Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How to Be a Good Writer, Part 5

Investment: Scary. I’m not only talking about money. I’m talking about you. Your time. Effort. Sacrifice. That kind of investment—which, yes, can involve money but mostly involves guts.

A couple of questions: How much investment is enough? And in what does one invest? Allow me to argue in favor of you: Invest in yourself.

I have a dear friend who tells me that most entrepreneurs tend to underinvest not in their idea, their passion for it, or in doing the numbers, the research—but in themselves. That’s why most of us fail, at least once: we’re afraid to lay down the money on, let’s face it, the venture about which we know the most. Instead we invest in shaky Wall Street hedge funds, which really amount to Las Vegas East, if you get my meaning. Why would we do that? Why would we favor some idiot account manager in New York City over ourselves? Why do we depend on huge multinational slush funds to properly manage our retirement? Why not invest in the one business idea that actually has merit?

Full disclosure: I don’t have a 401(k) and never have (now we see the bias inherent). But I’m highly motivated to be a retirement hawk, if you will, and manage what I do have aggressively.

All this to say that if your project needs a little jump start to get going, and you have a little something tucked away somewhere, by God, wager it on your own enterprise. You’d do better than sending it off to be confiscated by Lenny-the-Wall-Street-con and his Mob boss in dark places, Uncle Sam. But I digress.

I’ve blown through my word count pretty much already this week. So I’ll leave you with this: Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself. This is what separates the careerists from the hobbyists.

Also, I’ll just go ahead and debut my Tips for Writers motif by popping one off right here: Never use the phrase, “but I digress.” If you do, your piece is already running off the rails and can only be salvaged by self-deprecating humor. Such things are only pulled off adequately by the consummately skilled.

Now, I know I promised a little bit here on mechanics and other boring stuff last week. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I’ve run out of space. Aren’t you glad.