Are you merely writing, or are you creating assets? To be honest, I never really thought about it, which may explain why financially it has been a struggle writing full time these past five months. I did what I’ve always done, I wrote, and rewrote, and occasionally I blogged. I also sent out my work to various editors, publishers and agents. The usual stuff.
Then while trying to turn myself into a savvy investor—it all starts with self-education—I picked up Robert Kyosaki’s Guide to Investing and while discussing assets, he said, “…there are many ways you can create assets inside an asset column without buying them. Inventors do it by inventing something of great value. Artists paint paintings that are priceless. Authors write books that pay them royalties for years…”
Assets. Never looked at it this way. I'm not just writing, I'm creating assets that I can sell! Creating something from nothing, just like the ancient alchemists were trying to do by searching for that magic formula of turning lead into gold. Today writers have the power to turn nothing but their ideas into not only assets, but a living, a fortune, or even a commercial empire. Just ask J.K. Rowling. It all began with an idea, about boy named Harry, and then following through with that idea, that creative vision, book after book, movie after movie, merchandizing deal after merchandizing deal. Amazing!
As a writer, you can turn your ideas into blogs, into articles, into short stories, into books (hard cover and ebooks), into plays and screenplays. These are all assets. Blogs can be turned into a series of articles or compiled into a book – it’s been done by plenty of other people. Articles and short stories can be sold and published; their rights can be sold again and again to non-competing markets, or they can be adapted or expanded into other articles or longer pieces, even books. Books can sell for years, and they, like plays and screenplays, can also be turned into movies, TV series, and musicals. It all begins with an idea.
As a writer, it’s nice to know that you don’t need money to create assets. You do need money to live on, to support yourself, but what you truly need is the time to write. Talent helps, too. But time, as I’ve discovered in the past five months, is not enough. You need the discipline to get to your computer and stay there (and not let yourself become sidetracked by everything that the Internet represents—the world at your disposal with a click of your mouse and your time taken away from you forever).
You also need the wisdom to write effectively, the focus to stay with a project to see it through to completion, and the perseverance (and the self-confidence) to sell what you write, and not be discouraged by the inevitable rejections. Play the salesman, and keep knocking on those doors!
Of course, not all assets created by you are equal, and time is mutually exclusive -- you can't do everything at the same time! So don’t spend all of your writing time on blogs if what you really want to write are novels and screenplays. Find the balance in your writing life, and choose the assets that you wish to create carefully, so at the end of the day, end of the week, end of the month, end of the year, end of your writing days, you can look back on all the assets that you created and feel a sense of accomplishment. Hopefully you’ll have plenty of money to invest for your family, too.
So what new assets, other than a few blogs, have you created lately? I’m asking myself that very question as I post this blog. What have I gained, what have I lost? More importantly, how can I turn this and other blogs into a bigger, better asset? Last night I overhauled my previous blog "Validation from Readers", reslanted it, and submitted it as an article to a paying market. If you ask yourself the right questions, answers will start to follow. Then all you need is the discipline to follow through...Good luck!
As an update, the short stories that I wrote over twenty years ago and published as Lovers and Strangers (Heinemann Asia 1993) and Lovers and Strangers Revisited (MPH 2005) have been published 80 times in 12 countries, and now the collection is being translated into French.
-Robert Raymer, Borneo Expat Writer
***Here's the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for Trois autres Malaisie.