Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 57: Trust

Trust can be a tricky thing when you're a creative person. Often a writer must trust other people with his work and when you don't have a lot of money, those people may or may not be very good at what they do. A writer or general creative person must also gain trust. He must perform at a very high level and must be careful with the property he rents, such as a car or a light kit, to produce his material. A creative person must also trust himself to complete his given tasks in a certain amount of time. Obviously, I didn't completely trust myself to finish my required writing every day, so I embarked on this quest. By the end of it, I hope to have a little more trust in me and I hope to earn a bit more trust with others.

Today in the writing world, I came closer to finishing the first 500 prompts, which as I mentioned yesterday, will be compiled in a first volume. I also wrote a blog post consisting of creative writing lesson plans. Happy Monday everybody!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 56: 8 Weeks!

Here we are about to head into week 9 of the challenge. I'm feeling pretty strong about how well I'm able to finish my workload each day and I'm pleased to announce I got a callback for the Cripple of Inishmaan show I announced yesterday! I'm feeling pretty good about today and I was happy to celebrate a bit last night with a drink and a boatload of candy at a party last night.

Even if I say it more than most, I still may not say it enough. I'm really blessed to have the people and things that I have in my life and I'm very grateful. I used to wish that I could be someone else, be in someone else's shoes so that I wouldn't have to continue living the life I'd been leading. There are pangs of wanting to escape every so often, but for the most part, I know that I was born into this life for a reason and I'm quite thankful.

Today I came close to being halfway done the 1,000 Character Writing Prompts book, which I've decided to split into two volumes and I wrote a page of descriptive writing prompts.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 55: An Irishman

Today was a pretty wild one for the challenge as I was able to take part in multiple art forms. First and foremost, I tackled 2,000 words with the character writing prompts book. Secondly, I went to audition for the lead role in The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh at the Redtwist Theatre. The audition was a ton of fun and I hope to be called back.

You might wonder how I go about balancing my interests as a writer and an actor. Click the link to see my blog post about it. I'm considering going for Halloween as an Irish priest. What about all of you?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 54: The Bike

My laptop bike is here! The Fit Desk X is an exercise bike with a laptop pad on it so you can cycle while you work. Since this challenge keeps me sitting a good chunk of the day, I'm hoping that the bike can keep me in tip-top shape during the long Chicago winter. I would love to emerge from the season about 10 to 20 pounds lighter if possible. In addition to writing a creative writing topic list and some character writing prompts, I also worked on some jokes for my 10th high school reunion, during which I may do a stand-up comedy routine. Woo!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 53: Chores

One thing I must admit about this challenge is that I've often put my energy into writing as opposed to doing chores around the house. I haven't given things like fully moving into our new apartment as much time as I should. While my girlfriend has also been a little slow to unpack due to her tough job, I shouldn't use that as an excuse. Today or tomorrow, in order to conk out the clutter a bit, I'll spend at least an hour getting my life in order. You can't put off living like an organized human being when doing these types of challenges, because eventually, such clutter will make it difficult to concentrate. My two cents for the day :).

Today, I added a few prompts to sections I hadn't started yet such as "dark and mysterious" and "salespeople." On the blog, I wrote a fiction writing prompt list.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 52: Goals

When you're in the midst of a challenge, it's a good idea to re-affirm your goals every so often (if not every day). It's easy to lose sight of why you're doing something if the temporary discomfort blinds you from the glorious end result.

Personally, if I can complete my 365 day challenge, I will be able to dramatically increase my body of work and hopefully my income in the process. This is pure Quadrant two work here, that I may now see the benefit of for months or years. Eventually though, all my hard work now will pay dividends in the future in ways I can't even currently comprehend.

I worked on some seedy underbelly character writing prompts today, along with an expository writing prompt list on the website. Happy hump day, y'all!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 51: To The Crowd

Today on my blog I wrote a page of narrative writing prompts, even though my site is already full of them. The reason was that while my site is optimized for many writing prompts-related keywords, I've never before mentioned narrative prompts. By creating this page, I'm doing a bit of playing to the crowd in hopes to increase my traffic.

