Crushing Goals Before They Crush Me

I am slowly getting myself back on schedule for the goals that I created back in January.

I knew when I set my goals that my current work schedule would make achieving them difficult. That’s continued to prove true.

However, in March, I got a little more organized.

For starters, I made a new spreadsheet (because I love spreadsheet lists) that tracks a number of things.

  • It tracks my book ideas.
  • It tracks daily sales.
  • It tracks when I can promote books through Amazon.
  • It tracks daily goals.

For book ideas, I made a list of 100 ideas I want to write. This wasn’t to overwhelm me, but to see if I could come up with better ideas through brainstorming, than just accepting the first idea or two that came to mind.

I began tracking daily sales because I needed to know what is selling, and where, and if the promotions were working. This has helped me realize that sales on Smashwords are competitive with my sales on Amazon, despite having fewer books published through them. Also, paperback sales do far better than digital, as long as I have some type of signing event.

I made a list when each book becomes available to do a promotion on Amazon. This has been a problem, because I have a lot of books on Amazon, under numerous pen names, and I’ve been missing opportunities to promote them.

The daily goal spreadsheet is exactly what it sounds like. I have a list of everything I would like to accomplish, regardless of time to actually accomplish it. The first few columns are the easy ones, that only take a few minutes. Each consecutive column gets into projects that require more time, which includes most of my writing projects.

The daily goal spreadsheet also keeps my editing projects in front of me, a necessity considering I’ve still got 3 books needing editing, which is three more books I could have on the market.

So this has been fairly successful for March. The intention is that for April I can continue to grow with developing my tracking to be a more productive writer and a generally more happy person (because let’s face it, feeling successful living as a writer makes a writer generally more happy. You gotta write to be a writer, right?).

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2017 Week 2 Accountability

This morning I woke up to frost.

Anyway, here’s the official week 2 accountability post!

WRITING

The Goal: Write Every Day. Hit 2 million words for the year. Write a book a week.

Actual: I wrote 4 out of 7 days. Week Total: 14,421. Daily Average: 2,060. Words per Hour: 2,653. Books Written This Week: 1. O.ne rough draft completed.

January Totals: 31,085 words; Daily Average: 2,391; Words Per Hour: 2,646; Books Written: 3; Books Published: 0

I am still well below averaging high enough for 2 million words for the year, but fortunately, just a little behind for hitting one million. I am still cautiously optimistic for both. As far as writing every day? On those three days, I wasn’t home. As soon as I got off work with the post office, I left again. I did manage to finish something, though.

Spilling Blood episode 14 is complete. I hope to have episode 13 revised this week, and hopefully published by the weekend.

The biggest distractions to writing this week were working for the post office and grinding xp for my Rock Band Crew in the mornings before going to work. I know, I know. I’m playing a game. 😛

I am going to continue and put off adding any other goals until my writing is more stable. This remains the focus.

  • This week I will write something new, I haven’t decided yet.
  • I will complete editing on Spilling Blood 13, get it to my proofreading crew, and get it published.
  • I will up my minimal writing from a minimum of 30 minutes a day to a full hour.

MUSIC

I didn’t get a chance to even touch my guitar last week. I think I will launch my music goal in February. Why because there’s a site called fawm.org. That’s February Album Writing Month. Hell, why not?

OTHER

As far as putting off my other goals, I think I will add back in one. Social Media, and specifically, Instagram. I will post at least one photo a day this week, and more as I can. Please follow me. 🙂

 

Why Haven’t I Met My Goals?

Hey again. Yesterday I wrote about my goals for this year. Today, I’m going to write about why I’ve failed to achieve my writing goals the last couple of years, and how identifying them will help me achieve my goals this year.

THE PROBLEM

I am somebody that must write every day. If I miss a single day, that gives me permission to miss more days. If I break my writing streak, it is difficult for me to get back into the flow. So what keeps me from writing every day?

  1. Another job. The more I write, the more it pays. The less I write, the less I can afford to write. I have another job working for the post office, which often takes up a lot of my time. When I am delivering mail, I often don’t feel like writing at all. In the mornings, when I’m working six days a week, it’s hard to do anything but watch TV.
  1. Netflix. Ohhh man do I love my show addictions.
  1. Video Games. Mainly Rock Band 4 and Rocksmith.

THE SOLUTION

So, I know I’ve got to write every day. The three problems above will likely be there for a while. But what am I going to do about it?

  1. The distractions have got to be limited. Primarily, during my morning time. If I wait until the afternoon to write, I have less time and it’s easier to tell myself that I can make up the writing later. If I work 6 days a week, I’m not making it all up on Sunday. Therefore, mornings will be sacred. No TV and no video games. Although they help me unwind, my intention is to continue my existence as a writer. Which is supposed to be my pursuit of happiness.

So… I intend to find 3 hours a day to write, on average. Two hours of this will be in the morning before I go to work for the post office. The third hour will be in the afternoon/evening. If I don’t work for the PO that day, I’m shooting for 5 hours of writing. Neat fact – my writing speed can sometimes hit 3k an hour now.

  1. Can I still watch TV or play games? Sure, but maybe in the evenings while unwinding with my family.

The allowable exception is my music. The evenings will be used to meet my music goals, though maybe only an hour of practice a night.

My 2017 Writer Goals

Hello, 2017, goodbye, 2016! Last year’s goals trickled out with a quiet, embarrassing poot. This year, I’m bringing to the table all new goals, along with some favorite oldies.

When I reexamined my goals and what I want to do this year, I decided that I want to focus on how I define myself. Therefore, my goals this year will focus on 2 things, writing and music. These are the two things (other than family) that bring me happiness, so I’m going to devote my time to having them daily in my life.

GOAL 1: Writing! I’m going to write 1 million words this year. And I will write every day. The real goal, again, is 2 million, because why not truly bury myself in disappointment by December? I am going to talk about what I’ve learned in 2016 about meeting and failing this goal later. I think I’m fine-tuning my writing ability. Anyway!!!!

Goal 1.1: A story a week. I might not get it published the week I finish, but I will have it written.

Goal 1.2: A novel a month. Just like the short story, I’ll have it written, but it’ll get published when it is ready.

Goal 1.3: Poetry. This is a small goal. I might not even share much of this, but I’m thinking I want to create poetry at least every now and then, if not daily.

GOAL 2: Music! This year, I want to get better on the guitar, and maybe later this year, the piano. So, this brings me to:

Goal 2.1: Learn a song a week. 52 songs in one year? Yes. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I have a fun repertoire to annoy people with at parties.

Goal 2.2: WRITE a song a week. Because that would just be cool.

The idea is that I will practice daily, and by 2018, I’ll have a bit of talent development.

Other minor goals:

Zazzle. I like Zazzle, and it provides a little bit of spending money throughout the year. I’ve got a few new store ideas I want to do, so I’ll share them as I make time.

Youtube. I intend to embarrass myself throughout the year, primarily with my music, in front of the world. This will be a difficult goal, because as a writer, I’m happier not being seen.

Social Media and Blogging. I will try to be more active. It’s easy not to be.

Part of the problem with my goals is that I saw them as chores that had to be done. This year, though they are mostly going to be daily, I’m going to try and have the attitude that I want to do these things every day, and it’s how I want to spend my time.

Tomorrow, I’m going to talk about why I see myself failing from past experience, and how I think I should go forward.

9 Dark Resolutions for Writers

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cc obi won

So what if the other resolutions for yesterday didn’t do it for you? What if you are already a writer, and a jaded one at that? What if your resolutions are about the underbelly of the writer life, the darker, grittier side not often talked about?

  1. Drink More. There’s a stereotype about writers that involves alcohol. Live the dream. Drink! Not beer, no, that’s for people who watch football. It’s gotta be the hard stuff. Hard Core Goal: Be done with writing by noon, be drunk by 2 (Thanks, Hemmingway!).
  2. Play More Games. Want time to go by fast? Play games. It’s easy to kill an hour or three, even on something simple like Candy Crush or Angry Birds. What, it’s already lunchtime? Hard Core Goal: Get in at least eight hours of play.
  3. Watch More Movies. Oh man, is there a lot of good movies out now or what? Superheroes, Star Wars, other shit… seriously, you can spare at least 4 to 6 hours a day for a movie fix. At the very least, watch one a day. Hard Core Goal: Movie marathon a trilogy every week.
  4. Watch More TV. Thanks Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix! So many shows, so little time. There’s only one way to get through your fantastic shows, and it involves a tub of licorice, a fresh pot of coffee, the remote, and a recliner. Hard Core Goal: Dedicate an entire day to binge watch a season of a show, especially when a new season is released.
  5. Get a lot More Sleep. Sleep’s good for you. If it’s so good for you, get more. Sleep until noon. Or 1! One is a nice moment on the clock! That is definitely a good time to get up. Hard Core Goal: Balance getting up late with going to bed late. Going t bed early is for quitters.
  6. Spend More Time on the Internet. Right now, there is a cat video you haven’t seen, and you have dedicated followers that need you to share it! It’s funny, dammit!!!! And the memes… ohhhh the memes! Like and share! There’s Facebook! Porn! All of your movies and shows! Games! Writing posts is still writing, as are the emails. Hard Core Goal: Go at least three days a week without leaving your house. There’s nothing out there you need anyway.
  7. Seek Revenge! Somebody make you mad? Did they leave you a bad review? Write them into your next story… and kill them! Laugh diabolically as you watch your nemesis perish horribly through the power of your written word. Change their name and give them a nasty trait so they won’t willingly admit it’s them in the story and sue you. Hard Core Goal: Sell them a copy of the book.
  8. Let Others Know How Much they Suck! Because you’re a writer. You’ve got Social Media. OBVIOUSLY everyone cares about your opinion, and OBVIOUSLY it’s your duty to be a troll. Bash other people’s politics, tear down their religion, bash their music and movies. You have power to abuse. Hard Core Goal: Get a t-shirt with the word troll on it.
  9. Procrastinate. [Note to Self: Remember to write this Resolution later]. Hard Core Goal:

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10 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

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4PV6RHjR5OnOhrEsnDyj_Dog Agility

Are you a writer? Here’s a list of 10 New Year’s Resolutions to consider and ideas for implementing them. As a bonus, each includes a Hard Core version for you writing beasts.

  1. Write. You’re a writer, so this one makes sense. Life has many distractions like Netflix, Facebook, Video Games, and our cell phones. Take time away from what consumes your time and move it to writing. Set a minimum goal of finding 30 minutes a day to write, whether journaling, poetry, or a story. Hard Core Goal: Write every day, and find a minimum of 2 hours.
  2. Read. If you are going to be distracted by anything, it should be reading. Decide on a number of books you intend to read for the year. Utilize Goodreads to keep track of your “want to read” library, and participate in their 2016 Reading Challenge. Hard Core Goal: 100 Books in 2016.
  3. Word Count. Set a daily or weekly writing goal. If you have to, start with something manageable like 500 words. When you find yourself exceeding your daily goal with regularity, increase again. Continue to challenge yourself. For some perspective, a novel in a month (a 50k NANOWRIMO) requires 1667 words a day. Hard Core Goal: target 5k to 10k a day.
  4. Become Full Time. Why not write for a living? The challenge here is to make money writing. That means finding markets, a publisher, self-publishing, learning marketing (like Facebook’s ads), and writing more stories. This is a great goal, especially if you like working in sweats. Hard Core Goal: Support your family on this income.
  5. Book in a Month. Some people like to do this in November, but there’s 11 other months to choose from, and 7 that give a precious extra day. Hard Core Goal: One novel every month.
  6. Build your Platform. Make a resolution to get yourself known. Be a regular on Social Media and grow your followers. Check out klout.com to measure your influence and expertise in topics as a writer. Hard Core Goal: Achieve over 20k followers across all social media.
  7. Book Signings. Even if you are an introvert, getting out and meeting people will sell those paperbacks you’ve got in a box in the closet. Find other authors to share expenses with at trade shows and farmer’s markets. Plus you don’t look lonely and ignored at bookstores if traffic sucks. Get to know the bookstore clerks. Hard Core Goal: Set up a signing a month.
  8. Finish your Work in Progress. Stop going back and editing. Stop ignoring it. Force yourself to dive in and get it done. Hard Core Goal: Move on.
  9. Get Fit. Everyone seems to make this resolution, right? At minimum, get out and walk. Get a treadmill. Eat better, cut back on sugar and soda, find a program that works for your body type. Hard Core Goal: Get fit! Spend 4 hours a week in the gym. Show the world what a ripped writer looks like.
  10. Network. Meet other writers, editors, cover designers. Exchange advice. Participate in writer/author groups. Meet in person and have coffee. You’ll learn a lot from others. Hard Core Goal: Be the one who starts a group. Keep it going and growing. Set up book signings for your group.

What are your resolutions for this year? Please share them in the comments below. 😀

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2016 – New Goals and New Beginnings

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goal

It’s January 1st, 2016, and that means… GOALS!!! Last year, I did not hold myself to the ones I’d set. I did not meet my word counts or story goals. I’ll go into last year’s goals in a later blog post, but not today. This day is for looking forward, and setting my sights on the future.

Without further ado, here’s my agenda for the new year.

#1: Daily blog posts. With 2016, I’m introducing material not just for readers, but for writers (and possibly other artists). This will begin with Daily Writing Prompts and a Quote of the Day. Along with the self-promotion of my writing, I’ll also be doing a series of articles on writing and story development. There will be at least one article a week.

