How To Reach Your Writing Goals Like A Pro: A Step by Step Guide to becoming a Self-Published Author

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Disclaimer: I read this book with the intent of writing this blog post as part of a marketing campaign by M.C. Simon. (While not a paid promotion, the book was provided free for review.)

This is the second book in M.C. Simons series named “How To Master Your Life (Book 2)”. The first book “Feng Shui For Writers” didn’t match my taste, as I don’t dabble in such matters.

How To Reach Your Writing Goals Like A Pro: A Step by Step Guide to becoming a Self-Published Author contains less religious matters. This book contains a fully fleshed out path for even those of us that aren’t that religious. There is a taste of “The secret” in some parts of the book, but if you read lightly, you will get a lot out of the book.

I currently write 10k words a day as a part of my nanowrimo challenge. (Yes 300 000 words, it’s a thing.)

If you want an easy to follow step by step guide to clear your mind, get that reading done, find those priorities and finally, publish a book. The book is chock-full of tips and tricks. to get you going, and keep you going. I am certainly going to re-read this book.

The book can be had over at Amazon. M.C. Simon also has a website over at mcsimonwrites.com Alternatively, you could turn your eyeballs towards this press release which I was also given as press material 🙂

Procrastination: That short term dopamine hit we all love

I saw procrastination as a mountain you had to scale. However, Procrastination is standing on a ledge, and all it takes is a single step.

It’s quite simple really. So simple that it hurts. You just gather your thoughts, and tumble off that ledge. Then when you wake up, some hours later you’ve done a lot of stuff. And you can go back to procrastinating again.

Becoming a serial non-procrastinator takes practice. It takes a lot of practice, and grit. But it is possible.

Flashback

I’ve been there. Last year, I was there for two hundred consecutive days. Every single day, I wrote at least five hundred words. Some days were harder. I ended up feeling like a champion. However it clashed with my social needs. Mostly because I had not set up a time to write.

Then I grew sick, real sick. And I stopped my by that time, habit. Then, after I started again, I noticed many of the same trends as it was with the last few weeks of my 200 day run I was growing tired, and certain days simply didn’t agree with me writing. But I stuck through it.

I still ended up a couple of days behind. Because, unlike what I had been doing, I no longer had the same flow, or focus. By the end of April,  the planned content I had for my character and story was running out quickly.

But in the last three days, I caught up. And to catch up, I had to write nearly ten days.

That means 25 000 ish words the first day, 25 000 ish words the next day, then 30 000 ish words the last day. Oh, did I forget to mention my goal was double the word count that I used to write in a month? Yeah, 250 000 words.

After that I took a well earned, I thought 25 day break. Before I started working on the habit again. I still hadn’t caught the hint. The hint that I need to write in the morning. Before my social ties start to grab my attention.

I’m there now. I know when I need to write. But there’s a comfortable space there, the tip of that ledge. I have the ability to not write, to stare at the wall and allow time to flow by. Procrastination. It’s a powerful foe to someone who knows that he can write 80 000 words in three days.

With things I don’t know, I’m often more focused… “Could you write 250 000 words in a month?” as opposed to “Write 120 0000 words this month” Since I know that I can write 80k words in three days, I know that I can be lazy most of the month, and write like a champion the last couple of days.

Future

My plan?

One of the notes pinned to my cork-board.

What am I practising doing now? Getting out of my bed, then immediately writing.

Is it working? I am getting out of bed, ungodly early in the morning more often than not. I don’t usually manage to write though. Which annoys me the rest of the day. I need a routine in the morrow that will stick. Which is what I am working on finding. That and coping with procrastination when it comes to my writing.

Post Script: Sorry I’m a day late in posting this. I completely forgot, due to some meetings with my writing group. Which stalled my writing till late (it’s 00:24 am here now, and I haven’t started yet).

Writing: My state, Camps and 1M words!

1 Million words!

I recently rolled above 1M words written since I started my focused writing career last august. A reminder if you don’t remember where to find my spreadsheet (or if you are a new reader)

Whenever I think of the number one million, this guy shows up in my brain:
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What did I learn writing one million words? I learned that even if you write fast, your fingers have to hit the keys they aim for. I’ve been above 100 words a minute averaged over 83 minutes. It was during the April CampNaNo, and my typo rate was gloating back at me with 54% (of the words had some form of typo in them).

Since November last year, I’ve made a point to record typo-rates. If I didn’t, I would never know how bad or well I wrote. I find the rate at which I have shifted a space, or a random letter in a word is as good a measure of accuracy as any (which is what most of those typos consist of).

