I like it when I have a ton of things to work on. I love order but I thrive in chaos. That is until I lose control and there are just too many things floating around. Today is one of those days where I am on the verge of losing control.

Good thing is I don’t care that there are so many different things floating out there for a change. On top of getting my book ready for launch, I am writing a novella that will release in November as part of the aforementioned collaboration. At this point, it’s going to write itself so I’m not that worried about it.

What got my heart racing was the conversation I had yesterday about moving up the book series I am going to write for the collaboration by three months. Suddenly that was a quarter-million words of production effectively due in 89 days.

That is a total worst-case scenario as well, there’s some wiggle room in that schedule but not a whole lot. I need to make some choices in the next week about where to focus my writing time and effort for the rest of this year. In general, how I am using some of my time really.

There are always going to be problems, or challenges if you want to put a positive spin on it. Yesterday while I was thinking about these challenges I was focused on the wrong pieces. At my fastest writing speed, I would have to put in another 55 hrs a week of work get those books out, plus the ones I wanted to release before the end of the year.

Well … that’s not going to happen.

When I thought about it more today, I realized that maybe the challenge isn’t the number of hours I have available to write. Don’t get me wrong, if I could quit the day job, I would happily write 55 hours a week. Well, maybe not all the time.

I think the challenge is how do I increase my productivity? From everything I have researched, reading and talking to other authors, it means I need to explore dictation.

That’s another learning curve so do I take the time to figure it out? Does that help in the short term or would it set me back?

I had a hard time when I tried it out because writing for me is the tactile act of running my fingers over the keyboard. It puts me in that headspace. I still have a mechanical keyboard at home.

Still, I believe it’s coming down to the fact I need to add dictation to my arsenal of writing tools.

I have a lot of drive time on my hands today as I head up to see my girlfriend. It’s a four hour and some change drive one-way and I do this drive every two weeks. It works out to nearly eighteen waking hours that I can’t write each month. At three thousand words per hour (3000/wph) that would mean drafting a nearly completed book in my genre. That writing speed is a conservative estimate as well.

It looks like the only choice here is to embrace dictation.

Peace. I will be taking a few days off from blogging to enjoy family time.

From Zero to Launch – Collaborations (Part 3)

From Zero to Launch – Collaborations (Part 3)

Ok, so back to what I was talking about collaborations. Specifically, what changed my mind about it. Best way to start is with the end.

Keeping with the honesty theme, money was a big reason I entertained the opportunity I was presented with at the conference. The universe has seen some monetary success, and there was a lot of room for growth. Money wasn’t the primary motivation, but it does matter. We all have to eat. I have done my share of pro bono project work in the past at the expense of profitable ventures.

That said, money was not the main attraction, however. Don’t get me wrong, the author I’m working with had a great sales pitch, but money was the last thing that they mentioned. That made a big difference to me because it wasn’t just about making money; it was about creating something significant. Something that has lasting value to the readers. The world is fascinating and just with the few ideas he spitballed, I could see how there was room for my ideas to live in harmony with his.

Those two things are what changed my mind. The opportunity to create with like-minded people in harmony.

Ok. That seems pretty generic.

On the surface, it sure does. Opportunity is usually a polite term for “I’m gonna make some money!!!” And money will rain in. Sometimes rare opportunities are more about learning all the inner door secrets of the master (for you kung fu aficionados). As well all know, those opportunities are few and far between and require a lot more work than most of us are willing to put in. That is if we even ever see the expected pay off.

So when I say opportunity, that is not what I mean. What makes it a real opportunity is because we have complementary goals. Even if I don’t make a ton of money or learn all the secrets of editing and book publishing – I am going to enjoy the journey and the time spent doing it.

In my experience, most “opportunities” clearly favored one party over another. This is not the case. Working with like-minded people isn’t a new thing either, but legitimately getting along with them and with more than a trust in the legalities that bind us, is pretty rare.

I have to mention that the collaboration is just more than two of us, it’s a team of five. While we are all writers, as a group, we have a bunch of competencies that combined make for one kickass author. One brings excellent editing skills. Another the business savvy and knowledge to create great launches. So on and so forth.

