Friday, August 25, 2017

Update Day: The End of Year 1

Today is the last Friday of the month, which means it's time for another update on the Got Goals Bloghop. For those of you unfamiliar with Update Day, a bunch of us set some crazy or just plain important goals and update each other on our progress once a month. If you would like more information or to just see who else is taking part, please click here.

PLEASE NOTE IF YOU ARE ALREADY A PARTICIPANT: The site hosting the linky sign-up is down, so please follow the link above to be taken to a blog post where you can leave your update link.


On 4 September, 2016, I had decided to reset my goals and approach writing as a full-time job, where I use my writing knowledge in various ways in order to make a sustainable income.

When I started out, a lot of people thought I was nuts. Heck. Some days, especially in November, I felt I was nuts.

But here I am.

I made it.

So I thought I'd share my thoughts on my progress.

I've been earning minimum wage pretty much consistently this year.

This is both a good and a bad thing. On the good side, the money I earned was enough to keep me and my family going during hard times. 

On the bad, I would have liked to earn more by now. 

The probable reason why I didn't? When I had started out, I had planned to use the money I make to market my books to sell more of them, which would have generated extra income aside from the freelancing I now do. 

But that money basically went into surviving for a large chunk of the year, and otherwise to keep my freelance side of the business afloat. So about 90% of my income is from freelancing, where I would have liked a more even split between my sources of income. And given that those other sources of income would have been passive, meaning I didn't need to do much myself to earn the money, I fell short of where I wanted to be.

That said, the fact that I've been generating pretty much an even income every month means that I should be able to use my freelance work as a spine as I spend next year preparing to publish more books again. 

I finally finished Book 3. 

Ah yes. Book 3. 

Number 1 reason why I didn't publish anything this year: My life went to hell in a handbasket starting around February. 

Number 2 reason: Book 3 itself. The War of Six Crowns is my major focus, writing-wise, so I've basically put all my available time into getting it publishing-ready. The problem is I completely underestimated the sheer size of this project. 

A lot of times this year, Book 3 felt like a bottomless, endless pit and, it wasn't only a case of not being able to finish it on schedule, but also the fact that I literally couldn't work on anything else all year. 

I finished rewriting Book 3 in August, about nine months after I had planned to publish it. Now I'm taking the approach of it's going to take as long as it's going to take, because after putting in this amount of work, I'm really not excited to rush it to market without being happy with the quality. 

Getting something done is like opening a nesting doll. 

Maybe it's because of the way I look at things, but sometimes it feels like everything is connected to everything else. And sometimes, it can be hard to see what needs to be done first. Do I finish writing a book or do I update my website? Do I update my covers and interior or do I set up the newsletter so I can include the newsletter sign-up? Do I spend the morning freelancing so I can get this job out of the way, or do I spend it writing so I can actually make progress on my own work? 

And so on. 

And if I do manage to finish one thing, I take another look and see a thousand more. This often makes it feel like I'm not really making a lot of progress, but as I sit here, looking back, I'm awed. 

And I know that I laid some groundwork for an astounding Year 2. 

How are you doing? Do you have any major goals you're working on?

30 comments:

  1. I'm with you on the "everything is connected" feeling. That's where setting priorities and goals is so important. We get that a lot at work - way too much to do, and as soon as we start one thing someone will pipe up with "why haven't we done anything about this very important other thing?" If we can point to priority choices, we can say "because we agreed it was more important to do that even more important thing first."

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    1. Yeah that's absolutely how things need to be. I also find that setting priorities also gives me a sense of meaning to what I'm doing.

      Why am I doing this thing right now? Because it's important for these reasons.

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  2. I think that's great that you've managed to survive on your earnings - I know it wasn't what you hoped for, but at least you were able to support yourself and your family. That's a great achievement! Hopefully the coming year will be even more successful. :)

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    1. Yeah I'm really proud of that, because everywhere I read, I get told it isn't possible.

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  3. Like Trisha said, I think it's wonderful that you've managed to make ends meet on your earnings, especially doing something you love. Sounds like you've got an excellent foundation laid for year two.

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    1. That's the important bit: doing what I love. It's a great feeling. :-)

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  4. Congratulations on earning enough from you writing to make ends meet! That in itself is quite an accomplishment, but of course, you want to do better, and from what we know about you, my bet is that you'll succeed.

