Feeling Peaceful (Life of a Writer: Day 65)

12:30 pm -

I’m not sure I have a great reason to feel at peace, but I do today. I realized yesterday, as I was talking about understanding my editing process better so I can set launch dates, that I do at least understand my writing process well. That allows me to set a writing schedule for the rest of the year, which means I can plan out what I want to accomplish before the Christmas season.

My idea is to have 3 days of planned, this-has-to-get-done writing that can spill over into 4 days if necessary. I’ll also have a few filler books that I can work on if I run out of stuff to do and still need to get my walks in.

That reminds me—my commitment to Lose Weight Slowly was at an all-time low last week. While I ate tons and tons of salad, I didn’t do well on nearly any other metric, including the walks. Part of that was that I didn’t want to focus too heavily on the fiction goal, but I’m definitely noticing the weight come back a bit, especially after not walking for nearly five days (the World Series partying doesn’t help either).

October 27th Lose Weight Slowly Update

I need to rededicate myself this week and really try to get those 4 big walks in. I feel like everything else could fall to the wayside and be okay, but the 4 big walks are a necessity, and getting only half of them in isn’t going to cut it, especially on the losing weight goals.

5 pm -

I’m feeling good about today. My books are coming along nicely, and the only thing I have to get done is some beating and outlining.

10:30 pm -

I got all of my edits in, but I still have to do outlines and beats tomorrow. It’s okay because it’s probably unrealistic for me to go walking anyway (at least not on a long walk). But that also makes me nervous because I really need to get these walks in whenever I can. I think it will all be better when the beats are done and ready to go for a few more books.

Overall, an okay day. Not as productive as I wanted, but I think that’s due to putting in a lot of edits. It feels unproductive, because I can’t see my tangible progress and can’t check something off my to-dos, but I have to remember that I’m getting books ready to publish so I can start earning from all the hard work I’ve been doing over the last few months. Without today, the books would not get out there.

Unfortunately, today and the last several days don’t look as good on paper, even though I’m making progress. But it will be wonderful to have those books on sale.

Eye on the prize!

Challenge: Develop a Daily Fiction Editing Habit

Scenes beaten out this week: 0
Scenes revised this week: 3
Scenes edited on Kindle this week: 3
Scenes sent to Susan this week: 0
Books published this week: 0

Challenge: Write 15 Articles a Week

Pitched: 0
Assigned: 13
Completed: 0

Challenge: Write 100k Words of Fiction in a Month

Today: 0 words
This week: 0 words
October (so far): 51,977 words

August total (for the last week): 17,923 words
September total: 50,214 words

Cycling Seems To Be Working… (Life of a Writer: Day 64)

11:50 pm -

I’m finally starting to get through the editing, thanks to a shift in mindset. I realized today that if my goal is to get through each round of editing quickly, I can afford to make mistakes. This is similar to that mindset I had to develop with writing, to push through the first draft. I had to tell myself that nothing I wrote mattered, because I’d fix it in edits. So now, with editing, I’m telling myself that none of it matters because everything will be fixed in a later editing cycle.

Of course, that doesn’t work forever. At some point, I want things to be good enough to send to Susan. Susan’s feedback will tell me what’s worth moving to the proofreading stage (it’s good enough) vs. what needs to go back through the editing machine.

I feel great, though, having started to figure this out and just willy-nilly going through edits, correcting only what I see and not thinking too hard about it all. It’s a lot simpler, honestly. And it’s going much faster, thank God. Because I was really feeling like I was in editing hell for awhile there.

Unfortunately, in figuring out this process, I’ve let writing slack a bit. I can’t write tomorrow, either, because I have no books outlined or beaten.

Tomorrow, I have a lot of work to do. I need to keep the editing machine going while also getting back to writing. As I keep saying, I’m determined to do both at once, making significant progress on both on a weekly basis.

Susan asked me why not alternate, a week of writing followed by a week of editing… and I don’t think it will work for me. I don’t want to write double the words in one week, and I don’t want to edit double the words in one week either. Focus is probably awesome for some people, but I am all over the place. I get more energy from doing new things, and I love procrastinating on things by working on something else instead.

So, it seems like the next thing to do is outline something to write and keep the editing going on the three series I have. I’m about halfway through two manuscripts and ready to start on a third.

Where writing is concerned, I have 2 completed manuscripts of three different series that are still in edits, so I’m a bit remiss to start the next books in those series without getting the rest edited first. I just don’t want to jump too far ahead. So I’m probably going to have to start something new, which isn’t my preference, but in the long run it’s not going to matter much.

