We don’t like to think of writing in terms of a business.  It’s art, and art and business don’t mix!  But the thing I’m continually learning is that in order to be a ‘professional’ writer (and by that I mean someone who makes money from it) you have to walk that tightrope.
I’ve had a few people comment that with everything I’m doing right now, I don’t seem to be too focused on the business side of things.  I seem to be jumping from one project to another, as if I’m chopping and changing rather than focussing on one thing.  And when I tell them some of the things I’m working on in the background, it just further cements that view.
They’re wrong.

I spoke a bit about the need for writers to diversify, that having all your eggs in one basket as a writer is a bad thing in the current climate.  I’ve seen it happen to friends.
So my entire business strategy has been to have a finger in as many different pies as I can.  Of course, that causes its own problems.  You spread yourself too thin and you’ll get nothing done.
As everyone who comes here regularly knows, I’m a sucker for process.  I’m all about working smart and when coupled together with writing hard, it means I’ve been able to churn out a lot of words without the quality dropping.  There’s still some work to do – there’s always room for improvement – but it’s working really well.
One of the tests for the first few months was to see just how much I could have on the go at the same time.  I honestly thought I’d bitten off more than I could chew, and yes, some days I do feel I’m drowning a bit, but sitting here in early March,  I’ve pretty much got everything done when I said I’d get it done by.  Those things I haven’t are simply because I’m going into unknown areas and fear has held me back.
My strategy is to do everything. That seems ludicrous on first hearing it, but you have to understand that the strategy doesn’t mean doing everything all the time.
The plan is that if I have fingers in five pies (let’s call them apple, cherry, rhubarb, lime and pizza) I can keep these projects ticking along.  I can also work on some more than others.  So it might be that in February, I’m spending eighty percent of my time on apple pie, dividing the rest of the time between the other projects.  But let’s say I check my inbox today and there’s a fantastic opportunity for pizza pie.  I have a clear idea of what I’m working on and what time is needed, so I could either finish the apple pie and then start on Pizza pie, or allow pizza pie to occupy seventy five percent of my time, and drop progress on apple pie down to five or ten percent.
Not all projects have to be about the actual writing.  Some projects might require research or planning, or another might need editing, or even marketing.  Some might have deadlines, some might not, but my organisation seems to be working and despite the apparent chaos, everything is getting done on time.
As a result, not only am I able to diversify without spreading myself too thinly but I can also be incredibly flexible.  That means, if an opportunity arises with a very short turn around, given other deadlines and paying work, I can swap things around and get it done without losing momentum on other projects.
It means I can also do paying work without worrying that personal projects might get sidelined and forgotten about.
I keep waiting for something major to trip me up, and this month has seen a real big test with a family incident (Gah! Real life!).  However, it’s not been a problem, because I’ve just scaled back on a couple of things.  My word count dropped across the board for a few days, but nothing has ground to a halt.  Because I can scale projects up and down as needed, I can probably still recover.  That said, I’m not going to get complacent and just enjoy the fact that the strategy seems to be working.
I’m also finding that having solid processes for being able to flex and manage my time actually frees me up to be creative when I need to be.  I can trust my strategy and just get on with the act of making words.
It seems to be working even better than I hoped.  I’m resisting the urge to push it to breaking point,  instead feeling comfortable going at the rate that I’m currently working at.
As more of my projects come to light over the course of the year, I’m hoping it will all appear a little less chaotic and more as a comprehensive broad strategy.  I suppose, just like pie, the proof is in the eating!