July 20th, 2019

Well it’s gonna be another short post, but that’s because I’ve been focused on rest and recuperation. That’s gone well though and I feel good. WHT is going great, and while I’ve been quiet on the Discord recently I’ll try and turn that around tomorrow.

July 18th, 2019

I knew this day would come, but I’ve kicked it down the road as far as I could. It’s time to stop moaning and get on board with the community forums on WattPad. It still looks far too overwhelming to make much useful sense of, but I need to get my act together and go for it already. I should have started doing so weeks ago but, here we are.

My reticence has more to do with it being overwhelming, and my needs to do so more than mere publicity. I am confident in my writing ability, and in the advice, I can give to budding authors. But on a platform like that where it looks like 5 people talk over one another at any given moment, what I write on there has to shine like a beacon. That, or I may as well have written nothing at all.

The benefits are pretty clear. If I can leverage my helpful skills on the forums, I can build a broader audience as a positive community member. When people check out my profile as a “may as well”, and see I can also write to a high standard, that converts to followers.

In time, my goals are these:

  • By the end of serialising TUS, I want to have 50 followers. Also, I want to minimise the number of those whom I followed first. If I hit 50, to celebrate VOL’s first chapter, I’ll do two a draw for £20 Amazon Vouchers as a giveaway. To enter new followers fill out a Google Form. Anyone who encourages a new follower, and the new follower who enters them, have a chance to win as a pair.
  • By the end of serialising VOL, I want to have 200 followers. At this point, I will do the same give-away as above. I will also launch my own Discord server at this point. This will be with the focus being on the same kind of writing advice and such as take place on the existing servers. Being cynical, it’s a place to start cultivating my own fan base. I will also hold DAILY writing contests. Yes, DAILY.
  • By the start of November, if I finish TSS as a “revised new first draft”, I will do NaNoWriMo. I will write my fantasy series “The Night Orb”, and do 4,000 words a day. That’ll work out to two chapters, or four, depending on how it breaks down, for a total of a 120,000-word total story.
  • VOL, WHT, TUS or OR1 needs to win a Watty in 2020.

These goals are ambitious, but they are far from unrealistic. NaNoWriMo is a gruelling task, but if I type it that will make it a lot easier. That is also my incentive for hitting the ground running with the TSS rewrite. TSS will have on this timescale 79 days of development time. That sounds tight, but I already have 42,000 words of the story. I’ll only need about a 50% efficiency to hit that, and I’m typing, not writing by hand.

Ambition is important. It’s no vice, so long as I have a plan to get there. Each plan until now for publicity, and each to do with writing before September last year fell flat for me. But I’ve learned. I know my blind spots. I’m ready to do this.

July 17th, 2019

So yesterday I wrote a short story which you can find on my WattPad. That does remind me that at some point, I really should overhaul this site to point users at my WattPad page, but I can always do that on Friday if I feel like doing so. The thing is, I wrote 4,000 words of that story, so I decided to not push myself to do WHT the same day, which means I dropped a life. I am glad I did so, and it was the right choice. I had a chain of 6 days of WHT, so it’s not the end of the world.

That said, I do need to ensure I use my lunch break today to write, as I would like to go to the shop after work, but I cannot justify that if I am not at target by that point. This should be possible today as I’m not anticipating losing my lunch break for once, but you never know what might happen. If I am not at target before I have to leave, I will not go to the shop today. Writing has to come first.

If one day I can start to leverage an income from writing, this whole process will become a lot easier. The further I get into 1K, the more I realise that I need to write as a career, not just want. I need creative control of my life, and I have to aim for that at whatever cost. Whether that is Patreon, WattPad, mainstream publication or the like, I have to figure this out.

There is another possibility that has occurred to me. If I can start working on my art skills, I might be able to leverage some comic-making potential alongside writing. I would need a ton of practice to get anywhere good, but it’s not out of the question that I could use my newfound discipline to learn art. Not a locked in idea, but it would be a good way to share my work. One to mull over.

July 16th, 2019

Ah, sleep; the bane of my existence. All of my data points to you as the one obstacle standing between me and writing five novels a year instead of three. You allow me to function to a level I didn’t think possible before because I had no idea how huge the deficit I ran week on week became. And yet, when I manage to get into bed on time – well ahead in fact – you elude me like the cruel temptress you are. Curse ye.

Ok so now I try and ward off imaginary readers with semi-poetic lovers prose on abstract concepts instead of Magic cards. I mean, I guess it’s less nerdy? But the broader point stands: I did manage to get over 8 hours sleep last night, but I was in bed ready to by 8 and settled by 9, and fell asleep at well gone 11. Two hours to fall asleep? That’s a little bit grim.

It’s also far from an isolated problem. Several nights over the short time since April that I began tracking this data the “bed at X, settled by X+1, asleep by X+3” pattern shows its head. When you consider I lose half an hour to 45 minutes of rest over that sleep a night, that means to hit 8 hours I have to sacrifice 11. Eleven hours, almost half the day, gone. That’s not sustainable in any way.

So why am I taking quite so long to drop off, and losing so much restful sleep over each night? I know a few factors, some of which are easier to tweak. Changing for some fresher bedsheets will help, as will looking at aromas like lavender which helped in the past. That’s a good start – and just good adulting in general – but the bigger change I need to bring about is routine.

Yesterday I wrote target on my lunch break, and I need to keep that up best I can. I will be doing so today no matter what, and if I leave work at 5 will be grabbing myself some Hoisin sauce as a reward. That would be a huge deal for me, not least because if I produce WHT, then I have written the project 7 days in a row – and just shy of 8,000 words within that. That would I believe make this the most productive 7 day stretch since the initial scrap-and-start-again.

