I visited with friends at Munchkin Playland today. It’s a franchise operation: fancy coffee shop with play areas for babies and toddlers. Just the place for soccer moms. Decent coffee. Slightly higher prices than it’s worth, but not so much higher that I won’t pay it.
The bathrooms impressed me. Scrupulously clean, clearly thought out with a baby/toddler crowd in mind. Professional-looking labels. All the tools you’d need to change a baby or guide a youngster new to the whole potty process. The bathroom had a system, and the owners were using it.
This is how franchises work. A functional system takes the guessing out of the scut work of running a business — leaving more time and energy from growing the business itself.
As writers, we can benefit from having our own systems. Writing is a creative process, and many of us have images of long writing binges in a garret apartment, drinking absinthe and mourning a lost love. The free-wheeling, flexible lifestyle of a professional writer is part of what drew many of us to the field. I know one reason I do it is so I can be home with my children and never have to apologize for going to a 3PM soccer game.
The more systems you put in place around your writing and your career, the better your chances of making a decent living at it over the long haul. This can be as detailed as a daily schedule in 15-minute increments, or as loose as a monthly income goal. Whatever you need to keep yourself on schedule to reach not just your immediate financial needs, but also your long-term idea of where you want your career to go.
A few of my systems include:
- Weekly earnings goals, with accountability provided by my blog.
- Specific time slots where I write without fail.
- A 5-4-3-2-1 structure of marketing tasks. (More on the 5-1 in another post).
- Keeping an event schedule months in advance, so I know when to earn extra for times I won’t work.