CampNaNoWriMo

Is an event in which you like NaNoWriMo write on some sort of project. However what is different from NaNoWriMo is that the camp-site has the added component of peer pressure to perform. You’re put in a cabin, and the idea is to have the cabin “win” if everyone wins. Which means that you get guilted by yourself to perform (You don’t want to rob the others of a win?). Camp is run twice annually, once in April, and once in July.

April (250 000 words)

I set upon myself the insane task of writing 250 000 words. Which I managed. Not without issues (more on that below), but reasonably well. The goal in April was to describe the early life of Kimberly, the cursed true-born Vampyre, upto her conversion to vampyredom. I spent around a thousand words on every day, meaning that I got nearly 250 days worth of her life (By the end of the month, I was writing on a couple of other stories as well).

July (120 000 words)

I have two projects slated for July:
A co-op book with five other Norwegian writers, the writeup has me write five periods of a groups life with a minimum of 2000 words a piece, set in a post apocalyptic world (It also happens to be in Norwegian ugh) (10 000 words (5*2000 ) but I’m adding another 10k since I might go on tangents… ).

A magic-school novel, which follows an anthropomorphic panther-girl going through her second year of magic school (100 000 words).

I’ve just started on my July run, I don’t have to write for the co-op until the sixth. The first of July, I wrote 8200 words. The second, I wrote 4k words. The burnout from April’s camp came from writing nearly ten days of words in three. I am quite sure I could manage to write 8k words every day. Without ending in a burnout.

State

I suffered two setbacks this year, so far.

Sick

At the end of March, I suffered from my regular (second time) five-year disease. I don’t get sick, so when I do get sick, I get really sick. This time it was a virus, that knocked me about for three weeks. The last time I was properly sick was in 2010.. This period ended my 200 day writing streak. And I’ve been trying to rebuild that habit.
I’ve located one thing that keeps me back from starting the new writing streak. Where previously, I had a strict rule to not sleep unless I’d written, that’s fallen to the need to sleep that I had when I was sick. So even though I am healthy again, I still can’t bring myself to adhere to that rule again yet.

A burnout

The second setback I have experienced this year, happened during (the camp) and especially at the end of the April CampNaNoWriMo. During the camp, I didn’t manage to write every day, and with a target of 8334 words a day,  it racked the numbers quickly. I had a couple of days early on that I was able to reclaim. But the last three days of April, I had to write at least 80 000 words. It was the third of these days that I noticed that my timezone was incorrect. Had been incorrect the entire time. Which meant that I hadn’t started writing until the people in that timezone had started. And it bought me a few more hours (as related to my own timezone).

I wrote 25k the first day, 25k the next day, and 32k the last day.

After this, I was burned out. I just had no fire to write. No will. It was simply knocked out. This burnout lasted for 25 days, before I started picking up the “pen” again.

Blog

While I’ve really started to work on getting back into the habit of writing every day, I have also started looking back at the blog-posts that are in the making. There are quite a few. I’m thinking of making another page that names the ones that I haven’t finished.

I know I haven’t been consistent enough with blogging. Which is why, with this post, I am announcing that I will be blogging at least one post a week. And after a while, maybe I’ll increase that number. I’ll be posting them friday, at 12:00.

I also want to start posting to the “Writing updates” section. The problem with this section is that I write 4k words a day. Which is a lot of words to clean. That said, I do need practice with editing. So maybe I’ll get into that again.

Author’s Page

I have a facebook page, that I use to post my writing updates to. The only problem? I haven’t done that in a while. I’ll see to it that it has more content, as I write more on the blog it’ll have at least that on it.

The future

I have on multiple occasions been called a machine, an alien, a natural phenomenon, and a galactic cataclysm for the pace and efficiency with which I write. Now I only need to rebuild that habit I once had. So I can reclaim those titles. My attitude? Positive, as always.

Book Review: Feng Shui For Writers by M.C. Simon

Firstly a disclaimer: I read this book with the intent of writing this blog post as part of a marketing campaign by M.C. Simon. (While not a paid promotion, the book was provided free for review.)

Secondly a review:  I don’t particularly subscribe to the idea of feng shui. It just doesn’t jam with my world view. Mostly I subscribe to the scientific world view, the one where we can’t really say that feng shui has any basis upon other things than subjective experience. That said I did get something out of this book: Your environment plays a big role in how you end up writing.

I also got an idea. Now, ideas are dime a dozen. They’re generally cheap. Those that pay themselves, are the ideas that are immediately implemented or ideas where a white plastic apple is glued to something of mediocre ingenuity.

