At what point did you start to take yourself (and your writing business) seriously? What did you differently then?
I did three things and added a fourth when I could:
- I created a home office. When I went ‘pro’ I had a small room off my bedroom. I turned it into a writing office with a desk for my typewriter (!) and a box for files. Later that’s where my first computer went. Gradually I added a bulletin board and some other nice-to-haves. Finding a ‘permanent place’ for my writing work, an office, helped me feel like a ‘real’ writer. Since then when I look at new places to live where my desk will go is a critical part of my search.
- I opened a business checking account. It was way easier way back then. Today, in some financial institutions, you need a business license or some other documentation. However you do it, I think it’s worth doing because it helps you see yourself as a business person as well as a writer. Just seeing my name on a business check with the words ‘Freelance Writer’ helped convince me I really was. I started tracking my business expenses.
- I got business cards. This is so much easier today than it was when I had to go to a print shop. Vista Print let’s you get cards for almost free and if you spend a bit more you can get custom cards there. Handing someone my card made me feel professional.
- I put up a website. I couldn’t do this back when I started because the web didn’t exist. But as soon as it did I registered my name as a domain name and host and built annewayman.com. We didn’t have templates when I build my first site, but these days they are good enough so I’d use one.
Notice I don’t say anything in this list about clients or marketing or even making money from your writing. Nor am I saying anything about the marketing you need to do. I find, at least for me, and as I watch others, that these four things are what I need to know I’m in business. They help me switch my view of myself from a hobbyist or a wannabe to knowing I’m a professional writer.
It’s out of that self-recognition of myself as a pro that I behave in a more business-like manner.
How do you know you’re in business as a writer?