Day 27: Got a lot done today

This is do or die time.  

We're getting closer to the time that I will need to take off.  I'm still working hard to finish this project as I prepare.  Not sure if I can do it, but tomorrow will require "the old college try." 

Honestly though, in keeping with my earlier philosophy of only striving for completion rather than perfection, I'm going to make getting the second story completed a priority tomorrow.  If I can do that, then I think I've accomplished my goal. 

Anyway, I went over the goal by almost three times.  Instead of 500 words, I almost got to 1 500.  

Starting Word Count: 24 764

Finishing Word Count: 26 225

Daily Word Count: 1 461

 

Day 22: Some Good Things Happening

Crazy day!  I haven't mentioned this, but apparently the real estate market is super hot right now. I put my house up for sale on Friday and multiple offers have come in.  We ended up choosing the one that suited our situation best and are planning to close within the next 45 days or so.  That distraction should be partly wrapped up today.  

People are always asking if we're planning to buy again.  I laugh somewhat.  Finally, after overpaying for our house in a predatory loan (we got modified about 4 years ago), we were able to gain equity and now it is happening so quickly and people are getting so agitated about the "exciting" real estate market that it seemed like a good time to make an exit.  Will the RE market crash again like it did in 2007?  

I don't know.

And I don't think so.

So, why not buy right now?  Because, we have a few debts to pay at the moment.  Also, after the last roller coaster ride that was 11 years of owning this house (including my business partners playing games with my earnings the last couple years I owned my old company), we felt trapped.  This time, I don't want to feel tied down.  Don't get me wrong, we could have dropped the house at any point.  The problem is that my wife and I are not those kinds of people.  If we made a contract and we were able to pay the monthly mortgage (and we could), we did so.  It sucked, but we did it.  If the real estate market gains for another year or two and then stagnates rather than crashes, plummets or even coasts down, so be it.  I can always buy another house and work to build equity.  However, it is really hard to sell a house (without short selling) when you have zero equity and your mortgage is 250% of the value of your home.  No joke.  

Did we ask for handouts from good ol' Uncle Sam?  We sniffed around, but nobody was buying.  They saw us as the useful idiots.  At least that's how it felt all those years watching my mortgage bill outpace the resale value of my home. 

But enough of that.  

You want to know about my writing.  Today was pretty productive.  Story B is a good one with some great developments.  I would guesstimate that I am at the midpoint in this story.  It takes place in Paris and should end in Russia.  Certain famous folks from the early 20th Century show up in the story.  I'm excited for you to read it.

Starting Word Total: 21 779

Finishing Word Total: 22 504

Final Daily Word Total: 725

Day 20: What just happened???

Well, I was able to endure a break from writing that had happened because of travel.  I was also able to push through a cold that started just over a week ago and came on like a banshee.  However, there is no cure for poor planning and a failure to adhere to a schedule.  Ugh!

I could have sworn I wrote and updated the blog on Thursday, but I suppose it didn't happen.  On Friday, there was so much to do with work and preparation for a church Father and Son overnight campout in the nearby mountains of southern Nevada.  Even though we're out in the desert, it is amazing that we can still find places that have enough vegetation and thankfully, cooler temperatures to make camping away from electrical, electronic and plumbing conveniences enjoyable.  That's right, we had no plumbing on this one.  That meant some of the attendees had to go out into the bush, find a tree, dig a hole and prop up against it, if they were needing to evacuate certain parts of the body.  As for me and my boy, we were sure to take care of that business before heading up there and then made the 30 minute drive home in the late morning to take care of the rest of the business.

So, returning on Saturday, I had a number of commitments to keep and a last minute invitation to Deadpool 2 (late night viewing).  Spoiler alert: Deadpool dies in this movie.  However, it being the Marvel Universe (at Fox), you know he's still going on.  After all, his character is a huge money maker for the studio.  So, Friday and Saturday were shot.  

This is Where the Search for Perfection could Kill This Experiment

Like the heading says, if I were trying to make everything perfect, I suppose I would have given up.  On Friday, I did have about 10 minutes to kill and was able to crank out 173 words.  However, I have just rolled them into today's total since I couldn't update you.  The search for perfect execution of the process could have derailed my desire to finish the second story.  However, I won't let that happen.  You see, this isn't really about the process.  In some creative endeavors, including writing, sometimes it is good to just focus on the process and try to be flawless.  In this case, it makes way more sense to push toward completion, no matter how filled with flaws the final product will be (and believe me, this one has its flaws).

