2 for 4

I am batting .500

Now while that is better than good in baseball, it sucks when you say you are going to blog everyday as I had. It’s not even close to good enough. But that’s what happens when you still haven’t learned how to carve out time on the weekends to do these kinds of things.

But I committed myself to blog daily, and while I immediately failed at that, I cannot just throw in the towel. I have to keep going, suck it up, and write. That is what this was all about anyway.

When I post this, it will improve my record to 3 for 5. That brings up a problem I keep going back to: I am focusing on the score rather than the process.

It’s always about the process. In business, it is understood that good results cannot be expected without a good process. Sure, they can happen, but it is far more likely to happen with the process is robust.

With writing, the same can easily be said. Sure, I could by chance earn my living off of writing. It could happen tomorrow. It isn’t likely however. My process stinks much like my armpits after a grueling workout. Exhibit A:my site. Exhibit B: the two years between published work (I am self-published, so what in hell am I waiting for… and the next chapter of Gravity… where is that?!).

I just don’t focus on the process. I worry incessantly about results forcing myself through very tough spots all the while burning out my creative energies. Then when I become burned out I feel like shit because I lack motivation or energy to write. It is a cycle.

Instead, I should be focusing on my behaviors, on the process of writing. That’s not to say that a process will be fool-proof, because this fool will certainly find a way to mess it up. Adjust. And I will find that writing under a process will be at best: difficult. Why? It’s not how I am used to working. But how I work is driving poor results. I adjust the process if it doesn’t work. Eventually it will work in my favor. Another example of this from the business world is the PDCA, or Plan, Do, Check, Act. It’s a circular reference of monitoring a process and taking actions as needed. It is one of the Toyota principles (and don’t get me started on Toyota in the business world… I have issues there).

Everything changes; everything evolves. That is, except my writing habits. They seem to be mired down in blame and results. Because of it, I fit the sheer definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

When will I stop expecting things to change around me while I refuse to make changes myself? If I want to get better, I have to make it happen.

(More) about goals and success

Before my last site was taken down as I didn’t want to give them money anymore, I had a post about measuring success vs goals and so on. Being the lazy punk I can sometimes be, I decided it better to write a new post (because new is better) instead of digging the old one back up.

Much of this has been prodded to my recent endeavor of devouring Felicia Day’s memoir “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost).” Why? Because she is a person I admire who has had great success in fields either directly related to things I want to do, or things very similar. I like examining people who are more successful than I am so that I can feel miserable about how I haven’t made anything work (specifically in my writing) and now I am 37 and not getting anywhere.

Oh my god I am a failure.

Reminding myself that I am not really a failure is tough. After all I just read about Felicia who is 6 months my junior and is hugely successful in her own right. (I am using Felicia as my example for this post, but there are others… I am using you, Felicia!) I have to remind myself often that my life is VERY different from the others I compare myself to. I didn’t grow up like Felicia did (despite both of us being military brats) and even though we may be similar in ways, we are entirely different in other ways. Comparing can be good, but in these cases, it is downright dangerous. In fact, I had even put a note on an old notebook to never compare to avoid these pratfalls.

I need to look inward to see why I am a failure… and you know what? Something else shows.

My life is the following:

  • I am married with a son
  • I have a full-time job that allows my wife to stay home and raise our son.
  • I have worked full time or more (often 2 jobs and even 2 full time jobs at one time) since I was 18.
  • I’ve worked over 8 years alone in an engineering/leadership role (all without a BS degree)
  • I am currently employed as a technical manager (again, w/o a BS)
  • While working full time since 18, I had over 8 years of also attending college at least with a half-load of courses.
  • I attended an Ivy League school (although I dropped out) while I worked an engineering level job.
  • I have written 3 full novels so far, several novellas, several short stories, and more all while dealing with family, work, school, etc in addition to the numerous projects in varying stages.

The above list isn’t entire in what I’ve done or where my life is. What it does say is that I am not a failure. But when I look at paltry to nonexistent sales on my books and even fewer views on my site or profiles, it is hard not to see me as a sham. Oh what have I done with my life?!

But, it is all about with how I choose to measure my success. As I want to make my career in writing, my measure of success is tied there. Thusly I look like I am a failure.

Obviously based on the above information, I am anything but.

But that is where I need to change how I look at the entire concept of success. Let’s say for instance that I was unmarried, had no kid, worked only a retail job (no insult to those who work retail, I am just in a higher-level job now), didn’t go to college, and lived with my parents, then I would definite reasons to call myself a failure for my writing. But when I have gotten as far as I have, it really does not matter that I haven’t made it yet with my writing career.

I have to be comfortable with that.

That’s where this all leads me. No matter who you are and where you’re at in regards to dreams, you must take a look at what you have accomplished not just in your quest but also in your life as a whole before even considering yourself a failure. It is most certainly not to make excuses; it is to illustrate that success is measured in multiple ways. So you’re not a blockbuster novelist or a singing sensation, but you’ve raised a family while working and going to school? Cut yourself some slack. Keep at it and some day it just might work out. And if it never does, then just change how you measure success and it’ll all be just fine.

Let’s try this daily blogging thing again…

Recently I read two articles written on productivity and writing. The first was the primary inspiration for this particular blog post and the second more pointed to getting my butt up and trying. They were about daily blogging (surprise!) and the anti-to-do list.

Daily blogging, as the writer had put it, changed his life. Now while it would be great if the same happened for me in the same way, but I doubt it will. I do anticipate that it will help to break me out of this creative rut that I have been in. Additionally it will help me to learn to write every day once again, something I’ve been struggling with for months now (or all of my writing life if I really am honest with myself).

The problem becomes: what do I write about?

There are a ton of things I can write about; there are a lot of things I want to write about. Some require a little research, while most don’t require anything but my opinion. It’s the typical writer’s syndrome though that keeps me from putting fingers to keys. In short: I hate what I write. But I have to be OK with that.

Now what do I really want to gain from this?

There is a part of me that wants to gain a following. That would be nice to have a number of people who regularly read and comment on my posts. Do I believe I will become ultra-successful at blogging? Not a chance. I stand more possibility out of my fiction writing, but that isn’t to say that they don’t end up going hand-in-hand. I just want people to read what I write. The ultimate outcome of this is more practice. More than anything else, that is what I stand to gain.

So what am I waiting for?

Of Earth and Ice Updated

In the spirit of the rebuild of this site, and frankly in regards to my trying to get back on track, I have gotten my free serialized sci-fi saga “Of Earth and Ice” updated and onto Wattpad. Finally!
Here is the link to them–> (CLICK HERE) or (CLICK HERE) (OR HERE!) I recommend you click over and give it a read. In fact, download Wattpad to your tablet and/or phone and then read the episodes!

Changing Gears

As one can see from the preceding post on this site, I recently changed the way that this url is hosted. It was sparked from the fact that I was paying over $150/year for the hosting and all the stuff that went along with it for this site as well as dontdefygravity.com. Being that I a) didn’t have the readership yet, and b) I decided long ago to never have ads on my site (other than for specific friends’ works or my own), it made it difficult to personally justify paying for hosting. Now I could have downgraded to a cheaper provider, but reality is that I just didn’t want to pay much more than the costs of the urls themselves.

After the changes I made, I started thinking of plenty of other things about my writing. Some were brought on by the reduced functionality of the site; others were created out of a need to change what and how I was doing things. Coming out of a solid 2+ months of bad writer’s block, it was necessary.

First off, I am going to keep dontdefygravity.com deactivated. I am holding onto the url, but it is not going to be an active site. Doing anything with the site though proved daunting and difficult to keep up with. Perhaps I might just point it to this site, but I haven’t decided. I have the url on my books though, so I have to figure something out.

Next, I am moving “Of Earth and Ice,” my free web-serial, exclusively over to Wattpad. Now for those who are not familiar, it is FREE and will remain so. You just need to go to Wattpad or download the app for it to view the stories. I had mirrored the first 6 stories there, but I had not kept up with it. (A pattern emerges!) April’s story isn’t quite ready as I’ve been distracted with life and the aforementioned writer’s block, but once I get back on track, it’ll be about every month a new story comes out.

Additionally, I will be moving “The Vigil,” the other web-serial that has been absent from my site for some time now, over to Wattpad. This will not be updated monthly as I try to maintain with “Of Earth and Ice,” but rather it will post whenever I get stories written.

Another item that I am going to try out is posting the first draft of my YA story Mazzy up onto Wattpad as well. I’ve toyed with the idea of putting up some of my novels as free reads in their early stages, and I think that this one would be a good fit. Over the coming months I will post up the chapters I have finished eventually getting to the point where I am putting up more as I finish them right up to completing the book. After that, who knows what I will do with it.

All-in-all I am trying to avoid making the same mistakes that I repeat frequently. All I do is reboot with little difference in what I do. Well it’s time to change that.