Oddly enough, I’m considering jumping back to the Socialpunk series. I mentioned before that I’d hit a wall on this series, but the truth is, it makes sense to finish it before the Christmas season. If I can figure out the plot, it feels like a better alternative than starting a new series, from a business perspective.

And people really want this series out, which is another motivator. They’ve been waiting forever and I’ve kept mum on it because I don’t have a projected publishing date.

The downsides to starting this series is that these books have difficult plotting and are forever long to write, which means I could easily write a few books in a new series much faster for the holiday rush. I’m also nervous about the editing, since it’s a longer one and I’m starting the writing so close to Christmas. Who’s to say I can get it finished in time? I would rather get as much finished as possible before the holidays, since I have no idea what will happen afterward.

I haven’t decided yet. I tried to outline another book series yesterday, and didn’t make it very far. I’m not particularly inspired to start something new, so maybe going with something I already have a setting and characters for is the way to go.

Or maybe the answer is to do both—Socialpunk plus one new series. I’ll be rotating between the other three I’m working on as well, since all of them continue, but I don’t mind having a lot of series going at once. All it means is that I have more fun switching between things.

A third option (I know I’m going on and on about this, just thinking out loud) is working on complimentary books for the WD&D series. I have a short series of novelettes for Milena, for example.

There’s plenty to think about. If I could figure the editing thing out completely and know how long it took to do each book, I would probably stand a better chance at making a good business decision. As it is, I just have to move forward with something haphazardly and refine later. Doing something is still better than doing nothing… but I’d like to eventually have a schedule and release dates and all that good stuff.

But that’s part of being an entrepreneur, right?

Challenge: Develop a Daily Fiction Editing Habit

Scenes beaten out this week: 0
Scenes revised this week: 3
Scenes edited on Kindle this week: 0
Scenes sent to Susan this week: 0
Books published this week: 0

Challenge: Pitch 15 Articles a Week

Pitched: 0
Assigned: 13
Completed: 0

Challenge: Write 100k Words of Fiction in a Month

Today: 0 words
This week: 0 words
October (so far): 51,977 words

August total (for the last week): 17,923 words
September total: 50,214 words

The Power of Partially Done (Life of a Writer: Day 63)

9:50 am –

I feel much better today. Things are starting to gel, finally. I can see the ends of roads rather than just the beginnings, and that momentum will hopefully carry me through to getting something accomplished.

One thing I’ve noticed with editing is that I’m making progress, but it doesn’t feel like I’m making progress. It’s harder to judge the progress, especially with cycling, because I’m getting stuff partly done, over and over again.

I wish there was a better way to represent this so it would look like I’m making as much progress as I am. I think that would make me feel better. I like checking things off lists, and it’s harder to start when there’s nothing to check off after a big chunk of work time.

Freelancing feels a bit more linear, but for some reason it’s harder to do. I’m misaligned with it right now. But financially, I need to get it done.

Challenge: Develop a Daily Fiction Editing Habit

Scenes beaten out this week: 0
Scenes revised this week: 5
Scenes edited on Kindle this week: 0
Scenes sent to Susan this week: 0
Books published this week: 0

Challenge: Complete 15 Articles a Week

Pitched: 0
Assigned: 13
Completed: 0

Challenge: Write 100k Words of Fiction in a Month

Today: 0 words
This week: 16,628 words
October (so far): 51,977 words

August total (for the last week): 17,923 words
September total: 50,214 words

Mooshy (Life of a Writer: Day 62)

12:00 pm -

I have felt so off the last few weeks. Something isn’t right. And I can’t explain what it is.

I’m getting through revisions slowly, I think because I’m so bored by them. When I actually pause the television for a moment, I can get through them quickly. I’m sure if I timed myself, I’d go a lot faster too.

I’m eating like crazy, which is always a sure sign of stress, boredom, procrastination.

I want to walk again tomorrow.

I hate when things don’t feel right.

I’m making a list of what I need to do today. I’ll see if that helps.

I’ve noticed a pattern in my work. If I don’t get the pre-work done, the work doesn’t happen. For example, I have no beats right now. Which means I can’t walk. I have no beats because I’m too far ahead in writing three different series, and haven’t caught up on edits.

So I need to either start a new series (yay) or get the edits done, or both. Probably both.

The two books I have ready for Kindle edits need to be cycled—the Kindle edits need to be added to Scrivener, the Scrivener file needs to be recompiled, and then I’ll be able to cycle back through the document on Kindle.

And if I can move my draft of the third series onto Kindle, I can do that while I’m cycling through my other edits.

I think my biggest problem right now is flow. Everything would be flowing if I planned correctly. But it’s not because I don’t have the pre-work done on a variety of things.

