Thursday, August 11, 2011

5 Ways to Thrive in your Writing Career

I've spent the past six years learning to thrive in my writing career. This means that I've far too often plunked myself into survive mode, reacting instead of acting. I'm by no means in an uber-thriving place, but I've learned a few things along the way. Here are five ways to thrive in your writing career:

  1. Find out when your brain is the best. For me, it's the morning. To do my best work, I combine that time of day with the most important writing needing done. Right now I'm writing nonfiction, 2000 words a day. If I loiter until the afternoon to write those 2000, my mind mushifies, and it's much harder to complete the task.
  2. Eliminate catastrophic thinking. In this business, the universal truth is that bad news will come. It will. Count on it. You might not be able to control the news, but you can control how you think about it. Instead of receiving rejection and thinking, "I'll never get another contract again," stop. It's just one rejection. It doesn't mean you have no worth. It doesn't mean you'll never work again. Replace the fatalistic thought with, "I wonder what amazing opportunity God will bring my way instead." Living with an anticipatory perspective will help you thrive.
  3. Have an advisory team. I've had a prayer team since 2003. They've been a lifeline to me. But recently a coach encouraged me to have an advisory team. So I prayed about it, then asked 12 people (oh how biblical!) to be a part. This has been one of the most valuable things I've done as a writer. There are folks on my team in business, some completely detached from writing. Others who pray like crazy. Ministry professionals. My husband. I've come to them for help about answering mean emails, how to structure my business and time, and whether I should take a speaking engagement. I ask them to hit reply all in their advice so we can all interact with it.
  4. Know when to outsource. I'm at that place where I need a virtual assistant. I've never wanted to be someone who was "above" doing all the small bits of work that constitutes writing. But I'm now to that place where I physically can't do it all. If you have any recommendations, please let me and the rest of the readers know in the comments section.
  5. Think of multiple streams of income. Writing books is often fickle or feast & famine. I've learned that if I want good income streams that are consistent, I needed to think broader. As I've written articles, blogged, sold advertisements, and ventured into e-publishing, I've seen that the best ROI has been eproducts. So I'm working on those to broaden my base.
What about you? Where are you in your career? How have you learned to thrive? I'd love to hear your insight.

Find out more about crazy little me at


Gina Holmes said...

As always Mary, great words of advice. I already mentioned her, but our own Yvonne Anderson is a virtual assistant. I need one as well but am not yet at a point I can afford one. Thank God for friends.

Mary DeMuth said...

Thanks for Yvonne's shout out!

I'm in that cusp of a place between almost able to afford one and going crazy without one!

Sarah Allen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Allen said...

Great post! I think having an advisory circle is a fantastic idea. I've actually just been contracted to do social media management for a company, and I have 3 years of student assistant experience at my university, if that's the kind of thing you're interested in. Here's a post I did about it. I would be thrilled to offer my services and see if it is something that could work out for the both of us. My email is sarah.n.dipity123[at]gmail[dot]com,just in case.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)