You're Your Own Boss

That means you've got to act like it.

By Shannon Ashley

What's the hardest part about being a full-time writer? It varies from person to person, but I'd say that one of the hardest parts is being your own boss.

Don't get me wrong. Being your own boss is awesome in many ways. But not all the ways.

It can be a real adjustment if you're not used to being a boss or managing a business.

Personally, I spent some years as a contract writer, but the company I worked with acted like my boss in many ways. And I didn't earn great money, so taxes and expenses were never too much of a headache.

This year, things have changed. I make better money and create my own workload as a writer on Medium. That means I have to act like my own boss in a much bigger way than ever before.

The funny thing about a flexible schedule?

You've actually got to get work done. It's one thing when an employer or contract company gives you your assignments and you've got to adhere to specific deadlines. It's a whole other thing when it's up to you to create that workload.

You might also have a mix of tasks--some with built-in deadlines and others which must be set by you.

That's where I'm at. Most of my work is decided by me, but I also have some work I do with Shaunta, and I might occasionally write blogs for other businesses.

If you're prone to procrastination, you've got to find a way to nip it in the bud or you'll never make ends meet.

Treat your writing like a real job.

This has been the most effective way for me to get my work done. Since I don't have a conventional career, I make sure to invest at least 40 hours a week into my writing. I'm of the mind that it makes sense to put in as much time and effort into your writing as possible--especially in the beginning!

That investment can pay off. In my case, I hit my writing on Medium incredibly hard for more than a year. I finally backed off a bit to give myself more breaks this summer. Thankfully, I built up enough of a readership to take some time off without an enormous loss of income.

That's my hope for you as a writer--that you can get to a point where you get to take a little time off without hardship.

Don't forget that you're the boss here.

You are in control of your writing career. I know it doesn't always feel that way but it's true. You can set your hours and workload. You have to figure out how to manage taxes and a home office or writing space.

It's up to you to write your stories, make queries, and pursue whatever opportunities you'd like for your business.

It might feel daunting at times, but in the long run, it's pretty damn amazing. Full-time writing can be your opportunity to craft the life you truly want and love.

But it's important to be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to managing your own business. You might need to outsource some business or personal tasks for your sanity, and that's perfectly okay.

You're the boss. You call the shots.

Please don't forget that.