Can You Tell The Difference Between Your Writing Business And You?

by Anne Wayman

writer's officeI tend to identify myself as a writer. When people ask me what I do I say I write.

I’ve been challenged by some people I trust to make sure I know the difference between me and my writing business.

The truth is I don’t really get the distinction and if I didn’t totally trust the people making this suggestion I’d probably blow it off. I don’t at the moment see why it should make much of a difference.

After all I do write; I’m more than my writing and I do all sorts of things that aren’t writing. But I do write about many of those things – all of life is grist for the writing mill.

One friend suggested I might begin to understand what for me is becoming something of a koan, that I begin to look at what my business needs. Here are a few of my initial ideas:

My writing business needs its  own bookkeeping. I actually do this, but only partly. I operate everything out of one checkbook, but I mark some as business and the rest as personal. I used to keep two, but when I changed banks although I have two, I couldn’t seem to keep either balanced so I went to only one checkbook. So starting to treat the business by making that distinction and using the business checking account for writing business income and expense makes sense.


My writing business should pay me a salary. To tell you the truth I have no idea why this should be true, except that it might help make the separation between self and business. Maybe that’s reason enough.

My writing business should have its own saving accounts. I tend to hold off on bigger ticket items until I have cash. There’s no reason I couldn’t do the same with the writing business – that is, set up savings accounts for it.

Hmmm. Those all have to do with money – but my hunch that isn’t the only way to see the writing business as different from me. But I’m stuck at the moment for more ideas. This will have to do for now.

How do you tell the difference between you and your business? Why is it important?

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Image: Attribution Some rights reserved by Jeremy Levine Design

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Woodman January 26, 2012 at 10:25 am

I think there are some careers that separate nicely–business from personal. I’m just taking a guess, but those that are “callings,” like being a minister or social worker, physical therapist or writer become part of our entire identities. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I write for pleasure, for volunteering interests and for money. I agree with you, Anne, that it’s only when I really take the time to focus on it that I realize more separation may be needed.
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Samantha Lee January 25, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between me and my business because I tend to indulge myself in it so much that I lose my individuality. How do you distinguish yourself from your business?

It’s quite difficult to answer. Nice post!

-Samantha Lee

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annew January 27, 2012 at 11:41 am

Glad you understand what I mean, Samantha.

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John Soares January 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm

My writing business definitely has its own bookkeeping, but it shares my bank account. I haven’t really had any difficulties distinguishing between business expenses and other expenditures.
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annew January 25, 2012 at 11:58 am

John, that’s the way I’m set up, but the challenge has revealed ensnarlments in my psyche that feel like they are worth looking at.

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Sharon Hurley Hall January 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Good question, Anne. There is a separation, but it’s all in my mind. I keep separate accounts so I know what comes into and leaves the business coffers, but that’s about it. I’m always mulling over the idea of having a business name instead of having the business so tightly linked to me, but I’ve never done anything about it.

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annew January 25, 2012 at 11:57 am

I’m really mulling this over and finding all sorts of resistances withing me… stuff I didn’t know about me before. I don’t really want to go through the drama of a different name for business… but maybe it will come to that.

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Krysha Thayer January 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm

I actually just did a big separation between my writing business and myself. Having a separate checking account, along with accounting software to manage the funds, has really made a difference. It’s nice to be able to see the numbers for what should be coming in, what’s there, and what’s going out!

This is an excellent article and I think that a lot of people will find it very useful!
Krysha Thayer recently posted..Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business and MORE!My Profile

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annew January 25, 2012 at 11:55 am

Thanks Krysha. You’ve written a nice review.

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