Why “Writer”? – 2021 Edition

Following on in the revision series, where I’m examining all the original posts on the PIFW site and bringing them up to date, so they reflect the current state of the indie publishing scene. 

Today, I’m reviewing ‘Why “Writer”?’, which first appeared on January 5, 2018.

Productivity concerns are not the exclusive province of writers, although we tend to agonize over such matters because we’re self-employed and have no one to prod us back to work when we wander off-track.

We’re also creatively effective at procrastinating ourselves into the ground.

I could have made this blog about productivity for everyone in general, a la David Allen.

Only, that would mean I’m helping everyone in general, a little bit, including writers.

I want to help writers a lot, not just a little bit.  Specifically, I want to help writers who write fiction and self-publish it.

This is still true.

It would be easier for me to pump out a how-to-write book on productivity, publish it, and earn a trickle of passive income.  Emphasis on passive. 

I sometimes feel there are way too many how-to books out there already.  Most of them are targeted toward beginning writers.

Blogs are considered passé these days, but they continue to persist, even so.  A blog delivers regular micro bites of suggestions, ideas and insights, and if last week’s post was pitched at beginners’ issues with getting started, this week’s post could focus on advanced structure techniques that save time.

Plus, you don’t have to read an introduction chapter every week. 🙂

Why such a specific, narrow niche?

Specificity means I can deep-dive into the most arcane areas of productivity, and still provide relevant information of interest to indie fiction writers.

It’s a world I know very, very well.  I’m living it every day.

I have spent years studying productivity systems in an effort to arrange my own life in a way that would maximise my writing time while I worked a day job and had a semblance of a life in between.

All that research and study has taught me that writers have a unique set of productivity challenges and no single “system” out there addresses those challenges.

I’ve been stealing snippets from David Allen, Brian Tracy, Leo Babauta, Steve Pavlina and more for years.

I’ve added even more productivity gurus to my study list since then.

I won’t say I’ve studied at the feet of every single expert out there because I haven’t — I don’t have that sort of time and besides, I finally came to realize that learning yet another new system was a fancy form of procrastination all on its own.

It’s ideas like this one that I can share on PIFW that will specifically help writers.

There is no single system out there that suits everyone.

There is no single system out there that will magically solve all your problems, and give you the life you want.  Sorry.

You have to make your own system, cobbling it together a bit at a time from hundreds of sources, and tweaking and reiterating as you figure out the details.

Then you keep doing that, over and over again.

I can help you build your own productivity habits, because you and I have the same type of problems to deal with, that anyone who is not an indie fiction writer does not.

This is even more true today, when the number of services, apps and ‘must-do’ tasks have spiralled to the point where you could easily spend all your time marketing and publishing…and never get anything written.

Why Not “Author”?

I badly wanted this site to be named “The Productive Indie Fiction Author” for a couple of reasons:

  1. It rolls off the tongue easier than “The Productive Indie Fiction Writer”.
  2. I tend to think of myself as an author — it’s what I put on my tax returns and what I tell anyone who asks the eternal question about my occupation.

The domain name was available.  I could have taken it.

However, there far more reasons why “Writer” is better.

“Author” has a specific meaning.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “author” as

the writer of a literary work (such as a book)

Short stories, blog posts, novellas and novelettes, flash fiction, fan fiction, collaborations, series, serials… none of the myriad types of fiction a writer can produce and publish these days as a stand-alone, commercial piece of work looks like a book as we all understand books to be.

And the number of places, styles of fiction, and collaboration projects available for indie authors has dramatically increased.  Story apps, Vella serials, themed anthologies, cooperative boxed sets, micro-email-publishing…  Indie publishing is established, and the numbers of indie authors means that the type of fiction you write, where you publish it, and who you choose to work with is limited only by your imagination.

“Author” implies a writer who produces and publishes a novel-length piece of fiction.

It’s limiting.

Google search keywords show that “writer” is used for searches far more than “author”. 

As I want to help as many indie fiction writers be as productive as possible, I went with the popular phrase, instead.



November 2021.

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