While I'm still far away from my goal of 5,000 unique visitors and $100 of Google AdSense per day, reaching that goal will take writing articles with many keywords that potentially have high value. Slowly but surely, I'll get there!

I also worked on more character writing prompts and passed 60,000 words in the book in total, my longest book so far!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 50: Dragon My Feet

Today was definitely a bit of a "dragon my feet" day (dragging my feet, see what I did there?) but I'm happy to report I have nearly completed the workload. On a day like today, I'm not able to do as much auxiliary work such as formatting and editing, but regardless, it's always a great feeling to complete what I've set out to do.

I'm still plotting some marketing ideas for the guide to happiness, so feel free to drop any ideas on me here or on my other blog. I chugged through some more writing prompts on optimists and athletic coaches today and I have at least 10 pages to post at some point. In addition, I wrote a blog post of prompts for one of the most popular keywords on the web, high school writing prompt. Yes, it's singular, but I figure, you have to play the Internet's game some time :).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 49: A Dream

What will happen if I can keep this challenge up for an entire year or even an entire lifetime? possibly nothing. There is certainly a chance that I could create some amazing stuff that nobody gives a second look. Then again, my dream is that these books I create spread like wildfire and can help and entertain many people. I'd like to increase my income through the roof to pay off all my debts and to better care for my girlfriend and my family. I want to increase my freedom to take on wild projects in film and television. If I can keep up this writing practice indefinitely, I think it could happen. I hope it does happen.

Today, I worked on some character writing prompts about emergency workers and washed-up people, along with a blog post on teaching creative writing.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day 48: Refinement

One of the keys to a quest like this is refining your method until you have reached top efficiency. Throughout the last 48 days, I've had times where it took me until the end of the day to get enough motivation to finish and I've had moments in which the writing came easily to me. By learning what worked during those latter moments, I have been able to refine my process.

I love having a word count goal, but by having it prominently displayed in my word processor, I was getting tripped up. In addition, by jumping into each prompt as I would an improv scene at the Annoyance, they practically write themselves. Lastly, I've been listening to a fantastic compilation of 100 classical music masterpieces, which relax me no matter how anxious I am about the writing.

As a result, here I am by 10 a.m. on a Saturday, complete and ready to clean our dang apartment :). Today, I worked on prompts about senior citizens and emergency workers and I wrote a blog post about financial motivation. Happy weekend, y'all!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 47: Christmas in October

Today, I wrote a page of Christmas writing prompts for a few different reasons. No, me being in the holiday spirit isn't one of them.

Every Fall, the traffic on my website goes up astronomically due to the huge traffic on my "fall writing prompts," "Halloween writing prompts" and "Thanksgiving writing prompts" pages and I figured, why not have my Christmas page indexed and ready for December. Now, that's some Christmas planning ahead :).

I also worked on the character writing prompts book and started a Post-College Guide to Happiness giveaway!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 46: Accented

If people commented on this blog, I imagine that they would ask me what I do on the side when I'm not writing. Well, at this current moment, I'm trying to re-learn an Irish accent for a play audition I have coming up in a week and a half. I've been asked to read for a part in Martin McDonagh's play, The Cripple of Inishmaan. It'd be pretty exciting and one of my biggest roles yet :).

On the writing front, I was able to suppress the last few days worth of procrastination that made me put off finishing until 3 or later and I was finished with the prompts by 9:30 a.m. I also wrote a blog post on improving self esteem (link is forthcoming).

I'm actually in a library that has two copies of the play listed online and I'm hoping to snag one for the audition. If I can't get one, I'll take my shillelagh to 'em!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 45: Sharing is Caring

Today was a treat as I had the esteemed pleasure of telling the story of my success to both a teacher and a peer of mine in the acting community. One took me out to a bagel-filled lunch while the other helped me to put a desk together. In both encounters, they asked questions about how I was able to find success in self-publishing and blogging and it was a lot of fun. After all, they say you learn 90 percent of what you teach, so I might as well teach success!

