Monday, September 30, 2013

Balancing the Business Side of Writing With the Joy of Writing

I have written several novels over the years. Some of them target young readers and others are intended for adults. But all of them, except one, were written before I ever received a publishing contract. My most recent novel—which I just completed last week—is the only one completely written under contract.

 And I noticed a difference. With my other novels, I was immersed in the joy of writing. I got up a few hours before school and wrote because I wanted to. No expectations. No timeline. The books were finished when they were finished, and they arrived in the format that I wanted them in. They didn’t have to please anyone, nor did they have to sell. Family and friends were given complimentary copies and they appreciated them.

With my latest novel, I felt the pressure of the business side of writing. It was no longer a matter of finishing the book when I got around to it. There was a deadline. It was not a matter of writing the story to satisfy my taste. There were expectations from my editor and readers. It was not a matter of simply writing a good story. There were and still are expectations for financial returns. The publisher has invested time and effort and hard, cold cash in my books, and they want a return on their investment. Suddenly it matters what other people think and how my books are selling. There’s a bottom line, and I have felt pressure to meet it. And because I haven’t been able to do so yet, the pressure has grown.

So how can authors who are under contract balance the business side of writing with the joy of writing? I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter because, frankly, I’m still trying to figure it out.


Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Yes, there is a battle between the business side of writing and writing just for the joy of it. We all have to come to grips with it in our own way.

Darrel Nelson said...

How have you come to grips with it, Lena? Does one overshadow the other in your writing routine?

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

I'm afraid I just do the most urgent at the time, which probably isn't the best way to control it.

Debby Mayne said...

It's difficult to find that balance. After you get into the rhythm of the new method of writing, the goal is to merge what you enjoy with what your publisher expects. Some authors are fortunate to have this experience from the get-go, but it might take a book or two or three before it happens.

Martha W. Rogers said...

After my first novel and working with my editor, I found we clicked and she really "got" my writing. Because I've been writing for so long and have learned so much about the skills of writing, I write faster than I did before, and write longer to meet deadlines. I had never thought about the business side and the other because I still write for the joy of it and love every minute I'm writing, deadline or not. Is that crazy?