    I know what you mean about the amount of time you've spent on your third book. The editing I'm doing on my current novel is taking a LOT longer than I'd hoped it would. But we've gotta keep plodding along... it'll take as long as it takes, and not a second less.

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    1. The truth is, I just don't feel comfortable with risking a series's reputation half-way through.

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  5. You're such an inspiration! Love how you re-adjust to make your goals work! Keep it up. And I agree, don't publish until you're satisfied with it. You deserve the best. Looking forward to hearing more!

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    1. Thanks! I do think the ability to adjust is the key to success here. A lot of people have an all-or-nothing mentality, but that means they give up at the first problem they get.

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  6. LOVE hearing of your successes. And of your realistic and pragmatic attitude. And commitment to being the very best you can. I really hope that all your hard work pays off and you can kick minimum wage to the curb...

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    1. Thanks so much for the good wishes. I appreciate it. :-)

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  7. Excellent work! I'm glad to hear of your financial success - you are doing way better than I am that way. I may start considering some freelance work with editing or ... well, something. I am a "independently contracted" teacher for a homeschool co-op one day a week and soon will do just a two day a week for a month type community class. Hopefully that second class will help. I am checking out MOOCing and thinking of that ... but whew. I'm not there yet.
    As for writing, well ... the one project I was excited about is on the back-burner as I prepare to teach for the year and I do family stuff, and then there's the amazing opportunity I have to do some real-life travel research for a novel that's been chilling out for about nine years in a drawer. I never finished it because I was afraid I didn't know "enough" but now I get to know "more." So ... I may be tackling that for a bit.

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    1. Ooh it's an exciting opportunity to go do that research. I also have some big projects that are waiting because I don't have the time to do the research. :-/

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  8. oops ... I meant to comment from my blog account, but I was taking care of family stuff and I commented from there. Oy. Trying to wear too many hats

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  9. I think it's downright awesome that you've managed to earn a steady and reliable income (no matter the size) from your writing. I'm certainly not doing that! And knowing what you've been through this year, that's even more astounding! I your Year 2 is amazing :)

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    1. I'm really proud of my progress. Thanks for stopping by! ^_^

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  10. I think that's amazingly great, Misha!

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  11. It sounds like you are on the right track. You may not be making as much as you want to from writing, but you are making something. I'm sure if you keep at it, you will keep improving both in writing and in making money. You are awesome for taking on this goal! :)

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    1. Thanks! That's definitely the approach I'm taking, chipping away at it until it goes my way. :-)

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  12. i am glad that you are at your wining mark my friend!
    heartiest congrats for the achievement!

    I am still waiting for the time when life will give me some time to ,sit ,think and write .
    for now i have only one goal in my life that my both younger sons complete their studies with my support successfully and follow the example of their elder brother

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    1. Yeah sometimes it's necessary to put family first. Maybe see if you can sneak some writing in even now, because then when you CAN get going, you're not too rusty and discouraged. :-)

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  13. What wonderful thoughts, it's always a great idea to take a step back and evaluate things and you seem to be on the right path to achieving all that you desire. I wish you nothing but peace and happiness. Greetings!

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    1. Thank you!

      I like to evaluate every now and then. Because I have such a huge amount to achieve (that's why it's a five-year goal), I sometimes forget how much I HAVE done because I'm too busy staring at the mountain of things I still need to do.

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  14. Sometimes a little reflection to see how far we have come is a good thing - it can be surprising! Well done for making a living through the writing even if it wasn't quite the way you want it to be, I'm sure you are determined enough to make it happen soon. It's true how things interconnect, like building blocks I think! Good luck with all that is to come and happy writing, Misha.

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    1. Building blocks is a great way of looking at it. I have about a thousand of them lying around me, and I'm slowly but surely snapping them into their place and actually building something.

      Thanks for stopping by! :-)

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  15. That nesting dolls bit... you've nailed it right there. I sit down to do ONE thing, and 20 open windows and 5 Internet tabs later, I wonder why I'm exhausted and haven't made any progress on the... uh... what was it I was going to do? Oh right, the one thing that isn't even open... and suddenly it's bedtime or dinner time or there's an appointment. Yup.

    I have three sticky notes stacked on my desk right now with TO DO lists. Some I might never get around to...

    But one thing at a time, right?

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    1. Hahahahaha oh yes I totally relate to this. :-D

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