Deadline I need to meet

I have a deadline for one of my books (the next book in the income producing series) and if I don’t get my work ethic moving in the right direction, I’m going to have to change that date. I don’t want to. I always change dates for deadlines and I’d like to not do that this time.

I have big plans for the future and I need to start sticking some (most) of these self-imposed deadlines or I’m going to have to rethink those plans. I don’t want to do that either. I like my plans just the way they are and they involve me putting out more books, faster, and reaping the financial rewards. Make hay, as they say. The sun is shining. Tomorrow there might be rain.

In light of that, I’m off now to get to work writing. I don’t have quotas to meet on a daily basis because I still believe the schedule is where I’m going to find my success, but I would like to reach 2,000 by my noon break if I can. That’s about an hour and a half away and that means I have to get started and keep going, because 1,333 words an hour is one of those things that I believe I can do but I have yet to prove it to myself or anyone else. :) See ya!

Bought a pretty journal (can’t bring myself to write in it)

Isn’t that ironic? I bought a lovely journal to write in, but now I can’t bring myself to write in it because it’s so pretty.

Persian Splendor Journal

This isn’t a surprise to me. I have lots of pretty journals that I haven’t been able to write in. When I get ready to write, I end up pulling out one of the hundred or so spiral notebooks I got for $0.10 apiece at Walmart about eight or nine years ago. I love writing in those things and I don’t know why. I guess it feels disposable. A hardback journal doesn’t and I worry about mistakes.

(I have a real soft spot for blues. Definitely my favorite color!)

Reading too many self-help books of late

This is a common problem for me: I read too many self-help books. It’s my favorite kind of nonfiction.

Right now, I’m reading Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith and Four Seconds by Peter Bregman. The sad fact is that I read so many of them, they all get mixed up in my head and I couldn’t tell you much about any of them within a week or two of finishing them. I read Better Than Before a while back, and I remember thinking it was great, but I have no idea what I took away from it now that it’s been a few weeks. :o

I do believe when I finish Triggers, I’m going to take a self-help reading hiatus for the rest of the year and devote my extra time to reading fiction. (I’ve read about as much as I want to of Four Seconds after skipping around the chapters and reading those that interested me.) It’s time to start devoting more time to action experiments instead of thought experiments. :D

A note about my sporadic daily writing journal

Another experiment that hasn’t played out the way I expected. I thought keeping up a daily writing journal might give me insight into my struggle to improve my average daily word counts, but I’m finding that more often than not, instead of inspiring me to stay focused, it’s draining energy away from my fiction writing. It’s procrastination by journal and that’s not what I want at all. :o

It’s debatable if I’ll keep the journal going. This weekend I’m going to forgo it, and see how I feel come Monday.

 

Writing: July 23, 2015, Thursday

9:59 am

Guilty! I’m starting late again today, although I swear I was ready to go at 9 but something came up. My kids return to school shortly and I know my time will be easier to monitor then, so I’m just biding my time and trying to stay on track as much as I can until that big shift happens.

Now, time to get to work. I have 2 hours before 12 and I’d like to make some real progress this morning!

Writing: July 22, 2015, Wednesday

9:49 am

Late start this morning. I can only blame myself because I sat down to write right at 9 am. WIFI going off as soon as I save this post. I feel really focused this morning with my plan. Stick to the schedule. Devote myself to the next book in my highest earning series. Maybe get some time to write on a different book this afternoon if this morning goes well. Here I go!

11:25 am

No words yet! More messing around after I made fresh tea. I’m not sure what’s going on but I think I’m past it now. I’m getting started.

1:48 pm

I’m at 181 words for the day. :o

3:42 pm

At 438 words for the day so far. It’s not more because I napped. I didn’t mean to, except that I really did because I got so sleepy sitting here that my head actually nodded. So I reared back in my seat and closed my eyes for a quick nap. It’s only 15 minutes until 4 pm but I might keep going after that.

