I just finished watching the second season of Two Broke Girls. For anyone not familiar with the series the basic premise is: Caroline and Max try to build a cupcake business.
Surprisingly, I have been able to take away quite a few gems of wisdom that apply to my building of a professional writing career.
Gem 1- Get help.
In the first season Max is just a girl selling her cupcakes at the diner she works in. When Caroline enters the story she brings with her a knowledge of business that Max could not have easily attained herself. Along the way, secondary characters help the women out when they are struggling to build their business.
I am a writer. I am not a computer genius, grammar nerd, or artist. I get help from people who are strong in those areas for cover design, interior formatting, and punctuation and grammar editing.
In most cases we have to write our stories solo but there is no reason not to enlist a little help with everything else. Who knows when your friend the artist might need a favor a writer can provide.
Gem 2- Take it slow.
In the beginning of season 2 of Two Broke Girls Caroline and Max get a review of their cupcakes by Martha Stewart. A huge thumbs up in their direction. What do the lovely ladies do? They go out and rent a storefront with so much overhead that their business quickly crumples to the ground. In a desperate attempt to save the business Caroline asks her aunt for a loan. The aunt refuses and tells Caroline that they tried to do too much too fast.
I self published my first book in February. So far, there have been 46 downloads of it from Smashwords website. I have had a few reviews on both Smashwords and Goodreads. All were positive.
The first thing I wanted to do was to declare myself a writer and quit my job to write full time. I could have another two books out in a few months if I worked on them 40 hours a week. People were liking my stuff (even if only 46 people had read it).
I quickly snapped myself back to sanity. I set aside time each day to write and I make writing a priority. I also have plans to self publish another book before the end of 2013. It is in the final stages of editing as we speak. While I do declare myself a writer I am still working full time at a job that actually pays me money. I am the sole financial provider for a family of 4 so I have to work full time to pay the mortgage and utilities. I hope someday I can make my living as a writer. I believe in my books. I believe in myself. But, taking it slow is the key. Too much too fast is very bad.
Gem 3- Failure happens. It isn’t the end.
When Max and Caroline lose their shop Caroline wants to give up. She thinks about getting a regular full time job and forgetting all about the cupcake business. Max foils her plans and they decide to try again and learn from the mistakes they have made.
I often question and second guess the decisions I make as an author. Is self publishing really the road for me? Should I keep writing the stories I love even though they don’t fit neatly into easily defined genres (one of my next books has strong Christian characters but also on screen sex.).
The answer is that I have to do what feels right for the business. Maybe I am right. Maybe I am wrong. I am going to have failures. That is inevitable. But I can learn from my mistakes. I can move on. I can do better next time. And maybe, what I do will turn out to be the right decision.
Gem 4- Building a dream takes sacrifices.
In the last episode of season 2 Caroline wants to go to a branding seminar to learn how to better market their product. Of course, Max and Caroline are broke and the seminar costs $600. After several failed schemes Max and Caroline offer to clean out a large storage room in the back of the diner. At first Caroline believes that cleaning the very gross storage area is beneath her dignity. But, she wants to go to the seminar bad enough that she and Max do it. And, as it turns out, that is the catalyst in a sequence of events that ends with them finding a shop they can afford the overhead on for their business.
I need to join Romance Writers of America. My parents usually give me money for Christmas and for my birthday. That, plus the change I have been saving in a piggy bank this year just might be enough for the annual fee. Joining means I will have to forgo the newest Sims game as well as anything else i could have used my birthday for (like a babysitter so I could go out with my boyfriend on a real date. It has been a year since we have been out together without the kids). A membership to RWA is just one of the many things I will need to sacrifice to obtain. Maybe they will help my career as a writer. Maybe not. But making the sacrifices will help me be more devoted to my dream. Devotion to my dream will help me make better decision towards achieving it.
I don’t know whats in store for Max and Caroline. I don’t know if their new shop will fail or succeed. I don’t know what trials they will face next. I will be watching to see.
And I will be jumping whatever hurdles come my way that threaten to keep me from my dreams.