On Friday, I was one of a nicely sized group who attended a session on “The Business of Being a Writer” at the Emerging Writers’ Festival, here in Melbourne. It was hands-down one of the most interesting things I’ve attended at a convention or festival.
In particular, I tip my hat to the organisers for pulling together an interesting range of people to speak on, and discuss with us, different aspects of being paid for writing.
So, what was covered? Actually more things than I can sum up here, but these are probably the most useful items to share, and possibly ones that you haven’t considered before:
- If you are going to become a full-time writer, think about taking out income protection insurance, or similar. Just like a singer might ensure their voice, it’s a way to not be left hanging if you can’t write.
- It can be useful to have an accountant who understands the arts, particularly if freelancing.
- Remember that being published in some places may inhibit your ability to criticise the organisations / companies that own or are involved in those publications.
- Look at your cashflow as well as your income, as full-time writing tends to mean payments in bursts, but most of your costs will be regular as clockwork.
- There is real value in doing an analysis of how long everything you do takes to do – particularly things like blog posts – so that you can allocate accurate amounts of time to do them in.
- Dealing with your online time-sucks (like email and Facebook) is often best done first thing in the day for a fixed amount of time. That leaves you free to get the work done, without those tasks nagging at you.
A further topic of interest covered, which I think I’ll blog about separately, was a particular organisational / time-management technique. As different tools work best for different people, it’s always nice to hear from someone who has found something that works for them.
The day ended with a key-note talk by Anita Heiss, which was great both for hearing her success story as a writer, and for being reminded that the indigenous community isn’t represented in our fiction nearly as much as it could be.
Six hours on, we all tumbled out of the room with our heads buzzing with ideas and satisfied smiles on our faces.