View of the coast

While this essay will be published later, I’m currently writing it while down on the Oregon coast, sitting and watching the ocean, listening to the waves and the seagulls. There’s a good breeze, as always, so it’s a bit chilly, and it smells like sand, salt, and seaweed.

This has been something of a writing retreat, as I’ve been writing almost every morning. Afternoons have been either working or doing a few touristy things. Evenings have been spent with a group of other writers, talking business and craft.

It’s been marvelous fun. I’ve missed being able to get together with people like this. And I don’t like people that much.

There’s a lot of advice out there about refilling your creative well. I firmly believe in that, and it was a frequent topic of conversation here.

Other art will help refill what you’ve depleted, or at least that was the general consensus in this particular group. It might be photography, sewing, knitting, watercolors, drawing comics, what have you.

And I agree with that, to a point.

At one time, I was heavily into watercolors. I am capable of drawing things well, both from real life as well as stuff I make up in my head. However, the only way to stay good at it is to do it every day, and I just don’t have time to do that. I’d rather be writing.

Same with music. I’ve played various instruments throughout my life. Piano, harp, guitar, flute. The only way to stay on top of it is to practice, and making music doesn’t bring me the same joy as writing.

So while creating other art to help fill my soul is good, for me, I also need to be careful to find something that I can do as “bad” art. Something I don’t feel I must practice and get good at.

This is why I don’t buy myself a good camera. I content myself with taking pictures with my phone. Mind you, I have a brand new phone and the camera on it is stupendous and I could spend a lot more time taking pictures with it. I used to, every fall, make a point of going to the Arboretum in Seattle and taking pictures of the beautiful trees. I may try to spend some time doing that this year. Refill my soul with art.

However, this past week hasn’t just been about refilling the artistic well. I hadn’t ever thought about it before, but I’ve also been needing to refill the business well. I needed to talk with other writers who are running their publishing like a business.

Before I go into more detail, I want to point out that everyone’s writing business is unique in the details. Some of the larger aspects may be similar, but mostly they’re different.

I’ve finally concluded that every person’s writing business is as individual and unique as their writing process. There are a few similarities, but for the most part, every writer is different. And their business is just as different.

This means that everything I learned over the past week needs to be filtered through what will work for me and my business. Because what is working for one writer may or may not be right for me, let alone help my business.

Posting a weekly video on TikTok? Are you kidding me? That’s too much. It isn’t me. Ugh. Just thinking about it makes me shiver. However, it is working for another writer.

But maybe I can tweak that. What about a monthly reading of my work? 3-5 minutes long? Is that often enough to engage fans? Is this the platform where I want to do that, or is YouTube good enough? Etc.

And do I want to do this? Does the return on investment pencil out?

Yes, there are business writing blogs I can read. And podcasts I can listen to. But it isn’t the same as being able to talk with someone, ask questions, and riff on some topic, going sideways in ways that aren’t possible without live interaction.

In addition, Blaze and I spent a lot (a LOT) of time talking about the business of publishing in the afternoons. Planning out the kickstarters we’re going to run both this year and next. Figuring out the publishing schedule. Etc.

For one of Blaze’s weekly masterminds, he always asks, “How do we break publishing?” Basically, how do we move outside of the box and get bigger/better?

This week was all about that in many ways. How to improve your publishing business.

I feel reinvigorated when it comes to the business side of things. Re-energized. Ready to take on the challenges ahead.

And that’s what refilling the well is all about.

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