Engaging with different voices is always important. In blogging it is so easy to concentrate on your own view, and let other views orbit around it. “Four Questions” is a series on Everyday Liturgy which looks to authors & artists to ask them four questions about their craft.
Everyday Liturgy: Over the past couple of years you have been writing on your blog about defining a freelancer’s vocation. Most people have their work defined for them by their boss and the company they work for. Is it hard to be the person that defines your own work?
Ed Cyzewski: I wanted to write because I was sick of watching my ideas die on my bosses’ desk or in meetings. The down side of working for myself as a writer is that I still watch my ideas die. However, I get to explore what I want, and there is a lot of joy and freedom in that.
Having said that, it’s not always easy to know what you’re passionate about until you’re passed through some trial and error. The mistake I’ve made is overloading myself with too many projects instead of focusing on the things I can do best. The more I focus on a few things, the better off I am. I’d say that defining my own work is better, but it’s still hard and there are some tough days.
EL: How has your journey into self-publishing been?
Ed: That’s a good example of something that didn’t quite work for me. I put together a book on nonfiction publishing that received great reviews and endorsements, but it didn’t bring in much by way of income or speaking opportunities. It’s a ton of work, and I don’t think anyone unfamiliar with publishing has a clue how tough it is to really edit and market a book well.
Every serious author needs to develop self-publishing ideas, especially if you already write regularly on a blog. As long as you get professional editing and a high quality cover, there’s no reason why you can’t self-publish. Having said that, it may be more viable to work with a small press that at least provides a lot of that support to you at no charge and helps you market your work to a niche audience.
EL: What are the pros and cons you see of the current publishing climate?
EC: The cons are that no one knows what the future is going to look like, Amazon is getting way too big and powerful, and acquisitions at many publishing companies are down.
The pros are that e-books and tablets will crack open creative story-telling opportunities that we have just barely glimpsed and e-books may make small scale publishing more possible and sustainable for many.
EL: I find when I am working on a project that Parkinson’s Law always reigns: work expands to time allotted. How do you maintain a sense of discipline when you are, in essence, your own boss?
That law is quite true. I always evaluate my time use, remembering that some time will always be wasted. I keep a daily to-do list, and I set aside Friday as my “fun writing day” to work on long-term book projects. If I don’t get my other work done in 4 days, I lose my fun writing day.
I also try to start my day with some projects I’m passionate about in order to make sure I get some of them done and build some momentum before I begin working on the projects that need to get done for my business clients. This means that I’m more motivated to work on enjoyable projects when time is a luxury, and I put pressure on myself to complete the tough projects when my day is more limited.
I need accountability, so I always recap my day to my wife. I’m also looking into getting a coach or someone who can help me keep my life balanced.
If you want to know more about Ed’s self-publishing project, check outwww.pathtopublishing.com. The rest of his books and projects can be found at www.edcyz.com.