I think the first place to start is making a list of the pre-work. Get through those items, get through to the work, get everything humming along again at a rapid clip.

Get unstuck.

Get happy and productive again.

Solve all my problems.

Get a perfect life.

Okay, not the last one!

11:30 pm -

Cycling is going so slowly. It doesn’t help that I’m bored out of my mind and have the television on in the background. It’s just so hard to get through these edits! And boring. Did I mention boring?

I’ve put this and a few other things (like revisions) on my list of stuff to outsource, ASAP.

The good news is that I started outlines for 5 freelance articles. I’m hoping to press forward on those today, too. The psychological barriers to getting this started were ridiculous, but I’m glad it’s finally moving forward.

As slow as the progress is, I feel like I’m FINALLY making it on editing and freelancing.

I think letting go of the word count goal was an important step.

But my concern is that I won’t be able to do it all at once, which is what I need.

Challenge: Develop a Daily Fiction Editing Habit

Scenes beaten out this week: 0
Scenes revised this week: 5
Scenes edited on Kindle this week: 0
Scenes sent to Susan this week: 0
Books published this week: 0

Challenge: Pitch 15 Articles a Week

Pitched: 0
Assigned: 13
Completed: 0

Challenge: Write 100k Words of Fiction in a Month

Today: 7,394 words
This week: 16,628 words
October (so far): 51,977 words

August total (for the last week): 17,923 words
September total: 50,214 words

Abandoning October’s Word Count Goal… (Life of a Writer: Day 61)

1:15 pm -

It just occurred to me that I have 1 week to write nearly 50k words. The goal sounds much more daunting than trying to walk 5 times in the next 8 days, which is what I’ve been telling myself.

Last night I came up with a potential answer for my editing woes…

Cycling.

I want to get editing done rapidly, and my greatest fear while editing is that at the end of each stage, the draft isn’t good enough.

So, the best way to get the draft to where I want it is to get through tons of rounds of edits as quickly as possible. That means not worrying at all about making the book perfect on the first pass, just doing as many corrections as quickly as I can. When it feels right (which in my mind, is when I can send it to Susan and she’ll love it), I can send it off and feel good with where it is.

This takes the pressure off of me and allows my creative side to work at its own pace, the same way it does with drafting.

Or at least that’s the theory… I need to put it into practice to see if my hypothesis is true.

The biggest issue is, how to judge my progress? Susan’s feedback is helpful, as are reviews after the fact (when it’s too late to change things). I could track my time and see if books get published faster using this method. It’s a bit more difficult to judge progress though, because there is an element of quality in the equation that is not as important during the drafting phase.

I always tell myself in the drafting phase that I’ll fix things in the editing phase… and that’s where I’m getting stuck. I need to treat my book like a dirty dish in a not-so-great dishwasher—it didn’t come out squeaky clean the first time? Run it through another cycle!

Wait, does anyone else do this?

So, cycling. That’s my newest scheme to getting this job done. I really want to see my books on the shelves, and soon.

7:15 pm -

I’m feeling… mooshy right now. Something in me is extremely misaligned and I just can’t explain it right now.

I’ve decided that I’m going to abandon my 100k goal for this month. I really didn’t want to do this, but I just realized that I want to focus on sorting out this whole editing process. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to write at all (I fully intend to keep writing on a regular schedule), but it does mean that I’m not going to write 50,000 words.

Like I said, I HATE doing this. It feels shitty to say I’m not going to meet a goal because I don’t want to or don’t feel like it. But right now I just have to follow my heart, which is telling me that I’m about to have a breakthrough on this editing stuff. I feel something shifting inside me, and I want to follow that urge.

There is more that I feel misaligned about, but this is enough for one day. I’ll have to keep working on the rest. We can’t always control things in life, but we can listen to ourselves as closely as we can and trust ourselves.

1 am (Oct. 25) -

I revised five scenes tonight as I watched some television. It’s been not nearly the productive day I needed, but I have tomorrow too.

And I do feel better about the editing stuff. I think this could actually work, if I turned the TV off and got serious about getting these scenes done.

Still nothing on the freelancing stuff.

Challenge: Develop a Daily Fiction Editing Habit

Scenes beaten out this week: 0
Scenes revised this week: 5
Scenes edited on Kindle this week: 0
Scenes sent to Susan this week: 0
Books published this week: 0

Challenge: Pitch 15 Articles a Week

Pitched: 0
Assigned: 13
Completed: 0

Challenge: Write 100k Words of Fiction in a Month

Today: 7,394 words
This week: 16,628 words
October (so far): 51,977 words

August total (for the last week): 17,923 words
September total: 50,214 words

Anxious, Expectant, Potentially Overworked (Life of a Writer: Day 60)

8:15 am -

Wow, I’ve forgotten to post something for 2 days now. I think what’s happening is that my posting habit was tied to my Shutterstock habit, and now I don’t need to deal with Shutterstock in the evenings anymore.

