Saturday, January 31, 2009

Side effects

I've found a side effect of doing one of those "25 things" lists is that you start remembering all the crazy little things from your childhood or young adulthood that you had long since forgotten. Memories beget memories I guess.

I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I think. I always thought that if I had a skill, then I'd just go DO that and I was certain someone would pay me. Now, that didn't mean I always had the courage to take risks, or the smarts to know what to do to make my business stay afloat. I am horrible at bookkeeping and accounting. And though there may be some mental block created when you say "I'm horrible at..." I think it's more that, well, I hate numbers. They didn't really do testing when I was a child, but I'm certain I have a math disability of some sort.

As a child I lived briefly in a small town called Bradwell. It actually didn't really qualify as a town, I think that the correct term is "hamlet". There were less than 150 people living there and everyone knew everyone. We lived in a little trailer that was across the street from my cousins (who had a larger house) and down the street from grandma and grandpa's big house. One day I decided to set up a shop.

I was selling rocks. I had some sort of shelf and upon it I placed my carefully selected rocks. I am not sure if I painted them or not, though I do recall some kind of painting that involved mud. But this was small town Saskatchewan and we had enough mud to go around.

Now, understand that no one drove their car through town. You drove out of town, you drove into town, but you didn't exactly cruise the dozen or so streets that made up the village. No one passed by.

So, as you guessed it, that little venture failed. Or I became bored of standing in the summer sun. Not exactly a "little girl sells lemonade and makes a million dollars" type of story, but it does have a purpose.

You can try and fail and try and fail and try and fail and find success - as long as you keep trying. I have a family member who once accused me of hopping from thing to thing, job to job, infatuation to infatuation and expecting my family to care about every little venture. Now, he was trying to be hurtful and to some extent it worked. But when I thought about it later, I realized that what he was accusing me of wasn't all that horrible.

Yep, I've tried many different jobs, lived in different places and been going in many different directions in my life. I've been a horse trainer, office girl, feedlot worker, feed truck driver, cook, bartender, waitress, day care provider, teacher, student, sales person, manager. And to be honest, I'm never really satisfied with what I'm doing because no matter what job title I've held, for the most part you could add "and writer" onto the end of it - that's always been the suffix of who I am.

But I'm not sure I'll ever JUST write full time because at the moment I am quite enjoying my job and all it's benefits - never mind that I adore the company and think there's more for me there. It offers me the ability to exercise my entrepreneurial muscle without a whole ton of risk, I get to be creative and write, and (let's face it) I have a job that let's me have some sense of responsibility. (read: I get to be in charge of my little corner)

And it took me a while to realize that sales is a part of who I am. My husband doesnt quite understand this as he despises sales and salespeople. But really, he just hates to be sold, which is quite different. Sales, to me, is simply providing for others what they need. Or meeting the needs of others.

Which is why I feel that being a writer - especially a freelance writer - is so much more about SALES than it is about actually writing. Because you can be a writer and not be a freelance writer. There are millions of writers in this world from the teenager writing poetry in her diary to the best selling author with forty books under her belt. But to be a writer who SELLS her work, you must.... sell.

Now, it really goes without saying that all writers must have a focus on improving their writing. Good writing will always sell if the writer puts the words on the market. How do I know this? Because even bad writing sells when it's put on the market. Witness the transactions occuring on sites like where yes, yes, yes, some writers have gotten their start. But the vast majority of transactions that occur there are low-paying work for bad writing. Yes, I said it, bad writing. Because the vast majority of writers who start there, are newbies who are trying to get a foothold in the market, who think they have to sell some rocks before they can move up to selling a mountain.

But if you have a mountain inside you? Then just start there and sell that.

Huh. I think I have another book to write...

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