Tag Archives: Full-Time Author

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Wins and Losses-Month Four of Being a Full-Time Author

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The Montey Python boys say that I should always look on the bright side of life.

Johnny Mercer told me that I should accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.

Dozens of kitty and puppy memes a day tell me to be happy.

But it’s so easy to be grouchy!

Especially when things aren’t going exactly according to plan.

In an attempt to accentuate the positive, I’ve been writing wins and not so much wins each day in my journal. It helps remind me that some things are going well, and others—while perhaps unexpected—are awesome.

So that’s what my report for April is going to be.

Writing Wins:

Re-wrote the last book of my Jagged Scars series (again and for the last time) and got it back to my editor

Finished my fairy tale retelling—beta readers loved it!

Entered two flash fiction horror story contests.

Outlined and wrote 25k of a rough draft for New Sight 3.

Learned some marketing stuff.

Went on a super fun writing retreat!

Taught a class on writing action scenes. That went well.

Beta read a novel for a friend.

Blogged every week.

Put up Flash Fiction every week.

 

Not so much wins:

The rough draft of New Sight 3 was supposed to be finished on April 30th. It will be about 90k words.

I’m a few weeks behind on Jagged Scars 5 as well as a novella in that series.

Didn’t get any marketing done…because I was writing. I need to work on that.

I was supposed to start outlining my next project (just a few hours a week) but got nothing done on that.

Conclusion:

When I look at the good and then the not so good, I feel better than if I just focus on what didn’t get finished.

I took a few hours at the beginning of the month to layout Q2 of this year. And guess what? It’s already in danger.

But one thing came up that I wasn’t prepared for. I had the project I was going to work on after New Sight 3 all picked out, but I got distracted. You know how shiny, new ideas are, they’re so appealing and seductive. So now I’m trying to decide between the shiny new idea, or the awesome old idea. There are pros and cons to each, so I’m weighing them in an attempt to choose.

So basically I’m writing like mad, trying not to get distracted by the internet, family or anything else that comes up during my working time. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail.

 

 

 

 


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Five Lessons Learned from Month 3 of Being a Full-Time Author

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It has been three months since I started my Full-Time author adventure. Here are a few lessons that I have learned.

1) You control your own destiny…mostly

I have a problem of making lofty goals. Q1 of being a full-time author was no different. I worked my tail off and still didn’t make them. Most of that is my fault, but there were some unforeseen circumstances. My editor, and good friend, had also made some lofty goals for her Q1, her life exploded a little bit and chaos ensued. Which meant one goal that I could have accomplished didn’t get finished because she was unable to get my book edited in her usual timeframe.

I can’t point fingers, it’s just life.

2) You have to treat it like a real job

Everyone told me this before I went full-time, and while I believed it and thought I understood it, I didn’t. I still don’t, but I’m getting there.

The best thing I did for this is to make a daily schedule for myself. It’s not set in stone, but the first two or three things in the morning, including exercise, really set my mood for the rest of the day. Sitting down at my computer and typing in my journal for a few minutes allows me to get into the writing mindset, and then into the groove.

Each morning I also sit down and make my to-do list for the day. I tried doing that the night before, but kept forgetting, so now I do it in the morning.

3) Break it down, break it down, break it down

Besides making daily to do lists, I found it helpful to take Friday afternoon or Monday morning to make a to do list for the week ahead. Sometimes the list looks daunting, but if I need to get 10k written on a project before the coming Friday, then I can look at everything I need to do and work it all into the schedule.

This week, for instance, I need to finish an outline I’ve been working on. Which sounds daunting, I’m not going to lie, but if I break it down into smaller chunks, it’s more likely I’ll get it finished. Today I’ll work on the main character’s flaw/problem and how she is going to change by the end of the story. Tomorrow I’ll do the same for a few of the side characters. The next day I’ll start working on my outline beats, and hopefully a day or two after that, I’ll be finished.

4) Having a hard time concentrating? Leave your house.

As most of you know, my hubby got laid off in January, so he was home for a couple of weeks. And even when he’s “hiding in his office not making a sound and pretending he doesn’t exist” it’s distracting to have him at home. Also, about 10:30am each morning I feel the urge to take a nap. Every time I get up my mind says I need a snack. And let’s not even start with the internet.

There’s a Barnes and Noble not too far away, and I tend to go there if I’m dawdling too much. I know several authors who do all of their creating time somewhere besides their home. Others have one computer for writing and another for business stuff. Some have separate offices. I don’t have the space for that, but I can go somewhere else.

