The other night I had the opportunity to run to the store to pick up a spattering of groceries and get a frappe from McDonald’s for my wife. It was so close to our son’s bedtime that it was best that I went alone. Now while such an adventure had me close my laptop, keeping me from doing the one thing I should have been doing: writing, I was able to use that 20 or so minutes to have a talk with a person who typically doesn’t listen. Me.
It is always a good idea to examine yourself. Take your beliefs and behaviors, your wants, desires and goals, and place them all under a microscope. This is a good exercise in finding whether or not you are falling astray from your goals, or if your goals are in the right place to begin with. One of the books I have been reading of late is one titled “The Right Questions” does that. Yes, it can be placed under the stigmatized section of self-help related material. In this particular case, it is a quest to get to your desires, and finding what those desires really are. Then once you figure that out, you draw a map (metaphorically speaking) on how you are going to get there. Once that map is in front of you, then the right questions (a set of 10 questions) will help to guide you through decisions that might end up standing in the way of the goal. I am still very much in the drawing the map phase. My goal? Becoming a self-sustaining writer. (My job is writing and any other paid gig is either a side project, or their because I want to do it.)
Needless to say that my conversation was heavily slanted towards how I treat my writing.
I am primarily a fiction writer. Not that I do not wish to also have success writing articles, opinion pieces, science articles, or other works of non-fiction, as I certainly do, but my primary passion is making up stories. Even writing this post right now is countering that fact. But against the questions, this endeavor is holding up. Here’s why:
It’s filling in part of the map.
I have a blog. It’s a part of this site, which is supposed to be “me” central. Working full time, having a son with multiple extracurricular activities, a family life, it becomes a challenge managing all of this. Not impossible, just challenging. So far that has not been my forte.
I’ve neglected to post daily and I’ve stopped writing fiction every day. What?! How could I do that?! Do I not want to find success?
Don’t get me wrong, I write daily… it just happens to often be blog posts I will probably not put up, or lengthy posts that do not need to be the daily norm. I write non-fiction every day. And though that is a part of my goal, it isn’t the penultimate goal.
So this discussion of mine revolved around two items: my blog and writing every day.
Let’s discuss the first.
As of this moment, I might get an average of less than 5 visitors a day to this site. Not bad, but not great. I am an unknown so it is understandable. And it is 5 fold greater than in the past on who visited. That needs to grow, but it will only grow with content and consistency. One I am doing OK with (although “OK” might be exaggerating it a bit), and the other is terrible. Pick either and you are probably correct.
I want to solve both items. Can’t happen overnight, but I need to try.
Many of my posts are a lot like this one: wordy. Already as I am writing this sentence I am hitting 627 words. I used to target 500 words of fiction a day. I’ve already surpassed that, but with a blog post. That means another two things:
One, I am focusing too much on writing blog posts. Two, I am not using my time to write what I want to write – fiction.
Time to change that. And that should help free up some of my focus to address the second problem from earlier: writing (fiction) every day.
I want to post something each day Monday through Friday on my blog. It needs to follow a few rules now. In the car on my way to the store I determined them. Here’s the bulleted list.
- A daily post cannot exceed a certain number of words. I am going to say somewhere between 200 and 300 words. Let’s go in the middle. 250 words. Not very much, but enough to get a quick point across. Plus it helps learn writing concisely.
- My wordier posts? I need to limit them to once per week at most. I want people to read my fiction, how am I going to do that if I don’t shut up long enough for them to do so? And I cannot write them in a day like I am doing at this moment. Work on them a little at a time.
- Post topics need to stay away from a couple of items as I do not want people to refuse to read my stories based on a stance I have. These topics are: politics & religion. That means that the posts I’ve made earlier on Trump, Black Lives Matter, and Gun Control will not be the norm, but rather remain posts I made while finding what the hell I am doing on here.
- Topics have to be things I enjoy, like my last post on Alice Grove (although it was wordier).
The above should help in the near term to better point me to a better way of managing this site. IT won’t be perfect by any means, but the point is not perfection, rather improvement. And that is all I can ever ask of myself.