When I’ve done this in the past, I’ve crashed and burned, but things are a little different this year. Financially, 2014 was a perfect shit storm for my family. It’s become crystal clear: I need an income.
I’ve been writing for several years but haven’t finished, much less sold anything, yet. If I don’t do it now, I never will.
Indie publishing is unpredictable. There are no guarantees. But this is the path I chose. I’ve already put time and effort into learning the craft and the business. Come hell or high snowbanks, I’m publishing this year.
To do it, I know I need four things which have plagued me:
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what motivates me. I always thought money would, but if it did, I’d have gotten on with this sooner. Learning new things is definitely part of it, but not the part that finishes what I started. Proving myself to others and earning recognition are in there too, but not enough to make a day-to-day difference.
Fear, as an obstacle, has much to do with my lack of motivation. I still fear the unknown, the steps to publishing, the new technology I’ll have to learn, the networking required, the sorting out of advice from a million different sources. But I’ve researched it (probably too much), am getting more comfortable with it, and formulating ideas about how I want to go about it.
On the other hand, if I harness my fear of being unable to pay bills or feed my family, that works, to a point. If I didn’t have the safety net of my husband’s income, I’d feel the fire. But, as the bills pile up, I feel a strong need to do something to contribute. So there’s that.
So motivation is something I’ll continue to work on.
None of this is any good without discipline. I used to have it, but lost it somewhere. I think it and my twenty-year-old body skipped town years ago. I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to time sucks like TV, blogs, and books. My happy places are in story and learning. They’re like crack to me.
I suspect I’ll have to resort to mindgames. Check out Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s post about Discipline in her Freelancer’s Survival Guide. She has some of the same problems I do and rather creative solutions which I’m trying myself.
A Plan (big picture and week-to-week)
I’m lousy at sticking with a plan. I start out gung-ho and crush it for a while, then something stops working and I abandon the plan instead of tweaking it and continuing on.
I started researching business plans specific to writerly types. On Jane Friedman’s website, Angela Ackerman (one of the amazing duo who wrote The Emotion Thesaurus and have a ton of tips for writers on their website) has a a 7-Step Business Plan for Writers which I found very easy to follow along and adjust for myself.
Marcy Kennedy is in the middle of a series of guest posts on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University website. These appear to delve deep into each section of the writer’s business plan. So far, the series includes Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing an Author Business Plan and Creating an Author Business Plan:Setting Your Goals. I read the first one while creating mine and it helped. No plan is written in stone. I know this. If Marcy’s later advice makes sense and will work better for me than what I already have, I’ll incorporate it into my plan.
Here’s my one page plan for 2015. I’ve kept it fairly loose because I honestly don’t know how long some of these things will take me to accomplish. More than likely I’m being a bit ambitious. Sometime in June I’ll reassess, making any necessary changes.
I also have a weekly plan which combines my writing goals with other personal priorities like appointments, finances, dinner ideas, and reminders to do things like change appointments, exercise, etc. You can click on either of these to see them better.
This is the nastiest one of them all.
I hate someone telling me what to do or having to report my actions to someone else. That’s one of the many reasons I’m going indie. The problem is I’m not always good at listening to myself, either. I’ve imposed deadlines before…then waved at them as they passed by. So, I’m no good at holding myself accountable.
That leaves you.
Help me, Obi-Wan. You’re my only hope.
Starting Monday, I’m going to post how I met or failed my goals from the past week and list those for the coming week. (I can feel the hives ready to erupt now.) I’ll start with weekly goals at first, because I’m such a wuss. Maybe, as I get the hang of it, I’ll only need to do it monthly.
I really didn’t want to resort to this. In fact, you’re welcome to ignore the posts. But I will report because I need to do it.
I will do it.
Image courtesy of Kevan at Flickr Creative Commons