No white plastic apples were involved with my idea. I decided to change my writing environment. For comparison, here is my earlier writing environment (Yes, I really had a video of that lying around. Because people wondered how I wrote as many words as I do 😉 ):

The book goes into some detail on the neatness of your desk, so that was one of the first things to go, I uncluttered my desktop (not the computer one, but my real one). Then I removed some cables on the wall, they’re still there, just hidden behind my screens. After that I moved a picture that I loved, this picture has decayed. A part of the reason for that is that it was stored outside for a month or so (before I made it mine).

I found it outside, and I love it for all its imperfections. M.C. Simon advice you to hang a picture that inspires you, however also says that they should be of water or dynamic nature. This one is of a church. But also a river, and some vegetation. The focal point is that it inspires me.

The third change, is one I haven’t implemented yet, but I have most of the tools for it. Assuming I will go ahead with it. The author propose separating yourself from the rest of your world at home. In my case, I have a bunch of black fabric, that I think would do well to hide myself from the world. To make an even more separated “safe-zone” than the two screens that makes up my left and right fields of view.

The second comparison video (Pause is your friend xD If you want to use my “screensavers” find them at writing.faps.me ):

Notice the shot-glass, I don’t think I’ll use it. But it IS cute.

If you need a careful prod, something to get you to look at your environment. Maybe change a few things… EVEN if you don’t subscribe to feng shui (especially if you do), M.C. Simon provides a bunch of tips to make a writing zone your own.

The book can be had over at Amazon. M.C. Simon also has a website over at mcsimonwrites.com Alternatively, you could turn your eyeballs towards this press release which I was also given as press material 🙂

Practice: The law that force you to suck.

Writing to me is just practice. Practice in writing, practice in thinking, practice in storytelling. This attitude allows me to suck. Because that is what you do when you practice. You suck at something for so long that people notice that you are making less mistakes than the rest.

And then suddenly you feel like a god. Because you have gone through the same mistakes, and corrected your behaviour.

I ponder if there are things that I can do better (there are). I am planning on making a world-bible (atlas, and encyclopaedia combined). Before that  I need to become better at drawing maps. Because if there is one thing I will need then it would be a lot of maps.

I coach writing, and my coaching mantra has become this: I’ve done it, you can too!

I’ve been on that ladder. I was doing 500 words a day. That was hard for a time. It needed hours of my time. Some days I spent nearly two! That is a long time to get your 500 words out. It felt so hard that there was nearly no reason to continue, that is how those days felt. But the next day I had a new day, try again. There were days I could write for 1500 words. That was something I had never experienced before. I fell in love with writing.

It gave me two things: It allowed me to experience my bookverse, and it allowed me to see that I was doing something. Working on that one thing I had been dreaming of doing for years. Writing those things into existence.

How does it feel being a writer? Horrible. That’s the truth. I’m one of the first writers that I know of in my family. Which means that I am that one person, whom everyone is asking when the book is done. It’s kind of like being an IT professional, or that computer person that everyone goes to. “Yes, I can fix your computer. No, I don’t know when it’s done. Yes, it’s working away, It’s a really slow computer.”

But that has all been exchanged with “When is that book of yours done?” And I have to explain to them in an exhausted tone that I am not writing on one book. I write on multiple. Then their kicker, the one that goes for my balls. “Where’s the paycheck? You can’t live on no money.” Now, that is a loaded question. To me it feels like a powder-keg. You see I’ve been unemployed for five years.

It’s a harsh truth. But it is the truth. And I HAVE tried, I have been out there. Tried to ask employers. Worked on being a better applicant. I just wanted somewhere to work. When job-searching, people just didn’t notice me. And that annoyed me. I gave up. It yielded too few results in too long a time.

I didn’t give in to depression however, I hid. I hid in the Internet. Made myself someone people on the Internet would like. I learn games easy, so adopting new games came fair enough and I like being nice. So that’s what I did with my time.

I entertained myself. And I love it. You can drown whatever sorrows you have in the Internet. Without feeling the pounding head-aches that come with alcohol.

Sometime during this period I discovered Jeff Goins. I listened to him, I watched him grow. Joined a couple of the webinars that he sent my way. He was interesting. And he made me think of writing. I’d been fantasizing of making my own epic fantasy world. I’d made a few attempts before, at writing. I realised on one of my writing bursts, that I could combine all the stories I’d written before. It wasn’t all that hard.