Also, the last few days have just been weird. I don’t now how to describe them. Let me try to tease things out as much as I can to see what’s going on.

Freelancing is holding me up, big time. It’s one of those things that wouldn’t be so bad if I just sat down and did it. But I’m so uninspired.

The thing I am inspired by? Prose on Fire plans. I made one that I’m happy with, but now I need to figure out how to put it into action. I’m not completely sure where to start.

I haven’t gotten any fiction writing done in the last several days. Part of that is because I feel guilty about not freelancing (despite never getting freelancing done when I stay home) and another part is because the only thing I have beaten out is Fallen, which I enjoy writing, but which is so far ahead of where I am with edits (back in the middle of Unbound, book 2). It occurred to me this morning that I might be a cycler with editing, which is weird, because I’m not one with writing.

I’m a bit stuck on editing. I’ve gotten as far as I can with the two books I have on Kindle, and now need to apply those edits in Scrivener. I could probably keep going on Kindle if I had my other books revised, but I don’t. So something psychological is holding me up there, too.

So, I haven’t gotten much done this week so far, aside from 10k words of fiction. Based on what I’ve written, it seems like the priorities are:

  • Somehow get some freelance work done, even if I have to use pomodoros to force myself
  • Beat out some more fiction to write on the walks
  • Get some new books revised and ready for Kindle editing
  • Get Kindle edits into Scrivener so I can cycle through and move forward on editing

I have to admit, none of these really screams fun to me right now, which may be why I’m feeling stuck. I guess if I had to pick a few, I would pick beating out more fiction and getting books revised for Kindle. Maybe that’s what I should focus on for now?

Plus the freelance stuff. Ugh, the bane of my existence. Why can’t I just be happier about that?

Let’s talk about something more fun: Prose on Fire stuff. I have been doodling and brainstorming (and dreaming) for the past several days and came up with a framework for the 6 stages of successful fiction writers. This is the order in which writers become mega authors during their careers. I am, unfortunately, only at Stage 2 out of 6, but I realized something while creating the framework, that I could move through the other stages quickly if I follow them in order, since each stage only requires systemization before moving onto the next stage.

For example, Stage 2 is being able to produce books on a consistent basis. I’m not 100% there yet, but once I get a handle on this editing thing, I should be able to move on to Stage 3, which is all about streamlining the sales funnel.

The stages are actually very quick to move through, but what I’m more excited about is having a framework that I can share with others and become known for. I didn’t do this intentionally, but now I have some cornerstone ideas that can set POF apart from other writers who write about writing.

I also mentioned before that I wanted to launch POF being known for one very specific thing, then expanding into other topics, and the most obvious thing is writing more, faster. Between upping my writing speed and upping my word count per month, I have a lot to share there. Plus, Prose on Fire lends itself well to this idea anyway.

I’m excited about getting started, but also unsure of where specifically to start. And unsure of how much time to invest when I still have so much other stuff going on with freelancing, writing, and editing. It’s not like I don’t already have a ton of work to do. How realistic am I being with this idea?

I’ve done some cost calculations and don’t expect to be seeing any dough for awhile, but once I get everything set up, I believe I have a decent way to monetize that should be worth my time and efforts. That’s a relief, but in the meantime, I have bills piling up and not a ton of immediate income coming in. I HAVE to get some freelancing done. That is just the reality.

My second priority going into the end of the month is getting books out. I’m really questioning if my drafting goal is what I should be focused on right now, but I also don’t want to lose momentum completely with either drafting or my Lose Weight Slowly efforts. I checked again yesterday and I’ve lost nearly four pounds this month. Things are working, and I don’t want to ruin that.

I CAN DO IT ALL! Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself. Am I being unrealistic?

8:55 pm -

So, I did the exact opposite of everything I said I was going to do today. I woke up with an urge to walk and had to get it done.

I completed the last seven scenes I had beaten out for Fallen, and got 7,394 words. Not a bad amount, though not as many words as my last outing. For whatever reason, a lot of my scenes in this book are short, and they are also coming out slower on a words/hour basis. That’s okay though; Waters Dark and Deep stuff always seems to come out slower, and it’s not a huge deal to me.

I still have a long way to go to hit my 100k goal. I’m currently at just over 50,000 words. I probably need to go walking twice more this week, then at least 3 times early next week to hit the monthly goal.

