Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all!
I am back to the land of the living and no doubt about to dive in to playing catching up at the EDJ. But I thought I’d make a quick post before I headed off to the mines.
I spent some of my time off catching up on “You should read this” blog posts, something that often slides when I get busy. Yesterday, Konrath did a post on his numbers at Amazon using the KDP Select program. He’s got over 50 titles to play with, so YMMV from his by, like, a light year, but he makes a lot of good statements about the issue of self publishing being a business of which YOU ARE CEO. You have to make the calls, the marketing plans, etc. He says:
As always, when you run your business, you need to set your own attainable goals. “Attainable” means they are within your power. Anything that requires the “yes” or “no” from someone else isn’t a goal, it’s a dream.
Finishing my next book by the end of March and getting it live is a goal.
Selling my series to Hollywood is a dream.
I have no dreams. (Emphasis mine).
Some people don’t get that difference between goals and dreams. I feel like I’m not one of them. I’ve always had a very clear grasp of what is and is not in my control. I haven’t set goals for myself of “I’m going to hit the New York Times Best Seller List!” because I have no influence over that. Where I tend to get into trouble is that I haven’t given up the dreams, and I often spend a lot of time focusing on what I want to be to the exclusion of buckling down and getting my stuff done (usually in a [insert swears here], if I could just make enough money to quit my blankety blank day job, I could get this finished in some reasonable amount of time! kind of way).
My day jobs take up a lot of brain cells. It’s unfortunate, but there you have it. And what needs to be happening is that I conserve whatever is left to focus on the WIP (truly, the only thing really under my control) and GIT ER DONE, as Larry the Cable Guy would say. And instead I’ll waste time fantasizing about imagined levels of productivity without a day job being in the way, and putz around not getting enough words on the page.
I’ve spent an enormous amount of effort over the last four years really pushing myself to up my daily word count. And that’s good. It’s one way to produce more. Write more words. But for now, I’ve kind of topped out on what I can realistically produce under my current life circumstances. I can’t change those life circumstances, and God knows those life circumstances are a lot better than so many people’s, so really I have no right to bitch about them.
But what I really need to work on is an ability to compartmentalize and focus better. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said in the last six weeks, “I’m having a hard time getting back into the story,” where I’m having to reread the previous scene or act or whatever the heck, because my brain is full of so many things that aren’t the story. And then I end up spending 2/3rds or more of my limited writing block on THAT instead of producing new words.
I used to be able to focus through ANYTHING. I could write through the noise of the TV, through someone talking to me (sorry Hubs), through class (What? I still got A’s), through all kinds of things. And these days, my attention is more like that of a crack-addled squirrel. OH! SHINY!
I’m really not sure exactly HOW to go about improving my focus, keeping my head in the game, so to speak, but you gotta start somewhere. I need to get back to being able to focus through insanity. We ARE talking about having a kid this year. I need to be able to sit down and produce.
So I open up the floor to you, dear readers. Offer up your suggestions on how to train you brain to focus, to keep it more in the story, or to get right back IN the story when you sit down to work.
:hands over microphone: