Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Hey everyone. It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for another Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. For those of you who don’t know, the IWSG is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. Once a month, we share our insecurities, then visit each other and encourage each other. You’re more than welcome to sign up. For more information and the entry list, please click here.

This month’s question actually ties in quite nicely with my insecurities… 

In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

I’d actually like to be writing (and doing writing-related activities) full-time by the end of next year. (Actually, I’m basically working as if I’m full-time already, but it’d be nice to actually make a living from it.)

Five years from now, I’d like to be making a very comfortable living from my writing.

As for my plan to get there:

I’m using my writing skills to freelance as an editor/beta reader/article writer on Upwork and Fiverr. I’m also working on building a Patreon following, and obviously I’m selling books. Right now, I’m putting all of the money I’m generating back into making more money (E.G. through marketing, or through paying for products that aid me in writing, editing etc.)

Eventually, I’ll hopefully be in a place where my writing earns enough for me to make a living. And actually, it’s not all that impossible. The lucky thing is that I live in South Africa, which means I’m earning in Dollars and living in Rands. So, if I managed to make $500 a month after expenses, I’d actually have the same income as a good starting office job salary. (And 2.5 times my country’s minimum wage.)

My insecurity right now, though, is my life at the moment. I’m not going to go into exactly what’s going on right now, but every time it feels like we’ve finally clawed our way out of the shit we’d been dragged into, something comes by to shove us back in.

So at the moment, I’m trying not to feel like I’m never going to get anywhere again, but the thing is, the thought is there. It exists. And the only way for me to make it go away is by pushing through and working anyway to build up the life I want.

It’d just be nice if I didn’t need to worry as much.

How are you doing? Do you set five year goals? 

Advertisements

Finally! A chance to update.

I’m finally back, with enough breathing room to let you know how I did with my crazy goals bloghop. This… isn’t really a good thing, but because I’m tired of complaining, I’m just going to ignore the reason why I haven’t been able to spend time in front of my computer and leave it at that.

There’s no point to talking about the situation yet, because I’m just going to depress myself when things could actually be okay.

So.

I ended up resetting my goal in September to allow for any income related to my writing skills to go toward my $7500 a month goal goal. (Which means, editing, ad money from a writing blog, money for hosting writing classes, royalties etc. all count.) 
On this new system, I’m taking a look at income generated and word-count, because I do really want my actual book writing to add the majority to my income. 

Generated Income

Last month, I’d set a goal for $300 generated which is the sum of incomes generated previously and future income. Yes, this means I count the incomes twice, but it works because I want to see how my income generation grows while also seeing how much I’m actually getting in every month.
This month, though, some royalty money I’d loaned to my family got paid back, and it was enough to actually boost my income so much that I lifted the goal to $500 about half-way through. (And then still managed to get over that.) 

But because most of this money is a real windfall (writing related as it is), I decided to keep the goal at $500 this month, because it’s a nice, lofty goal to reach for, which should keep me busy for time being. 
What am I spending all this money on? Mmm… first, the programs I need to update my books. Second, I bought a new web domain (with a custom e-mail address.) Other than that, I’m buying a map for The War of Six Crowns and everything else will go into a kitty to either carry me if I happen to go into a lean month (which feels like it might happen this month) and marketing. 
I’m delaying most of my marketing plans until my books are updated. (Just makes sense to me.) So really, finishing those updates are vital. 

Writing

When it comes to writing, I didn’t achieve most of what I’d wanted to do, but I did win NaNoWriMo. In fact, I ended up writing 60,000 words.
I still feel like I’ve got 100,000 words to go. (Yes, I’m aware this book is huge.) So, I have a bit of a monster task in front of me. Especially now that I have a fraction of my time available. 
So… I don’t think I’ll be able to finish the book this year. (Which makes me really, really upset. Deep breaths.) 
I also need to finish updating my books this month so I can start pushing with marketing. I’m hoping to start with this over the weekend. I’m just glad to have all the tools at my disposal again. I just need time. (Deep deep breaths.) 
So how are you doing? 

NaNoWriMo Day 4

I’m very actively sprinting at the moment, so I’m also sprinting this post in between sprinting sessions. Literally typing this while keeping my eye on the clock.

