Diluted Up the Wazoo #ROW80 Update

So here we are at the end of round one.  Kinda anticlimactic.

I had visions of amazing, world-changing progress.  There was progress, (Looking at the positive as Kait says.) but overall I’m not happy with where I’m at.  Having all these updates to look back on has helped me figure out the main cause of my disappointment.

I’m trying to do way too much.

See, I’ve got these ideas and I don’t mean the writerly ones.  I’ve got plenty of those.  The ideas I’m talking about are related to writing, but have nothing to do with actual fiction writing.  For awhile I’ve wanted to do a blog carnival and recently I’ve started thinking about doing a radio show.  Yes, the same guy writing about how limited his time is.  In addition, I’ve been trying to build my platform and learn more about what I need to do as a self-publisher.  And in between all that, there’s this book I’m writing.  I think the technical term is slight lack of focus.  In trying to do everything I think I need to do, I’ve haven’t gotten anything done as effectively as I could have.

Well, no more.

Yeah, I’ve declared that before, but this time I mean it!  Haha, seriously I do.  How can I be so sure?  Because I’m going uber schedule on my ass and part of constructing said schedule was about cutting pieces of my day taking me away from the top priority.  So what’s going to get cut?

First up is to limit my social media time.  I’ve already done this to a degree, but some days I go nuts from chatting fun and stay on way longer than I should.  Awesome blogger and pal, Jami Gold spent a month popping in and out of Twitter in snippets while she furiously worked on her book.  Guess what?  She finished writing it.  Like many more examples I could name, the common thread is a tight schedule.

I’m also going to give myself a week off the internet every month.  Yes, it’ll free up more time, but it’s also for my sanity.  Since I can’t be on the computer all day, there’s this urgency to cram a lot into a short time when I get home.  I can get some stuff done with my phone, but the majority is still done at home.  A week off will free my mind of tweeting, facebook updates and thinking up blog topics.  I enjoy that stuff, but some days I don’t want to do any of it.  Know what I mean?  I’ll be still around for update time, but just to read and comment.  This is kind of an experiment.  If I feel I don’t need a full week, I’ll adjust.

On the personal responsibilities front, my wife is going to take on some extra tasks that are normally mine to free up more time to write.  Boy, do I love her a lot.

I’ll stop here before this turns into a time management series.  Suffice to say I’ll soon have my whole life written down in a planner.  Good times.

38 comments on “Diluted Up the Wazoo #ROW80 Update

  1. Sounds like you’ve figured out how to make it work for you. And isn’t that what these challenges are about? Good luck in the next round!

  2. good luck in next round – but don’t be so hard on yourself – the other stuff has to be done – building platforms or making contacts whatever it’s called – learning more about the process also – takes time from writing true but all helpful – agree about the social bit it can be such fun!!! see you in April

    • It’s my nature. I set super high standards, partially because I’ve met so many authors juggling multiple jobs and/or kids and STILL releasing books. When I see that, I immediately decide I too must work at that level. Not always the best way to go, but I figure it’ll make push myself to do a little bit more.

  3. If only there was more time in the day, I’d think up of more things to do (and not get them done).

    I’m a big fan of the planner… having an idea (and time bracket) for when I can be online and when I can’t… when I should be writing, and for how long… although sometimes planning it all can take up a lot of time.

  4. My brain also has flights of fancy that my person can’t possibly have time to do. 🙂 You gotta try Focus Booster! And staying off the internet sounds like a fab idea. Oh, all the things I would get done if I wasn’t playing Scrabble on Facebook.
    Good luck in the next round!!

    • Luckly, I haven’t gotten sucked into FB games. Of course I’m not safe from my Playstation. I think the internet breaks will help. I know you guys will keep my spot warm until I get back!

  5. That’s the problem with us creative types — a million ideas and no army of clones to finish any of it. This “burning the candle at both ends, then I jammed a few extra wicks in and set those on fire, too” topic was a big one on my blog last year, because that was the year I decided everything had to be reigned in. I’m a firm believer in the “big three”: Deciding what three things are most important and putting everything else on the back burner. Period. The list can always be reassessed later, but it is a method that helps focus and actually get things DONE. (Oh, what a feeling!)

