Keep the machine in good working order stay healthy

And you're saying, "Eh? Like . . . exercise and shit like that?"

Oh, yes. Exercise and shit like that. You won't be lifting those bales and toting that hay, but to work your mind, your brain still needs a good supply of oxygenated blood, and healthy highways to get it there and back to the heart and lungs. Twenty minutes of aerobic exercise four times a week or better, and a diet as low in animal products (none is best) and as high in raw fruits and vegetables as you can manage will strip the cholesterol out of your arteries and keep them from hardening. cadavers from apparently healthy children as young as eight have shown fatty deposits and the beginnings of hardening of the arteries, so no matter who you are or how young you are, this is an issue.

How do I face the computer each day?

It should be fun most of the time. If you're following the steps I've listed above and you're still dreading sitting down in front of the keyboard, and you're still miserable while you're there, you need to reconsider what you want to do with your life. Don't try to make a career from something you hate.

Holly Lisle

When should I start marketing my book?

If it's fiction, when it's done. If it's nonfiction, when you have a good proposal and some good sample chapters, or when it's done.

How do I treat my writing as a business?

Write every day.

Give yourself a page limit and set deadlines for project completion. Write your deadlines in on a desk calendar and meet them.

Don't answer the phone while you're writing.

Don't take time off from your writing to do housework or go out to lunch with friends or find the kids' mittens. If this means that you have to write at weird times of the day, write at weird times of the day. My work hours are from five a.m. to noon.

Create a workspace for yourself that is yours alone, even if it's just one corner of a room and your own particle-board mini-workstation.

Identify yourself as a writer, to yourself and to others.

Keep all your writing-related receipts.

Do I need an accountant?

If you're spending any money on writing supplies, computers, office equipment or postage, yes. If you're making any money at all, yes. If you're typing with a thirty-year-old Remington on second sheets and only popping for a ream of good paper for your final draft once a year or so, and if you aren't yet selling your work, don't sweat it.

Should I incorporate?

At the point where this crosses your mind, ask your accountant. You'll already be making money, and will have one.

If you aren't making money yet, worry about selling your work first. What about taxes?

Save all your receipts for everything, follow your accountant's instructions, pray.

What about setting up corollary incomes?

I've got to admit I've considered doing this. At one point, I tried working on the side as a Writer's Digest instructor, but it didn't pay enough to give me the safety cushion I'd hoped for and drained a lot of my energy from my regular work. I've considered setting up a class, but haven't done it, mainly because I'm afraid it would turn out like the Writer's Digest thing, and I don't want to pull myself away from my books.

(Addendum for this issue)

I'm currently exploring e-books via the Internet as a method of having fewer canned-bean days and more fresh vegetable days - we'll see how it goes.

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