I’m not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, I want to do what I said (to myself) that I was going to do. I want to follow through. It’s pointless to set a 100k goal, then say, well, 80k is still good enough.

At the same time, 100k just isn’t quite as important to me as it once was. With the walking, it’s clear to me that I can maintain a steady writing pace with 3 walks a week. That feels good enough to me, in some way.

I want to finish the Fallen draft, pick up the Hellfire draft (WD&D #5), and pick up another two drafts from my other pen name (8 scenes each) before the end of the month. It’s a stretch goal, but close to within reach. And this amount should be just enough to help me finish out the month.

As for next month… part of me wants to hit a writing goal, but part of me doesn’t. It’s important to me to hit 25k or more each week. But outside of that, I’m not particular about the numbers. I think I’ve proven to myself that I can make progress on drafting. The important goal now is editing and publishing progress.

And that’s where I’m still failing, despite an entire month of trying to work on it. I’ve made a bit of progress and not much more. I want to hit it harder, but I’m stressed out about freelancing and money and my lack of getting anything published so far this month, despite having some of this stuff drafted since the summer.

I think next month, I probably need to pull back on my word count goals, unfortunately. Because if I can’t get books published, what’s the point?

10:40 pm -

The Cardinals are in the World Series and we’ve been watching a ton of baseball as of late. But I’ve noticed, even outside of that, that on days when I walk ‘n talk, I don’t get much else done. As it was today.

I can’t tell if it’s because I’m at capacity in terms of energy or something else. What I do know is that at the end of my walk, I felt more energized than ever. I felt like I wanted to jump right in and get back to work. So what changed? How do I harness that momentum and push through to get a second block of work done on those days?

Tomorrow I need to stay home and get the aforementioned list of things done. I’m happy I wrote today, but I’m fresh out of outlines, beats, anything. I couldn’t walk ‘n talk tomorrow if I tried.

I keep reading content about directing passion into something positive. I want to, I really do. I want to get my work done, and I want it to be a happy place for me. I want to not be stressed out about money, but I also want to put my talents to their best uses.

Everything feels very mixed up right now, and I’m torn over how to get it all done and stay happy and healthy and sane. I’m starting to wonder if it’s even possible. The numbers add up in terms of work hours per week—fewer than 50, even with all my projects. But the implementation has yet to gel for me. Is it just because the work is creative? Am I giving too much credence to the idea that people can work 40+ hours a week, productively?

It’s so hard to tell. I might be back to the journal tomorrow… that’s the only thing that seems to help me when I’m in these funks.

Challenge: Develop a Daily Fiction Editing Habit

Scenes beaten out this week: 0
Scenes revised this week: 0
Scenes edited on Kindle this week: 0
Scenes sent to Susan this week: 0
Books published this week: 0

Challenge: Pitch 15 Articles a Week

Pitched: 0
Assigned: 13
Completed: 0

Challenge: Write 100k Words of Fiction in a Month

Today: 7,394 words
This week: 16,628 words
October (so far): 51,977 words

August total (for the last week): 17,923 words
September total: 50,214 words

Still Struggling, But Thank Goodness For Good Fiction Writing Habits (Life of a Writer: Day 57)

2:30 pm -

I did my walk ‘n talk today and feel pretty good about myself. I went a bit earlier, around 8am or so, and it was really nice. There were still a ridiculous amount of people outside going north, but it’s also Sunday, so I’m hoping that things are better during the week.

I still haven’t gotten my audio onto my computer, but once I do and get it transcribed, I’ll have a better idea of how many words I got for the day.

4:21 pm -

9,234 words today! And 7 scenes total from Fallen, the fourth book in Waters Dark and Deep.

I’m happy, but I don’t like the level of accuracy when I go north vs. south on the trail. That said, the north part of the trail is a bit safer, at least… it’s just much closer to the highway, and that part is really loud.

Oh, well. I can improve it in the revisions.

I felt great this morning, so I want to outline a bunch more stuff today so that I can go again tomorrow. Woohoo!

11:20 pm -

I have so much stuff to outline, and I can tell I’m getting back to that overwhelmed place. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not totally keeping my goals with editing and freelancing, or if it’s because I’m also trying to add in some of this Prose on Fire stuff and getting overwhelmed with my ideas. The great thing about writing fiction is that there’s a sequential order to follow; write book 1, then book 2, and so on. With non-fiction, there isn’t anything like that.

I have A LOT of ideas for Prose on Fire, and it’s all starting to get out of hand. I need to pause and take it small chunk by small chunk, remembering that when I started out, I wanted to grow Prose on Fire slowly, in my spare time. That’s still the case.

