2016 Lessons Learned

Before I list my next year’s goals, I find it more helpful  to write out what the previous year taught me in addition to just listing out how I did trying to meet the previous year’s goals.

First important lesson I learned: daisy-chaining writing sessions together increases writing speed. What I mean by that is, if I have three equal-time writing sessions in a day, the second session will produce more words than the first and the third will produce more words than the second. Like riding a motorcycle the faster and more I wrote the easier it became.

Second thing I learned: self-care is Important with a capital “I”. I love writing. Love. It. But when I make it my sole focus at the exclusion of other important things like quiet time in the morning reading scripture/praying, physical exercise, or opting to stay home to get more words in than spend time with my young children, bad things happen. Like ulcers and gastritis, and so much more stress than is worth it. Writing wasn’t the sole reason for the ulcers, and I would never opt to go through that again, but it helped repriortize my life for the better.

Third thing I learned: rapid-release didn’t work for me. There’s no self-publishing strategy that guarantees success, but there are a number of things that suggest tipping the odds in your favor. One of those is a rapid release schedule, where books in a series are released every 3-4 weeks. I write moderately fast, but not that fast—so I wrote the first three novels of the Sunken City Capers series over 18 months and then released them one a month to try and capitalize on the perks of rapid release. I’m still digesting what happened, and the numbers are still rolling in so it’s still too early to come to any definitive conclusions, but the momentum I hoped for never materialized. On a poor/fair/good/great/unicorn scale, I’d rate the Sunken City Capers series launch a “good,” but I had been hoping for a “great” brought about by the rapid-release magic.

Fourth thing I learned: no video games + not really reading = an unhappy writer. This ties into the self-care lesson. The whole reason I ever wanted to write in the first place was because I Ioved to read and have really enjoyed the narrative direction the video games have taken in the last 5-10 years. It’s important to recharge your creative batteries by consuming new stories for pleasure. It also helps with that whole stress thing.

So those are the lessons learned in 2016. As you might imagine, they will directly influence the goals for 2017, which I will write about next time!

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