Tag Archives: Wins

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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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Month One as a Full-Time Author

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I started this full-time author gig four weeks ago.

On that first day, I rejoiced. I had a daily schedule. I had goals. I had dreams. I wasn’t quite sure how it would turn out, but I knew it would be glorious.

Fast Forward to today.

What’s been working?

Writing. I’ve done a lot of writing. I decided that I was tired of letting Jagged Scars book 5 push me around, so I’ve spent most of January rewriting it. For the fourth time. But this time it’s going to stick, and it should be to my editor by midnight tonight!

Who makes crazy goals the first month of their new career? That’s right, this girl.

Blogging is working. Well, I’ve blogged every week this month, which was my goal. That’s a win. I think I’m going to try to do movie or book reviews every other week.

Flash Fiction Friday has been really fun. I use it as a way to drop my brain out of my work in process and force it to think sideways for an hour or so. I’ve loved the randomness of it, and the stories aren’t bad. My rotten, err awesome, hubby comes up with better ideas than I do, so there’s that. I keep telling him to write the story, but he’s a baby. (That’s right, I’m calling you out, honey.)

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with my serial series Babes in Spyland. Well, I’m giving the original an overhaul this year, then I plan to write a lot more of it in the years to come. I spent quite a few hours reading through the first five seasons this month, and I’m churning ideas for it already. This is going to be big. Stay tuned for more info later this year.

What’s not working?

Confession time. The thing I’m having the most trouble with is exercising right after I get up in the morning. I’ve been getting up and showering and then going to work or school for like thirty years. I’ve been doing my Kempo class in the evenings since the early 2000s. I’m a morning person, but this getting up and, instead of showering, donning exercise clothes and then exercising is awful.

I think I can comfortably compare it to giving up your morning coffee. It throws me way off. The few days I actually did it, I felt okay, but it took everything I had to drag my sorry butt out of bed, put on my sweats and do it. I should write down the arguments I lose. With myself!

I’ve still been exercising almost every day, but I usually end up doing it during the afternoon, which cuts into writing time, which isn’t good.

Going to bed on time and then getting up on schedule has been rough too. So I need to work on that. As the prince in Ever After says, “Apparently I lack conviction.”

The one thing I totally dropped the ball on (and when I say dropped, I mean tossed it over my shoulder into the corner and purposely forgot about it) is marketing. I did a little, but not much. I felt strongly about getting this book finished first, so marketing begins in February. Which means I sold a total of five books this month on Amazon. Which is horrible, but I didn’t do any marketing, so it makes sense. I’ll have to set a reasonable goal for next month. Double my sales? (Kidding, it’s going to be way more than that!)

So far I haven’t missed my day job. I’m busy enough that the hours fly by and suddenly it’s evening and I’m off to do something besides writing. I do miss more people interaction, so I’ll have to see what I can do about that before I become a strange old cat lady who never leaves her house. Well, except I’m allergic to cats.

All in all things are going well. Thank you to everyone who has supported me through this change. I’m still excited. I’ll report again next month.


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