The first thing I created was a framework that I’m still thinking of a name for. It’s essentially like Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs, but helps fiction writers build a career using foundational stages, then going up. I looked at a number of success stories for both new and older writers and saw the same patterns emerging, which inspired me to create a structure that showed how the most successful authors seem to accomplish what they want.

I think that is the place to start with the content. After that, it would make a lot of sense to begin at the lowest stage of needs, but I believe most of my exciting content (like everything I’m learning with writing faster and developing daily habits) actually falls under Stage 2. I might start there, since I want to be known for writing and producing books quickly to begin with. After that, I might look back to some Stage 1 topics, which mostly revolve around learning the art of storytelling.

It’s still in its wee early phases right now, and to be honest it’s overwhelming on top of everything else I want to get done with editing and freelancing. I’m not sure if it should take a backseat for a bit while I develop true habits with everything else. I’m finding it particularly difficult to get my freelance writing done. I’m just really uninspired to work on it, for whatever reason. I hate myself with each passing day that I don’t make any progress on it.

And that means that I need to just suck it up and get it done already, so I don’t feel bad anymore. I mean, today I wrote nearly 10k words of fiction, which would have made me ecstatic a month ago; but bleh, I actually just feel awful this evening about how “little” I accomplished because I didn’t get any articles done.

Boo. I still have a long way to go with hitting these goals.

And I hate feeling so disappointed with myself.

On the Lose Weight Slowly front, I did pretty well last week. I did end up removing the 5 sets of stairs cards from my list because I just wasn’t enjoying doing them. It didn’t make sense to force it, when they don’t burn a ton of calories (700 for the week if I do all 10 sets), and I get plenty of incline when I complete my walks for the week.

Lose Weight Slowly (October 20th)

This week, I’m hoping to get in 5 walks to make up for the one I missed. I don’t mind missing a few items on my list, but missing a long walk is a threat to my calorie-burning, since each one accounts for so many (about 700-1000 calories burned per walk).

I also wanted to report that as of yesterday, I’m down 2.9 pounds from the beginning of the month. Three weeks in, so that’s roughly a pound per week. Not bad at all! I was hoping to lose 5 pounds a month, but for the amount of effort I’m putting in (not a ton, aside from walking a lot), I really don’t think I can complain about losing 4 pounds instead.

Challenge: Develop a Daily Fiction Editing Habit

Scenes beaten out this week: 0
Scenes revised this week: 0
Scenes edited on Kindle this week: 0
Scenes sent to Susan this week: 0
Books published this week: 0

Challenge: Pitch 15 Articles a Week

Pitched: 0
Assigned: 19
Completed: 0

Challenge: Write 100k Words of Fiction in a Month

Today: 9,234 words
This week: 9,234 words
October (so far): 44,583 words

August total (for the last week): 17,923 words
September total: 50,214 words

Should I Ramp Up on Prose on Fire? (Life of a Writer: Day 55)

1:27 pm -

I woke up this morning with so many ideas for the Prose on Fire content I’ve had on my mind this week.

I’m not sure why, but I have been getting this feeling lately that I want to build a few passive income blogs. No, not the spammy, disgusting kind that try to sell you diet pills and such. And passive income is probably the completely wrong word, since I plan to post regularly, maybe twice a week.

I want to build them because a part of me will always be an entrepreneur, a media lover, an entertainer, and a marketer. There is so much fun to be had with creating non-fiction, and I am craving some artistic exploration there.

I was supposed to go on a walk ‘n talk today, but I got so distracted by my ideas that I missed my deadline for leaving (remember, I have to leave before noon so I can get home before it’s dark, for safety reasons). Oops. I think that is going to be the new challenge of these walk ‘n talks, that it’s hard to get up and go to them every day.

But, I really only have to do one more to complete my Lose Weight Slowly goals, and there is tomorrow for that.

Today, I’m going to keep working on my Prose on Fire ideas and also get some freelancing stuff done.

I may also have to write tonight to assuage the guilt of skipping. After all, I do still need the words…

11:30 pm -

Editing in the morning is not working. I’ve done nearly all my editing in bed before I go to sleep or when I get up right away. Editing time with tea has turned into brainstorming and dreaming time, which gets me sidetracked for the day.

What makes more sense is walk ‘n talks during the day. I need to leave early, in the morning, since that time is wasted anyway on dreams and plans.

A challenge is that when I’m done, I get home and have more work to do. And Im pretty tapped out on creation at this point. I need to save the easier work for after walk ‘n talks. That means I just can’t do freelancing after walk ‘n talks, but maybe I should be doing it during walk ‘n talks? The whole walking and writing thing works insanely well… I need to put more stuff through the process that seems to already work.