I had to relax, or scrap a few rules of magic. But that was fine. I decided to make the rules of magic as follows: Whatever culture you have, influences what you can and cannot do in magic. If your culture tells you that you cannot use magic, because your left nostril is a little bigger than the right one, then that is your truth.

This opened up so many angles to me, that I don’t have any problems when I get a writer’s block. I just end up changing character… Yeah, I don’t do outlining. Which is something I am working on, as with so many of my other projects. I’m working on it.

“But you HAVE to outline! Otherwise, how will you know where you are going?” the short answer is that I don’t. The long answer is that I dooooooooooooooon’t. Now, joking aside. This does mean that I have to be more sensitive and effective at remembering stories. Which is why I spend longer training to write than people that does it the regular way (Outline one book, write one book, rinse, repeat). It means that my outline is not in “a year or so”, it means that the outline is “unknown”. I’m fine with that. My financial future has been “unknown” for five years.

I still look for jobs, but when I apply, I still get either no reply, or a negative reply. It doesn’t get me down any longer. I just sit down, every day, and write. It’s becoming a part of my life. Slowly. Today, I write 4000 words a day. When I started some 194 days ago (10th of march now.) I wrote a mere 500 words a day. And that was hard. Here comes the kicker. I write 4000 words in 50 minutes. When I am not distracted, which has become an integral part of my writing process.

When I apply myself, I don’t do half measures. I don’t go writing 500 words in an hour and am happy with that, I improve that. Then I level up the requirement. Sure, I could have gone with 500 words per day. Then be happy with it. But I would not have written 648,828 words if I did. And I would not have challenged myself to go for 100 000 words on day 3 in my first NaNoWriMo ever. (I won, writing 141,281 words.)

I would like to do the same with a job somewhere. I’ve looked into writing for on-line publications, but most of them requires educations which I don’t have, or a driver’s license, which I cannot afford to get.

End of pt 2. (No, it’s right. I’ve not edited part 1 and 3 yet, but this part is fine enough)

I’m a writer: 2014 in review.

It’s that time of the year again. The time where we all look to each other, smile, and say everything is fine.

For me everything is fine. Sure, I could need a job. Sure, a partner would be splendid.  But all in all, I am fine. I live in a “first world country” if you follow that classification system. Lucky that I was born here, on this particular patch of this planet we live on.

I like to think that I am a man who has little to say, and a lot to show. However this last part of the year has shown me that it is actually somewhat the opposite. I wrote 342k words in the last 128 days of the year 2014 that’s 342 000 words. This is all thanks to Jeff Goins‘ My 500 Words-initiative.

Most of those words were spent on the Bookverse I am working on.  It is a fantasy/scifi multiverse, that has daemons, gods, a bunch of “pure-blooded humanoids”, Man, and a multitude of crossbreds that the kinky nature of man truly can appreciate.

There is magic, laws and rules to that magic that are as different for every culture that taste-buds are to us. Cults that make you cringe with their horrid thoughts and practices.  There are strange phenomena, classes of magic that boggle the mind, and mages and wizards that make your skin crawl.

All in all, I am looking forwards to writing more in this bookverse, and maybe, just maybe, get a few books out of it; Perhaps bringing more writers into it.

Looking forward to new opportunities, new characters to write about, new friends to make, and last but not least: A new year!

Lastly, I want to thank a bunch of people for kind words, a great community, and a little kick in the bum when that was needed: My 500 Words

If you got all the way down here, I thank you for your time. And hope that you got at least something out of my rambling 😉

Human, First.

I joke a lot. Sometimes about horrible things. Without going into details, sometimes I end up joking about serious issues. Like mental disease.

I do not do this because I want to make light of the problem, nor because I think that you are unimportant. I do this because:  I believe that even though you suffer from a disease, behind that disease you are still a human being.  (Oh, do tweet this!)

This body of yours, sure you inhabit it. It is what allows you to have agency on this planet. It enables you to do whatever you want to do. It can also in some cases be your worst enemy.

I know this,  you know this. We agree upon this fact. Therefore, I think it is a waste of time, to  always talk  about your disease. Ideally I would like to look past it. Yes, I would learn a lot of your disease.

If you need to talk to me about it I will listen. I will listen intently because you need it. If we can ignore the disease and do other stuff, this will remind us that we are human, behind all of our problems.

A good heartfelt laughter will always be remembered and cherished. A long-winded rant, about how the entire world is against you because things are hard will not.

This, fellow humans bring us to the meat of the issue.

If you will never let me look past your disease, and talk about other stuff. How am I supposed to help you?