When boxed in
In the presentation from the weekend, I made the argument that one has to return back to the fundamentals that allowed the to have their success in the first place. The basis of the talk was… what do you do when you’re at the top of your game ad you’re being cornered by jealous people seeking your demise. The answer proposed was going back to basics.
In the questions raised, I’ve had to ask myself a few hard questions. What do I want to accomplish this year. What do I want to see happen with my project for the year. I made the resolution that I would see this writing progress through then entire calendar year. I was not going to shift gears until the year closed.
There is a lot to learn about being a great writer. In my experience in many things, I’ve learned that the only way to get good at anything is to invest time in it. I can not switch focus too soon before I have had the chance to learn the skill.
For quick reference last year I wrote total of 133k words. When I did my huge mid-year write up about how my progress and method had grown, I was at 230k words. Today, I’m beyond 415k (three months later). What has this done for me? It has boosted my confidence, my abilities, and my understanding of what it takes to write a book.
At the start of this journey, the hope of selling one copy let alone having any regular followers was a pipe dream that made no sense. Today, I got a following, I got manuscripts being edited, and I am confident I will sell more than 5 copies lol.
What are these fundamentals?
For starters, start with a goal and keep it in focus. I want to learn this year how to consistently write so that I can hold on to the dream of being a published writer. Second, do the work. Do the work you know needs to be done.
I have carved out a section of my lunch break every day to write. I do this five days a week nearly every week. That adds up and builds up. I now can knock out a blog post first draft in an hour. Mega posts that used to take a month now take three sit-down sessions for a first copy. Another day for a second edit. Then, finally a post that many enjoy.
That’s how I learned music, that’s how I learn photography, that’s how I passed my exams, that’s how I got raises, that’s how I got where I am. Focused weekly progress.
Will my first book be a hit? No. That’s not how life works. Could it be? Maybe. Most likely not. However, that’s not stopping me from going at this. When I started, I barely had enough chops to write a short story. Now, I’m cranking out many short stories a quarter. And my fans are letting me know that they see the quality improvements and their feedback is helping me up my game.
Helps to have a professional editor read a few pieces and notice not only the improvements, but seeing your application of their advice to improve.
Yes, that’s write, I am taking professional advice along the way as well because I don’t want to produce junk. If I anticipate making actual sells, I need to write on a professional level. That’s next year’s focus. Getting everything I release to be professional grade.
Nothing great happens overnight. Everything needs practice. Every hobby I’ve enjoyed that made me money, I’ve had to treat it at the highest and best possible level of skill and focus. Professional grade focus gives professional results.
Too many people are playing around and relaxing hoping and wishing for professional results.
Compound that with people feeding you bad advise, people wanting you to fail, distractions flowing all over the various medias, and human nature tugging you away from hard work sustained work… yeah… success is available to all who put intelligent work each and every single day.
It won’t always feel great. It won’t always fee like progress is being made, but, in time, with a little hindsight at play, one will see the progress and the success.