I’m changing my freelancing goal from 15 pitches per week to 25,000 words per week. That is roughly enough for 10 articles. It makes sense to me because my original goal was to pitch 15 and get 10 assigned, but it’s clear that pitching just isn’t working for me at the moment.

I was looking at my blog-building goals today and thought to myself, why not start now? I strongly believe you should do what you’re inspired to do when you’re inspired to do it, at least for a few hours a day, because passion can be fleeting. My main roadblock is that I’m still making slow progress on both my editing and freelancing routines… Plus I’m playing catch up on my fiction writing word count for the month too.

Part of me thinks I should get a handle on everything I’m trying to juggle now. Another part of me thinks I am close to a solution for freelancing (if I can put it through the walk ‘n talks) AND editing (if I can stick to my few in the morning/evening routine), so I should go for it and get the sites ready for a hard-hitting January of activity.

Something to think about more this weekend… because something has to change.

The Editing Habit Is Happening, Finally (Life of a Writer: Day 54)

10:40am -

I was planning on a walk ‘n talk today but it’s raining outside, with no signs of letting up until about 3pm, which is too late to leave. I live in Chicago and it gets dark pretty quickly in the evenings; that will only get worse as winter sets in.

P suggested that I instead do a walk ‘n talk in our building’s stairwell. Not a bad idea, but for me, I just really don’t enjoy going up and down stairs (nor is it easy for me). I can’t see myself productively writing while huffing and puffing up and down those stairs.

I feel a bit of relief for the rain, to be honest, not because I don’t enjoy my walk ‘n talks, but because I desperately need to get some editing and freelancing done. I’m at 35k words for the month with drafting, which means I have 65k to go—but, with walk ‘n talks, that’s only 7 sessions at 10k each, or roughly every other day for the rest of the month. Still completely doable.

I’m hoping to go both Friday and Saturday this week, just to hit at least 50% of my goal. It would make me feel more confident that I can succeed. Then I’ll have 12 more days to hit the other half of the goal, which is plenty of time to get 5 more 10k sessions in.

I’ve gotten some more Kindle editing done between last night and this morning. I’m surprised at how easy it is. I remember when I started out writing a lot, I went through this period where I felt like what I thought was hard was actually easy, and then through another period where what I thought was easy was actually fun. I can see myself going through the same thing with editing. It’s not fun yet, but I will learn to love it, eventually.

I’ve also realized with freelancing that most publications want to read an entire article before agreeing to it. Part of me thinks that’s so frustrating and inefficient, but I have to remember that most people don’t understand the writing process at the level I do.

(I realize how snotty that last sentence sounded. But it’s true; I have written a lot more words over the years than the majority of people, even if they work online. The details of a post can be fixed to suit a publication; the concept, theme, and general outline of it cannot, so that should be the point of negotiation that people start from.)

Either way, working on spec is the way to go, even if I don’t enjoy it. What that means to me is that I need to have a secondary purpose for every article I write in case it’s not accepted by the publication. That could be a number of things:

  • pitching it to a different publication
  • self-publishing it for $$$
  • self-publishing it as a lead-in for one of my series (one of my growth-hacking strategies)

I’m just… unsettled about this. I think because some of my niches are not ones that I’d explore if I didn’t need the money. So it feels like a wasted effort to write about something if I can’t get money for it. Silly, I know.

There is also the matter of… well, then why not write and try to sell articles in niches you do want to write about?

The easy answer is they don’t pay as well. Though I do want to get some non-fiction going for Prose on Fire, since I believe that the information buried in these posts is actually very valuable and could really help other writers.

Oh, well. Instead of pondering this, I need to move on and just get to writing! I should assume that some of it will hit, some of it won’t, and anything that doesn’t can either be re-pitched or self-published.

I’m starting to realize that my mind can maybe only handle two major tasks per day. Like writing and editing. Freelancing and editing. Freelancing and writing. I wrote last week about how the weekends might be for pitches and beats… but I am still considering just doing 4 days of writing, 4 days of editing, and 4 days of freelancing every week. Pick two a day, that’s roughly 1 day off. (Or 2 days with only one focus, which is just as good.) Something about that schedule feels right to me. The beats easily fit in to my workflow on a day-to-day basis, since most scenes take just a few minutes to beat out.

So today I’m working on beats, editing, and outlines for several freelance articles I need to submit this week. I also want to work on those Prose on Fire ideas I have, and figure out how to incorporate a Daily Non-Fiction Writing Habit. I know from experience that it’s easier than writing fiction! Is it worth starting up another word count challenge?

