I began writing somewhere around the fifth grade. My teacher gave us an assignment to write a letter from one inanimate object to another. I wasn’t the brightest kid in the class and had a tough time understanding what inanimate objects were, but I was excited! It’s the first assignment I really remember and I’m not quite sure why I was ready to burst with joy, but I was.

I ended up writing a letter from my socks to my bare feet, begging them to start wearing shoes. The socks were sick and tired of being destroyed and if they saw one more rip, they were going to strangle someone, probably one of my toes.

My feet couldn’t move on their own, right? That counts as inanimate, I told myself. And it must have, because my teacher loved it and submitted it to a school-wide competition, where it won. The letter went on to win a regional competition and eventually a national one. I was invited to the Capitol and even given a medal (that I no longer have). . . by someone (no idea who) . . . for something (I hang my head in shame for not remembering).

My highlight of that trip? Discovering The White House had a gift shop and sold flags! Flags, I tell ya! Oh, and that frightening glass elevator in The Washington Monument; I’ll never forget that.

Fast forward many years later and I’m about to publish my first novel.

The reactions of those closest to me when I tell them I’m not looking for work, but instead have chosen to finish the book I began seven years ago before my role as a stay-at-home mom took over my life?

Mixed, I’d say. There are days my friends and family treat my endeavors seriously, and other days — not.

In the end, it doesn’t matter to me.

You see, there is a truth, or myth depending on how you look at it, many of us repeat to ourselves: What others think isn’t important. What matters is how we feel about our endeavors, not others. We offer this pearl of wisdom to our neighbors. We teach it in schools. We encourage our own children with it.

Yet, I meet so many people who rarely believe it. If I’m honest, I’ll even admit there have been any number of times in my own life where I’ve repeated the words, but failed to embrace them. I did care what others thought.

Over the years, what I’ve discovered is this — What others think just might be important, but to gauge my worth based on their opinion is where the danger lies. I decided at the beginning of this journey not to make that mistake.

When I focused all of my efforts on writing, I also made the decision to treat it as a business, even if others viewed it as nothing more than a hobby.

How did I do that? And, more importantly, how do I maintain that mentality?

  • I hold weekly ‘Blomberg Production’ meetings with my husband where we discuss my work week. I talk about character development, if I’m inclined to share, or any challenges I’ve encountered. For example, I live in Sweden and I may need my husband’s language skills while navigating through avenues of research.
  • I set measurable goals and review the data at the end of the week. I created forms to track these goals, and I loved seeing the results. It was so inspiring to see my daily word count increase. To watch the page numbers climb. To analyze where, and when, I achieved the best results.
  • Every Friday I spend at least one hour working on the ‘business’. Blog updates, market research, software reviews, expense reports, or even setting up the files I use to monitor everything. By the time I need to file my taxes (US and Swedish taxes), hopefully all of this planning will eliminate some of the headache involved. This also allows me to spend the time I’ve dedicated to writing, wisely (i.e., writing), instead of using that time for ‘busy’ work.
  • I created a publishing plan for the novel and plan to do so for future novels. It is so handy to have this step-by-step guide. Map, cover, acknowledgements page, copyright information, research bizarre tax laws for expats living overseas using an international internet platform to sell electronic goods, all of this and more went into the plan. Each week I track my progress, update the information, or alter the plan as needed.
  • I created an initial marketing plan. From the beginning I knew I needed one that included social platforms. I chose to focus on Facebook and WordPress. I also went back and forth, before deciding to use WordPress as my main website. I’ve only begun this phase, but each week we review the plan and tweak it, if necessary.

I couldn’t be happier with my job. Well, a paycheck would be nice, even if it’s only enough to treat the kids to an ice cream. The truth is I love writing, but it’s more than a hobby to me — whether I receive a paycheck that covers the bills, or not.

That’s not to say you must follow these steps if you want to take your writing seriously. But it is to say the level of dedication you give to your craft is how you view your craft. If you only have fifteen minutes to write, treat those fifteen minutes like gold. These things that I do, they are my personal nuggets of gold and bringing this level of dedication to my job is worth more to me than all the precious metals in the world.

It’s also to say, yes, I value your opinion, but when it concerns my life, my opinion is louder than yours and always will be.

 

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