Less than a week ago, I turned 35 years old and as one tends to do on birthdays, I reflected on what I've accomplished in life up to now. Since I decided to become a self-published author, I've managed to get 4 books published along with a short story in three years time. It’s nothing impressive, but for all the priorities I have in my life at the moment, it’s not too shabby.
However, I’m hoping to level up my writing progress this coming year by implementing some productivity hacks, mastering time management, and increasing my word count significantly. Before I get to my specific goals (or resolutions, if you must) for 2017, allow me to give a sort of manifesto of where I’m at with this whole blogging thing…
To Blog or Not to Blog?
This is my first blog post of 2017 and if you’ve managed to stick around long enough to read my previous stuff, you’re aware that I’ve really slacked off. Without checking my blog for the answer, I’d say the last time I wrote a blog post was sometime in the spring of 2016. Like most wannabe bloggers, I had delusions of grandeur for this white space. I was going to pump out an article or two each week and get crazy traffic that would eventually lead to lots of book sales!
I quickly found that generating traffic for this blog and producing traffic-worthy content just took up too much of my writing time. I’m a novelist, not a blogger. I’ve made my peace with that. However, I do like to occasionally wax poetic on here and get the creative juices flowing, so you’ll see a post here and there–hopefully more often than in 2016.
The plan right now is to post my latest results of increasing my writing productivity. Because every writer is obsessed with writing quicker and publishing faster. We can all thank Amazon for making that obsession even more pronounced thanks to their content-hungry algorithms that only want the newest, freshest ebooks to sell. Books older than three months? Bah! Get that garbage outta here.
Weight loss goals? Nah, bro...writing goals FTW!
Let’s explore some of my writing goals for this year and how I plan to meet or exceed them:
THE 2017 PLAN
- Write three full-length novels
- 1st book will be the final installment of the Azuleah Trilogy and published before May 2017
- 2nd book will be the first part in a new series
- 3rd book will be the second part in a new series
- Write 2-3 short stories to be released in an anthology in summer 2017
- Publish a blog post every month OR record a podcast episode every month
At first glance, these goals don’t seem like much especially in comparison to authors who are publishing books every month on Kindle Unlimited–which is nuts, BTW.
But you know what? These goals are quite ambitious for me. In 2016, I published two books and the preceding year, I released one book and a short story. So while I am progressing in my publishing schedule, this is going to kick my production into overdrive a little bit.
How to hit these lofty writing targets
Now the question is how am I going to pull this off? I’m married, have two young boys, and a full-time job–not much time to work with these days. Well, one of the great things I’ve learned from reading books by Chris Fox and Monica Leonelle on writing productivity is that most lofty goals can be easily met by breaking things down to manageable chunks. For example, my next project is going to be roughly 100,000 words in length. That number sounds horrifying, but when you divide it by 40 it goes down to 2,500.
What do 40 and 2,500 represent, you ask?
40 is the set amount of days I want to spend writing this novel, so just over a month. So a 100k novel written over the course of 40 days equals 2,500 words written per day. Completely doable and much less scary than tackling 100,000 words at once!
So my specific goal for my next project would look something like this:
Write the final installment of the Azuleah Trilogy with a 100,000 word count over the course of 40 days by committing to writing 2,500 words every day.
Now, don’t get me wrong. 2,500 words a day is like a game-changer for me. My current average is 1,500, so I’ve got some work to do. Don’t worry, I’m not just hoping that an extra thousand words will magically appear each day this year. I’m going to implement dictation in my writing process after hearing so many of those authors who publish a book a month have used it effectively. There’s a steep learning curve involved, but if I ever want to make it in this author game, then productivity must improve!
In case you’re wondering what I’ll be using for dictation, you can check out the software here.
Apparently, a good mic really helps the software’s accuracy when transcribing, so keep that in mind.
With regard to the rest of my goals for the year, I’ll post more specifics and updates on those as I progress throughout the year. My hope is that I’ll have some good metrics and tips to share for your benefit. Until then, keep writing!