5) The unexpected can be good

One reason several of my Q1 goals got pushed back was that I received an invitation to participate in a boxed set of fairy tale retellings. I won’t spoil the surprise, but it was a nice invitation from some great ladies that I know. It took me twenty or so hours to outline, write and edit the story, so while that wasn’t originally part of my Q1 goals, it should be fun.

I also entered several Flash Fiction contests, which I wasn’t planning on. All good things, but unexpected.

Q1 didn’t turn out like I wanted it to, but maybe the most important lesson I was reminded of is to focus on the positive! Whatever you’re doing, keep going and don’t give up!

 


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Month Two as a Full-Time Author

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Yes, this is a little late, because the hubby and I were on a cruise at the beginning of the month. Still, I thought I would report on my full-time authoring.

At the beginning of the year, I laid out my writing goals for 2018. They were, to say the least, lofty. But that’s okay, right, because if you shoot for the stars and only hit the moon, you still hit the moon. Right? Something like that anyway.

Well, as I’ve already mentioned, February got blown up. I started out with twenty writing days. That got cut to eighteen, then the fifteen then to twelve, and then to ten. The only one I had planned for was two days for a local writing conference. The other eight days got sucked away by different things.

First off, my old work called me in for three days. Pretty sure I mentioned that already. My hubby got laid off, got a new job and then we went on a cruise between jobs. (I know, I know, my life is hard.) So three days went to the cruise, and two days went to prep.

None of these things are bad things, but they did interrupt my writing schedule in a big way.

So I had a grand total of ten writing days in February. And guess what happened to my February goals? Yup, most of them are still sitting on my list, staring at me, wondering when they will get worked on.

I reluctantly pulled out my Q1 goals, and saw that not many of them are going to get met either. Which puts several of my 2018 goals in jeopardy. Which does not make me happy.

I thought about leaving most of my goals “as is” and trying to play catch up, but then I realized how frustrating that would be, and decided to revamp instead.

But what is there to do about it? I can’t exactly turn back time. There’s only one way to go, and that’s forward.

So in order to salvage what is left of March, I wrote down all of the projects I’m working on and their due dates. Then I arranged them in order of priority, printed the list out and stuck it right next to my monitor. I wanted to get to marketing my Jagged Scars series this month, but considering the last book and the last novella of the series aren’t finished yet, there’s no point.

Productivity is my biggest concern this year. January went well. February faltered. March is looking…iffy. But I’m going to do my very best to recover what I can.

I hate missing goals, but it’s going to happen. I keep telling myself to breathe and keep going.

 


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They Say, if You Can Dodge a Wrench, then You Can Dodge a Ball

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Despite the rough start, January was a pretty good month for me. Not perfect, but good. I proved to myself that I could make progress, and that going full-time as an author was a positive move.

I have a lot I want to accomplish in February. The month is short anyway, and I’m losing five writing days for writing conferences and vacations. So on the 1st, I sat down and laid out the fifteen days of writing that I knew I was going to have so that I could get everything done. Like I said, it was tight, but I was ready.

The very next morning, I get a phone call from my old work.

You know, the one I basically retired from? The one I walked out of six weeks ago and wasn’t planning on going back? At all? Yeah. That one.

It was my old boss, asking if I would be willing to put some hours in because they were in trouble. The shop is ahead, engineering is behind, my replacement isn’t up to speed yet, one guy gave his two weeks notice…It wasn’t a new situation. This kind of thing happens all the time at my old work.

To be honest, I was shocked my old boss called. The company doesn’t like parting with money (understandable) and he knew I was going to ask for a lot. Because, duh, subcontractor.

Now, as irony would have it, on January 23rd, just four weeks after I’d quit my day job, I get a message from my husband saying that he was getting laid off.

Nice, right?

Lucky for us, his current employer is awesome, and gave them three weeks notice, as well as a nice severance. Plus, we’ve saved for a rainy day. Not to worry, he’s a software engineer living in an area where his skills are in high demand. He’s already had a bunch of interviews and is almost excited about a change. (Because let’s be honest, finding a new job is a pain.) However, when my boss called I felt like I needed to say yes to going back to my day job.

I just sent a novel to my editor last week, and what I get paid for my few days of not-writing-work will almost cover it. Which is going to kill three of my fifteen days of writing in February. However, it will keep the financial burden out of my normal checking account.

So there’s my wrench for the month. I’m not sure I’m dodging it. I may be taking it right to the face. We’ll see.

Anyone else have a wrench in their month already? Or, on a happier note, how did you turn your lemons into lemonade?


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