The writer must be two people—an artist and an entrepreneur.
He must be an artist, always working on his craft, always learning new techniques and adapting them to his style. He must aim for a level of perfection and care deeply about what he chooses to communicate to his patrons. To “just get the job done” is a sin, and tarnishes the artist’s reputation.
Yet the writer must also be an entrepreneur. He must have a vision and pursue it to completion, and yet be willing to make adjustments to that vision along the way. He must be adaptable, committed, bold, and persuasive. To create a product without the customer in mind is a sin, punishable by angry letters, or worse, no response at all.
But why can’t a writer just be an artist? Because his work would never get done. Perfection would create a cycle of work without ever revealing a final product. The writer-artist would live in a lonely, insular world, where only a select few had the opportunity to experience his talent.
But then why can’t a writer be only an entrepreneur? Because he would not care about the little things that make his product special, just about getting it out the door. He might work only to build a big following, a big business, a big paycheck.
This is not to say all artists are egocentric, or that all entrepreneurs are task-oriented to a fault. At times, a good artist is entrepreneurial, and at times a good entrepreneur is an artist. They both have qualities to value and traits to avoid. But for the writer, he must aim to be the best of both, because why write something no one will read, or build a business without a purpose? He must create and he must finish.
So who are you most like? The artist or the entrepreneur? What traits do you need to apply to your work?