3:56 pm

I stopped with 460 words for the day. Getting back into something I haven’t written on in a week just about always takes me a while. I also wrote a novelette in the meantime, and that didn’t help either. Because I didn’t keep working on this story while I wrote the other, I lost my focus on it.

Prioritizing an income producing series

It’s come to my attention after a bit of back of the napkin math this evening that I’ve been giving lip service to the idea of prioritizing my income producing series while I’ve been avoiding just that thing.

That back of the napkin math has shown me the error of my ways.

If I focus on writing only my income producing series instead of trying to fit in all the other series I have going (I have five!), I can earn more money with 1/3 of the writing in the next five months. Basically, I can earn more money with 3 new books than I can earn with 6, because of how significant the difference in earnings is between the books in the various series and because I would have fewer books released in my income producing series. (I realize this looks like I did my math wrong, but it has to do with the length of the books and how much I still need to write for each one. In the one scenario, it’s 80,000 words a month, in the other it’s 25,000–30,000 words a month. There were also some other books in there that I love writing but that just don’t earn.)

It was an eye opener for sure.

I have a lot of resistance to the notion of putting all my writing effort toward my one series, but I’ve come up with a mental shift that I think will make it work for me.

  • I’ll have deadlines for the books in the income producing series, but I won’t have deadlines for the other books.
  • I’ll always work on the books in the income producing series first every day, with an eye toward keeping myself on track to finish by my deadline (one book every two months).
  • If I am on track or ahead of pace, then I can devote leftover scheduled writing time to working on whatever book I want in those other series.
  • I’m going to start taking one to two days a week off the writing schedule, based on how I’m staying on pace to finish my latest book in my income producing series.
  • I won’t take off more days than that on a regular basis, even if I am getting ahead on those books. The extra writing time can go toward those books that don’t have deadlines.

The reason I’ve had misgivings about this in the past and the reason I continue to feel weird about it is that the only real way to know if I could earn more money with the books in the other series is if I could put out the books considerably faster than I’ve been putting them out. I would have to put off writing the books in the income producing series so I can devote more time to writing all these other books, but the risk associated with that is just too great. I kind of like having enough money to pay my bills. :D

If I continue to make progress on sticking to my schedule, I should be writing more than enough words to meet my deadlines for the income producing books and get some of the other books written and start having a few days a week off if that’s what I want. (Today was a rest day because I haven’t been feeling well since yesterday, so no guilt for not writing.)

Writing: July 19, 2015, Sunday

There’s no entry for yesterday, not that I wasn’t planning to write. But events conspired against it, and I had family issues to deal with. I won’t bore you with the details.

Never mind, maybe I will. My father and son were run off the road by an SUV, driven by someone who didn’t stop after causing the accident. I’ve always said it was other people you have to watch out for when you’re driving because half the people on the road are idiots who shouldn’t be behind the wheel. Yes, they are! Anyway, my family is fine, but I have frustration to work out in my writing and a story to finish today. :D

I’m ready to make up for some lost time with today’s writing. My ultimate goal, and yes, I’ve given in and started calling them goals again, because I just can’t keep doing the mental gymnastics to call it something else, is to have a daily average of about 3,000 words using my schedule. It’s taking me a while to learn how to get there, but I do believe I can.

10:06 am

I’m getting started with today’s writing now. I’ll update some word counts and progress at my breaks.

12:17 pm

I’ve written 521 words this morning. That’s … incredibly slow for 2 hours of writing. :( I can legitimately blame some of that slowness on plotting, but the truth is, the plot is there and I was just tweaking stuff in one particular scene opening to make it easy to follow. I paid for that with a really low word count. I can definitely improve that when I get back to work, but it’s break time. I think I’m going to go ahead and take it now.

9:54 pm

I wrote 1,957 words today, but I deleted 461 words that I thought I’d be able to keep of the last scene in the book that I wrote at about the halfway point through the story. I have to be up really early tomorrow and it won’t be a writing day for a change, but I’m still trying to finish this story before I go to bed. However, I probably won’t take the time to write a final entry for this post until tomorrow or Tuesday. I need as much sleep as I can get tonight!

