Business Musings: How Writers Fail Part 10: Blame

I spent most of the morning trying to start this post. It’s not like me to have trouble writing, particularly a nonfiction post, but I simply couldn’t do what I had planned. What I had planned was simple: Because of all of the news recently and the timing, I had planned to start the Year In Review blog posts early. I’ve always hated that they […]

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Business Musings: How Writers Fail (Part 9): They Quit

The title of this post seems obvious. How do writers fail? They quit. Yes, they do. But it’s about more than quitting, really. This post is about when they quit. Let me start with a quote from John Mellencamp that slapped me about the face and neck when I was casually reading the AARP Magazine. To celebrate his seventieth year, Mellencamp was interviewed about  his […]

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Business Musings: How Writers Fail (Part 8): Yeah, I Already Know That

I recently read a novel by a traditionally published writer who’s been a favorite of mine for forty years. The novel was good—her work is always good—but it lacked dramatic tension. At one point, Dean asked me what genre the book was, because the cover didn’t communicate a genre clearly. I was about 100 pages from the end. I paused, frowned, and said, “I have […]

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Business Musings: How Writers Fail (Part 7): Competition

This is another one of those deceptive titles, like “Money.” Because when most writers read “Competition” as the sub header here, they think, Yep, there’s just too much competition out there. A handful of writers win, but the rest of us lose. Um…no. Readers are a fascinating bunch. They’re terribly unpredictable. Just because something is marked “bestselling” doesn’t mean that everyone wants to read it. […]

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Business Musings: How Writers Fail (Part 6): Words

Lately, I’ve been stuck in words. The right word, as a matter of fact. As some of you know, I’m studying Spanish, rather intensely, truth be told. I’m slowly moving away from being functionally illiterate in Spanish (where I know every word except the important one) and moving toward marginally literate in Spanish. But you should hear me talk. Or maybe you shouldn’t. It’s somewhat […]

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Business Musings: How Writers Fail (Part 5) Money

I know most of you are going to stare at this title and think: Yep, writers fail because they don’t earn enough money. Um…nope. That’s not the problem at all. Money causes writers to fail because writers bring the wrong expectations to their view of their financial spreadsheet. First, let’s talk about money in general. Some people are very bad at handling money. For example, […]

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Business Musings: How Writers Fail (Part 4): Aging Writer Edition

Do to unforeseen difficulties, I didn’t have a chance to write up the rest of the Expo. I’ll do so in the next week or so. Instead, the planned series continues. I have never read Michael Chabon’s book, The Wonder Boys, but I love the movie. It has two of my favorite actors—Michael Douglas and Robert Downey Jr.—and a stellar supporting cast. It’s also an […]

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Business Musings: How Writers Fail (Part 3): Expectations

I have picked apart this topic in my head so many times that I’m finally getting a handle on my own expectations. Not yours, not another writer’s. Mine. We all have expectations of the way a career will go. Of the way life will go, but that’s another blog entirely. We also have expectations of ourselves and others around us. And never, ever, ever will […]

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Business Musings: How Writers Fail (Part 2): Fear (Established Writer Edition)

I’m writing these posts in no particular order, just as the reasons come to me. And honestly, they’re everywhere. Because of last summer’s move, we reorganized our books. We are in a smaller space than we were in Oregon, so we got rid of a lot of our books—the ones we didn’t need for research or the ones we liked, but didn’t love. Now, we’re […]

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Business Musings: How Writers Fail (Part One)

I keep forgetting that working in the arts requires a very specific sort of attitude. It’s an attitude that can be trained, but to do that, an artist must want to change. This is a complex and sometimes difficult thing to do. First, the attitude itself. It’s a combination of optimism and pragmatism, with a bit of cynicism mixed in. Yeah, I know, confusing. So […]

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