Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday Update: What I Have Learned This Fall

I learned a lot this fall, after being laid off the day job.  But two lessons reign supreme:

1.) Being unemployed is a full time job, especially when it comes to dealing with paperwork and healthcare.

2.) With all my options laid before me, and after experimenting with all sorts of things.... what I need to do now is go back to simple and basic....

I need to write the next book.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? Obvious.

But it isn't as obvious as it sounds. Swirling around and obscuring the truth have been a whole lot of side issues: creating paper versions of my books, setting up a business, looking for more income streams.  Oooo, that project sounds like a better "next book" than this one!

And yeah, I've got to do those things.  But right now, I need to go after the next book as if I don't have any of those things on my plate.

So for that reason, I've decided on two things:

1.) I'm definitely going back to the ROW80 challenge, and do it old school: with a word count goal.  That goal will probably be 2500 words a day, though I reserve the right to change the goal due to some life-issues which are up in the air.

2.) Suspending active blogging for the past two weeks has made a big difference in calming the waters, and getting my concentration back.  So I need to extend that hiatus, and ease back toward regular blogging:

*Now-January 6: Remain on hiatus (that is only Sundays and the serial episodes).
*January 6 - Chinese New Year (Feb 10): Rejoin ROW80.  Blog only the serial episodes (and Miss Leech) and the Wed/Sun progress reports. Sometimes these will be thoughtful posts, but I don't guarantee it.
*February 10 - 24 (The Chinese "liminal zone" from New Year to Lantern Festival): I'll look at where I am and decide if I want to ease back into regular blogging.

I know I will WANT to blog "for real" again before this time is up, and I may start doing some spontaneous posts here and there, but I'm going to try to restrain myself, because I have to really concentrate on writing the novel.

The Math of 2500 Words a Day

If I actually do set that as my goal and stick to it, I'll certainly be doing more than the one novel this quarter.  In 80 days I should do 200k, and the longest of my novels should not be more than 80k. (The Man Who Did Too Much was 95k or so, but it was an "origin story" and carried more overhead.  The second should be a little shorter.)

Can I do that? Can I keep it up?  Will there continue to be distracting kerfuffle?  You know what? I don't care.  This is going to be a one day at a time dare.  No totals.   If I miss a day or don't meet the goal, that is the problem of that day, not the problem of tomorrow.  The problem of tomorrow will be to meet the same 2500 word goal.

There is an outside possibility of a new day job much like the old.  If that were to happen, I would have to take it for the insurance, and I will have to lower the goal.... but I'm not going back to the way things were. This is the New World Order for me.

In the meantime, Rachel Aaron has created an ebook of her famous blog post about going from 2k to 10k words a day in her writing. It's expanded, but it's only 99 cents and just that essay is worth the price.  Here's the Amazon link to 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love (That's an affiliate link on which I get a kickback. I don't know if she has published it at any other vendors.)

I'm using that as an inspiration to write more than I have done in a while.  I used to write like that, when I was young.  But life stress, and job which was all about vigilance, has trained me to be much more distractable than I used to be.  I need to train myself back.

Anyway, Happy New Year to all!

See you in the funny papers.


David Michael said...

Once you're well and truly self-employed, you finally know what "opportunity cost" means. Trying to choose The Best Thing I Could Be Working On often chews up more of my time than Just Working On Something to get it done.

It's a trap! =)

Indecision can be the worst distraction of all.

The Daring Novelist said...

True, although I have that problem more seriously when I am short of time than when I'm short of money.

I suppose it's the investor's mindset. (Don't use your bond money gambling on day trading, and don't write fiction for quick cash.)

On the other hand, when I am short of time -- and especially back in the days when we were all going after traditional publication -- the question of what project to spend my precious time on has screwed me up many many times.

David Michael said...

I've adopted what I hope is a simpler approach to my goals for 2013 than for previous years. Going somewhat project-based while continuing to work on getting writing back into my daily routine.

January is the busiest month of the year for my product, The Journal, *but* I'm not going to be working on the product itself. Just providing support and hunting any significant bugs that come up. Which means I *should* be double-up on my writing and get my current novel finished.

Then, post-January, divvy my time up again between new writing and new development on The Journal. That will likely cover February through April.

After that, I'll play it as it lays, I guess. Dividing my time or focusing it as seems most useful.

I'm basically moving away from trying to plan the whole year. That's never worked for me, so maybe it means I should find some other approach. =)


The Daring Novelist said...

Yep, in a lot of ways it's about balancing vision and focus.

Your vision of your future is a target out there somewhere, but the thing to concentrate on is what you're doing NOW.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like 2013 will be a year of focus. I think you've got the right thought process. Aim for 2500 but if you don't make it, then you don't. Try again the next day. You're bound to it more times than you miss. Happy New Year Camille :)

The Daring Novelist said...

Yep, that's the idea.

Happy New Year to you to, Ryan!