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Friday, 23 September 2011

This is My Job, Thanks

I’ve been my own boss for almost ten years now in one way or another. I opened two small businesses even before I was a full-time writer, both of which taught me a great deal about the itty-bitty details and necessary workings of organizing my life around being responsible for my own livelihood without a safety net.

When I sold one business and closed the other in favor of writing as a career, I actually forgot that was part of the deal. Honestly, I still had THE DREAM in my head. You know the one. Write a best selling series, find the perfect agent, wrangle multi-million dollar book deal, live happily every after. Um, yeah

Okay, deluded. But I got over it. And decided after much disgust and frustration with the present publishing model that I would go it alone as an indie. Fabulous. Mind you, I still have a few projects out there with small publishers and will continue to do so, I think. But the bulk of my career is my responsibility. And honest, that’s exactly how I like it.

Here’s the thing. Being your own boss is fabulous when you have clients waiting for product or projects. Deadlines. A business plan.

Did I mention I somehow fell off the entrepreneur wagon and into the fairy tale of being cared for by those who knew better? Right, then. Last year, my first, I wrote five novels. For some, that’s brilliant. For me, it was a great deal of time wasted. But I was holding back, resting on my surety that any second now some brilliant agent would recognize my talent and make me a star.

I woke up at last thanks to the help of some fabulous friends and the understanding that I wasn’t happy just waiting. There were books to write and voices to still. I’d developed a plan over the years to get my work done in the past. Why did I abandon it? Starting fresh, I reevaluated, created a business model and a forecast schedule of writing and publishing and dove in

Much better. I have deadlines again, goals and landmarks to hit. This year I will have completed thirteen novels and published nine. Next year is even more ambitious. Why? Because I mean business again. Not fun and games, not some Hollywood dream (although I’m planning on some of that being involved, let me tell you). This is real life, and a real career. I have to treat it like that. Or I get nothing done.

And for the folks who ask me what I do and either a) think I’ve got it made because I have books out there or b) looks skeptical that what I do is a real job… I can only say this. Like you, I work hard every day. Harder sometimes maybe. Because no one else is looking out for me.
I’m a businesswoman. I’m a writer. And I love every minute of it.

About the Author:

Patti Larsen is a middle grade, young adult and adult author with a passion for the paranormal who writes a great deal of horror for someone who is afraid of the dark. She lives on the East Coast of Canada with her very patient husband Scott and four enormous cats.

Her new series, The Hunted (Run, Hide, Fight and Hunt), is available now at and

You can find her at!/PattiLarsen

and her work on


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me, Erin! I'm curious to see what other writers think of being their own bosses...

  2. Hi Patti! Great to catch you as a guest blogger on a site that takes a unique angle on the topic of creative writing.

    Like you, I've been a self-employed writer for a decade or more. In addition to my own writing (I'm an unproduced screenwriter), I run an online writing course and a coaching service for writers, plus three blogs. I definitely work harder (plus longer hours) than in any 9-5 job I've ever had.

    The business model is my least favorite thing, so my income suffers because the marketing part of it bores me. I'd rather be either working on my own creative pursuits or helping unleash blocked writers to work on theirs.

    I do a stop-start thing with my business models. Your post (and the determination that comes through in your writing) inspires me to rethink. The key for me is - I've got to find ways that work for me. I've tried other people's business models for everything from how to market a book to how to get more traffic to my services for writers. So far nothing has ever felt like a "fit" for me, but I keep trying to develop a model that will motivate me to grow my business.

    Thanks for a stimulating discussion. Best of luck with your biz plans and goals!

    ~ Milli

  3. Hi Patti,

    Thanks for taking the time out to write such an interesting piece and you sound so busy too.
    I don't think people realise the hard work that goes into being a self-employed writer. Its not as simple as 'if you dont work you dont get paid'. You've got to get your work out there, get someone to pick it up and buy it. Be that a magazine, a newspaper, a publisher, a reader, whoever... the writing part is only half the job ... you've still got to figure out how to get the money into the bank. Its one of the bumps in the road of being a writer that we could all do with great tips on how to make it easier.

    Thanks again Patti. Your post is really inspirational. You've shown it is possible to make it work and really successfully.

    Business Plans at the ready people!

    Erin x


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All characters have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation to anyone baring the same name. They are not inspired by an individual known or unknown by the author and all incidents are pure invention.

The articles, excerpts, and other written work published under the pseudonym Erin Cawood are copyright protected by the author. Guest articles are published by arrangement and also copyright protected by the guest author.

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