I’ve received payment for some of my writing (mostly magazine articles) but I’ve never considered my writing as a business. To operate a business there must be organization, planning, and consistency. Although I am an organized person, I’ve never approached my writing systematically or with much planning. Most often it’s been a hit-and-miss method and writing under pressure to meet a deadline. Yes, I’m afraid my approach to the business of writing has been lackadaisical therefore it’s amounted to nothing more than a poor part-time business or a casual hobby.
However, I do keep track of places I’ve submitted work, and rejections and payments received. The method I prefer is an Excel worksheet to record such information as; title; type of work (column, article, contest, devotional, etc); word count; publisher or group; date the work was submitted; date the work was returned if not accepted; published date; date paid; amount paid; and receivables (the amount I’m waiting and excepting to receive). This is a quick way for me to see at a glance what work has gone out, and what has been published and paid.
For my Aunt Shirley Story Ministry I use a binder to keep track of detailed booking information. On a sheet of paper I record; name and address of the group or church; name and telephone number of the contact person; date and time of the event; number of people in the audience; age group (children, adults, seniors); title of the story and lesson taught; distance traveled to the location and home; payment received; and date I mailed a thank you card to the group or person who invited me to speak. At the bottom of the page, I total the number of speaking engagements for that year and payments received.
Although I’m good at keeping track of my writings and payments, I’m poor at managing time. Because I seldom plan ahead, I write under pressure to meet deadlines. That’s a slap happy way of conducting business. Whenever someone asks for a story or article, I immediately buckle down to complete the work on schedule. But when it comes to working on a novel, I dilly-dally along allowing other things to take priority. It’s no wonder I don’t have a novel or any type of book published as yet.
I really need to figure out a reasonable schedule in which to work on my novel and have time for other things. That shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish. Let’s see now…there are 24 hours in a day, I need to sleep, eat, shop, go to church, go to work, have time with family…Oh, my! Excuse me now, as I go to the planning table with my calculator and take a serious look at the business of writing.