It would be so awesome to get some Prose on Fire guides up. I have passed on this idea before because I didn’t know how to market non-fiction without blogging a ton to build that audience. But then I realized, I could probably do the same thing I do with fiction—provide something extremely related for free. So I could write a (short) book on how I write 40k words a week (of course, I need to actually do that) and then create an article about the top 3 things that helped me write faster. The article could be free, with a strong call to action to get the full story in the book.

Challenge: Develop a Daily Fiction Editing Habit

Scenes beaten out this week: 14
Scenes revised this week: 0
Scenes edited on Kindle this week: 8
Scenes sent to Susan this week: 0
Books published this week: 0

Challenge: Pitch 15 Articles a Week

Pitched: 3
Assigned: 13
Completed: 0

Challenge: Write 100k Words in a Month

Today: 6,812 words
This week: 18,457 words
October (so far): 35,349 words

August total (for the last week): 17,923 words
September total: 50,214 words

Started Making Small Progress on Editing Today (Life of a Writer: Day 53)

5:19 pm -

I went on another one of my walks today, which went really well again, for the most part. I realized while I was already out that I had accidentally drafted five scenes last time, not four, which meant that I only had 3 scenes left to go to finish my manuscript. This would be fine if I had brought something else to work on, but I didn’t. I was done with my manuscript about 65% of the way through my walk, so I started ad-libbing through Fallen. I got through two scenes really quickly (Fallen scenes are much shorter, for some reason) but the battery in my mic died without me realizing it, so I ended up losing most of those scenes. Which was okay, since I probably want to think through them a bit more and I can redo them pretty quickly tomorrow.

I learned two lessons today. My batteries need to be recharged after every walk ‘n talk, and I need to always have a few extra scenes beaten out in case I finish early!

But, tomorrow will be better. Either way, I got another 25,000 steps, 6812 words, and another manuscript drafted!

So now I have 6 manuscripts drafted, and before we go any further, I should mention that I did get a bit of editing done yesterday and this morning. So I’m starting that habit, slowly but surely too. With any luck, I’ll have some of these books out and earning soon.

As happy as I am about the words, I am wondering if need to do an extra session this week. It’s halfway through the month, and I’m still only at a third of where I need to be for word count. I know I had some technical difficulties and have a solid plan for catching up, but there is something that makes me nervous about writing 60k+ words in just 15 days.

11:20 pm -

I had just enough time tonight to beat 5 scenes, but I still want to do more. I think it’s more important, though, to switch to editing for now. Plus, it’s bedtime.

I’m not completely satisfied with what I’ve accomplished today, but it was an okay day overall. I would say that I’d like to see 10k-ish words as the norm for my walk ‘n talks, and still make more progress per day on editing and freelancing.

I’m starting to wonder if I really just don’t have enough time to do it all. The idea of that is extremely frustrating, so I hope it’s not true. A part of me thinks that if I just keep optimizing every little process, I can have and do everything I want. It’s a pipe dream, but I don’t want to settle for being ordinary, either.

There is the thought that, if I ever become a full-time fiction writer, then I won’t have to freelance anymore. The thing is, even if I was a full-time fiction writer, I’d still want to have time for blog-building, which will take the place of freelance writing if and when I get there financially.

I’m really interested in building a major topic blog in the coming few years. I want to do something that’s more career-related, since my blog made me so happy at one point and helped me meet so many new people without really having to try or network. I have an exciting idea for a blog that I’ve been toying with for awhile, and finally decided I’m going to devote some time to at the first of the year, when I’m hopefully a bit more settled with writing and editing.

Speaking of which, I’ve decided that I’m maybe going to end these updates on December 31st of this year. I’ll probably still do a weekly update, but not a daily one. The reason I started these updates was to hash out my habits and share what I’ve learned, but I think if I can get all of these habits worked out by December, it will be time to move on to other non-writing habits and goals.

But, I’ll still be writing daily, just on my new project. I have to figure out the rest of my writing schedule first, of course, before I can even think about tackling that. So all of this is still up in the air, and I may very well change my mind, but that is the tentative plan for now.

Challenge: Develop a Daily Fiction Editing Habit

Scenes beaten out this week: 5
Scenes revised this week: 0
Scenes edited on Kindle this week: 1
Scenes sent to Susan this week: 0
Books published this week: 0

Challenge: Pitch 15 Articles a Week

Pitched: 3
Assigned: 13
Completed: 0

Challenge: Write 100k Words in a Month

Today: 6,812 words
This week: 18,457 words
October (so far): 35,349 words

August total (for the last week): 17,923 words
September total: 50,214 words