Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Writing Wednesday: Needs Must

As I'm sure you already know, we here at Team Aaron/Bach are all about the reals. We constantly look at all manner of numbers to figure out what works and what doesn't work for us in the business of writing, including sales, newsletter sign ups, and website traffic. We also keep an eye on the production side of the equation, mostly by analyzing how I, the source of new words, spend my work time.

This is nothing new. Measuring my time was a huge part how I got my writing from 2k to 10k words a day. But as Travis proved in his Novel Project Management post, actually getting solid, quality time to write is a constant challenge even after you go pro. There are just so many other things you could be doing that fall under the umbrella of "work"--blogging, Tweeting, planning, etc--that sometimes the writing gets shoved around a bit. A foolish mistake, because ultimately, the writing is the only work that really matters.

Over the last year, Trav and I have been involved in a grand experiment to see if we could grow our social media presence in both fiction and non-fiction. The experiment has now concluded, and having run the post-mortem, we've discovered a lot of things we never expected. I'll leave it to my Travis-of-business to go over what we learned about Facebook ads and so forth in another post, but from my perspective, the single biggest discovery in all of this was how much of my work time each week I was spending blogging.

I know, I know, it sounds crazy. I only write one post a week at best. It can't take that much time, right?

I never trust anyone who's more excited about success than about doing the thing they want to be successful at.
XKCD is the truth-sayer of my life.

This is what I always assumed, but the numbers say otherwise. As much as I love talking shop here on the blog, non-fiction is not my happy place. I'm a fiction girl first and forever. Writing books gives me energy. A good day of fiction will often leave me feeling ready to take on the world. Writing essays, on the other hand, takes energy. Energy and time. Four to five hours on average for each post, to be specific. It also interrupts my work flow. I won't go so far as to admit I call off early every blogging day, but let's just that Wednesdays are not 10k days. Too often, they aren't even 5k days.

This has been a persistent problem since we started the Writing Wednesday posts. At the beginning, I assumed I'd just get better, blogs would go faster, and everything would be great. Remember: I love writing these things! I love writing about writing, I love talking shop, and I love paying it forward. With all of that positive energy, I was sure I could get the time price down to something more reasonable. But a year later, the numbers are in, and I have to face the truth: I haven't gotten faster, and I can't keep losing a day out of every week.

To say I am not happy about this would be like saying "Bethesda likes power," but as always, the most important rule of being a good writer is being honest with yourself. The reals must come before the feels if I am to have any sort of accountability, and the reals are that if I want to get back to putting out more than one book a year, novel word counts have to come down, and the weekly time cost of blogging has to be cut. I'm still working on the former, but the latter begins today.

Wait, does this mean the blog going away?!

Not at all! Pretentious Title will still be updated regularly with fiction updates, publishing numbers, and business posts as new information comes in. The free sharing of information is my favorite aspect of the indie author community and a big factor in why I decided to go self pub in the first place. Everyone wins when we share, and Travis and I are still dedicated to experimenting and posting what we've learned about the new frontiers of self publishing so that we can all move forward together into a brighter, more profitable future.

But while you will still see regular posts on the blog, the weekly Writing Wednesday feature is being retired so that I can focus on what I should have been focusing on all along: writing books.

Bummer. So are you done writing about writing forever?

Absolutely not. I might be shifting my time focus back to fiction exclusively, but you can't stop me from talking shop. DO YOU HEAR ME, WORLD? I WILL NOT BE STOPPED! 

Can't stop the rock!


So yes, there will undoubtedly still be writing posts, they just won't be on weekly schedule. I'll still update Facebook and Twitter when I post, though, so if you follow me on Social Media, you shouldn't miss anything even if the flow is no longer reliable. Also, all my previous Writing Wednesday posts will stay up, and I very much hope you continue to find them useful.

Is there a good side to all this?

YES! If you're a fan of my work, you've probably noticed the books are coming out mighty slowly for someone who gets 10k a day. We're talking one a year, which is the same pace I was at when I was traditionally published. Not so great for a nimble indie. -_-

Part of this slowness is because the Heartstrikers books have been way more complicated than I anticipated (And longer. Good Lord, those things are bricks), and part of it is because I've been dividing my writing time among too many side projects like this blog. But the great part about constantly analyzing your workflow is that you can see problems like this and fix them, which is exactly what I'm trying to do.

So readers, rejoice! If things go according to plan, you should have not one, but two new Heartstriker novels to read in the next twelve months, finishing out the series in Summer of 2017. Can I pull it off? Well, only Brohomir knows for sure, but it should be very possible. So keep your eyes open for that, and thank you all so so much as always for being my readers. I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to get these books out, but as you see, I'm doing my darnedest to fix the problem, and the waits should be much shorter from here out. 

Finally, a huge thank you to all my Writing Wednesday readers. I'm sorry I couldn't pull it off, but I hope the posts I did get out helped you with your writing. I might be biased, but I think writing fiction is the most noble, worthy, and rewarding of all the arts, and I can't encourage you enough to keep practicing and honing your craft. Even if you never get published, you will still have built a creative skill very few people can boast, and that is a worthy goal in and of itself.

Thank you for reading, and I wish you the best best of luck in all your writing endeavors.

❤s always,


Lee Sarpel said...

Ah, but I think you did pull it off! For a very long time! I'm still sifting through all the goodies from past Writing Wednesdays. They came out faster than I could absorb.
And thank you again for talking shop.

Anonymous said...

I won't say I LIKE this, but I 100% support it. The Writing Wednesday posts have been meaty and (especially!) if you don't love writing them, that would be draining.

Hopefully, once you've gotten some trolls out of your fingers you'll think of something you WANT to share and we'll get a Writing Somedays post soon.

Good luck!

Kessie said...

You've already written so much good writing advice, just post links to old content every week. And get Travis to do more business posts! I love those!

Unknown said...

Sad to see Writing Wednesday go but totally understand the reasons

Unknown said...

Totally understand! But you've put some great stuff for us to chew on and I for one, am always re-inspired when I think about your 2k book, and how honest and open you are!

Go forth, Rachel! We will still be here, when you're ready to post again.


Tom Sweeney said...

This is actually a great business-of-writing post. If someone as successful and productive as you needs to make a change, all our wannabe-famous ears should be at full attention. Even though I've only commented on Travis' posts, I've enjoyed yours as well as his tremendously, and thanks for leaving the old posts up.

Elizabeth Poole said...

I've loved your writing posts but I totally get that you need to spend time with fiction first.

And really, you have a huuuuuge backlog of posts. I know you need another project like another hole in your head, but perhaps you and/Travis could put together a nonfiction book using all of this awesome knowledge. It would be a great income source, as well as a handy reference for us.

And weeeeeeee! Two more Heartstikers books!

Nightlady said...

Thank your for all your posts. I will read old ones and learn, and I'll take your advice here and get writing. Thank you for showing us by example what we should be doing if we want to call ourselves writers.

Travis Bach said...

Awe thanks ya"ll! We will still be posting here, it's just going to be less regularly.

In fact, I am working on a monster marketing post right now. Maybe it'll be up next week.

Anonymous said...

WellI can't say I'm sorry to hear this may mean not one but two Heartstriker novels next year...>>

Can't wait to see what great books will come out of this!

Marianne said...

I can't get enough of the Heartstrikers. Hopefully, you will consider spin-offs from the various Hearstriker siblings's POV once Julius's story is done. *Hint hint*

Padhma said...
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