Tuesday, January 1, 2013

In 2013, Always Be Closing

2012 was a pretty good year here at Post Modern Pulp. I closed out 2011 with four ebook sales in December - two copies of the Hatchet Force Journal, and two copies of my short ghost story, Rivalry. This December, I ended the month with 160 ebook sales, my best month of the year. In 2012 I published two novels, two short stories, and released the paperback version of Hatchet Force Journal, which made a number of readers very happy. In 2011 I made just over sixty bucks in ebook sales, but by the end of 2012, I'm selling enough ebooks and paperbacks that I'm making that sixty bucks every week.

Now granted, that's hardly enough to survive on, much less enough to quit my job and write full-time. I doubt that will ever happen, as much as I'd like it to become a reality. But on the other hand, it's giving me a belief in my writing, a feeling that, with enough hard work and dedication, this can be more than just a hobby for me.

The problem is, I'm too damn lazy.

If I wrote 1,000 words a day, that's 365,000 words. That's four novels around the size of Killer Instincts, or eight books the size of Operation Arrowhead. And I'm a fairly fast writer - I can type out a thousand words in an hour if I really push myself. That means with an hour a day's effort, I could write enough content to fill multiple books a year. Of course there's the editing process, and all the time taken to plan and plot and ponder about what's going to happen, but let's face it - I do that all day, every day. I think about writing on my way in to work, during my lunch break, while I'm doing my day job, as I'm eating dinner, even while I'm falling asleep. The act of creating is going on every waking moment in my brain, in some form or another.

But I'm not closing.

Allow me to post the seminal scene from David Mamet's masterpiece, Glengarry Glen Ross. It makes my point far better than I ever could...


Now, that video clip might be Grade A masturbatory material for every low-level businessman who's got delusions of sitting in The Big Corner Office some day, but I think it holds especially true for those who've decided to write and publish their own material. You need to work, and work hard, every day in order to make it happen, and sitting around saying "Yeah, writing...it's a tough racket..." not only gets you nowhere, it just encourages the stereotype of the shitty self-published fool who thinks they can be lazy and put garbage up for sale on Amazon and expect it to sell like mad and flood their coffers with cash every month.

I'm never the sort of person who makes New Year's resolutions. I find there's no faster method for disappointing yourself than setting some arbitrary goal that you're only setting because it's the start of a new year. On the other hand, I need to work harder and faster on my writing. I need to always be closing.

For me, this means I need to be writing at least 500 words a day, preferably 1,000. That's 30-60 minutes of effort out of the whole day. I also need to work harder at blogging regularly. I average maybe a post and a half a week on here, but I need to really be writing about a thousand words a week in posts, perhaps 2-3 posts a week. I need to be reading other people's blogs, and commenting more, and continue to build strong relationships with other bloggers and writers.

My goals for 2013 are:
  1. To finish writing and publish Operation Bedlam. I've got the new cover for the book and once the manuscript is finished, I'm looking for Beta readers. If you're interested, please contact me.
  2. To re-write and publish an old Sword & Sorcery novella I wrote and shelved a decade ago.
  3. To write and publish Operation Cannibal, the third Commando novel.
  4. To write and publish the sequel to Rivalry.
That might seem like a lot, but it really isn't. Bedlam is half finished, and the fantasy novella is already written - it just needs a rewrite and an edit. Cannibal could be written in a month, maybe two, and the sequel to Rivalry could be typed over a long weekend. I'd love to write another French Resistance short story, and maybe even another Nanok story if time permits. All in all, I think I'd like to see two Commando novels and 2-4 short works in 2013.

In other words, I need to Always Be Closing.


Hank Brown said...

Good goals, Jack. My problem is rarely laziness, but just being spread too thin. Still, after the sequel and the blog tour are done, I want to finish my next Honor Triad tale, write another Barbarian Nation, and get started on my alternate history series. If I can get that done this year...

Tomas said...

Speaking as another lazy bastard - thanks for this, Jack.

It's a great wake up call.