I did, after all, promise a more substantial post today.

What I didn’t count on, though, was someone breaking into our house last night. Fortunately, most of our valuables were away from the break in area, so they only took one laptop and a camera, but it meant we spent hours making sure everything was alright, dealing with our insurance company, and the police. (Need the police case number to claim for theft.)

So yeah, yet again, I’m behind.

Although, if I’m saying behind… I actually mean I’m behind my self-imposed goal. At the beginning of the month, I decided to push myself this NaNo, so I’m not only going for 50k. I’m going for 150k.

When I’d started, I felt a bit frazzled and intimidated. So much so, I completely forgot about my IWSG post on Wednesday. (Sorry, Alex!)

I’m kinda glad, though. Because instead of spending time on writing out all my worries (and giving them air to breathe), I knuckled down and wrote. Got 4k on Wednesday, 5.4k yesterday, and I’m at 4k now and aiming for 2k more.

In other words, as of right now (which might change in two minutes), I’ve written over 14k words since Tuesday. To get to 150k, I should be at 20k, but you know what? If my word count ends up over 100k this month, a few thousand words here or there won’t be the end of the world.

The amazing thing is… Right now I’m not feeling it.

I’m breaking up my writing into two or three sessions and writing. And more than that, I’m excited about where the story is going.

I mean, I’m always excited about The War of Six Crowns, but in these past few days, I’ve laughed, cried, begged someone not to do something stupid, and saw a little bit of hope. (Which I take to mean the readers will be going on one hell of a ride.)

Also, I’ve now written out 25 of (currently planned) 80 chapters. You’d think I’d feel a bit bleak to be hitting the middle, but really… these past five chapters were just perfect for opening up my way to the end. They just added another deep level of emotional complexity to what’s going on, which will carry through, not only to the end, but even into the rest of the series.

So yeah. I’m stoked.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? How are you doing? 

My Short Story is Out With CPs

I’m happy to say I managed to finish writing my IWSG short story in time to send it to the awesome people who’d volunteered to give it a read-over.

Most of them already sent back feedback. (I mean seriously. How’s that for speed?)

So now, I’m planning to sit down and do the critiques I owe them.

I have to say, though, I love my story. The character has been sticking in my head ever since I edited The Heir’s Choice, so I was happy to get a chance to write something for her. Fingers crossed that the judges also enjoy the story.

How are you doing? Sending in a short story for the IWSG competition too? 

Looking for Critique Partners for the IWSG Competition

Even though I despaired of ever writing anything related to The War of Six Crowns in fewer than ten thousand words, I’ve managed it.

This weekend, I finished the rough draft of The One Who Would Wield the Sword in about 5000 words, although I’ll probably be adding a thousand more in edits. (I’m the consummate adder-inner. You know… the kind of writer who adds in words while editing. As supposed to the bodily organs of a snake. That would be weird.)

Wow. Let me rein myself in and get back onto the topic before I digress way too far (as happens when I blog this close to my bed time.)

Ahem.

Okay.

I’m going to do rewrites and edits this week, but I would ideally be looking for some extra pairs of eyes on my works (metaphorically.) before I submit my entry to the competition.

Which made me think I probably wouldn’t be the only one.

So if you’re looking for someone to trade short stories with, get in touch with me at mishagerrick(AT)gmail(DOT)com. I’ll make the exchange on a first-come, first serve basis.

And, if you don’t have time to read my short story but still want me to critique your story, I’m currently doing full critiques of short stories for $5 (and a service review) per story on Fiverr. It’s a sale I have going to build up my track-record there. Fiverr accepts PayPal, and you can change the price into your own currency.

To qualify for the sale, you have to be one of my first 100 customers there (which is a distinct possibility.) and PM me from the site I linked you to. (There’s a big green button that says “Contact me.”)

Anyone entering the IWSG competition? Looking for critiques for your work? 

On Word Targets

It’s the strangest thing how psychological this writing game is. 