So, where does that leave me?  It leaves me spending about 20 minutes this morning, writing the story and then tonight with a combined total of this evening's time spent and all of the time before since Thursday, writing for about 90 minutes.  My hope was to write the equivalent of 4 days' work (500 words per day = 2000 words), but even then I ran out of time today.  So, I will settle for the following results.  I hope you will too.  If you read this blog through chronologically, this post might come as a disappointment to you.  It did to me somewhat.  

My dad once said though that it isn't about moving upward.  Sometimes it's about moving forward.

Starting Word Count: 19 587

Finishing Word Count: 21 327

Daily Word Count Total: 1 740

Day 16: So much more to do

I am not feeling well.  Still, I managed to crank out the minimum 500 words.  Once I got there, I had a couple more sentences that were needed to make everything fit.  

Examining this idea of imperfection further from yesterday's post.  I suppose what I have been trying to say is that it really comes down to being willing to put your work out there and let it be imperfect.  Don't let desire for perfection paralyze you.  

That's no excuse for turning in shoddy work or not trying your best, but it is an acknowledgement that at some point, you have to just move forward.

Starting Word Count: 19 036

Finishing Word Count: 19 587

Daily Word Count Total: 551

Day 14: It is Finished!

Check this out!  The first of my "secret" fiction project is finished!  I was writing to get to the end today and I didn't know if it was going to happen.  Between fighting off this cold (persistent symptoms that led to a two hour nap this evening) and helping to search for a receptionist candidate at one of my offices, I didn't know if this was going to get done.  However, I dug in my heels at about 10 pm tonight and committed to doing it.

It is finished!  This project is definitely what one would call a novelette or a novella.  Currently, the word count for it is around 16 500 words.  I took a diversion for a few days when I forgot my MacBook Pro for a few days earlier this month and started a separate story.  The plan is to resume where I left off with the other story tomorrow.  Regardless, I am happy with my work output.  By my estimate, in 14 days, I was able to produce a total of 10 000 words of fiction.  that's about 714 words per day.  While not impressive by every writer's standards, it is a consistent output of every day effort and of that, I am truly proud.

Starting Word Count: 17 596

Ending Word Count: 18 319

Daily Word Count: 723

Day 13 - Push through the Sickness

Ugh!  Most of today, I have felt like crap.  I slept off and on until about 2:30 today, but somehow I still found time at around 3:45 in the afternoon and also another few moments later in the evening to get in the obligatory 500 plus word count.  I'm so close to finishing this first novella (for it seems to fit that length) that I tried to push to get it done today.  Unfortunately, I will need to save the final part until tomorrow.  I think I can finish it tomorrow.  

Then, I will allow it to stay untouched for a week.  After that time, I will revisit it and go through as quickly as possible to retouch and edit things.  During that week, I will pick up where the other one left off.  My hope is that by the end of this next week, when I revisit the first manuscript, I will almost be done the second one.  

Regardless, I have enjoyed this measure of output this way much better than the old way of doing things.  In the past, I used to write: "Do one hour of writing" or "Do 30 minutes of writing" or whatever.  The problem was that time spent doesn't really measure output.  Neither does it really hold strictly to the notion that the entire time you are writing.  If instead, you say you will write two pages, five pages or a thousand words a day, there is no denying the output once it is done for that day.  

I will keep working this and see what happens by the end of the month.  Still sick, but I am hoping I am feeling better by tomorrow. 

Starting Word Count: 16 723

Ending Word Count: 17 596

Daily Word Count Total: 873

 

Day 12: Nooooooooooooo!!!

Oh man, it's a good thing I'm not fully OCD.  Don't get me wrong, everyone in society today thinks they are a bit Obsessive Compulsive and I don't see myself as exempt.  The good news is that I can let certain things slide, like not hitting "Save & Publish" on the post I wrote yesterday after pushing just over 600 words out while feeling like total crap. 