    Not that you asked for my advice or anything (haha), I just wanted to say you aren’t alone and realizing you’re in need of a change is a fantastic step 1. Congratulations. 🙂 I’m looking forward to later in the year when you can share some of your completed (or nearly completed) projects.

    • A completed project sounds so nice. I’ll keep changing my method until I get it right.

      I like your rule of three, I might give that a go, thanks!

      Advice is always welcome. I need to copy as many people as I can to reach super stardom.

      • I know you were probably kidding, but I feel like I have to say this since I’ve been thinking a lot about it for the last couple of weeks:

        I have to ask if “super stardom” is really the right thing to say — even if we say it in jest, it kind of rests in the back of our minds like a niggling anxiety. Maybe you should make your immediate goals: (1) you will write “THE END!” and (2) get enough GOOD connections from people (see your own post on numbers vs. right connections) who will agree to read your book and bump up visibility by giving you reviews on Amazon, Smashwords, and the like.

        As for number two, see all the people commenting on your blog. You’re liked. I’m sure you could think of two dozen people you like and trust who would be happy to receive a finished copy of your book in exchange for a review.

        Like I said, I know you were probably just kidding, but it’s those little funny things we say that reveal what we’re really spinning in circles about.

        /soapbox off!

        • Believe it or not those ARE my immediate goals. More so than ever now. “Super stardom” is definitely more jokey than anything, but you’re right, my popularity is on my mind. Not so much if I have any, but where it’s going and what to do with it. Eventually, I’d like writing to be the only job I have, so in that sense I will shot for the stars. And that goes back to points 1 and 2 because that is the way to go if I want my dream to come true. Good soapbox!

  6. Best of luck with the new you. I was trying to do way too much as well and have refocused and reprioritised.

  7. Andrew, I think the next round will go better for both of us. I’ve got a new idea for a series of novellas, so that’s probably what I’ll be working on. And, hopefully, life won’t throw me another curve ball.

    That’s awesome that your wife is helping out like that. My husband is like that, too. He really does more housework than I do. Um, quite a bit more. And he’s working six days a week right now. Here’s to our spouses! *clinks glasses*

  8. I can sympathize with your decision to take an internet vacation. Social networking, platform building, working, have a family AND writing a book! Sometimes it’s overwhelming. A vacation is a good idea.

  9. Congratulations on deciding to cut back on the “social media” part to make more room for the “creating and writing” part. Wise choice. Best of luck in the next round!

  10. I figure my platform was getting lonely with no book to have on top of it. Thanks CM!

  11. So many things I want to say now. LOL. There’s a difference between having high standards and being completely unreasonable and hard on yourself. If you’re feeling disappointed then you’ll get less done, trust me, I’m almost fooling myself into feeling like I’ve achieved something because it’s the only way to keep me going. 🙂 It’s good to have lots of goals and aims but you need to prioritise them and focus on one point at a time – nobody can do everything at once.

    As a writer (right now) there are two things that distract us the most. One, success – as strange as that sounds, any kind of achievement triggers a string of expectations of new things constantly happening and getting better all the time. Two, paying attention to what everyone else is doing. Just ignore everyone else and focus on your own path, you don’t know their stories, their free time or their situations. Trust in yourself, work at getting to The End and you will be fine. Finishing something is the best thing you can do for yourself right now, whether it’s a short story or a full-length novel, knowing you can finish something helps you stay on the right path.

    Taking a step back from the internet is good for everyone, it’s way too time-sucky in general. As for personal responsibilities? Dude, my OH does everything and lets me get on with my thing otherwise I’d never get a word written. Your wife obviously has the confidence in you to support you in your dreams so take advantage – although not too much. 😉

    Shutting up now. 😛

    • I’m honored you gave up some birthday time to leave me such a nice comment.

      I was being unreasonable with myself and I’m happy for this challenge because it helped me see that. I also wrote a lot more than I have in a long while. Part of that had to with seeing everyone else’s progress. Like you for example. I can’t produce at your rate, but reading what you’ve accomplished makes me want to do more with what I’m capable of. If I was writing in a vacuum, I’d get nothing done. In fact, that’s what was happening. But when I read about you writing thousands of words, it makes me think about how I can accomplish my goals. So I guess I get inspired to be motivated.