I wanted more words, and even though I’ll probably get some, I honestly believe I’m only a few paragraphs from wrapping this one up. 3,000 will have to wait until Tuesday. See you then.

Writing: July 17, 2015, Friday

9:14 am

I’m a little late getting started, slept badly, went to sleep late even after trying not to, and breakfast took about 35 minutes.

I want to finish my short story today, start the next, and get some words done on my novels. Getting started as soon I can get myself into the short story. I’ll be shutting off WIFI.

11:46 am

I seem to be writing much more slowly today than yesterday. I’m am getting closer to the end finally. I did succeed in fitting in a section I thought I might have to delete. Now I just need a certain scene changed up a bit, and the final scene. I think that will wrap it up, a couple thousand words longer than I meant it to be, but I’ll be done, so yay! Again today I’m not ready for my break yet, so I think I’ll write until 1 instead of 12.

12:37 pm

Somehow I’ve wasted 50 minutes of writing time, not even sure how. I think it was because I slipped a look at my Kindle when I took a quick break. Big mistake during writing time. I have a plan to read in the mornings from 7 to 9, but I should think about coming up with a way to leave my Kindle upstairs until after 4. If I don’t have my Kindle down here, I just read on my phone instead though so there doesn’t seem to be a lot of point to that. Maybe I should try the no forums/blogs/reports until 4 again. It just felt so … uncomfortable. But weak willpower will happen again, even though I feel right now like I could just stick to not visiting those sites during writing time. Okay, anyway, back to work. I want to write 3000 words today and have a normal lunch at 1 pm and watch an episode of NCIS or something while I do it.

12:55 pm

Forget it. I’m stopping for lunch now. I’m just too tired. I need a rest and a mental readjustment before I get started again. Besides, my laptop needs to charge.

1:16 pm

Okay, never mind that. I wrote a bit more and the scene issues are being worked out. Going to lunch now and will be back to work by 2:16 sharp.

5:43 pm

I didn’t restart at 2:16. I felt like I needed a nap and the computer wasn’t charged yet so I took one. Then I did that post on this site about the new pen name. Then my daughter came home and I spent time talking to her.

Since I do want to reach 3000 again, I’m going to put in some extra writing time so I can. I’m only at 888 for the day and I’m really not satisfied with that.

Now I’m getting back to work. I can break through to a new level of daily word counts if I just keep trying and today’s 3000 word goal is part of that effort.

11:06 pm

I really just seemed to run out of time this evening with obligations of one kind and another. I wrote 1,459 words total, but I also deleted 651, so I ended up with only 808 on my daily log, which is significantly short of where I wanted to end up. The 1,459 was half way there, though, and the 651 I deleted was a scene meant for late in the story that I wrote very early on, and it just didn’t work with the story as it developed and approached the end. Tomorrow I will finish this story and move on to the next.

I’d like to be asleep by 11:30 so I can be fresh for tomorrow’s writing, so I’m calling it done. I’m feeling a bit dissatisfied with the day I had today, but all I can do is try harder tomorrow not to let it happen again.

How I’m building my new pen name: Two weeks in

Here I’m going to lay out my plan for building my second pen name without doing any kind of active promotion. Active promotion generally means most of the kinds of promotional activities you’ve heard of.

This post is the first I’m going to do for the new pen name. It’s part of my plan to build an empire, so that’s where these posts will go. (Yay! I’ve finally figured out something to put in that category.)

The truth is, I feel like a beginner still, but I’ve been publishing my books since July 2012, three years now. I’ve been a writer since I was a young teenager—a very young teenager. Maybe it’s impostor syndrome or just that I know there’s so much I don’t know (that I might never know) about this business, but it’s hard for me to talk to other writers without feeling like the one standing on the outside of success and looking in.

This post is an exercise in getting past all that.

I’ve learned a few things in the last three years and accomplished a lot, and I think I can make a success out of this new pen name even though it’s getting off to a slow start.

