Friday, October 10, 2008

Back to Business

I have been reading a new book by my new favorite writer, Michelle Goodman. It's called My So-Called Freelance Life and it's teaching me to think of my job not just as a creative endeavor, but really and truly as a BUSINESS. I can't believe how my mindset has shifted in just the one week I've been reading it.

I think it's pretty easy for a writer to think of her work as art, and convince herself that art plays by different rules and that's what makes it separate from business and blah blah blah. Perhaps this works for genius-people like Jonathan Saffron Foer, who write earth shattering novels in their early twenties. This same man once told me that writing is like pulling teeth from his penis, but he nonetheless spouts gold from his fingertips. Me? I have to work really hard at writing, and I like that pursuit and I'd like it to be my livelihood. I want my writing to be my career, my small business. My entrepreneurial endeavor.

So I read these books. I knew pretty much immediately that I was on to a winner when the blurb on the back of Goodman's book came from Manisha Thakor, author of On My Own Two Feet, which taught me how to have money. As a girl who started her career in K-mart, I sorely needed an education in gaining, saving, and properly spending money.

I sucked in every page of Thakor's book last summer and even bought it for my sister when she graduated from college. What are the chances these two life-altering authors know one another, at least well enough to trade book blurbs? Anyway, I wasted no time.

Just as Thakor made me get an IRA and create a budget (and stick to it...mostly), Goodman is helping me set my rates and network and view interactions as BUSINESS, not personal, encounters. Also? She told me to buy an external hard drive, so I did. I am the proud owner of a 500g backup device. Whatever small part of me lost sleep over the consequences of dropping my laptop on the floor can rest easy knowing all my goods are safe. I have a little black box.

Perhaps the greatest gift I received from the book so far is motivation. Here is a woman who's been me and thrived. If that's not enough to get me out of my procrastination slump, I don't think anything would. Spurred by her prose, I wrote to three of my dream organizations offering my services. Goodman took that timid, doubtful voice in the back of my mind and slapped her upside the head. And you know what happened? I heard back from these people! They were "not right now, but we'll put you in our file" emails, but they were still responses.

I feel a change coming on. Not one brought about by luck or Hiro-esque powers, but a change implemented by my new mindset and renewed fervor in hard work. Look out!

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