It's hard to believe this is almost the last Sunday ROW80 check in. When I think back to the first of the year, I realize just how much my life has changed in three short months. My first ROW80 coincides exactly with the release of my first novel. I was pretty much a nervous wreck back in January. Gifts hit Amazon on Dec. 28 with a ranking somewhere close to 100,000, and B&N on Jan. 1 or 2. I had a lot of anxiety. See if any of this sounds familiar:
Will anyone like it?
It it any good?
What the hell am I thinking?
How dare I put myself out there with real writers?
For roughly two weeks I drove myself and everyone around me a lot crazy. If you don't believe me, check my archived entries over there. Some of them are not pretty. But I had ROW80, tolerant friends, and an angelic spouse, so I had a plan and forward motion. Then something weird happened: people started buying my book, and liked it. I kept writing, met other writers, and at some point, I started thinking of myself as a writer. Not "fake," or "self-pubbed," or "real." Just a writer. As in, one who writes. I don't know at what point the switch flipped. I just know that as ROW80 draws to a close, I have a book with a ranking I'm pretty happy with, another on the way, a great support network, some disciplined work habits, and some writer friends I can bug when I'm stuck or feeling silly. Best of all, whenever I hear the phrase "real writer," which still sadly gets thrown around a lot in regards to Indies v. Trads, it comes out in my head in this hilarious, high-pitched Pinnochio cartoon voice: "I'm a real boy," but insert writer instead. Of course I'm real. I'm sitting here at a keyboard, aren't I? I'm getting paid for my work, and I'm producing more. Let the controversies roll on by. I have stories to tell instead.
My original ROW80 goals went something like this:
1. Four writing-intensive days a week. I put a heavy word count on this- 1500. I think as far as work habits go, the "writing intensive" idea works best for me. I need to stay loose with it. Sometimes it means editing. Sometimes it means freewriting. Sometimes it means drafting. When I'm deep into a book, "writing intensive" almost always means a chapter a day.
2. Two writing related blogs a week. ROW80 worked out nicely here, with bi-weekly updates forcing me to blog.
3. Read a book in my genre and review it at least once a week. No problem there, either. If anything, I need to cut back on the reading, or perhaps specify that I read an Indie author, or perhaps a non-fiction craft related book.
4. I planned to spend about 30 min. a day networking and marketing 5 days a week. Honestly, that's just too conservative an estimate. It's also a very limiting way of thinking about it. A better way is that I should limit internet time, and plan very targeted, formal marketing campaigns around specific releases and/or ideas.
5. My biggest ROW80 goal was to have my second book finished by the end. It's looking like I might just make this one, which would be amazing. And if I do, then what? I know there's another ROW80, and I plan to participate. But I need some kind of positive reinforcement. So that's my new and unexpected ROW80 mini-task:
Think of a reward. One that won't reinforce other bad habits, so chocolate's out. :) Something in proportion to the achievement, like a quick trip to the ocean, or the spa, or shopping. I have a household to factor in to the equation, and there's still a week to go, so it's something to think about. But what about the rest of you? Has anyone thought about possible ROW80 rewards, and if so, what are you thinking?