Archive for October 1st, 2011

Saturday, October 1st, 2011 by Ken Scholes
Being Your Own Boss

Howdy folks and Happy Saturday!

As I write this, Elmo and his friends are singing about dinosaurs (again) and Lizzy and Rae are finger-painting themselves and their high chair tables in Amazing Displays of Ketchupy Goodness.

It’s been a few weeks of not feeling well — a combination of a tenacious cold, not enough rest and a little bit of stress. All part of life in the fast lane as a writer with a dayjob, two small children and full plate of Life.

Of course, this has impacted my wordcount a bit this week and last, though I’ve still managed to finish about a chapter per week (approximately 5000 words). My goal is two chapters, but I’ve built my production goals with enough flexibility that I should be able to catch up.  And after a work stoppage of something like 18 months, I’m not complaining or fretting…yet!

When you’re your own boss, you have to walk a fine line between pushing and being patient, taking care of the biz and taking care of yourself or your family. You don’t want to be too hard on yourself; you also don’t want to be too lax.

Most of us have had bad bosses. Bosses that either didn’t care or didn’t understand or pushed too hard.  And most of us have had good bosses — the ones that inspire us and teach us things that bleed into our Everyday Life.  I encourage writers to think of the best bosses they’ve had and then emulate them. I surely try to.

And when you think of your writing business, you can’t just think of the words on the page — certainly you need those just like Nike needs sneakers coming off its production line. But think of all the other things you need to effectively run your business. Marketing. Research and Development. Succession planning or paying it forward. Networking.

So…one trick I’ve learned (from Kristine Kathryn Rusch) is that on days when you’re too sick to write (or in my case, on days when you’re buried in toddlers and can’t get into the Fiction Zone) do one of the other hundred things that need to be done in any of those categories above.

Which means that despite the crappy week, if I take the high ground for a bird’s-eye view of what I still pulled off besides my rather paltry wordcount, I also:

  • Did some web research on new web-building tools, re-wrote most of my web-content and drafted a document to guide the re-design of
  • Talked shop and Requiem progress with my writing pal Jay Lake at our weekly lunch date.
  • Met with my friend, self-proclaimed SuperFan, and newly promoted Research and Beta Scout Tracy Erickson aka Terrick Y’Zir to discuss the first eleven chapters of Requiem.
  • Caught up some miscellaneous emails.

So what do you do when you can’t write?  What’s on your to-do list these days?