People (and by this, I mean non-writers) always assume that writing is such an easy thing. After all, they write hundreds of words every day with e-mails and texts, right? 
Sure. The thing is… It’s easy to just jot a few words with no particular word-count goal in mind. Ten words here. Twenty words there. 
Easy. 
But get told to write a 1500 word article. Or a 3000 word to 6000 word short story. Or just think and realize that the novel you’re working on needs 150,000 words to get finished. 
Suddenly, a task that seems simple becomes much more complicated. Especially when you’re starting out and wondering if the thing you’re writing will actually hit the word-count target. 
Last night, I wrote an article, and about 700 words in, I couldn’t imagine where I would find the remaining 800. 
When I started drafting my story for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group competition, I liked the idea, but I just felt like the word-limit was this insurmountable mountain to climb. 
Odd to think it, but I find the 150k goal less intimidating, because if I come in under that, it’s not like there will be repercussions. And that is actually the reason why I don’t like setting a target for the length of any story I write. It just adds extra pressure I don’t like feeling. I mean, I already give myself some steep deadlines to chase. 
The challenge is good for me, though. It’s nice to know that, yes, I could actually write to demand and actually hit those targets. 
And you know the funny thing about my short story? I’m at 3500 words now, and wondering if I’ll be able to wrap the story up in 1500 words or less. 
So that just goes to show you the importance of just writing. Even if we feel like we’ll never make a word-count target, we can always surprise ourselves if we try. 
Are you writing a story for IWSG competition? How’s it going?

Insecure Writers’ Support Group: Like a circle within a circle…

Goodness! I’ve been so busy lately, I almost lost track of time! Today is actually the first Wednesday of October, which means it’s time for my Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. For those of you who are familiar with IWSG, it’s a monthly bloghop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, where we share our writing insecurities and encouragements with each other.

For more information or to sign up (you’re more than welcome!), please click here.

Also, if you’d rather read this post on WordPress, please click here.

My Insecurity

My biggest insecurity this month is one I’ve been able to push aside for the most part, but once I’ve started looking at it, it’s actually a big one. 
See, recently I decided to take this writing gig full-time. (Long story, but don’t worry. I didn’t quit the day-job either.) The biggest difference that this decision has made is that I’m actually devoting most of my day to either writing or marketing in an attempt to bring in money. 
The thing is that I started doing this with $100 in the bank, which is currently stuck there because Payoneer has a $200 pay-out limit. 
So. Paid marketing platforms are out for me at the moment. As is basically anything I want to do to my books until my money is out (because I need to pay for my Adobe programs.)
And while my advertising for beta-reading, mentoring etc on Fiverr by far gets the most clicks, I think people might be scared of booking me when I have no reviews. (Annoying, because I’ve done six years’ worth of critiques for my blogging buddies already, so I have the experience.) 
Which means that right now, I’m pretty much stuck. I want to refresh two of my three books to get more readers for those… But… I either have to pay a formatter (which I can’t.) or use at least Adobe Acrobat. (Which I can’t.) 
I have $4 stuck in Fiver at the moment (because they have a $50 pay-out limit) and I can get $1 more to try out a $5 marketing spree (I can use the $4 as credit). But there’s little point to doing that until my books are updated. I need every dollar to go to maximum effect. So I can’t just spend $5 on something I don’t think will make a difference until I have everything in place that I need in place. 
So it’s a vicious circle. Because without effective marketing, I’m not going to sell more books, which means I won’t be getting $100 anytime soon. 
And EVEN if I make $100 in book sales, it’ll take at least two months before I get the royalties. 
*Headdesk*
Right now, the quickest way for me to get that $100 would be to make it on Fiverr, or if people pledged support on Patreon. (Because that would take until the end of the month.) Both will take time building up, though.
So yeah. It’s a vicious circle. 

Now for the IWSG Question…

When do you know the story is ready? 

Depends on what the story is supposed to be ready for. 
I know a story is ready to be written when I know the climax and ending. 
I know it’s ready for editing when I no longer feel as if every word in the draft is precious and needs to be protected at every cost. 
I know it’s ready for publishing when I spend an hour moving a single comma around. (Or some such.) 
What about you? When do you know a story is ready? Thoughts on a way for me to break my vicious circle?