Prolificacy, Part II - Resolutions - Indie Pub It
This is part of a continuing series on small changes you can make throughout the year, instead of sweeping, scary New Year resolutions that tend to crash and burn long before you read this post.
Each suggested task is a year-long adjustment to your indie business that could reap some very nice rewards.
Indie publishing is a game won by increments. Most of us write in small doses because we don’t have the luxury of full time writing. We squeeze production into our spare time. We don’t hit best seller lists the first month out but (often) end up selling more over the long term than last month’s #1; a copy here, a copy there.
Check the intro post from last month for more on this idea, and last month’s suggested task, Backlist Maintenance, if you haven’t seen it already.
Here’s the on-going list of tasks:
January: Review Your Backlist
February: Strengthen Your Sales Pipeline
March: Improve Your Hourly Word Rate (Prolificacy, Part I)
April: Write More Words This Year Than Last Year (Prolificacy, Part II)
Write more words this year than last year.
Writing more words this year than last year is not exactly the same as improving your hourly word rate, which we looked at last month. Hourly word rate is very specific in focus. It is purely about writing faster.
Writing more on the other hand, is achieved through a number of adjustments and improvements. To write more you must:
Write faster in the time you have (Part I)
Spend more time writing than you have before
Keep track of both so you know what are effective improvements.
It’s very straightforward in theory: Increasing the time you spend writing will up your words count for the year.
Increasing your words per hour (Part I) will also do that, but if you’re also spending more hours writing, you get a double hit.
As your backlist is your major sales weapon, anything that helps add to it is worth trying.
Here is a list of ideas for finding more time to write. It is a perrenial concern among writers, and the tips and hints are legion. If my suggestions don’t inspire you, plug “finding more time to write” into Google, and brace yourself for the avalanche of information, advice and data out there.
Schedule your writing. Follow your schedule and post it for the rest of the family to see (and learn to live with).
Stop watching TV
Give up other, less important hobbies.
Take advantage of transit time.
Write during your lunch break. (I get nearly ten pages a day done during my lunch break when I take my laptop to an unused boardroom – no network, no noise, no interruptions. It’s the most productive hour of my day.)
Make sure your writing is completely mobile (laptop, networked tablet + keyboard, or even a paper notebook). Take it with you and use time that comes your way.
Take advantage of moments: Standing in queues, for example. I’ve scribbled paragraphs and thoughts about current scenes on my cellphone for transcribing later.
Don’t let problems stop you from writing. This is a mindset you should develop for all writing sessions. Battery died on the laptop? Use paper. No notebook? Write on your cellphone. Too much noise? Sound cancelling earbuds are a godsend.
Write anywhere. Related to everything above, but also a mindset: Don’t tell yourself you can only write at your antique desk, and only in the morning, and only after you’ve brewed your favourite Guatemala brew, because you really won’t be able to write unless everything is perfect – you’ll have talked yourself into it. Rituals are great for getting into the right mood to write, but when they prevent you from writing, they’re no longer useful.
Learn to touch type. There are typing lessons all over the Internet. Invest the time to learn. You’ll earn the time back in spades.
Learn to outline and/or plot in advance. No, it doesn’t take away from the sponteneity of discovering your story as you go. Trust me. Every writer in Hollywood outlines. So does every legacy published author who sells on a partial (that’s everyone with a contract).
As I mentioned, this is a tiny list – just a starter kit to get you thinking about how you manage your time.
Track your wordage
There’s no point trying to improve your wordage if you aren’t keeping track of how much you’re actually producing. How will you know what works, and what doesn’t?
A very simple spreadsheet that records when you wrote, for how long, and how many words you wrote in that time will do the trick.
You might also want to add a field that says where you wrote – some settings produce consistently higher word counts than others, and you can gravitate toward them when you know which ones they are.
Another subtle advantage to keeping track of your word count: You’ll find you’re in competition with yourself. The charted progress will urge you to do better, to write more, to make the numbers look even more impressive. It’s a nice bonus inspiration.
Columnist: Tracy Cooper-Posey writes vampire romance series and hot romantic suspense. She has been nominated for five CAPAs including Favourite Author, and won the Emma Darcy Award. She published 35 titles via legacy publishers before switching to indie publishing in March 2011. She has published over 45 indie titles to date, including her latest fantasy romance, The Branded Rose Prophecy. Her indie books have made her an Amazon #1 Best Selling Author and have been nominated four times for Book of the Year. Byzantine Heartbreak won the title in 2012. Tracy has been a national magazine editor and for a decade she taught romance writing at MacEwan University. An Australian, she lives in Edmonton, Canada with her husband, a former professional wrestler, where she moved in 1996 after meeting him on-line. Her website can be found at http://TracyCooperPosey.com.