So here goes. I’m not planning to give away my new pen name for this experiment. Seriously. If you figure it out, please do not tell me you’ve figured it out. If I didn’t want to be anonymous, I would have chosen to reveal my pen name(s) right from the get go. I would never out you and I would appreciate it if you didn’t out me. ;)

Thank you in advance for being understanding about that! :D

I first published the new book a few days into July. I published at $3.99 because I had heard from a lot of other authors that that was the best price at the moment, and because experimenting with different prices was the entire reason I wanted to do a new pen name. I looked into the market and saw that this was a popular price point in the genre the new book fits into. I’m not used to pricing this low. It felt really weird.

I sold 8 copies at 3.99 in 3 days, then 0 copies for 2 days. I posted the book on my author site, but since there’s never been any activity there because, hey, no books, I don’t consider my pen name to have any kind of a platform. No twitter, no facebook, no G+ profile. I plan to keep it that way for as long as possible. I have a website for the pen name and a mailing list that readers can sign up to. That’s it.

After the 2 days of no sales, I raised the price up to 6.99. I mean, if I’m not going to get lucky with an unexpected hit right off and sales are going to be slow until the second book is done, then I might as well, right? When I use the countdown deal before my 90 days in KDP Select is over, at least the discount will look better.

I sold 3 books at 6.99 in the next 3 days and then back to 0.

At about the one week mark, I put the book into KDP Select and moved on.

It’s a 328 page book as far as KENPC goes, and there’ve been 3006 pages read as of today.

So somebody’s reading it.

Now the wait is on until I get a second book written and published.

I’ll post first month results when they’re available, but the fact is, I don’t expect much. New pen name, no promo, high price, etc. There’s just no real chance that anything of note will happen until the next book comes out.

My goal is to put out the next book in the series for the new pen name within 90 days. I’d go for 60, but a lot of stuff is going to have to fall into place to make that happen, including me cracking through to a higher level of daily word count. I’m working on it, but I’m certainly not ready to count on it. :)

Writing: July 16, 2015, Thursday

8:49 am

So. Yesterday. It didn’t go so well. I wrote just over 300 words. Breakfast is at the table waiting on me so I can finish it quickly and get started on time this morning (the writing schedule is 9–12 & 1–4). I’m planning to ignore yesterday’s failure and just get back to it today. :)

Last night I revisited those book covers I was practicing on. I like them. I am going to decide today whether or not to use them or hold off for something different when I have time to practice more cover making skills.

So, I’m turning the WIFI off (as soon as these windows updates complete) and I won’t be turning it back on until after 4 on the computer. I’ll update this post through my Kindle or phone at select intervals, because I’d like to see some real progress on that short story and on my word count today. :) I’d also like to rebuild my tags in a way that makes sense later today. Maybe I won’t forget!

2:57 pm

I’m just restarting after lunch but I’m at 1,750 words for the day. I only have an hour before 4 and I want to reach at least 3000 today. I’m not sure I’ll make it, but I think I’ll keep going if I don’t.

4 pm

I haven’t reached 3,000 words yet, but I’m really close. I’m at 2,739 for the day. I wrote very close to 1000 words in that last hour of writing, and I’m a lot further along on my short story because that’s the only story I’ve worked on today (actually it’s a novelette now). I don’t feel like I’m all that much closer to the end, but maybe I am. I’m going to continue on after a short (really short) break. I still want to finish that story today.

Also, I’m going to tweak the titles of these posts.

6:24 pm

I’m calling it a night on the writing. I reached 3,333 words and I thought that was a fun place to stop. I’m also very happy that I reached my 3,000 word goal today and I came up with a new tag for these kinds of posts. Well done, self. :)

I enjoy writing these kinds of posts. They seem to help me stay centered in what I’m doing. Sometimes. I admit it doesn’t work all the time.

All in all, I’m happy with how my day turned out.

Writing: July 15, Wednesday (2015)

I’m writing this on my phone, because if I go on my computer I will get sucked in and end up wasting my writing time. The voice recognition on my phone doesn’t like my accent that well. I’ll correct any major issues later because my phone does not make editing easy.

