No one builds a house starting with the roof. A foundation must be laid, the framework put up, drywall nailed into place and then the entire structure must be filled in and decorated.
A writing career is no different. Granted, not everyone out there is writing with the intention of making a career out of it. Some do it as an enjoyable diversion, others to fulfill a need to create. Whatever your reason, you should consider establishing Infrastructure to support your creative efforts.
How do we do that? There are a number of ways to support your creative urge so don’t take this as an all-inclusive list. I’m working on a writing career so what I do may not work for everyone.
Like it or not, it takes money to get around in this world. Office Supplies, a place to write, dealing with unexpected equipment repairs or replacements, etc, cost money. You should establish a budget so that you can meet the needs of your craft. Ideally, the funds for your Writing Budget should be kept separate from your Personal Budget so that when writing needs arise, those funds will be available for use.
2) Record Keeping
This is more for those who aim to be professionals, so if you have no plans to publish, you can probably disregard this part. Record Keeping is a vital part of any business and make no mistake, Writing is as much a business as any other. You are creating a product that people will want to pay to consume. That means keeping track of assets, liabilities, expenses, and that wonderful ameba: TAXES. In this respect, it’s little different from establishing any small business, such as a Sole Proprietorship.
Record Keeping also extends to your content. Keeping track of your writing projects’ state of completion is important because it allows you to see what you have going on and not getting bogged down in playing Twenty Questions with yourself. Organization is important. I recommend using a spreadsheet program such as Excel to create these records.
3) Your Writer’s Toolbox
I discussed this in my article, Off and Running Again, and I highly recommend that you look that over if you haven’t already. Assemble your tools so you can do the best job possible.
4) A Technical Library
This goes hand in hand with the Writer’s Toolbox but is expanded. Every book on writing, every reference material you put on your bookshelf, anything that helps you to be a better writer can go here. The purpose of a technical library is to have an easy to go source for those times when you feel you need to brush up on something. It will pay for itself a thousandfold and I highly recommend putting one together.
5) A Place to Write
Finally, you will need a place to write. The beauty of this is that you don’t need a fancy office space to set up and create. It can be at a table at home, a coffee shop, Internet Cafe, anywhere that you feel comfortable working at. Personally, I prefer a quiet place where I can be alone with my thoughts and easy access to caffeinated beverages and an ashtray. Yes, I smoke, but that’s a whole different conversation.
I hope you all find this useful or at the very least, entertaining. Please note that I am not discussing submitting, writing things like query letters to agents and publishers. This article is about helping you get ready to create. There is no magic bullet to getting published, only a massive superhighway system with many offramps and few Rest Stops.