I mean, I had come down with cold-like symptoms within about two hours last night around 7:00 or so and by 9:00, I could barely stand upright.  Nevertheless, at around 10:00 pm, I pulled my MacBook Pro onto my lap and wrote just over 500 words on this secret project I've been churning out every day.  The good news is that I hit "save" on that, so it's not work that was forgotten.  The bad news is that over here on the blog, you might be thinking this is a contrived blog post because I allowed one day to pass.  Think what you want.  I'm good.  However, I did write a blog post that would have highlighted (without drawing direct attention to it), my stoic nature of just pushing forward and making sure I get things done.

Oh well.  Regardless of the conclusion you draw, here is my report for yesterday's writing:

Starting Total Word Count: 16 162

Finishing Total Word Count: 16 723

Daily Word Count: 561

Day 11: Cool Discovery - I write more than 500 words every day!

Another day's work done. 

I am a bit amazed at how setting a goal as simple as writing 500 words per day minimum can actually be easy to accomplish.  Maybe "easy" isn't the operative word.  Perhaps "simple" makes more sense.  After all, simple and easy aren't the same thing.  Regardless, knowing that I only have to produce two pages of fiction each day does not sound so daunting.  I haven't missed the minimum goal of 500 words yet since starting this experiment.  

I can't quite explain it, but once I get into "the flow," as some people call it, I find that I can't stop writing.  I want to push well past the 500 word limit most days.  Tonight, I only did a little bit more.

If all of this seems trivial to you, I totally get it.  After all, 500 words per day does not sound like a lot, when the average novel ranges between 40 000 and 60 000 words.  But remember, I'm not interested in writing full-length novels on this project.  Instead, I'm going for half that length in an eBook format.  Regardless, 500 words per day after 30 days equals a minimum of 15 000 words, which almost constitutes an ebook of 20 000 words.  The great news is that I am exceeding those totals every day by a couple hundred to 500 extra words.  So, as I said in an earlier post (I think yesterday's), getting to two completed eBook manuscripts in one month would be stupendous.  

When you factor in the full-time job, the full-time family, the volunteer service work I'm trying to do for my family and just the normal humdrum of life events that serve as regular interruptions, two eBook manuscripts a month, each month would equal 24 books.  I don't have 24 stories or outlines at the moment, but I do have at least an half dozen to keep me busy for now.  

Starting Total Word Count: 15 419

Finishing Total Word Count: 16 162

Daily Word Count: 681

Day 8: The 6 hour drive and still found time to write

I don't know if it is the determination to see through my goal of writing at least 500 words every day for the month of May or if it is a sick compulsion that is beginning to take hold, but I am doing it.  The drive from Phoenix to Las Vegas was a rather hasty one as there were less cars on the road (it being a Tuesday) than we were used to seeing.  Usually, we head home on a Sunday or an occasional Saturday evening and it is much more congested.

Tonight, after unpacking and getting the kids ready for bed, including the compelled reading I am required to do by my son of the book 'Dogman' by a guy named Dav Pilkey.  I find the little comics entertaining and I am actually in awe of how Mr. Pilkey can harness and channel a childlike imagination that most of us would envy at this point.  

Anyway, I got the writing done.  Full disclosure:  As I had mentioned a few days ago, I left my MacBook Pro at home for our trip, so I was forced to start a second story (from my outlines on my Google Drive).  I found a great one that ended up getting me about 2500 words in.  That's all well and good and I think I will be picking it up within a week or two.  Currently, as of tonight, I have resumed my original story.  

I can't give a lot of details away about what I am writing as I am writing fast and I am writing to get it to publication.  It isn't 'perfect' writing, but it is fun writing and storytelling.  The stories are set in the past and this particular story I am resuming takes place in California.  The one I started while in Phoenix is set in Paris.  

Anyway, here's tonight's count--

Daily Starting Word Count: 13 227

Daily Finishing Word Count: 13 756

Daily Word Count: 529

Day 7: My wife's graduation and birthday

I am truly grateful to be married to an understanding wife.  

It is her birthday today and also her graduation from Arizona State University.  She earned a BA in History.  Yes, it has taken her a number of years, but she never gave up.  Sometimes it seemed harder and more formidable than I think either of us anticipated, but she continued onward.

Today was the graduation ceremony at Chase Field.  It was huge and highly populated.  Add to that the fact that today was her birthday.  Thankfully, she is a rather low maintenance person in this area.  She was fine to have a nice meal, get some cards, some affection from the kids and the promise of being able to spend money on the things she wanted to buy in anticipation of a big trip we will be taking later this month.