It’s 11 o’clock and I just lost about an hour of time trying to get one of the Lightning Deals on Amazon but the site was having trouble.

Anyway, no more of that crap. ;) I have lots of writing to do!

I got started at 9 o’clock this morning. I put in edits, & I ended up with 110 words. Then instead of getting started writing on that particular story I went ahead and moved to another story and put edits in on it. I ended up with seven additional words, lol.

Now it’s time to go back to the first story and work on it. I’m trying to finish it today because it’s a short story so that I can move on to something else.

I stayed up quite late last night trying to fix myself a production schedule and do some thinking about what I planned. That means I’m short of sleep, and that has a tendency to make me unfocused.

I’m going to be fighting that all day, but I think it’s worth it because I did come to some nice realizations last night, and I did get a nice production schedule laid out.

12 PM: 316 words

I was just starting to get into new material when the alarm for my hour break went off.

3:06 PM: No progress

I’m not doing well sticking to the writing today. I’m feeling all messed up and hung out to dry and maybe it’s lack of sleep, but I have a hunch it’s related to visiting a certain forum too often lately. Ugh. I’ve got to learn to let this stuff go! Anxiety makes it so hard for me to write, and I have no idea why I get anxious reading forums anyway. It might be the conflict. Conflict makes me so nervous. I get a sick stomach. In fact, I have one now, because I posted! I shouldn’t have posted! I can’t really delete it now though.

Thank God I’m mostly anonymous, because you know what? Most writers are assholes. :D I’m probably one too. I have a high opinion of my work, and I pretty much always think my opinion is the most reasoned. I should ignore the fact that I wrote something there and get back to writing my books. I really wanted to write so many words today.

Oh, oh, oh. I should pull up my hosts file and block the site. That’s about the best way I know of to take care of that kind of thing. The only problem is that when I do that I’ve usually just posted something and I end up unblocking it so I can respond. Nope. I need to make a rule and then let it go.

New rule: I can only visit that forum (and the TPV blog, because I waste a lot of time there!) between 8–9 PM and only if I don’t have something I’d be better off doing. If I’m tired and have already called it a night, sure. If I just want to procrastinate on doing something I have the energy to do and should really be doing, then no visit. :D

Is that rule too complicated to be successful?

Nah. I can make it work.

I need to start a series of posts that keep me accountable for all these little rules I have. And my schedule. And other stuff. What’s a blog for anyway? Well, this one’s an exercise in egotism, mostly. ;)

And holy crap. Look at the time. It’s 3:52 and all I’ve accomplished here is a long ramble about my anxiety issues. :o Back to work!

Writing: July 14, Tuesday (2015)

4 PM – End of scheduled writing
I’ve only written 322 words. That accounts for some minor edits and deletions, but mostly I just didn’t get started on time and then I couldn’t stay focused. I start after 11 AM, stopped at 12 for a break (when I would have normally taken lunch), restarted before 1 PM, stopped just before 4.

 

I deleted all my tags

I wanted to do a clean up on them and it was taking too long. I admit I’m supposed to be writing right now, and deleting them seemed the quickest way to accomplish my goal of getting myself back to work. :) No tags = nothing to clean up!

I’ll probably bring some of them back later, when I can do it without wasting good writing time, because they do make it a bit easier to find related posts. :)

Writing on a schedule (Restart—day 4)

Today I wrote 1,709 words in about 3.5 hours (one story). I have 4 novels and 1 short story I’m trying to finish as soon as I can. 4 for one pen name, 1 for another. I really wish I could write faster. I want to get all the ideas down for these stories while they’re fresh in my mind and my slow speed makes it so hard to do.

The bad news is that I really didn’t do anything any different today, so it’s not reasonable for me to expect to have made any improvements in my speed. I’m going to try to think of some ways to change that for tomorrow.

