Friday the 13th? (It hurts to avoid the obvious and the easy, but I shall resist.)
The last few months have seen me writing a little less, and working on who I want to be as a writer a lot more. I know, writers write, or so they say. But writers are also CEOs of a business. My company is called Jason P. Henry and, for a period of time, my company seemed as though it lost its direction. So, it was time to develop a new business plan.
A business built on a writer… how could that lose direction? All a writer has to do is sit down, put fingers on the keyboard, take a breath, and spew out a best-seller. Then find an agent (most likely the first one we query will fall in love with our work), the agent finds a publisher within a couple of days, and a few weeks later we’re signing for thousands of people at a bookstore reading.
That about sums up the path to success, correct? Anyone who has considered taking this road knows it’s is not an easy one to travel. It’s definitely not a quick drive down the block.
My first novel, Hush-A-Bye, took me almost two years to complete.That was after two years of writing nearly thirty short stories that were placed into a file on my computer to collect digital dust. Now, I am six rejections in to publishing my book and I have four active WIPs. There’s, Don’t You Cry, the sequel to book one (a thriller). I have Reign Of Light (a biblical thriller) and The Devil Lived (a horror novel). And, yeah, there’s the romance novel Love On The Rocks. Wait, I forgot to mention that I began writing short stories and flash fiction again.
So what’s the problem? The problem is (was) that my brain didn’t know what to work on. I would sit down at my computer and stare at four different files, not sure which one to open. More often than not, I would just waste time by watching dust motes dance in the sunbeams pouring through my office window. I wasn’t writing, and remember, writers write. (Truth be told, I hate the phrase 'writers write'.)
This is when I stepped back. I questioned if maybe I was in over my head. Maybe I had lost sight of what I wanted and this writing thing wasn’t for me. Was that why I was playing genre roulette? I was imploding and it was the beginning of the end. It was time to consider that my efforts were futile and all the voices from my youth were correct. There’s no room in the world for dreamers.
Back to that business plan.
After writing the first book, I learned the value of even the most basic plot outline. So, I decided to apply that to myself, to my company. What did I want to accomplish? Where did I see myself going? At first, my outline looked more like a corn maze with no exit. Unacceptable. I played a little paper wad basketball and started over. It took a couple of weeks, but eventually I had an outline that began with ME. Then all the genres I was writing in plus some I aspire to write in. What I wanted to achieve in each genre. Then I built brands for each genre that would distinguish one from the other. I came up with pseudonyms. Then, staying true to myself, I made certain there was a way I could tie all those genres together.
The moral to the story is this, kids:
We can try to label ourselves but, ultimately, the words and the stories will dictate what we do. Don't fight it. Embrace it. Be thankful for the gift that you have no matter what form it takes on. When you find that you are overwhelmed, remember that you are a writer but also a business.
Build a business plan and have a clear understanding of where you want to go. Have a mission statement that inspires you. The dust motes will always be dancing in the sunbeams, but don't let them take you away from what matters. Sit down and write the story, or even stories, that want to be written.
And don't forget to enjoy every single minute!
|When he's not working with the dedicated and passionate people of Pikes Peak Writers, Jason P. Henry is lost in a world of serial killers, psychopaths, and other unsavory folks. Ask him what he is thinking, but only at your own risk. More often than not he is plotting a murder, considering the next victim, or twisting seemingly innocent things into dark and demented ideas. A Suspense, Thriller and Horror writer with a dark, twisted sense of humor, Jason strives to make people squirm, cringe, and laugh. He loves to offer a smile, but is quick to leave you wondering what lies behind it. Jason P. Henry is best summed up by the great philosopher Eminem “I'm friends with the monsters beside of my bed, get along with the voices inside of my head.” Learn more about Jason at JasonPHenry.com.|