In the writing world, I worked on the writing prompts book (almost to 300 prompts) and I wrote a blog post on the subject of my creative writing process. It's a rainy day here in Chicago and I have a tradition to keep myself upbeat whenever that happens. "I'm singing in the rain..."

Try it out sometime :).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 44: How I Do Things

I've been experimenting with different methods for working on this, much longer than I thought it would be, writing prompts book. My current method involves getting up early to write the first sentence or two for as many prompts as I can think of. I then work on some of my freelance stuff and later come back to fill out each prompt.

Since coming up with the initial idea is typically the toughest part, getting that out of the way before I'm completely awake pushes through writer's block later on. Twenty-four of the prompts pages are now on my website along with a post I wrote today about writing motivation.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 43: Case of the Fundays

I've never been one of those people who hate Mondays. Maybe this was an indicator early on that I wouldn't be working a traditional 9 to 5, Monday through Friday job :).

Today was simply fantastic as I got up early to start my 2,000 words for the prompts book, quickly finished some of my freelance work and went shopping with my lady to stock our new apartment full of goodies. I'm a big fan of shopping for food and though I haven't had as much time to cook lately, it's always fun to see what we can put together at a moment's notice.

I also spend the late morning working on a blog post, a creative writing assignment about setting and I think I may do more teacher/student related posts in the future. When you have 365 posts to write in one year, it's good to be able to diversify a bit. Happy Funday everyone!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 42: Compromise

If there's one thing I've learned from being in a long-term relationship, it's that if one person takes on a major project it is never going to be done alone. All the time you put into the work will affect your partner. After a tough day motivation wise, I found myself typing up my work after 11 p.m., which was tough on my girlfriend who wanted to hangout with me. She knows how important the challenge is to me, but I needed to realize that unless I'm efficient with my writing, it can interfere with the relationship. If you pay attention, you truly never stop learning. :)

I'm working on some prompts today and I wrote a blog post with five self improvement ideas. Lots of laundry and writing to do today, which is a great recipe for my productivity (I love the laundry room :)).

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 41: My Website

If there is one work I've created that I'm proud of, it's my website Build Creative Writing Ideas. I started the site in December 2008 in hopes of helping other struggling creative types like myself. I worked on it in fits and spurts throughout the last two and a half years and now there are over 500 pages of content. This month is my best yet (content and traffic wise) and I'm currently averaging over 700 unique visitors a day

It's certainly not perfect and it isn't the prettiest site int he world, but I'm very happy with all the work I've put into it, like the post I wrote today about how to write a journal. I also filled out the 100 categories for the book and I'm ready to speed through the 700+ remaining. Also, we're going to Ikea. Yay!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 40: Go to Extremes

You know that old Billy Joel song that goes, "Baby I don't know why I go to extremes?" I'm kind of like the narrator of that song. I mean, look at this challenge. I just passed 100,000 words in total, it's crazy.

When I told my girlfriend about the idea for the 365 challenge, she was concerned that I'd work myself to exhaustion. With 325 days remaining, it's certainly possible. But I've never been content to do a little here and a little there. I'm an all or nothing kind of guy and I tend to get bored with anything less. I'm happy to go to extremes because I get a heck of a lot accomplished.

Today I came with 15 topics of figuring out my 100 categories, though I still have to write over 700 prompts to fill out the rest of the book. I wrote a blog post with a few novel writing tips and I planned out a little evening birthday celebration with some friends. Yippie!

Also, The Post-College Guide to Happiness is now available for the Kindle. Woo wee! :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 39: 29 Years Old

Today is my 29th birthday and I'm proud to say it's been a productive one. Birthdays and other holidays have always tended to throw me off when I'm having an industrious week or month. While I love the enjoyment of seeing my friends and getting stuffed, I'd much rather feel the fulfillment of looking at my completed books on the shelf.

I'm getting closer and closer to rounding out my 100 categories for the prompts book and I wrote a post about evaluating your life on the writing blog. Even though it was tough focusing, the image of me selling my new books and reveling in the hard work I put in when I turn 30, will make this working birthday well worth it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 38: Erosion

One of the best things about this challenge is that I'm slowly wearing down projects that I've been wanting to take on for ages, but have been too scared to embark upon. By writing 2,500 words a day, I've acted like a body of water on a stone, going over the same path over and over again until it completely erodes away.

