The Art of Juggling

Contrary to the title, this post is not about juggling as a literal activity, but rather I am bringing it up in the metaphorical sense. It is about managing activities. In this case: my writing.

In any business venture, there are a lot of different bases that need covered to sell a product. Design, manufacturing, sales, packaging, marketing, etc, all go into taking a product from the idea phase to building that idea into a product, and then to putting it out there to masses for sale.

In a company, those assignments get divvied up to individuals who had roles tethered to the various aspects of the product. For instance, in my day-job (the job I actually make money off of), I work as a manager in the manufacturing of the products my company sells. Even more specific, I only work on a specialized portion of that. I don’t have to worry about most things that are outside of the scope of my job. Certainly I don’t worry about sales, or marketing, or packaging. I worry about doing the small portion of the process that is my job.

Now what about with writing?

If you write just for the fun of it, never expecting to make money from it, then read no further. It isn’t a business; it is a hobby. Well, you can read further. This isn’t an advice column anyway, just a writer writing things out.

There are two divergent paths then when it comes to writing books for a living (or in my case the feeble attempt and making a living):

  1. The first is the so-called normal path, or the “right” path per the industry that thrives from this avenue: Traditional Publishing.
    In this mode, the writer is the R&D, design (or a portion of that), and manufacturing sides of the business. Basically, writers think of a story (R&D), outline the story with character development (design), then write the book (manufacturing).
    The publishing house then takes care of Quality Control (editing), marketing, sales, design (from the cover and inside… the look of the book), the physical manufacture of the book, and everything else from the writer’s pages to the floor at a bookstore or hyperlink on a site like Amazon.
  2. The second is the indie path, sometimes called self-publishing.
    In this mode, the writer is the entire process. And where the writer might outsource some aspects, such as editing, cover design, and certainly printing, the writer is 100% responsible for it.

I am not going to argue which path is right or wrong. That is for another post. What I do what to say is how this impacts me.

Option #2 is where I fall. I run the entire “business” of my writing. Take a look at any of my books for sale at any vendor and it is 100% me. There may have been a beta-reader or a friend helping to some degree or another on editing, but all of it otherwise is me.

Blog posts? Me. Site design? Me. Blurbs, author profiles, cover design? All me.

This is where things get dicey. I can’t say that I do a fantastic job at any of these. An OK job, but not great. There are absolute areas I could use the help or practice (blurbs and marketing come to mind), but I am not flatly terrible at anything.

Gaining traction on all of these is where I have the biggest issues.

Think of lately where I suddenly broke through my writer’s block. I’ve written 33000 words in a month and 10 days, only having a few days where I didn’t open a computer, and therefor didn’t write at all. Around all of that though, nothing else got done.

A quick list of outstanding items I have amassed:

  • Post at least weekly on my blog
  • Convert The Good Teacher and Of Earth and Ice part 1 to non-Amazon providers
  • Rewrite my author profile
  • Rewrite or revise all blurbs
  • Redesign covers for Gravity 2 and 3
  • Develop a marketing plan
  • Continue developing my website
  • Finish cover on a short story awaiting release
  • Prepare files for conversion of remaining books to non-Amazon providers at end of KDP select enrollment.

There are numerous tasks associated with each of them that I can do. The point is to make progress. While my writing as its own activity is doing better for me than it ever has, everything else has fallen asunder.

I dropped all the balls save 1. I am now juggling one ball… which means I am having a catch with myself.

One could argue that I am managing to juggle writing with all my other life-bound responsibilities: being a husband, father, maintaining a stable career (the non-writing one that makes money) as examples. To change my career into a writing career though, I will need to work out how to add those other parts of being an indie writer into the mix without dropping balls.

That will be the challenge of the remainder of this year.


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