Friday, 30 November 2018
30/11/18 - Weekly Update +1
Week two was a tough week, it’s all still new and I am learning what works and what doesn’t. I don’t have much else to add unfortunately.
To bulk out this post I’ve added below a brief piece on the writing profession, and by extension art in general.
This has gone out a day late due to a medical emergency, oh the joys of being a carer. I know I am setting a precedent calling these weekly updates, but this is a long process and there may be weeks where nothing is happening.
I’ll do my best to keep you informed.
The main association we have with writers is the act of writing and what it produces, the same goes for all types of artists. From the outside we can only imagine the insular act of creativity, where the relationship between creator and creation takes place in secret, far away in some hidden sanctum. Or to put it in less flamboyant terms, at a desk in a study, or at an easel in a studio.
But as I have learned through this process, that is not the end of it.
In this cutthroat world of ours the professional artist or writer is self reliant, art must pay the bills. If that alone is not daunting enough, it also has to be achieved singlehandedly. Once you have the product of your craft, it is other more practical skills that the modern entrepreneurial artist requires. That is what I have come to discover.
Your book is finished. Now what? You have to try and sell it of course, and that means marketing. I may be about to misquote but I believe that it was the author of The Martian who once said that an author will spend the majority of their time working alone, and then every once in a while is unceremoniously dumped in the spotlight to tout their wares like a performing monkey. As I said, it’s not a direct quote. It is not enough to merely create, you also have to sell, and it isn’t necessarily easy. Prising that hard earned cash in these economic times understandably has its inherent challenges, people want certainty from the entertainment they consume, it’s why there is a natural wariness over the new and untested, and why you face such difficulty as a first timer without a following.
Compare art to the product of any commercial business, you realise that many departments contribute to the finished goal, but in this case all departments are rolled into one, so the lone writer is a self-employed entrepreneur. We’ve already covered marketing, but what happens once those precious copies are sold? The joys of time consuming financial admin are a consequence of healthy revenue, and the lone writer does not have an accounts department to keep the taxman happy. Even the more day to day regimes of office life are not beyond the pail, an individual must rely on their own timekeeping, paperwork has to be done. There are always deadlines to keep and post to answer.
The writer may not follow the same strictures as an office environment, but they are no less business-like than those workers found in a conference room meeting. They are HR PR and accounts all rolled into one. They may have no boss to answer to, but the blames of failure fall solely on the self. The arts can be seen as flowery and whimsical, but don’t make the mistake, it’s a deadly serious cause when it’s your life. Beneath the surface of every artist and writer is a hard nosed businessperson, it’s a simple fact of economic survival.
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