While I'm not yet halfway done the 1,000 prompts book part deux, it's really starting to come together and I'm hoping to be have it out in digital stores by the end of November (come on Christmas sales)! The happiness book is edited and I'm getting it into the proper formats for release by this Friday with a kick-ass cover coming soon! In addition, I just secured a verbal agreement to tell an AMAZING non-fiction story that might have me traveling to N.C. for a few weeks in January for interviews. If it wasn't for this slow and steady approach, I might never have gotten to this point.

I worked on some new sections in the prompts book today and I wrote a blog post about the power of setting a word goal each day, possible for as long as five years.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 37: Classical Music

When I first woke up today, here in N.C. for the last day before traveling back to Chicago tonight, I didn't feel much like doing work at all. And yet, here I am by 9:30 a.m. almost done the 2,500 words. What is my secret? Classical music.

I plugged in my headphones, partially to drown out the television Amy's parents were watching downstairs, and went over to the classical music station on Pandora. I clicked into my 1,000 Character Writing Prompts document, closed my eyes and started typing. I love using instrumental music for this purpose because music with words tends to trip me up. Classical music relaxes me and lets my fingers flow freely.

I've been a bit lazy with posting my character writing prompts and now I have over 10 pages to post. There are 22 sections complete with 78 to go! Making progress :). I also wrote a post about measuring happiness and how it's important to wait till the right time to do so. Lots of air time today and I'm hoping to use it to format the happiness book for Kindle, Nook and Paperback form. Very excited!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 36: Almost There

I just passed 30,000 words in the prompts book (my current estimate is that it will be 70,000 words in total before I move on to book #3), and I've received my second edit of The Post-College Guide to Happiness and it's just about ready to go.

I loved getting up before everyone else in Amy's parents house this morning. It was just me and the cats prowling around as I found a good corner in which to write. I also wrote a post about happiness and love and how important it is to love yourself.

I still have about 2,000 words a day worth of freelance work (aside from the 2,500 of the challenge) that I'd love to be able to chop out by some point next year. I hope these new books can start selling like hot cakes by the end of the year to make my dreams of full-time authorship a reality.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 35: Swim, Bike, Run and Write

Today was Amy's triathlon in North Carolina, so it was an early rise for me to see her and her friends Rachel and Gale kick some butt, followed a large portion of Dame's Chicken and Waffles in Durham. This means that I'm just sitting down to get my writing completed, which will be a bit of a challenge, but nothing harder than what I've already faced.

I have made a few changes to the character prompts book, so that it will be a bit shorter and so I can complete more books during my 365 day challenge. I wrote a blog post about barriers to happiness and how they can be overcome as well. While I'm loving my time down here, can't wait to get back to my office for a comfortable routine next week!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day 34: Airplane Time

There's just something about being stuck on an airplane that sends my productivity through the roof. Perhaps it's the fact that I don't have any game playing devices like an iPad or maybe it's because everyone else is asleep and I've always been an overachiever. Regardless, it was a cinch to finish off my book and blog post writing on my trip to North Carolina to support my girlfriend in her triathlon.

We just left our connecting airport of Nashville, Tenn., and we're flying over the Appalachian Mountains as we speak. How could you sleep through that. To paraphrase Louis C.K., "You're flying through the air, like a bird, and you're complaining about a lack of Wi-Fi?"

I have a bunch of prompts pages to post from the book today, I think about five in total. I also wrote a post about authentic happiness as part of my lead up to the book release!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 33: When Times Get Tough

As a freelance writer, it can be difficult sometimes to get a regular paycheck. Even if you're like me and you have a very stead stream of articles to write, checks can get delayed or lost and less than six months ago, such an issue would have forced me to scramble and stumble.

Fortunately, because I started savings some of my earnings, I'll be able to weather the storm until the paycheck comes. While I've read many books on the subject of money that advocated saving, I must credit my girlfriend for finally making me do it.

