will be split between the craft of writing, the business side of things, and the lifestyle side of things - the three areas I had originally wanted to focus upon in my vaguely-connected books.

I don't plan on bombarding the market with them all in one go, of course. I want to take the time to write the properly, and to mix things up a bit so the books don't focus on one single aspect of writing. Today, while on my break in work, I put together short plans for four books, two of which I've wanted to write for a while regardless. It'll be an interesting project, and it fits into the general aim I set myself at the start of the year: establish myself as an "expert" in the field of writing.

To make a long story short, I want to be able to say to a publisher - either one I'm applying to, or one I'm submitting to - that I know a thing or two (or ten...) about what it means to be a writer, and I know how to make the process of writing and publishing a book so much easier than a lot of people make it for themselves. It helps to be able to prove it with more than a CV.

This is where the "professional focus" comes into play. I'll be working as a publisher, and working around the field of publishing, for pretty much the entire duration of my Masters. The entire time, I'll be preparing myself for the opportunity to say "This is what I can do; this is what others have said about it, and these are the pieces of paper from an established university that say I can do other things too."

I have to believe that I'm on the right track here. As it stands, I've already been told my experience is impressive. (It just didn't help that the company wasn't in a position to hire, because that's the publishing world for you.) I have a plan for myself, as difficult as that may seem for some people to believe. It's not so specific that outside variables can completely derail things within the next two years, and it's not so vague that when it comes to implementing the Grand Finale I'll be left without options.

I know what I want to do with my life, I have an idea about how to do it, and I'll be damned if I'm going to let myself get away with not even trying. I have a theory, and it needs to be proven.

And, just to make it specific about what I'm going to do now: I need to compile the plans for every book on writing I'll be writing and publishing over the next 18-24 months. I'll be typing them up, colour-coding them as Craft, Business or Lifestyle books, and placing them in a folder in the planned order of publication. On Monday, I'll begin the process of writing the next book.


It's worth mentioning, at the moment I'm offering friends a helping hand with their writing as a sort of free coaching service. (Sort of a coaching service, not sort of free.) Feel free to contact me with any sort of writing-related questions you might have. If I feel like it could benefit more from a direct conversation rather than an email reply, I'll put out the offer to you. This is all time-and-energy based, so if I don't reply right away, or I can't arrange a conversation (through Skype or Google+), don't be offended.

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