And because we collectively are doing those things, I have a lot more time to focus on writing. There’s also a higher chance that what I write will put some extra cash in all of our pockets. What I really gain out of this is some awesome experience doing what I love, with relatively low-risk.

And new friends.

I can’t tell you how much more fun I am having with these people “working” in comparison to the day job. In the past, this is the type of working relationship where I have walked away with life long friendships.

It is a wholly different challenge from what I thought being an indie author would be for me. At least the path I imagined. I am still going to work on my own books as well, but when opportunity knocks, I’ve learned that to take a small pause and listen.

What this all boils down to is: This collaboration is time well spent.

From Zero To Launch

A small pause.

Today I hit a wall with writing. It wasn’t writer’s block or anything like that. It simply came down to, I was and am mentally drained today. The day job took a ton of effort today but that is only the secondary reason.

The primary reason was I just wanted to spend time with my daughter. So we sat back and watched some stupid YouTube videos together and laughed until she fell asleep on the couch.

I came upstairs to work on From Zero to Launch – Collaborations (Part 3) and knew I had to stop. I know I could finish that piece tonight but it wouldn’t be quality. Or it would be worse than normal, you be the judge.

There’s no one way to achieve success as an author, but there is at least one common activity that isn’t unique to being an author either. Sometimes you have to know when you just need to take a break.

So I will post part 3 tomorrow.

From Zero to Launch – Collaborations (Part 2)

Yesterday I mentioned how my lack of knowledge about co-writing was a boundary at first until I realized it was a barrier. Well, there is truth in knowledge will set you free. Sometimes it sets you on fire too, but that is liberating in its own way.

This is a bit of a tangent, but there’s a payoff I swear. 

Throughout the conference I attended, there was a reoccurring theme around how collaboration can assist authors in their publishing careers. Having studied organizational management in depth, many of the points made sense. What I didn’t realize, was how rigidly I framed collaboration as two (or more) people working on the same idea, discussing which words to use, poking and prodding at the plot and story structure, and so on.  

I missed all the other pieces of work an author needs to do, often just as difficult as writing that stupid manuscript. You know, managing your ads, the social media campaign, designing the cover(s), editing, material for your newsletter, etc. I held this false image about that part of the business and how much effort, work, and time would need to be put into those activities. It’s almost exhausting to think about it. 

Two questions need to be answered when thinking about publishing a book as an indie author.

  1. How competent are you at doing those things?
  2. How much time are you willing to devote to doing those things?
  3. Are you willing to learn to do those things well, or is it better to hire someone to do them for you?

Three. There are three questions.  

There is an underlying concern all three questions have in common too. To paraphrase another author, “I get paid for the words I write. So when I am doing anything that takes away from writing words, I am taking time away from the thing that puts food on my table for my family.”

At its core, they are absolutely correct. If we don’t put words down, we don’t spend the butt in the chair time, there won’t be a product to share with our audience. All the other activities are value-add multipliers. They influence how well our books reach people, and ultimately, our livelihoods if being an author is your day job.  

The one thing that tied everything together was time.  

There are only so many hours in the day we can work. Time is our most valuable resource. If you love writing, the last thing you want to be doing is figuring out your ROI on the previous series you published when you could potentially pay an accountant or ask a friend who enjoys doing that type of thing.

I will say it again. 

Time. Is. Our. Most. Valuable. Resource.

This is not exactly a new revelation, either. We all know this but are we living it? It definitely wasn’t something I considered cognitively when I decided to start writing and publishing.

We all have things that we like doing. I, for one, enjoy calculating the ROI (Return on Investment) of projects and products. I can make my own covers too. I don’t enjoy the work however, and I would have to really step up my photoshop game to produce a quality cover. It makes much more sense to find an excellent graphic artist and farm that work over to them. 

I never looked at how a collaboration could save me time and give me more time to write, which is what I want to do. I truly enjoy that part of the business the most. So tomorrow, I’ll explain how I changed my perspective and opened up new opportunities to write.