Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom (Business): Resolving the Art vs. Business Conundrum

Okay. Let’s set the record straight right from the start. Every human being is a sales person. No matter what our field of endeavor, we have to “sell” ourselves in some way in order to succeed in our field. 

What does it mean to “sell”? According to Merriam-Webster, to “sell” means “to persuade or influence to a course of action or to the acceptance of something.” Keeping this definition in mind, we can say that from the day we are born, we are salespeople. We attempt to persuade or influence someone to a course of action. A baby cries to persuade his mother to feed him. A toddler runs after his older brother to persuade his older brother to play with him. A teenager argues with his parents to attempt to persuade them to allow him to participate in a certain school activity. 

Even as adults, we sell ourselves. Here are a few examples:

• We usually land a job through an interview. An interview is a sales pitch. 

• We usually get a promotion by demonstrating (selling) our ability and performance. 

• We usually get a raise by doing the same. 

So why is it that we writers have such a hard time seeing ourselves as “sellers” of our writing? Why is there such a negative attitude among writers when it comes to the business side of writing? And, if we’re really honest, why do writers consider business inferior to art? For truth be told, this view that art is superior to business underlies, in my opinion, the resistance many writers have to the business side of writing. 

And, consequently, to making the money they deserve to make. 

At one time I too shared this belief that business was inferior to art.  As much as I could, I shunned the business side of writing, but to my own detriment.  Once I started a business of my own, however, I gained a new appreciation for what I now call “the art of business.” 

Only when we begin to appreciate business as equal in value to art but different in function will we approach the business side of writing with the attitude that will attract writing success.  

What about you? Do you see business as inferior to art? If so, why? If not, why not?

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