In the meantime, I have been working to get my 500 plus words done today.  It was not an easy go and interestingly, I had to split the project up into two big chunks.  The first was in the early afternoon when I had about 20 minutes at my disposal. I was able to get just over 300 words written.  Then I dove in tonight at 11:15 to complete the remaining part of the daily output.  I got a little carried away and continued with more writing.  I couldn't stop except to update you and keep this consistent.  

Anyway, it's done for the day.  Below is my report:

Daily Starting Total: 12 568

Daily Finishing Total: 13 227

Daily Word Total: 659

Day 6: Just barely in before deadline

Whew!  It was a day where I kept thinking I would have the time to get it done.  I made a mistake of not bringing my laptop with me when I had to go order and then wait to pick up PF Chang's.  I had a good solid 45 minutes (they were really backed up) where I could have gotten it done. 

Regardless, it is done tonight.  I am tired and I hit about 150 words more tonight than the basic goal, so mission accomplished.

Daily Starting Total: 11894

Daily Finishing Total: 12568

Daily Final Total: 674

Day 5: Quick Update

Had to travel for family today.  Forgot the laptop the original story was on.  Thanking my lucky stars that I had outlined other stories in this series and that something like Google Drive even existed.

The results of my forgetfulness ended up leading to me working on a separate story, but in the same universe with the same original character.  I just cleared 500 words tonight.  Therefore, my goal while away from the house and my MacBook Pro, is to begin another story, set in France.  I am still working on it, but we're getting closer.

I will just add the daily count total to the word total that I've been tracking.  

Daily Word Count Start: 11392

Daily Word Count Finish: 11894

Total Daily Word Count: 502

Day 4: Another Day completed

My alarm went off at about 6:45.  I'd every intention to rise and dive into the work.  Instead, I slumbered another 45 minutes.  Regardless, I completed the 500 word goal.  In fact, I believe I exceeded it by possibly two hundred words.  As I'm writing this, I only know that I had written more than 500 words today.  My hope is to return to the book tonight and get 500 more.

Daily Starting Total: 10,557

Daily Finishing Total: 11,392

Daily Total: 835

Day 3: A Day Trip to Reno, but did I get it done?

It all started with a trip to Reno

The business I'm in takes me to Reno, Nevada on a regular basis.  Some months I'm up there once and other months it can be up to three times.  Luckily Southwest has direct flights between Las Vegas and Reno all day, every day.  I had to get up at 5 am for a 7 am departure.  That meant that I wasn't getting up for writing at 4 am or anything.  I had it in my head that I was going to write my 500 words later in the day.

Did I get it Done?

I had my doubts it was going to get finished today when I had come home later than planned and my wife and I decided to get Reflexology as we are both dealing with an inordinate amount of stress.  Prior to leaving, I squeezed in about 230 words.  After the massage, I sat down and squeezed out some more prose.  Knowing I would have to report the number to you tonight pushed me forward to get it done.  I actually feel really satisfied knowing it is finished for the day.

So here's my report:

Starting Total: 10027

Finishing Total: 10557

Daily Total: 530

Why I Chose to Self-Publish 'Better Business Development Now'

Well, I'm excited to announce that the book is complete!  It was not an easy process writing a book that covers so much on professional services business development.  It was a mountain to climb and I am happy to say I completed it.

Why Self-Publish?

I have studied the business of self-publishing, specifically self-publishing on Amazon.com, for many years.  My first exposure goes waaaaay back to listening to the fun, free-wheeling podcast episodes of Sean Platt, David Wright and Johnny B. Truant on iTunes.  Their 'Self-Publishing Podcast' was a lot of fun out of the gate.  Since then, I've discovered many more, but all along the way, I have felt that there was a mix of promise, potential and of course, challenge in between the lines of what all of these successful podcasters were saying.

Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing

When you think about the lay of the land, for a long time, traditional publishers have ruled the day.  As 'naturally' follows in a free-enterprise economy, the aggressors or rather, the entities that position themselves as the dominant species, prevail in most conflicts and their adversaries take a secondary or tertiary position, if they even survive at all.  This is how it went with traditional publishing.  I don't fault them for becoming what they have become.  It is the way everything seemed to move in this current economy.

