Ten Years of Writing Every Day

On January 1st 2012 I gave myself the challenge to write every day. I’m a writer, after all, so that seems like nothing too challenging.

Over the years, though, despite writing lots, I would still miss some days, perhaps even some weeks. I doubt I missed a month, but maybe somewhere I did.

Still, I didn’t have that regular habit. Today, as I write this, December 31st 2021, marks the ten year milestone. 3653 days (by my calculations – I think there were three leap years in there, 2012, 2016 and 2020) of writing every day.

As part of the challenge, I recorded my word count. Some days I wrote not very much (156 words was, I think my lowest number), some days a little more (one day was over 8000 words), but most days sat somewhere north of 1000. Most years were somewhere over 500,000 words. This last year I set myself the additional goal of writing a minimum of 1600 words a day – and I hit that, for a total of 652,682 words (which is actually over 1700 words/day average – kind of what happens when you set the bar higher, I guess). Not bad. Still not quite up to real pulp speed.

One thing that kept it engaging was the thought that ‘it’s all practice’. Just practising getting better. Practising openings, practising characterization, practising the rule of threes (see what I did there?). With practice, I would hope to get better.

Along the way I’ve published a lot of my works indie – links to a lot of them are here on the website – and gone wide, so you can find me on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Smashwords and Apple.

The big sense that the practising was working, though, came when I started selling to the professional magazines – Asimov’s, Analog, Landfall, etc. Maybe I was getting better. Some writers get there real fast, but for me it’s been more of a matter staying the course. Submitting. Learning to write better. Submitting again. I still want to get better, of course. I have a bunch of courses lined up and a bunch of new goals.

The challenge continues. Writing every day. Aiming now to make it to 10,000 consecutive days. That would be something. But still, 3653 is something in itself.

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year.

 

 

Rebranding gradually

Ship Tracers 2018 thmbI’m very conscious that while I’m a pretty good writer (ahem), and I’m okay with most of the business side, I’m really pretty lousy when it comes to sales and marketing.

Key point for an indie writer, right? Market yourself.

Some of my books have fairly bad covers. Some have terrible sales copy. I don’t even have a mailing list. This site sits in WordPress’s paid domain, but free side. I’ll be upgrading that (*update, Saturday – upgrade done – already I’m out of my depth with customizing the look. Good – out of my depth means I’ll learn to swim).

All of that was okay in the early days of indie publishing, but times have changed. Around me. And in my dozy state I’m just beginning to notice.

So I’m making a few changes. My website. Trying to figure out managing a mailing list. Trying to get a handle on, you know, the basic stuff if you want to gain a few readers here and there. I did start a facebook author page – here where this blog posts to and I do occasional separate posts. That’s a whole other area of learning – social media.

Now I do have some covers and copy I’m proud of – my Captain Arlon Stoddard series books look okay to my mind. Not up there with the $2500 professionally designed books, but still doing okay.

So this will be a time of experimenting. First out of the blocks, I’m going to update the covers and blurbs for the first series I released, starting back in 2012 – The Hidden Dome. Here’s a preview of the new covers. What do you think?

I’m looking for a consistency of branding there, so at least I think I’ve got that. Next step: amazing sales copy. Then the whole repackage, getting them out as print and ebooks again (somehow I never got around to putting The Eye out as a print book, so it will be good to have them all done).

Will I get more sales? Who knows? The thing is I need to work on my branding, my sales and a whole bunch of other things. This is like a practice round.

The Map Maker of Morgenfeld thumbAfter that I do have a second book coming out in my Morgenfeld fantasy series – The Stairs at Cronnenwood. At the same time I will update the original’s cover (see the current cover here – too many design faults there, though I might even use that image). And if I can figure it out, I’ll create that mailing list and have a giveaway Morgenfeld story for signups.

Plan is to have The Stairs at Cronnenwood out in September.

Then there’s another Captain Arlon Stoddard novel to come out. And the third in the Chronicles of the Donner series. I’m not short of material, but I have so much to learn about getting into the hands of readers.