I hope you had a chance to look through the post linked to yesterday, Indie Authors Quitting Their Day Jobs. Last time I looked there were over 300 comments from writers, starting with historical fiction author Libbie Hawker, who took the occasion to announce:
“Saturday is my last day at the day job. June 1st will be my first day writing full-time. All due to indie publishing.”
Reading through these comments is incredibly exciting because you sense the passion and the opening of life-changing opportunity in many of them.
As someone who self-published back in the days when there was no “indie publishing” and most of the publishing industry had little knowledge and less regard for people who published their own books, these stories are fulfilling for me, too.
Owning our own stories, getting to tell them to the world, sharing and passing on our insights and hard-won expertise—every motivation for publishing is now within the grasp of anyone who wants to reach for it.
You have to do it well to succeed, but many of you have shown that with a bit of talent and a lot of determination, you can do it.
The Self-Directed Workplace
That’s what I was thinking about when I read Why You Hate Work by Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath in this Sunday’s New York Times.
I’ve been working on my own for so long that I was shocked to remember some of the places I had worked over the years, and how soul-crushing some work environments can be.
What caught my eye was a chart called “White Collar Salt Mine: A 2013 survey of 12,115 workers worldwide found that many lacked a fulfilling workplace.”
As I scanned down the list, I couldn’t help but think about the dozens and dozens of writers whose comments I had just been reading, and who have found the “way out” through indie publishing.
The way out of what? Here are some of the qualities workers are looking for in their workplace, according to this survey, and how they might compare to someone who has “quit their day job.”
- Regular time for creative or strategic thinking
Writers are creative workers by definition, so much of our day is taken up by creativity, and publishing our work brings out the need for strategic thinking.
- Ability to focus on one thing at a time
Yeah, that’s what writing is all about. It’s your day, you decide what to do with it.
- Opportunities to do what’s most enjoyed
We make our own opportunities in indie publishing, and there’s great joy in that
- Level of meaning and significance
I can’t think of a better way to bring meaning to your life than leaving something of yourself for generations to come
- Opportunities for learning and growth
We’re always learning how to write better, aren’t we? And now we’re learning publishing and marketing too
- Ability to prioritize your tasks
When you’ve got one book in progress and another launching, you better learn to prioritize
- Ability to balance work and home life
This is where working on your own really shines, as there’s less of a wall between the two
- Comfort in being truly yourself
There are lots more items on the list, but the idea is clear.
Indie publishing, pursued with passion and fired with our own intelligence, creates a whole new world for us. Most writers don’t pursue self-publishing principally to make a living doing it, but what’s astonishing is that all of us, no matter what our motivation, are able to thrive.