Tailoring your writing process to your personality.

One of the things I learned running a bookstore for so many years was that it makes sense to tailor your procedures to your personality. There's more than one way to run a business. There are so many directions you can go. Some make more money but are unpleasant, some make less money but are fun.

Sometimes you bite the bullet and bend your personality to make room for a prosperous product. I pretended--no, convinced myself--that I was terribly interested in sports, whereas up to the moment that sports cards started selling, I'd been marginally interested in football and that was about it.

As I've said so many times, if you run a business you have to accomplish one of two things--either having fun or making money.

If you're not having fun and not making money, then you will quickly burn out.

And as I've also said so many times--as a corollary to the above--burn out is almost as big a danger for small business as not making enough money to survive. (Of course, not making money isn't fun, so they go together.)

Eventually I started eliminating things that were unpleasant and I didn't enjoy even if they sometimes would have been profitable to do so. Trading and buying off the street is the most notable example. Concentrating on carrying product instead of promotions and events. That kind of thing.

The things that made the bookstore fun to go to everyday, not the things I dreaded.

All of which is to say, now that I'm writing all the time, I'm finding the same thing is true.

It makes no sense to do things that are so unpleasant that it discourages me from writing. Promotion, mostly, but other things that most writers would say you should do.

The difference, unfortunately, between my bookstore and my writing is that my bookstore has a platform. We are on a "high" street, as the British would put it; a busy foot-traffic area where I have a built in audience. The foot traffic grew in concert with the rent, so it was manageable. So all I have to do is be where I am, pay the higher rent, and I get enough business to survive.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find an equivalent "high street" platform in writing. Most of the ways you get noticed in writing require huge efforts at self-promotion. Which I hate. Which I  hate so much that if I was required to do it, I'd rather quit writing altogether.

The other possibility is to try to hook up to an agent or mainstream publisher--but you lose so much control, you are so much at their mercy, that it is extremely unpleasant for me. I've had over 35 years of doing what I want. Sending something off to the void and being a supplicant to the powers of others has become almost impossible for me. 

The other thing I did at the store, as mentioned above, is concentrated on filling it with content. Books, books, and  more books. As much product--good product--as I could cram into the space. I learned a long time ago, the more product I had, the higher the sales.

So, in theory, I'm concentrating on writing a lot, in hopes that the more I write, the more I sell. (So far, that doesn't seem to be true, unfortunately.)

So I'm more or less tailoring my writing process to the same kinds of things. Going walking helps? Then go walking. Going into the bedroom and putting a pillow over my eyes and letting my mind wander helps? Then do it. Writing blogs to get the juices flowing, then do it.

The time of day I write, what I write, how I write it, how fast or slow, how much research, how much re-writing, how much time between drafts--all tailored to fit what is most comfortable for me.

Because in the end, what I really care about is writing my stories.

So that's what I do.