An Entrepreneurial Idea and 6 Weeks Rescues a Writing Career

This is the time of year filled with festive traditions. One of my favorite traditions is watching a film adaptation of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol with my husband.

A few years ago I stumbled upon the movie, The Man Who Invented Christmas, starring Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens and Christopher Plummer as Ebenezer Scrooge. It is a fascinating and well-done drama based on the book How Charles Dickens’s a Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits by Les Standiford. The book clearly articulates Dickens’s struggle to create and write A Christmas Carol. I believe Dickens’s journey holds insights for any of us with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Dickens was in debt when he wrote A Christmas Carol. His recent American city tour had not produced the anticipated financial success. He had borrowed heavily, taken advances from his publishers, was awaiting the birth of his fifth child, and was financially supporting several extended family members. To make matters worse, he had hit a writing slump leading his publisher, Chapman & Hall, to start to lose faith in the marketability of Dickens. Dickens desperately needed money.

The idea for the story came to Dickens while on his way to present a speech but writing and publishing the story possessed its own challenges. Dickens struck a deal with his publisher in hopes of obtaining larger profits. He took responsibility for the publishing and art while the publisher paid for the printing costs receiving a percentage of the sales.

“I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.” Charles Dickens

Dickens leveraged his own life experiences and the societal struggles of the times to develop within six weeks an engaging story about mankind and human nature. Several critics believe that Dickens is alive in every character. His optimist and giving nature is seen in Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit. Dickens’ fun loving and party giving nature is brought to light by Nephew Fred and Mr. Fezziwig. A poor upbringing and belief in need to help others is emphasized with the poor houses and the Ignorance and Want characters. Jacob Marley is Dickens’ alter ego. Dickens’ (and Marley’s) hard businessman approach is highlighted and epitomized by Ebenezer Scrooge.

Dickens’ hard work paid off but not with the profits he expected. Rather his hard work and a creative imagination lead Charles Dickens out of his dilemma of marketability and eventually his financial debt. Moreover, Dickens left society a novella that is as relevant today as it was in 1843 when published.

But I believe Dickens’ journey provides every entrepreneur an example as well. It was his hard work, focus, creativity, and drawing on himself, not only in A Christmas Carol, but his other works, that made him successful. Biographers note that Dickens was a tyrant, but he also was known for his generosity. The tormented ghost of Jacob Marley spoke for Dickens exclaiming that “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business.”

I love to hear from you. Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Are you like Charles Dickens? Please leave a comment below. Oh, and if you liked the article, please share it with someone who might find the points helpful.

Hi, I’m Laura (Dallas) Burford. I help independent business professionals (consultants, contractors, freelancers, service-based professionals) and boutique consulting businesses get clients and make money.

What I do: I partner with professionals and businesses on clarifying their focus and then work with them to get clients that they want to work with so that they make money and grow their businesses.

How I do: I leverage a simple and flexible framework known as The Consultancy Model©. For those new, stalled, or reentering the consulting world I have a signature program known as Consulting JUMPSTART Blueprint©.

Why I do what I do: I want to see people to succeed and not fail. Sometimes all that is needed is an extra hand.

Check out the Free Resources page on Laura’s Consulting Guide for free consulting resources.

Partner to independent consultants & boutique consulting businesses; home of the Consultancy Model & Consulting Jumpstart Blueprint program.

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