I could—

  • use a timer (I really don’t want to!)
  • spend a few minutes writing a short line or two about where I think each of my stories should/could go next (I need to remember to try this tomorrow)
  • find some way to keep reminding myself to write new words instead of playing with what’s already there (I really have been overdoing this)
  • I don’t know, but I’m sure there’s something else I could do! I’m going to give it more thought tonight.

I want to have 2 of these stories done by the end of August because I have a public “tentative” deadline for those two. Meaning of course I can change the date, but I’d really rather not. :o

I tried to stay on schedule both days, but the truth is I’m having a lot of trouble getting started on time in the morning and after lunch. If I weren’t having so much trouble, I’d be much closer to 3000 words a day.

I’m just going to keep trying.

If I ever crack this speed thing, I’d love to be writing closer to 3000 words a day in about 3 to 4 hours and I’d write from 9 to 1 every day instead of having to have 2 sessions (9 to 12 and 1 to 4) to even get close. I think I’d love it anyway. Won’t know for sure until I get there. ;)

Time for some honestly here. I would write much slower if my income didn’t depend on it because although writing is fun for me, I don’t feel compelled to do it all that often and the work to get it down into text is not my favorite thing in the world. I love having written and rereading my stories much more than I love the actual writing of them. :)

The good news is that I’m doing it anyway, and I’m really happy that I’ve been able to make this my career. I don’t think I’d enjoy any other half as much.

Fri, 7/10/15 746,353 2,321
Sat, 7/11/15 747,726 1,373
Sun, 7/12/15 749,681 1,955
Mon, 7/13/15 751,390 1,709

Writing on a schedule (Restart—day 3)

Yesterday I wrote 1,955 words (working on two stories). I meant to make that 2,000 before I went to bed, but television distracted me. I ended up watching a movie.

The fact is, although I would have liked to have written 2,000, I did stick to the schedule and stopped at 4 pm. I should have just kept going for a few more minutes and wrote the next 45 words before I stopped, because I don’t have an obligation to write anything after 4 and I should have suspected I might not get back to it. :) Lesson learned. Maybe I’ll remember it next time.

Fri, 7/10/15 746,353 2,321
Sat, 7/11/15 747,726 1,373
Sun, 7/12/15 749,681 1,955

Increasing my daily word count average

It’s time I started to focus on increasing my daily word count average. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, something I’ve been writing about here, off and on, for more than a year. (That link goes to all the posts I tagged with the relevant tag. They started back in April 2014.)

Two things I’ll need to do to increase my daily word count average—

  1. increase my writing speed
  2. improve my ability to write for longer periods of time without tiring out or succumbing to boredom or distraction

Despite the popular notion that all it takes to write faster is to spend more time writing, those are two distinctly different things as far as I’m concerned. There’s writing more and there’s writing faster. Writing faster means increasing my speed, and my writing speed is how many words I write during a specific unit of time. Increasing the amount of time I spend writing doesn’t change my speed.

I’ve realized over the last few months that even though I say I’ve given up on the idea of writing faster in favor of writing more, that’s not exactly true. I do want to write faster, because there are just so many stories I want to write, and I want to have written them already! It’s unfortunate that I can’t go back in time and make that happen. ;) The next best thing is to get them written as fast as I can.

As for improving my ability to write for longer periods of time without tiring out or succumbing to boredom or distraction, I’m still working on it. Right now, with the success I’m having with the schedule, I’m definitely writing more on the days when I stick to it. So to accomplish item #2 on the list, I’ll just keep pushing myself to stick as close to my schedule as possible. Six hours of writing each day is enough. Anything over five hours of actual writing is going to make me happy.

That leaves me with trying to figure out how I can increase my writing speed. For the next few weeks at least, I’m going to be recording my efforts to do just that.

I wrote 2,321 words of fiction today

I stuck to the schedule today! Yay! I’m quite excited. I feel like I’m settling in again. I wrote 2,321 words today, and that was split almost evenly between two books. When I was writing, I felt like I was doing well with letting things flow.

Now, off to read a bit before bed, and then tomorrow I try going back to 9–12 & 1–4 for the next 7 days. Wish me luck sticking to the schedule. :)