Indie Life: Don’t Let the Business Stall Your Creativity

…Or so I tell myself!

Welcome to Indie Life! This is a chance for indie authors to post about being an independent author, find each other, offer support, encouragement, news, helpful hints. We’re posting the second Wednesday of every month. To join us, go here.

Sometimes that indie author to-do list gets long enough you could paper your walls with it. Obsession is just another few clicks away. I try really hard not to measure my progress against any sales figures or promotion goals I see out there from other authors. I have my life, and my values, and at the end of the day I need to be a whole person, not just an author entrepreneur.

Have you heard that term? The author entrepreneur. That’s what the indie author gig is. You have to embrace the business side, and get excited about having your books out there. Don’t ask me how. I struggle with that part. If you have advice, I’ll take it. 🙂

Indie authors handle all the questions. And sometimes, you can stall over a simple decision if you let it have too much weight. The truth is, you can always make changes later. With that complete responsibility comes complete control. Largely awesome. Often scary.

Some days I feel stalled by the many, many decisions I have to make. (Like what to request for cover art, how my blog looks, what to post, what to link to in the back of my book, how to format my print book, where to list my books, how to price my books, whether to change prices or stand pat, my presence on every social media platform possible, when to do promotions and what exactly to do…This is a very partial list of the business stuff, guys.) I make a list, either in a program like Toodledo or on paper — the point is to get that stuff out of your head so it isn’t rattling around making fruitless noise. Then, check off an item or five every day. You’ll add stuff, too. And you have to determine a limit. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t get worn out in the first months or years. Pace yourself.

Of course creativity is also a huge part of this venture. Did you notice it was missing from this post so far? The stories you’re here to tell, the part that can’t be done without you. I don’t know how you feel, but I need a fair amount of mental space to be creative. When that to-do list builds up too much, it can push out the fun part, the thing that drove me here…making up stories for other people to enjoy. So the goal, every day, is to make sure I’m balancing both sides, so I can be the productive writer I love to be.

Please get out there and visit these other indie authors. And have a great month!

About J.R. Pearse Nelson

J.R. Pearse Nelson is a native Oregonian, residing in the beautiful Portland area. She lives with her husband, two small daughters and the family dog. J.R. is always searching for the magic in our world. She weaves tales rooted in mythology, bringing legend to life in modern-day and fantasy settings. J.R. is the author of the Children of the Sidhe paranormal romance series, the Foulweather Twins fantasy series, and the Water Rites fantasy series. You can connect with J.R. online at her website. Visit

6 comments on “Indie Life: Don’t Let the Business Stall Your Creativity

  1. I let myself do marketing stuff until 9:00, then I write for the day. Writing is the pie filling, marketing is the crust.

  2. Yes, we are all entrepreneurs in this Indie ocean. However, it can also be quite exciting as we get total control over cover art and what font to use and how pretty to make the paperback if we choose to go that way, etc. It can be very rewarding.

  3. I’ve been seeing more statistics showing that’s much more profitable for the author, in the long run, to focus on writing more and marketing less.

  4. Hi, J.R.
    Good post It does get overwhelming when we try to balance everything all at once.I do agree that the business end of things can stifle our creativity if we let it.

  5. It takes different parts of our brains to be creative and businesslike. I agree with Andrew in that books themselves are the very best promotion. Story has to come above all else.

  6. The ‘to-do’ list is never ending…but writing my next book is at the top of the list.

    Great post.

    Hugs and chocolate,

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