      Agree about success being a distraction. For the amount of time it’s been up, this blog is doing pretty well and after getting a bunch of compliments on the content, I feel slightly pressured to deliver the goods. Because OF COURSE the second I put up a bad post this blog will be a ghost town. Craziness.

      That’s why the next round will be all about getting back to what’s important.

      Thanks for the great points! A wise one you are.

  12. One of the best things about reading your blog is knowing that I’m not alone. I seemed to get so sidetracked with other things that I end up feeling a bit lost! I totally understand the social media aspect and working on a schedule.

  13. There are quite a few writers around the interwebz who have an unplugged week. For a while some were doing the same week – the third week in the month. That kind of splintered off into whenever each one needed the week off. It’s worth the time – giving it to yourself to think, to write, to get organized or just to settle. There are so many things I want to do, but only one of me. Can’t do it all or I’d wear myself out. I think you did quite well. Baby steps or mini goals or multitasking doing a bit at time. It’ll all get done at some point. That is after all why our drafts are called works in progress. We are all ‘works in progress’. See you in April!

    • Thank you, Robin. We’re our own worst critics, right? I think if I had more available time on the computer, I wouldn’t need the breaks. Some days, I feel like have to cram so much into a short time. The breaks will be a nice way to unwind and pretend I’m just a writer. I’m not going to set a specific week, but I’ll give notice so people know when I’ll be back.

  14. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed with all the shit there is to do with promotion, editing, writing, and when you’re indie, that triples because you have to either hire someone to do or do coverart, formatting, and other marketing yourself.

    What I do with social media is I get on facebook and twitter first thing. This gives me a few minutes to wake up before I have to do any work. Then once I check in, I turn them off for the rest of the day. Nothing is going to happen on facebook that can’t wait until tomorrow. It’s the only way for me to keep from frittering time away.

    Like you, I’ve had to start scheduling my time so that I get to write, blog, network, AND do all the other million things that need doing. Going indie is hard work!

    • You’re telling ME! It is mostly exciting work, but exhausting all the same. That’s a good idea about getting your social media out of the way first. I also need to give myself a cutoff time or I won’t pay attention to how long I’m on. The main thing is to plan everything I’m trying to do around my writing.

  15. It’s great that you’re finding your focus. In my case I think, it was just that I under-estimated scope. I already limit my SM ( oops…better spell that out) social media time. 😉 Now you have me thinking I should limit it some more. Best of luck to all of us next round!

    • I just had to tell myself I could have the biggest, nicest, shiniest platform, but if it takes away from writing, it’s not working to its full potential. I still want to stay active with social media and will be working on how to maximize the time I give myself.

  16. Seems like a lot of us are on the same page about our platforms, etc! We try to do everything, get burned out, leave for a while, come back, try something different…

    I think your plan of leaving the internet for a week each month is a great idea. I don’t think I’d be able to do it, not without leaving my computer at home and possibly leaving the city or state, so props to you.

    • Hahahaha about leaving the city or state. Yes, that’s the plan. Avoid the burnout before it happens. I’m sure you can do it. If you need help, Kait and Zoe have been loving this program that disconnects you from the internet for however long you want. Here’s the link: http://macfreedom.com/ Maybe it can help.

  17. I like this schedule idea a lot – and boy, the week off each month sounds great! I think I’ve finally got my blogging life down to a set few hours a week, which is better than what I was doing before – logging in at all hours whenever I happened to be at a computer. Because, darn it, otherwise this book is never going to get edited!
    Thank goodness I’m not on Twitter [g] Yet…

    • On of these days, I’ll get more than a week ahead of my blogging schedule, but aside from the updates, I blog twice a week. That’s manageable.

      I think Twitter rates high on my list of time suckers. I love it, but sometimes I don’t want to leave. Make sure you look for me for you’re Twitter debut!

  18. Gooooo Andrew! Your time management ideas sound great, all the best of writers blessings to you in the coming weeks…hope the words come fast and true. 🙂

  19. […] in my wrap-up for round one, I gave myself a fail for lack of focus.  This is going to be the basis of my new goals.  And to […]

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