2017 has been a year featuring a lot of growth for me as a writer. My writing is beginning to gain exposure, and I feel that I’ve honed my craft further this year and gotten closer to my goals as an author. I completed the first draft of my novel, and have spent the rest of the year doing the hard work of adding to and revising/editing it. And I’ve started and finished a few other cool projects as well.
These are, of course, all very positive and good things.
But growth can have its pains and downsides. As 2017 has entered its final months, it has become increasingly clear to me that maintaining my media presence in the way that it exists currently must change. And the top reason it must change is that it has begun to detract too severely from my ability to sit and write fiction.
Writing stories is what I want to do with my life. I work a full-time job to make ends meet, but I spend the equivalent of a second full-time job on my writing and “brand” as an author because writing is my passion and what I love. I want to make my passion something that I can make a living with as well… to become that guy doing what he loves, as often as he can, for the rest of his life.
That kind of a goal is a tall order for anything, and making a living at writing isn’t an easy path to begin with. I’d wager to say that getting a medical doctorate would probably not be as difficult, and would certainly be more financially wise and socially respected.
But telling stories is what I’m good at, and what I love, so here I am chasing my dream.
Simple math shows by subtraction that after the time I spend working two full-time jobs each week (and the required time for eating, sleeping, and commuting) that I have very little spare time to devote to anything else. With nowhere else to pull time from, the demands of maintaining my social media has started to encroach too heavily on my ability to write fiction.
As an indie author, the time spent on keeping my “brand” an active presence online is important. I’d even argue that it’s vital, as no one is going to read my stuff if I don’t put my work and myself out there. But if maintaining that presence prevents me from writing —the very reason for this whole social media apparatus in the first place— and to the degree that I’m not making adequate progress on my writing goals… well, then something has obviously gone amiss.
And I need to fix it.
I’ll attribute some of the problems to learning what does and doesn’t work for myself, my followers, and discovering happy middle grounds where everyone is getting something they want and like. For example, I’ve learned that many of my readers love my flash and micro fiction pieces. And I love writing them. This is not only because they’re manageable and enjoyable breaks from working on my longer pieces, but also because they allow me to showcase my writing in small, entertaining portions. As my writing is what this whole business is about, putting a spotlight on it is a win-win situation. :-)
Other issues I’ve resolved with efficiency, such as being more organized and planning out my posts with an overall schedule and strategy.
And then there are the hard judgments I have to make about features that may have once been cornerstones, but are now demanding too much effort for too little result.
My WIP-it Wednesdays were immensely useful when I began documenting my writing journey with Aethereal Engineer years ago. They were work-intensive, but helped keep myself accountable and to understand my writing process better every week during a time when I didn’t have a lot of writer friends.
But that’s not my situation anymore, and now I have lots of writer friends and critique partners. I’ve got a good handle on my process. And my goals of learning and honing my writing have shifted to a secondary position behind completing works and publishing them.
The WIP-its have become documenting my process for the sake of documenting my process. It’s gotten stale, and many weeks I’m struggling to find something new to say. Crafting them takes hours and hours of effort away from my fiction writing every week… far more than any other weekly feature I do here. And they haven’t even been a popular feature on the blog since 2015.
People, it would seem, would rather read my writing than read about how I write. And that’s fine: I’d rather be writing and sharing stories most of the time anyways. ;-)
So, I’ve come to the decision to make this… The Last WIP-it Wednesday.
Now, I’m not going to stop posting commentary on writing (on mine or in general), or giving updates on what I’m up to. I am, however, going to start doing so irregularly —and only when I have something interesting to say, along with the time to say it. These will get posted on weekends, and their content will be more-or-less like the WIP-its that you’ve seen in the past.
I’m also going to be shuffling and revising the blog schedule a bit. The most visible change aside from WIP-it Wednesday’s departure will be the shifting my Fifty Word Fantasy feature to appear mostly on Thursdays. This move is to eliminate my “double post days” on Wednesdays and Fridays to give features a full day to themselves while easing my schedule.
Thursdays will also become my default day to post flash fiction, short stories and serialized chapters of my longer works. Pieces such as these will post when I have them ready to share, and the Fifty Word Fantasy of those weeks will go up over the weekend instead.
Alright, it’s time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some fiction. I’ve got some really cool things planned, and I can’t wait to create them. :-) Take care!