However, economies are almost like organisms, living things.  Change one element here or there and it begins to affect the rest of the body.  This causes movements, some fast, some slow.  With that in mind, a shift that causes only a few 'mega-corporations' to take over the publishing industry can lead to another shift where a monolithic digital presence (mainly in the form of Amazon) can create a situation that begins to topple the 'big book' business.  Large, nationwide book chains are upturned in the form of Borders Books and others.  Eventually, Barnes & Noble starts sending coupons in the mail (something they never used to do) to their members and of course, their suppliers, the traditional book publishers start to watch sales take a hit.  

This something that is not new to you if you've been living through the first seventeen years of the 21st Century.  Things shift and things change.  Some of the now defunct enterprises that were buried by the digital book publishing business might have done well to take seriously the philosophy of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, which many have called The Black Swan.  In short, Taleb says that it is always what we don't know that will help us (or more often) hurt us than the things that we do know.

Back to the Question: Why Self-Publish?

I could go on and on about my theories about the book publishing business, but I think most of us are familiar wit the current landscape and honestly, there are probably a number of things that are happening behind-the-scenes that you and I will never really know.  I won't fault these big book publishers for what is happening to them.  If anything, I feel bad for them, because this economic shift means there will be layoffs and reductions.  Many people who work at these places will bear the impact of this shift.

Regardless, I can tell you that Better Business Development Now is a book that would pass the muster of any traditional publisher.  Honestly, the book is formatted better than some professionally published books I've seen.  It also contains more useful content than most traditionally published business books.  Part of that has to do with who wrote it.  I'm a real-life practitioner of what I preach.  I'm not some theoretical pontificator, nor am I a consultant who 'dabbles in this stuff.'  Instead, I'm the real deal.  I make deals all of the time for the people I work for.  That's how I stay gainfully employed.  And that is why I wrote this book.  To simplify my non-traditional approach and share it with others.  There are multiple reasons why I went with self-publishing Better Business Development Now: A Bare Bones Guide to Get More Clients!  

Despite the adoption of the philosophy of Stoicism into my life, I am still an impatient kind of guy.  The primary reason for choosing self-publishing over traditional publishing was time.  Honestly, when I have studied how long it takes to query and hook the interest of potential agents and then potential publishers, I could have written three more books.  I would be lying to you if I said that I never have queried agents or publishers for various books I have written.  I didn't waste any time on this one.  It seemed like it would have been more time waiting and waiting to hear back from people who already were running low on available time to tell me they didn't have time to read my manuscript.  

Instead, I could take my completed manuscript and professionally designed cover and upload it to Amazon.com in a matter of minutes for the reading public to see and hopefully, buy.  Nothing that traditional publishers or other types of companies that promise Print on Demand services seemed to compare to what Amazon was offering as far as turnaround and uploading.  

Another reason was editorial control.  Yes, my book was edited and proofread by separate parties, who helped me with my grammar, spelling and syntax.  If there are errors, well, I still take full responsibility.  However, I also received feedback on my content.  I received pushback on my content as well.  In some cases, the pushback was valid.  In other cases, I proceeded with my plan to publish the book as I had intended.  

Third was money.  I won't belabor this point.  It's quite simple.  The many numbers that get passed around in the traditional publishing world are amounts like 6% on every sale up to 25% on every sale.  Of course, this takes place after the advance has been made up in sales.  It makes economic sense for traditional publishers to operate this way since they are taking the economic risk.  

In self-publishing with Amazon, you the author, take up to 70% of the royalties in each sale.  That's a killer deal for the guy or gal who did most (if not all) of the work to get the project out to the public.  I have self-published the quote books and Bald n Dashing this way and I have always received a 70% royalty whether it was through Kindle eBook sales or Createspace's awesome print book offering.

Let's Wrap this Up

So, if a traditional publisher approached me about publishing a future work, would I do it?  If the price was right, of course!  I doesn't have to mimic the kind of deal I am getting from Amazon, but it is something that I think every self-published author should entertain if they are ever approached.  At this point, I haven't received that invitation to work with a traditional publisher and I'm not worried about them validating me to know my work is good.  I will keep writing and keep publishing, because it is enjoyable, profitable and honestly, a fun way to help others.

I'm interested in what others have to say.  There are numerous self-publishing communities out there (mainly for fiction) and I think each indie author has something valuable to say about their experiences if they've even published one book on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo or Nook.  

Enjoy the Day!

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