On that note, isolating only days this month, I have achieved an 80% efficiency rating for WHT. That is huge, as my target for 2020 will be that across the year as a whole, so managing it on a 4.4% sample is a great start. That is far from the whole ball game, but putting up results like that is going to be what makes the long term difference.

My next target is the various writing contests of WattPad. They will be stiff competition, but each contest I can win is a tiny bit more exposure for my platform. I have a circle of WattPad friends now, so with a little luck and encouragement, I should be able to nudge a few of them to take part too. Does this help me? Well, that’s simple: directly, not in the slightest, but it’s a little added good karma here and there.

I have to start thinking about if becoming a WattPad Discord moderator is a goal I want to aim for. From an exposure point of view, I don’t see many benefits. However, as one day I hope to launch my own server, that could be a valuable experience, and help earn some karma off of the server owners to help set up my own space in a year or so’s time.

The plan is coming together, slow and steady. This will take a long time to pull off, but making these small steps each day will add up in time. Persistence and activity are key.

July 15th, 2019

Someone said to me today – when I asked if anyone had a blog I could follow – that blogging is “unnecessary”. For the record, I agree with their fundamental point – that a blog does not help bolster a writer’s profile or help them acquire more work or opportunities. That being said, I had to laugh at such a bizarre statement.

When is writing necessary? Outside of academics or for those where it is a cornerstone of their work, is it ever necessary? I kid around on here about my imaginary readers for a reason: I’m not fussed if anyone ever reads what I put on here. In a way, this is all just for me anyway, which is why I need to change the landing page of the site to something with more general use.

That last part has been a job on my Trello “want to do” list for a while now, but I think that if I can clear my Monday work queue then I will make this my lunch break activity. I’ve got a 1:1 session of Taking Control of Work at 1pm, so I’ll see how much I can get between now and that time. It would be nice to get the WattPad links all set up.

I’m now on 21 followers on WattPad. What I need to do next is do a follow-binge to try and get a few more like-for-like followers. That isn’t a great baseline to have, but if I choose who I target with some care I might be able to convert a few readers. The Discord servers are sort of working out, but they are not as fast as I would like.

Which is all a roundabout way of saying I probably need to tackle the community forums again. Oh, joy.

July 14th, 2019

Another late one, I apologise. Good news is I’m writing this then pretty much going straight to bed. WHT is now entering its final act and building to the exciting conclusion.

I’m making some changes on the fly to my pacing on that front, and I’ve got to say it’s going to make the last two chapters much better for it. My hope is with the tweaks I’ll make in editing that I end up with a thrilling adventure alongside two journies of discovery.

Sorry that this won’t be a long post but as I talked about before, an early night here makes all the difference. Stay tuned my imaginary readers, more to come.

July 13th, 2019

I kept today quiet, which means I’ll be doing target soonish, but it’s gone 10 and I have pretty much nothing. That’s fine, got as long as I need before bed, but I needed a quiet day, not to mention one tomorrow.

I’ve worked out that I have one more chapter than I thought I did for TUS, but that’s fine as I’ll release the last two back to back,which makes sense given one is an epilogue.

Right, I’m going for a walk.

July 12th, 2019

This was a smooth week. I have gone through several abysmal slogs over the last couple of months, but it took far too long to identify the problem: not enough me-time. It then took longer still to act on that suspicion. Now that I have, I feel like a whole new person, and I will never let that slog occur again.

A curious point that I took note of was how taking multiple days of holiday in a row caused a more detrimental than positive effect. By falling out of sorts, I end up thrown out of kilter. This is going to be tested to its limit at the end of this year, where the powers that be decree a two-week mandatory holiday.

Coming back into the here and now, I did a recalculation of WHT yesterday and determined that an additional 2,000 words across the project as a whole needed to be accounted for. That means I now have 33 days to complete 23,000 words. I knew I had 500 words unaccounted for, and planned to allow a 500-word day to count as a full one to offset it. I never dreamed I could have missed four times as many.

Moreover, this was on a conservative estimate of 320 words per page. I am fine with this inconsistency as I will be cutting plenty on the rewrite. That being said, if I were to account for an additional ten words per page – not an unreasonable assumption – this is an additional 1,600 words. This puts WHT at about 53,000 to 55,000 words.

I just, I want to let that sink in for a moment. I finished writing VOL in April, and tomorrow it will be three months since I did so. I originally set myself the goal of finishing the first draft of WHT tomorrow, but it blows my mind a little how efficient I have become at cranking out story content. I still want to get to writing novels in three months – or six for 200,000-word works, which I will do a few of eventually, it’s just I prefer shorter novels – but the progress is a little bit mindblowing.

The quality of the writing itself is improving too. Thanks to apps like Hemingway and Grammarly – the latter of which I was a sceptic of but have come around on in recent weeks – my work has gained a far more professional voice. I still want to improve my writing in certain areas – less passive voice in first drafts, better sentence length pacing, and better pacing for shorter chapters as I am not happy with how Unreachable’s reformed chapters read.

Even with that list of improvements I want to make, I cannot believe where I am right now. Turns out you don’t need to be published to feel this sense of satisfaction.

Oh, one more thing. Up to this point, when I tweet my word count and I have hit target, I list the number of days plus one to include the next. In my head that made sense at the time – and meant I could list 200 next to my birthday when really the day itself was day 199 – it’s confusing. Going to stop doing that for the sake of clarity.

That means the CDo1K includes the day I am writing on, even if I have not hit target yet. It’s still a day of 1K even if I haven’t, so long as I do before I go to sleep. Anyway I wanted to clarify that and clean things up. That means I have written for 288 days in a row, and when I finish today’s work it will be the 289 you see in the tweet. If you don’t use twitter, this aside was pointless to an extreme. Oops.