How to Breathe New Life Into Your Creative Career

Filed in Tools to Write Pain-Free by on October 1, 2017 29 Comments • views: 978

by Benjamin Sobieck

Congratulations to: Laurie B.! You won a free pair of Writer’s Gloves.

Not every entrepreneur is a writer, but every writer is an entrepreneur.

The same forces percolating creative juices every time you sit down at a keyboard can pour you a cup of words or, sometimes, something completely different.

Don’t dismiss the latter when it hits. For the sake of your writing career, embrace your inner entrepreneur.

Writers, Keep Your Eyes Out for Other Business Opportunities

Specifically, these gloves. This marked my first time as a hand model. As it turned out, Glamour magazine included the photos in a spread about office products. Not too bad for a first-time model.

I wrote about just that last year here at Writing and Wellness. I created a kind of glove for keeping hands and fingers warm while typing on keyboards to keep me going while working on a writing project for a large publisher.

A deadline couldn’t be missed, but my cold hands had other ideas. The candle next to my keyboard went out, and a lightbulb went on. Could this be a business?

The answer, as I found out, was a resounding “yes.” The Writer’s Glove® is what my creation is called, and it’s come quite a ways since my shingle of a website and a few glorified prototypes hit the market.

I created an LLC, sourced a manufacturer, registered a trademark with the USPTO, built an e-commerce site for direct-to-consumer sales at thewritersglove.com and can count 25 countries as being home to my customers.

That’s on top of a pile of cool writing projects, a full-time job in publishing, presenting at writing conferences and raising a young son at home.

Whew.

The point isn’t to toot my own horn here (OK, maybe a little), but to show off a side of writing that isn’t always appreciated.

Writers as Entrepreneurs First, Then as Artists

There’s an attitude within writing, and the arts in general, that discussing money matters tied to this industry degrades the experience of the art being created.

This is in part to maintain a sense of holiness within the struggle to make your way as a writer. You’ve got to have a spiritual core to what you do that transcends the metrics normally applied to traditional definitions of success, because the odds of you “making it” are low.

The further away those odds get, the easier it is to dismiss the entire category of writing and financial ROI [return on investment].

It just doesn’t fly at cocktail receptions at writing conferences or on writing blogs to go on about how you’re not making a living playing this game.

There is safety in the nebula of an artistic persona. No metric can bind you.

I take a different approach for two reasons.

Reason 1: Writers Cut Themselves Short By Thinking Small

I don’t have an MBA. I went to school for journalism and creative writing. I also wasn’t born knowing how to write a novel. Once you understand the mechanics of creating something from nothing, you can make just about anything you want.

Starting a business in any industry is hard enough. Selling writing is even more challenging. Despite that, readers pay writers for words every day. Why?

Writers are entrepreneurial. Each writer is a mini business, and the products for sale are novels, short stories, flash fiction, poetry and other works. Through excellent editing, beautiful packaging (covers), clever marketing and a knack for feeling out their audiences, they manage to sell one of the most underpriced, oversaturated products on the planet.

Given the odds that had to be shucked to pull that off, what else is possible?

Most writers don’t stop to ask that question. I’m not suggesting every one of them is a would-be Bill Gates, but there are some serious opportunity costs to not considering it.

Think beyond books. Think bigger. Because when I did, I found out that the mechanics behind publishing a book are almost identical to bringing any other product to market.

It could be gloves for typing with cold hands. It could be anything.

But in order to take that leap, you’ve got to get over this idea that writers are solely artists. Art plays a big part, but there is art in any trade, from writing to welding. The difference is that writers are inherently disposed to product creation.

Once you put your mind to that, the opportunities to turn your efforts into a full-time gig grow by leaps and bounds. You’re not boxed into just writing. You can do anything.

Reason 2: Financial Health is Tied to Personal Health

Money isn’t the root of all evil. The love of money is. It’s hard to take care of yourself as a writer if you’re sitting on zero income from the manuscript your publisher has been sitting on for months. Time to do what you do best: get creative.

Money isn’t everything, but it is still quite a bit. That’s especially true if you’re missing it. What’s that saying? “When poverty comes through the door, love goes out the window?”

Your health does, too, impacting the psychological, emotional and physical. This can be especially true for the starving artist types. That’s why they’re called “starving artists.”

Embracing the entrepreneurial side of writing is one way out. Diversifying the products you put out there can keep income rolling in when times are tight. The flexibility of being your own boss can open up more time for writing, too. That puts you in a much better position to maximize every word you were put on this planet to write.

The alternatives aren’t nearly as satisfying. There are the “real jobs” writers work to get by, cannibalizing the time they could be spending on something more fulfilling. There is waiting until retirement. There is also couch surfing on the ebbing and flowing tides of royalty payments.

I’m not quite there yet, but I’d rather chase every muse that comes my way before I hit 65. I bet I’m not alone.

The challenge then becomes to make making money a priority. Flip that entrepreneurial switch and connect those disparate pieces of product creation just like plot points.

It’ll Make You a Better Writer

None of this means walking away from that artistic persona. In fact, once you see how similar writing a book is to producing something like The Writer’s Glove®, you’ll become better at both.

That’s because both involve creating illusion. I mean that in a pragmatic way, not a nefarious one. Somewhere, someone you’ll never meet must be able to visualize what it is you’re trying to convey.

Books, like any other product, use stories. So does The Writer’s Glove®. A character in second-person POV (the customer) has a problem with cold hands while writing at a keyboard (the conflict) and engages on a quest in Google for a solution (the plot), eventually finding a happy ending when one of my packages arrives (resolution).

