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.)

A Prolific Writer…

“A prolific writer, therefore, has to have self-assurance. He can’t sit around doubting the quality of his writing. Rather, he has to love his own writing.”

—Isaac Asimov, I.Asimov

I’m still reading this book, bits and pieces out of order, because it lends itself to that kind of reading and when it comes to nonfiction, that kind of reading isn’t unusual to me. The book’s engaging and easy to read and I’ve found lots of interesting stuff in it worth bookmarking.

Asimov goes on:

“I can pick up any one of my books, start reading it anywhere, and immediately be lost in it and keep on reading until I am shaken out of the spell by some external event.”

I know that feeling. It’s what causes me to lose half a day’s writing when I start researching something I might have forgotten in one of my books. Ah well. At least I’m having fun.

Now, time for me to trim my fingernails and get some writing done today.

I Must Stop Visiting Most Writers’ Forums and Blogs

It’s time I started to avoid the self-sabotaging habits of visiting certain writers’ forums and blogs.

There are a few blogs I read that I find helpful and inspirational, even motivational, but there are also a number of blogs I’ve had to quit reading altogether. One makes me mad every time I read it, one disappoints me, a few more just leave me feeling disheartened when I read them—I face reality every day and I completely agree that writing is hard work and you have to be willing to put in so much more than you’re going to get back to start with, but the constant refrain of “if you don’t do this, you have no chance of success” annoys me when I clearly don’t do “this” and yet am not a failure.

I guess what I’m saying is that I didn’t realize so many writers were assholes. :D I’m not sure I like having found that out, and I definitely don’t feel like reminding myself of that every time I open a web browser.

Several forums make me feel the same.

Maybe a better way to explain it is that reading these forums and blogs on a regular basis sucks the creative energy right out of me. I lose my enthusiasm for my stories, for writing, for creating. These places make me feel all tangled up inside. I want to spend time with other writers, but I really don’t want to spend time with people I don’t like. That makes it sound like I don’t like most of the people I’ve met on forums and through blogs, but that’s not true. Not true at all. But I find being around people I don’t like so destructive that it completely overwhelms the joy I get from being around people I do like.

I don’t know why. I’m sure there are lots of writers who enjoy these places and receive more energy from these places than they lose, but that’s not me. Interacting even with people I like takes a lot of energy from me. Putting myself in the position of interacting with people I don’t like? It’s starting to feel a bit self-destructive, tbh.

I’ve become a conflict junkie. I don’t create it or participate, but I find myself drawn to those threads and those blog posts, reading about how horrible all writers are for not caring about this or that—or readers. Good Lord, am I tired of that one! I am a reader. I care about readers. I just chose to care mostly about the things that I as a reader would care about and that’s not the things that some of these other people care about—obviously—but my reader concerns (and therefore writer concerns) are apparently wrong.

Anyway, didn’t mean to go there, but maybe you’re getting the point here. I need to get away from that stuff.

I need contact with other writers, and I’m not sure how I’m going to get it, but I’ll have to figure something else out.

I need to spend more time reading good fiction (without discovering how much I just don’t like some of the authors of some of that good stuff because it completely ruins the reading experience for me). I need to spend more time reading and re-reading good craft and writing life books. I need to spend more time learning new things because this inspires my creativity like almost nothing else.

Now, this has made me almost an hour late getting started on my writing today so I’ve got to wrap it up.

Finally, here are some blogs that I still love.

  • J.A. Konrath’s blog (lots of conflict but his stuff is different because he’s so inspiring)
  • Hugh Howey’s blog (such a positive person that his posts are easy to read and enjoy)
  • Dean Wesley Smith’s blog (sometimes abrasive but inspiring and very helpful and friendly when you have real questions)
  • I’m sure there are more but I can’t think of them—the pressure! I’m in a hurry to get writing before this post starts eating into my second hour of writing time! :D


Daily Writing Streak—The End

Oops … if I have a 100 word minimum, I broke my streak yesterday. However, I did write. Only I wrote 58 words, not 100.

Then today, I just haven’t done it. The change in routine with the school year ending is throwing me off, but really, I just didn’t want to write. Sigh.

This just isn’t working.

I should clarify. My new routine is working quite well. I’m exercising. I’m no longer snacking between meals. I’m not feeling as fatigued as I was. So that’s great. I’m just not writing during the times I have set aside for writing. That’s … problematic.

As for the money thing, well, that’s easy. Apparently money has no motivational power over me at all. I mean, maybe if I was starving or something, but since I’m not… Yeah.

I just don’t understand why I keep trying the same things over and over, except … I kind of do. I forget. I forget why it didn’t work, or I think something’s different this time so I won’t have the same outcome—but then I do. And I shouldn’t be surprised, but I always am.

I don’t know how to overcome that. I don’t know how to make myself remember that I’ve tried the “hours thing” before and couldn’t get it to work for me. Although basing my writing goals around the time I spend writing seems rational and doable, when I put it into action, I end up feeling like I’m trapped, and I avoid writing as if I hate it. As if—ah…

I think I get it now. As if it’s a job.

I just can’t keep doing this to myself. I know better. Treating writing as a job in the sense that most people think of “job” just doesn’t work for me.

I have to take the time scheduling off the table, completely, forever, else I’m just going to try this again in a few months and have this happen all over again.

I sincerely hope this is the last “schedule” post I ever write.

Here’s my plan for the rest of the year: enjoy my writing life and give myself a break.

This doesn’t mean I can’t have goals and dreams and continue attempting to improve as a writer. I will write—I don’t doubt that. I will try to reach a weekly word count goal, and I will continue to try to write every day, because that’s what I do.

Frankly, I don’t have a choice if I want to keep earning a living with my writing. But that doesn’t mean I should spend so much time driving myself crazy with perfectionism—not with the writing itself (I seem to have that under control), but with how much writing I do and how often, because I’m never satisfied. It’s never enough. It will never be enough for the perfectionist in me.

So here’s how much I’d like to write each week—a realistic number that’s going to get me to the number of books I would like to publish each year. 13,535. It’s not my lowest recorded word count for a week and it’s not my highest, so it’s realistic for me. It’s a modest number, and if I don’t make it each week, so be it.

I’d like to do this in conjunction with continuing to write on multiple stories each day, because that’s working for me, and it’s refreshing to be able to switch stories when things get all tangled up in my head. The breaks always seem to do me good.

But it’s just something to keep me focused.

And that’s it.

I will still probably have days where I’ll want to challenge myself—because it can be fun to do that sometimes, but my days will be devoted to enjoying the writing life as much as possible and learning how to let go of the perfectionistic ideals of what my writing life should be like.