Freelancer’s Survival Guide: Success Part One
You can now order either an e-book copy of the Guide or a trade paper copy of the Guide. It’s in slightly different format and has been organized, so that related topics are in an easily accessible place.
You can get the print version here.
For those of you who’d like to buy an ebook, here’s the Amazon link as well as the Barnes & Noble link. The e-book will also be available on all the other e-book sites. If you want it in your favorite format, and the book hasn’t yet been uploaded to your favorite site, trySmashwords. You’ll be able to download in a variety of e-book formats.
[…] hope you’re reading the Freelancer’s Survival Guide- Rusch just had a great series on success. AKPC_IDS += “937,”;Popularity: unranked […]
I’m glad you mentioned Frederick Faust. For me, he’s always been both a hero, and a cautionary tale.
Even though he lived only fifty-one years, a milestone I passed a few years ago, he sold some five hundred novels, created the character Dr. Kildare, sold from twenty-five to thirty million words of fiction under nineteen pseudonyms, yet he thought himself a failure as a writer?
There are types of success, of course. I’ve been happily married for thirty years, and that’s a success. I’ve helped raise three boys who are now happy, educated, honest, productive men, and thats a success.
Writing? I’ve haven’t won the Nobel, I’ll never make as much money as J. K. Rowling, but I’ve sold a few novels, a bunch of short stories, and some essays that I’m proud of, and that ain’t easy, folks.
I guess I take my notion of occupational success from my Grandpa Solomon. He was a carpenter, and the thing that made him happiest in his old age was knowing that many of the homes he built were still standing, still being lived in, and would be for many years to come.
Money and fame be hanged. If something I write is still standing when I die, if some world I create is still being lived in, I’ll be one happy man.
Thanks for these articles, Kris, they are really interesting, insightful, and helpful.
I have a business question for you for perhaps a future article, or just a one-off. I’m an independent consultant as my day job (a lot of it is writing content, so I consider my passion for writing a good complement to what I do for the real money until I make writing pay for me.) I have had fifteen different opinions from people inside and outside the biz on whether it is sensible for me to create a corporation to house my freelance/consulting/contracting work. It would be a corporation of one, since I have no specific intentions of starting my own consultancy, that’s not how I envision spending my time.
Do you have any perspective on this? Pros/Cons? I’m in the position of having the “second” career in the family. I don’t need to create a structure under which I can purchase health insurance or that sort of thing. Does this work differently for freelance writers? I feel like it would be a headache, and there are some costs associated with it (though cost-benefits in terms of tax writeoffs, though for me they are not significant and I can take many of the writeoffs even while self-employed as an independent consultant.)
As for my definition of success…my running joke with my writer’s group is that I want to be so successful that I have to move because my fans found where I live and are camping on my front lawn. 😉
Nice stuff in there, Karen. Thanks.
As for your corporation question, I don’t think I’ll write a long piece on it, since I’m not a lawyer, and I’m not always in command of the facts on corporations and taxes–at least not enough to give advice.
That said, it might benefit you to talk to an attorney about this. A corporation might be a good idea at a certain level of income–about the point where U.S. taxes start taking 30-35% It varies from person to person, circumstance to circumstance, and state to state, so it’s always better to talk to someone in the know. The attorney you consult with should set up corporations routinely and should have done so for people in the arts.
I hope the short answer helps. And thanks.
nice article, helped me learning many things in freelancing platform as I am also an freelance developer, although part time.
I don’t reply all the time, but that’s only because so many things you’re saying in here boggle my mind. This post I had already thought about because I’m at that weird instance, after college, with boxes and a giant door in front of me.
I’ve come to define success the same way you, do, Kris. Making a good living writing fiction. I’m not there yet, so it’s great to have examples like you and Dean to look up to.
I also really love the difference you and Dean taught us between goals and dreams. Now I define my successes in terms of goals (things I can control, like how much I write in a year) rather than dreams (things that aren’t in my control, like winning awards).
Interesting that all the English language dictionaries qualify success by external standards.
The French in Petit LaRousse Illustré start with two simple words: happy result.
I like that definition. It makes success internal to he who is successful. To be sixties about it, success is whatever turns you on, man.
I wonder if other cultures/languages have different definitions.
Oh, marvelous, Mary! Thanks. Great ways to look at success, Lyn. Good stuff, y’all.
Speaking of the kind of successes you’re not ready for, a lot of years ago another professional writer read a novella I’d written (probably the longest thing I’d ever written at the time), and encouraged me to turn it into a full novel. He started talking about sequels, comic books, movie rights, and action figures. I melted down. His definition of success differed so vastly from mine at that point (all I wanted was for someone to buy something — anything — that I had written), that I had no idea how to proceed. I froze, and never did anything with that story. Then life intervened, and I didn’t write much of anything for the previously mentioned “lot of years.” Now I’m writing again, but I’ve been looking at my definitions of success much more carefully. I count completing my weekly writing goals a success. I count completing a story (of whatever length) a success. I count a personal rejection as a success. I count a request to see a full manuscript as a success. When I sell something, of course that’s a success, too. And there are success-goals I haven’t yet reached, and others I’m sure I haven’t even thought of. It’s like having a variety of coins and bills in my pocket — each one is its own type of success, all are valuable to me, and all help motivate me on to further successes.
I recently discovered your Smokey Dalton books, which are fantastic–the kind of books that pull me into the character’s life and world so thoroughly that I hate to leave when the book is finished. I certainly hope being the author of those books feels like success to you; they are so well crafted and true.
I keep a sign over my desk. It says: Success is a journey, not a destination.
I really believe that, in general, and specifically to running my writing business. That doesn’t always mean I believe it or at least, I may believe it, but be hurt by things like being dropped by a publisher, negative (or no) reviews, or sales that aren’t where I want them to be. I’m aware these are hurdles, perhaps, rather than failures. At least I hope so.
I know business has been very slowly the last month. I kept pitching, querying, and telling myself that, yes, it will pick up. And it did. Now I’m swamped for the rest of the year. And 2010 is looking pretty great in terms of contracts and scheduled work.
Is that success? I think it is for me. The root definition for me is: stay self-employed as a writer without going crazy.
There are certainly corrolaries, like what my minimum yearly pay might be, and whether my yearly income involves books, especially novels. And I know that I’m perfectly capable of sabotaging myself by thinking, “Yeah, I got a novel contract, but the publisher isn’t prestigious enough and the advance wasn’t big enough and we didn’t sell enough copies and…”
Part of it I think is trying to focus on being grateful and satisfied with what you have, still trying to attain your goals, but re-defining success as part of a continuum of progress toward those goals instead of calling the obstacles failures.
Thanks, Mark. Excellent stuff there, some of which I’ll address in later posts. Glad to have them here right off the bat. Thanks.
And Kathleen, thanks for the very kind comments. I do think of that as a success. In fact, it is a success I never thought I would attain, but I’m so happy I have in those books. Much appreciated.