Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Be Your Own Boss By Marie Wells Coutu

Marie Wells Coutu
If you’re serious about being a published author, you have to be your own boss.

I’m not talking about ditching your paying job in order to write full-time. Most people can’t do that.


What I am talking about is acting like the boss of yourself, then acting like your own employee. This is the time to tell yourself, “You are the boss of me.”


(Just so you know, I’m speaking to myself here.) To succeed in this business, you’d better treat it as a business. That means setting regular hours to write, establishing a marketing department and developing a marketing plan, being professional in your interactions on—and off--social media, and keeping good records for your accounting department.


Whether you’re “retired” from a paycheck-producing job (as I am), squeezing your writing career into your non-paying hours, balancing writing from home with being a stay-at-home parent, or something in-between, you need some ground rules.


  1. As your own Boss, you expect your employee (You) to show up on time, every day (as determined by your business schedule). Do that.
  2. Your working time at a job is “sacred.” Except for an occasional break for coffee, lunch, or to use the restroom, an employee should be working. For your business, You should be writing during those designated hours, except when you as the Boss temporarily assigns You to the editing or marketing or accounting department. But no matter the task, the Boss expects You to be working during working hours. So work, whatever that looks like today. (Hint: It probably doesn’t involve surfing the Internet or playing on Pinterest, unless it’s required research.)
  3. You need to be accountable for your expenses as an employee, and the Boss should set the budget. You as the writer may want to buy every writing craft book or online course that comes along, but the Boss has the right and responsibility to make You justify each expense. And in a business, an employee needs to keep good records.
  4. As the Boss, you should evaluate your employee’s performance and celebrate each accomplishment. It’s a motivational thing to celebrate the small successes, such as typing “The End” when you finish a manuscript, or getting a request for a “full” from an agent or publisher. Those celebrations can take the form of a few hours off or a treat. Just use good judgment. And regular evaluation of your employee’s progress—whether monthly, quarterly, or annually—will help to encourage You and provide guidance on how to improve.
So if you’ve been thinking of your writing as “just a hobby,” stop it. Become your own boss and hire You. Then act like an employee, and You’ll become a more productive and successful writer.

What keeps you serious about your writing?


About the Author
Thirsting for More
by Marie Wells Coutu
Marie Wells Coutu began making up stories soon after she began talking. Her most recent title, The Secret Heart, and its prequel, an e-book novelette titled The Divided Heart, are published by Write Integrity Press, along with the award-winning For Such a Moment and Thirsting for More. She and her husband divide their time between Iowa, near their two children and four grandchildren, and Florida, where it’s warm all winter. Marie is working on a historical novel set in western Kentucky, her home state.

Note: Marie’s second book, Thirsting for More, finalist in the 2016 Selah Awards, will be on sale for 99 cents, April 15-21 (Kindle version). Check her website, MarieWellsCoutu.com, for more information.


Thirsting For More
A modern-day version of the woman at the well.
The whole city of Charleston seems to be watching, waiting for the Northern transplant and new director of tourism, Victoria Russo, to either work a miracle or to stumble and fall. The change of geography is a chance for multi-divorced Victoria to start a new life. But she hadn't expected the cold reception and the deception she's experiencing. Hoping to gain acceptance, she tackles the renovation of a historic home but soon falls back into her old ways. Will Victoria find a way to change her world or will she return to the place where her past failures lurk around every turn?

Marie is a regular contributor to Seriously WriteFor more posts by Marie, click here.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for this. As someone who has a little too much unplanned time on her hands (and a house and family that call for my attention), it's hard to make myself sit down to write when I have doubts as to whether anything good will come from it. I'll never know, though, unless I treat my writing as more than a hobby. Gonna open my day planner and mark in my "work hours" right now! It's time to finally start revising on of my many first draft novels.

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  2. Great points, Marie! Until a person actually gets involved in writing seriously, one doesn't realize how much "business" is involved. Thinking that writers only need to write is not reality.

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    1. Thanks, Dawn! You are absolutely right. It's not easy to make that mindshift but it's essential for a serious writer.

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  3. Marie, this is the BEST perspective I've read about motivating myself as a writer. All four points hit home. Much needed advice and much appreciated!

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    1. Karen, It does my heart good to know that I provided some helpful information. Now I need to apply it to myself as well! 8-)

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