I’ve enjoyed many perks as an indie author. I work independently from anywhere in the world, on my schedule, and on a topic of my choosing. The royalties I make on my books supplement my income and, hopefully, will soon become my major means of support.
Aside from the perks most people associate with being a writer—independence, flexible work schedules, and potential for high income— I was surprised to find the following unexpected benefits to being an author.
A more organized mind
My thinking is not well-organized. The methodology of writing provides me with the structure and discipline to think logically. As I write sentences and paragraphs, my thoughts get filtered, become more coherent, and I come to conclusions I would not make otherwise.
This is particularly true when I blog. If I start with a topic that interests me but which I have not yet fully thought out, the writing helps me organize my thoughts. Though others may follow a similar reasoning process and draw the same conclusions that I have, I feel as though the results of my thought process are my own.
“My writing process is very organic. I start with an idea. I have the general story arc and the cast. But then I sit down to write, and things change.” ~ Sarah Addison Allen
A sense of accomplishment
I’ve come a long way since I published my first book in 2012. My writing has developed, my Websites have evolved, and my understanding of what it takes to be successful as an indie author now includes becoming an “authorpreneur” and managing my author’s business.
Taking charge, making things happen, helping other indie authors, and doing my best make me feel as if I am doing something worthwhile with my life.
Gained confidence / self reliance
Coming to my own conclusions, finding my voice and the courage to use it, blogging to help other indie authors, launching my books, and making my writer’s business successful provide positive feelings. Each time I try something new or stretch beyond my comfort zone, my self-image grows stranger and I feel more capable.
As a writer, I pen books, blogs, guest post, tweets, ads, press releases, newsletters, and marketing literature. Each day seems to bring a new creativity challenge, not only for the written word but also for various media.
No longer limited to writing, authors develop other outlets for their creativity. In my genre, I use photography, drawing packages to create illustrations and memes, video, and more. I am always learning different ways to express myself.
Since I manage most aspects of my writer’s business, I am constantly learning. Even though I received an MBA many years ago, the tools I need as an indie author differ from the ones I learned three decades ago.
Additionally, the world is on a fast track. What was hot three months ago is now passé. There is always a new tool to learn, new software or upgrade. To keep current, I follow bloggers, read books by industry gurus, and attend Webinars.
I’m not always on the up side of the learning curve…sometimes I am the one helping others update their skills. That is always a bonus.
Writing makes me happy. In addition to feeling more organized, accomplished, confident, and creative, there is something therapeutic about “putting pen to paper” and seeing what develops. I find the entire process calming. Even when the writing is difficult, I am left with a euphoria akin to the feeling I have after a completing a challenging body workout routine. Exercising my brain makes me feel good.
A sharp mind
Writing, learning, reading, and creating tease the brain and keep it in shape. As a mid-sexagenarian, keeping my mind honed is important.
“We don’t grow old. We get old by not growing.” ~ Gary Mack, Mind Gym
It is a myth that “The Writer” is a solitary person, locked away from distractions, perhaps living in a remote cabin without outside connections. It is true that many authors need solitude to write, but nowadays more authors connect to each other and to their readers than you might imagine.
When I started writing, I knew only a few writers. Having interviewed Gina Greenlee, for a radio program I hosted, I called her. Over that first year, she offered support and advice, critiqued my manuscript, and welcomed me into the writers’ family. Her acceptance and help became my model for what it is to be an author.
Since then, many writers have helped me. I, in turn, help others. We support one another on social media, We share knowledge gained in blogs and offer seminars and Webinars. We read and review each other’s books. In addition to one-on-one mentoring, we have writers clubs and writers circles. We have local, state, and national associations. We are not alone.
This solidarity among authors was my biggest surprise and the best benefit to being an author.
In my next blog, I will discuss the unexpected disadvantages to being a writer. Look for it, or sign up to be notified by email when it is posted. Thanks.
Did you find different unexpected benefits to being an author? Please leave a comment.