How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
It only took me ten years of self-publishing to figure Step One out, but it is a doozy.
Step One – Making Writing a Minimum of 500 Words Per Day Every Day a Habit
Sure, I’ve told myself to write every day. But somehow, figuring out that I could have written 18+ books in ten years instead of the six books I actually wrote and published, that really slammed it home with me.
And 500 words per day takes me as little as twenty minutes.
Day 20 – Still Going Strong?
I started logging my progress on Christmas Day. At that point, I still had some rather high expectations, so high that I quickly tossed them out of the window and embraced the “500 words per day” edict I should have had all along.
When I’m in the swing of things, 500 words is just the start of what I can do. Many days I have written far more than the minimum, so much so that to date I’ve written 15,723 words, an average of over 827 words per day.
No Regular Schedule…Yet
I am a wife, a mother of two (my 12 year old daughter and my 3 year old foster daughter) still at home, I homeschool the 12 year old, my elderly father has dementia and lives with us, I run a cleaning business, and we are working on getting the two cottages on each side of our house renovated and open for Airbnb clients.
My schedule is different every doggone day!
So sometimes I am writing at 5:30 in the morning, other times it’s sandwiched in between fixing breakfast for my elderly father before he goes off to grandpa daycare and a day filled with cleaning other people’s houses. Occasionally, I come limping in with my 500 words in the early evening after the sun has sunk behind the horizon.
It matters not. What matters is that I put the words out there. Every day.
Rules and Regulations
It can’t be writing 500 words in just anything. It has to be on the chosen project of the moment. At this point it is Hired Gun, my first (but most assuredly not last) erotic thriller.
If I want to write more, great, but it doesn’t count towards the next day. Each day starts over at zero.
Step Two – Learn How to Dictate
I have Dragon Naturally Speaking but I have felt self-conscious trying to use it. I recently heard yet another podcast guest who has had great success with it and it made me realize that I could take that 500 words and, with a small learning curve, I could turn that into 2,000 words a day. For literally the same time that I spend writing 500 words, I could quintuple my output!
Cross-Genre and Completely Unapologetic
As I write in Hired Gun, I take notes in my sci-fi sequel to Gliese 581: The Departure and also write the occasional note in So I Wrote a Book, Now What?! and I continue to think about revisiting Quit Your Job, Change Your Life: 40 Life Changing Strategies for the Disaffected and of course, the Chronicles of Liv Rowan (a 12-book young adult fantasy series). Winter’s Child, a suspense/possible horror novel is also banging about in my head.
Yes, I’m all over the place.
I will never be a one-trick pony.
At some point, I might need to separate author names to avoid confusion. Joanna Penn does this. She writes under Joanna Penn for her non-fiction and JF Penn for her paranormal thrillers. I will certainly do this when writing the Chronicles of Liv Rowan because the last thing I need is to have erotic thrillers and young adult fiction in the same place!
I went back and forth on this for a while. “What if I confuse my readers? What if I lose readers?”
In the end, I write what interests me. And once I am done writing what interests me, it is my job to cover it and blurb it in a way that will interest readers who will want to read a story in that particular genre as well. That’s it. I’m not going to make everyone happy. I’m not going to appeal to everyone in every situation. And that is perfectly okay.
The Purpose/Focus of This Blog
I’ve been thinking about it a lot. What is the purpose of this blog? Is it to gain readers? To educate/inspire others? To just provide regular updates on my writing?
I find myself going back and forth. I want to share knowledge, I want to share inspiration, updates and more. In the end, like my writing, it doesn’t seem to be genre-specific. Perhaps, like me, it is far too idiosyncratic to be set in any particular label.
C’est la vie!