#2: Writing. I intend to publish 52 stories (short and full length novels) in 2016. That’s one a week. Which brings me to:

#3: Word count! I’m setting a goal of 1 million words, like I have for the last two years, and this year I really mean to accomplish it (~2760 words a day). Better yet, I’m going to push myself for 2 million words (~5500 words a day).

#4: Read more. I’m going to focus on 1 book a month, though a book every two weeks is my ideal.

#5: More stuff. Mainly, I intend to have gswright.com bring more value to you.

Writers (and other artists) – What are your goals? Come back and join me from time to time and share your progress.

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Monday Update #3

52 Books in 52 Weeks – Week 3

tumblr_mpa1vstnbl1rb324eo1_500I am writing/releasing 52 books in 52 weeks. Week two is over. Week 2: 1 book written. I finished Soul Sister on Friday. I’m making a few changes for the second draft. It will go through my proofreaders one more time (hopefully) and it’ll be released (again, hopefully) this week. I’m very excited to share it with you. It’s my favorite story from my muse so far. Words Written Last Week: 11,882. Average: 2,376 a day across 5 days. All of my time went to finishing Soul Sister. Week 2 of 52: 3 written, 2 published.

This Week’s Projects

  1. Get Soul Sister polished and beautiful and released.
  2. Finish Apocalypse Witch Book 3.
  3. Spilling Blood Season 2 needs a paperback edition… STILL!!!

BONUS!

This isn’t really a bonus, but a reminder. Did you know you can still read Death Storm (Hungry Gods Book 1) for FREE? I’m just throwing that out there because you’ll be seeing Book 3 in about two months and that will give you time to read the first two books with very little wait for the conclusion. You can find Death Storm at any of your favorite ebook distributors. It’s everywhere, seriously. cover-teaser

Monday Update #2 (For 2015)

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52 Books in 52 Weeks

As a recap, last week committed to the goal of writing 52 books in 52 weeks. Week one is over, and I am ahead of schedule!

Week 1: 2 books. Ahead of schedule. Books Released: Spilling Blood Episode 10; Spilling Blood Season II. (click on the covers or on the text to be teleported to Amazon)

spillingbloodcover2-ep10  spillingbloodcover2

Words written last week: 8,938. Averaged 1,788 words a day (across 5 days, I rarely write on the weekends). Most of my time was spent editing and revising Spilling Blood 10, and the Season II collection.

This Week’s Projects

All attention is going to finishing Soul Sister. As it currently stands I am at 34,531 of 50,000 words. The final word count is not fixed, and may well go over.

If I get a chance to work on a second project, I’ll move on to the third book of the Apocalypse Witch series.

Also, I still have a long way to go to finish the paperback of Spilling Blood Season II, which I’d like to finish this week and get submitted to Createspace.

BONUS!

Guess what? Broken Things is on sale this week! Grab it for $0.99 on Amazon for your kindle reader. You’re welcome.

Broken Things

The 2015 Monday Update – Goals for This Year (or Better Late Than Never?!)

Yes, I know, we’re well into 2015. Through the winter (and the first part of the year, I didn’t have that much time to devote to my writing. Sooo… here we are, mid-April, and I’m just getting around to what is going on for the rest of the year.

Last year I had set a goal of writing 1 million words. I managed about a quarter of that. Though I’d like to think I could hit it this year, I don’t think a million words is what I want to focus on this time around.200 (2)

Instead, I’m going for 52 ebook releases in 52 weeks. Some of you might’ve seen a similar goal inspired by the writer Dean Wesley Smith in one of his blog posts from a few years back, and yes, I admit that it’s my influence.

But, I hear you say, it’s April! 15 weeks have already gone by, and you’ve only released 4 ebooks this year! Well, I just so happen to have 15 books on Amazon right now! That’s still 52 books by the time this year ends. But still, that’s not exactly the goal. 52 books in 52 weeks. I’ll take this goal into April 2016 to see it through.

So… back to what I’m shooting for. At least one ebook a week. This will include short stories, novelettes, novellas, serials, bundles, and full length novels. I’m going to try for at least one release per month to be a novel of 40k words or more, but that’s a secondary goal.

This week you’ll see the release of the conclusion to Spilling Blood Season II, and the complete Season in a single bundle (for those of you who have been waiting). In the following weeks, Apocalypse Witch 3 and the bundle of the trilogy, and Soul Sister (which is coming along quickly now), and finally on to Hungry Gods 3. I have several other secret projects I’m not ready to announce yet, but the above are what I’m already committed to.

Finally, if I can stay on track, I’ll go back to fairly regular Monday updates to keep myself honest.