The Business of Writing
"Develop your personal brand."
Until recently, this was a phrase I had never heard used aloud before, let alone considered for myself. After all, it has only been in the past few months that I've really started to allow myself to consider that I am a legitimate 'writer'. That I might focus on this passion so much that I could potentially turn it into a viable business option was definitely something I had daydreamed about, had imagined that moment that I would see my name in print alongside a piece of writing I was infinitely proud of (perhaps even that novel that I've been working on for so many years now). Yet I had never taken any actual steps to put the daydreams of a business into motion, so I certainly hadn't considered the part where I would need to develop some kind of personal brand of my own.
Why not, you might ask. I've certainly asked myself that very question countless times over the past few weeks, since I heard the phrase mentioned in context with writing and promoting one's work. It's such a logical concept when you think about it. A writer wants their work to be read, and what better way to get people reading what you've written than to focus some of your attention on promoting yourself and what you stand for - your brand! However logical the concept might be though, the fact remains that I hadn't considered it at all, and now I find myself doing exactly that.
I've come to the conclusion that I hadn't considered it because to do so meant putting it all out there, and that's scary! If I'm being perfectly frank, it's downright terrifying really. Writing is an emotional business - one leaves their heart and soul on the page, having become so invested in the worlds, the characters, that are created. To put it all up on display is no easy task. Even when you have thrown all of your passion into the writing of it. In fact, especially when that's what you've done.
Then, on top of that is the part where creating your personal brand means you have started to take this seriously enough that you are actively working to generate your business. It's such an overwhelming concept; at least, it has been for me, because it means that I'm inviting people into my world and am hoping so fiercely that they like what they encounter upon arrival.
It's a hard road to navigate, this business of writing. Because that's what it is - a business. Yes, I started writing because I genuinely enjoy doing so and cannot imagine not spending my time putting the thoughts that appear in my mind down onto a page, seeing those worlds that I imagine spring into being. After all, as another writer I saw recently said, if we are truly writers, than we will spend our time writing. I won't lie though - the thought that it could be more, that I might have a shot at being able to write, every day, as my career, is one that fills me with more than just that frightening fear of failure. It fills me with hope.
So excuse me, while I head off to work on developing my personal brand that bit more. Just in case.