It’s advertising, sure, but it’s far from soulless. I created it. Why should one expression of my storytelling be more legitimate than another?

Embrace Your Entrepreneurial Side

Moving ahead with The Writer’s Glove® is one of the best decisions I ever made in my writing career, and it’s not even a piece of writing. Embrace your entrepreneurial side. You might surprise yourself.

They work with touchscreens, too!

Ben is giving away a pair of The Writer’s Glove® to one lucky commenter on this article.

Leave a comment below about the craziest way a person could keep their hands warm.

We’ll draw a winner randomly from the comments submitted on Wednesday, October 4th, 2017.

Good luck!

Giveaway winner: Laurie B.!

* * *

Benjamin Sobieck is the creator of The Writer’s Glove®, gloves designed for typing with cold hands. He’s also a Wattpad Star and Watty Award-winning author, with more than 1.2 million reads of his fictional works on Wattpad, including When the Black-Eyed Children Knock and Glass Eye: Confessions of a Fake Psychic Detective.

Through Wattpad, he’s worked with FOX Television, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Brothers. He’s also the author of The Writer’s Guide to Weapons (Writer’s Digest Books) and the related blog at CrimeFictionBook.com. Connect with him on Twitter and Pinterest.

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Comments (29)

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  1. Rob Seib says:

    I keep my hands warm by placing them in the toaster before typing or playing piano.
    I need a better solution.

  2. Ooh, I’d love to win these. They sound great for artists as well as writers. I’m both, so they’d be doubly useful. Are they washable if I get paint on them? Let the warm creativity flow!

  3. Jane says:

    Those gloves look very useful, especially in the winter months. Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. Rose says:

    My hands are always cold and purple..got bad bloodflow lol. I could pile all the blankets in the house and fill the room with duck feathers to stay warm! Not that creative, but it’s something 😀

  5. Donna Cook says:

    Great article, and all so true. Earlier this year I realized that in order to succeed in my business, I need to learn business. Not just the publishing industry, but business principles in general. I’ve noticed the most successful authors have done this. I hope to follow in their footsteps! And the gloves sound fabulous. I dread winter, but these could make me enjoy it a lot more. 😉

    • Ben Sobieck says:

      Right on, and I’ll add that I’ve noticed the same thing. The most successful writers I know – the full-timers – are also the most entrepreneurial. I admire that spirit, and ever since embracing it, I’ve found a boat load of opportunities open up.

  6. Mary Preston says:

    All helpful thank you.

  7. Jessica says:

    I’m still trying to figure out a good way to balance it all, but I am currently running my own freelance writing business, writing creatively for fun (short stories, a blog), and working part -time as a floral designer, while working through lots of self-care to heal an illness (helps me come up with lots of writing ideas!). Writing is most definitely a business, but a very gratifying one. And having a few things going on keeps the creative wheels spinning. I am keeping the dream alive to be one a writer full-time. Those gloves would really help with upcoming midwestern winter. These hands are never warm, especially during the cold months. Great article!

  8. Kathy says:

    Your writer’s gloves sound like a perfect way to keep our fingers toasty while creativity can flow without any need to stop. I have some arthritis in my thumbs and the warmth of a glove can help keep aches at bay as well. I’m going through my second draft on my novel and find it’s hard to go through the critique of my group as well as to keep upbeat about the process (that may take as long as it did to write the first draft). This was a great article to keep me motivated to complete the process in publication no matter how long it takes!

  9. Tracy Lopez says:

    I don’t know about the craziest way to keep your hands warm, maybe lighting them on fire? You wouldn’t be able to write for awhile though, so not advisable. I usually wrap my fingers around a warm mug of tea, personally, but the gloves would be an even better solution.

  10. At the moment, I’m keeping my hands warm by letting Sassy dog sit in my lap. I keep my hands on her while I’m reading. The problem is, I have to periodically switch over to a cat or dog video to keep her interested.

  11. Kim Buchanan says:

    Great article, Ben! And I’m a big fan of your book “The Writer’s Guide to Weapons.” Would love to be the owner of a pair of your writer’s gloves too. Do they come infused with inspiration?

  12. s. sener says:

    I would be happy to own and advertise a pair!

  13. Angela Noel says:

    I agree with Ben. Writing is so much more than writing. Though I have yet to make a living off of my writing (I’m honestly not even trying at this point) I wholeheartedly believe it’s a business. And any hope of becoming a published author means internalizing that fact and treating the art we create as a product rather than a unique snowflake of pure creation. I love that you’ve branched out and found a new product to offer in service to writers. I readily believe that embracing this project helped you become a better writer. Laying down more pathways to creative thinking in the brain has got to have some neurological benefits.
    I’ll be honest, I’ve never noticed m hands getting cold while writing. But, my hands do get cold at weird times. I keep them warm sometimes by letting my husband stretch his legs over my lap while we’re watching TV then putting my cold hands against his toasty shins. He thinks I’m just being affectionate. So, don’t tell him the truth!

    • Ben Sobieck says:

      You’re on to something with the neurological benefits. I’ve got a whole theory about how that works, but that’s for another post. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  14. Cold handed writer here! These look brilliant!

  15. I’d love to win a pair of writer’s gloves!

  16. Stephanie says:

    If you have carpet nearby where you are writing/working, rubbing your hands for a few minutes on carpet is a way I have heard to keep your hands warm.

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