Hi, I’m Athena Grayson, and I’ve been a writer for twenty years. In spite of that, I have made some HUUGE mistakes in my career. Get ready to point and laugh and most importantly, Learn From My Fail.
Writing is an art, a craft, and a business. No one can tell you how to do your art. Your creative process is as unique as your fingerprint, and no one can tell you there’s a wrong way to do it. That’s yours, and your time learning about and understanding your creative process is worth its weight in weapons-grade plutonium because it will be the thing that sets the world on fire, only in a good, not-nuclear-winter way.
Studying your art will naturally lead you to improving your craft, which is just as important and much less “personal” because there are certain rules that most everyone follows, and even when they don’t, they understand why and how to break them effectively.
But most of us run into a wall or right off a cliff when it comes to the business end of things. We’re artists, man. We aren’t supposed to be about that dirty money. But we live in a world where that dirty money lets us do fabulous things like eat, and not get wet when it rains, so you have to learn the business end of things sooner or later if you want to put this down on your taxes under “Occupation.” So without further preamble, here are five things I did that caused me to fall flat on my face. Try to avoid them, but know also that you’re bound to make some version of them. It’s like falling off a bicycle–you have to do it to learn how to ride, but the idea is not to crack your head open or lose teeth in the process. Here’s what NOT to do:
1. There is no secret sauce. I knew when I got into this that there was no substitute for perseverance, work, and time in the trenches. But even knowing this, it is VERY easy to be swept up in the latest short-term tactic or mid-range strategy, especially when you see the people around you seeming to ride that rocket to the stars. But here’s the thing: the tactic, the strategy, the New Thing–they’re all little pebbles in the bucket that is Your Career, sitting on one side of the teeter-totter and facing Inertia on the other. A bucket full of pebbles isn’t going to move that board unless there’s a couple of good-sized rocks underneath it. The foundation of knowing your strengths in writing and storytelling, and identifying your audience are those rocks.
2. Don’t Treat it like a hobby. If you don’t treat your career like a career–something you want to do, be, or be known for, then no one else will take it seriously, either. It’s fortunate that we can put a career like this on the back burner when something critical affects our lives or loved ones…but it’s also very easy for external forces to move the definition of what is “critical.”
3. Don’t Work for tacos. None of us wants to throw good money after bad ideas, and money never guaranteed success anyway, but there is something to be said for knowing when to start investing in yourself. I spent a lot of time dithering about with *very* conservative goals and ambitions (the only conservative thing about me, says the blue-haired lady <g>), but here’s the thing–in order to grow bigger, you have to think bigger and DO bigger. Doing bigger often requires you to put some skin in the game–pony up and spend some money on improvements. You can–and many of us do–start out on a shoestring budget. But unless you are very, very lucky, shoestring budgets get shoestring results. Invest in upgrades–as long as they’re the right ones (see #2).
4. Don’t Believe your own hype (both good and bad). I surprised myself–and this is true for almost everyone I’ve spoken to, read, and exchanged with–at how much *emotional* baggage this brings up. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart or weak of self-esteem, and if you have Issues around money (I had more than issues–I have whole subscriptions, with the special gift and bonus circulars), they will come out. Prepare for that and line up whatever you need to get over them, whether it’s self-help audio books, consulting with a life coach/business mentor, a therapist, or long wine-fueled chats with your dog. Our issues put up roadblocks that we need to get over if we want to make it.
5. Don’t Pretend not to care. It’s okay to care about succeeding or failing in this business. What’s not okay is telling yourself that you don’t care or it doesn’t matter, because that does send an unconscious message–no one else should care, either. If this isn’t something you truly want, find the thing that is. If it *is* the thing you truly want, then you have to be ready to do your best every day to kick Resistance in the butt–whether it’s checking sales on the dashboard, or posts on social media, or finding new and creative ways to avoid writing, avoid making business decisions, or avoiding that chance to move your career in a new direction.
Finally–you may have to make some or all of these mistakes on your own. Being without boundaries is scary, and it’s very tempting to latch your prawny little self onto a Big Fish author and attempt to ride their wake simply because the water’s flowing faster in that direction and there’s a boat already on that branch of the river. And undoubtedly for some, that worked out. Observing and dissecting someone else’s path to success is a critical component to good career management…but it’s not a free bus ride. This includes things like writing what So-and-so writes, or using Such-and-Such’s tactics. When all is said and done, no one else can forge your path as well as you.
When a princess who’s no stranger to scandal runs afoul of the secrets of the most powerful cabal on Landfall, even her crown can’t protect her from the consequences.
They can have anything they want…except a future.
Nothing infuriates Princess Ione Ra more than having someone else take control of her reputation from her, and her old nemesis–gossip journalist Jaris Pulne–is poised to do just that with pilfered pics of her caught in a compromising position with her power-couple partner. As someone who’s no stranger to manipulating the markets on her own social life, Ione knows the wrong scandal means social suicide.
Privilege is a prison…
For the other half of the power couple, Den Hades, his survival has depended on staying in his powerful father’s shadow in order to protect his secrets. But on the very night of his one chance to earn a shot at becoming a Scion–and freedom from his father’s ambitions, scandal threatens to tear him from Ione, or worse–force them together before their time.
Athena Grayson likes kickass heroines, big-brained and sexy beta heroes who aren’t afraid of strong women or their own feelings, and stories that turn the genre tropes sideways. Athena is currently Lost in Middle America with family including feral children and domesticated housepets. She also believes that life is too short and you’re never too old for ridiculous unicorn hair.
Check out her links and connect with her!
Private Readers’ Group: readers.athenagrayson.com/StarEmpire
Facebook Page: facebook.com/AthenaGrayson
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/athenagrayson
Bookbub Author Profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/athena-grayson