I worked on the prompts book today, created a post that attempts to answer the question "Does money buy happiness?" and made the happiness book available for pre-order! The book will be $4.99 in Kindle, Nook or PDF format and $12.99 S&H for the paperback. There is even an audiobook forthcoming!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 32: Moving On Up

When you're doing a crazy challenge like this, it can be so helpful to get as much of it done as early in the day as possible. Since I went to bed at about 9:55 p.m. last night, I was able to set my alarm for 6 a.m. and get a full eight hours of sleep for the third straight night. I felt so rested that I had no problem settling into my writing by 6:50 and I finished my book writing in record time by about 8:20.

And here I am, almost finished this blog post a little after 9. This affords me the fantastic opportunity of getting some quadrant two work (things that are important but not urgent) completed such as setting my my happiness affiliate program and editing my manuscript when I get it back from Ashley Daoust today. It can be tough getting to bed so early and getting into such good habits, but once you do, you'll see a mountain of difference.

Worked on some prompts about aliens and zombies today, which will probably be completed and up on the site by tomorrow. Also wrote a small post about Steve Jobs today, may he rest in peace.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 31: Rolling On

Today was one of my most effective days of writing since I began the writing prompts book and it was all a matter of me getting eight hours of sleep two nights in a row. I think I'll keep the ball rolling again tonight if possible!

My blog post on the writing website today was particularly pertinent as it was about increasing your writing output. In the post I was able to utilize the teachings of authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz from their book The Power of Full Engagement, which is one of my favorites.

I thought of a few great ideas for books today, such as a 2011 book of 2,011 writing prompts dealing with the current events during the year. The book will act both as a sort of time capsule of the news and a great way to pull from past events to create stories. I could write a new book each year to draw off the previous one. If I simply write about 6 prompts a day every day, the book will write itself every single year. Might be fun!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day 30: Coming Together

Today I secured a cover designer for The Post-College Guide to Happiness and my favorite editor in the world is currently shredding it down to build it back up again. I would love to be able to start selling this book by my 29th birthday, October 13th and I'm doing everything I can to make it happen!

As I stated last night, I took better care of myself this morning with an early bedtime and eight full hours of sleep. Unsurprisingly, I have been much more efficient and I'm looking forward to finishing my book writing much earlier today. I continue to work on the prompts and yesterday I posted a page of prompts based on superheroes and today I posted about an awesome lady, Eleanor Roosevelt and her ability to hang tough.

Another challenge coming up this week will be a trip to North Carolina on Saturday, but I plan to get up super early and do some plane writing to make up for it. Can't wait for some slightly warmer weather!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 29: Be Good to Myself

As I progress into week 5 of the challenge, I hoped I would be to the point where I could just wing it and finish my writing at any time of the day. Some early distractions, chores and sleepiness are turning today into one of those "down to the wire" instances that I'd thought I could avoid.

To counteract this problem, I know that the solution is to bear down, keep going and to be good to myself the next few days (and ideally the rest of the challenge). When you tax yourself with such a lengthy, mental endeavor, it's best to get a full night's sleep and to eat the best food possible as often as you can. I'm hoping to hit the sack shortly after posting this and to go crazy on the fruits and vegetables the rest of the week.

Today, I worked on more prompts and wrote a post about the value of failure.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day 28: Four Weeks!

I am very happy to announce that I've written 2,500 words a day for four straight weeks! I'm proud of myself and while it's not my longest writing streak ever of 60 days, I'm all about celebrating small victories. The happiness book rough draft will be looked over by my editor Ashley between now and Wednesday and soon enough, it will be available for all to buy!

Today on the writing blog, I wrote about the importance of waking up early for writers and gave a four-step process to achieve it. I played with some fun character types in the character prompts book, including vampires, zombies and werewolves. Can't wait to finish a section and post it on Build Creative Writing Ideas!

Happy Sunday, all!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Day 27: Moving Up

As I've been mentioning the last week or so, my girlfriend and I spent the day today moving into a new apartment. I knew that it was going to be difficult to get up the energy to write after staying up late and working on minimal sleep to get everything packed, cleaned and into a truck. It all worked out and here I am, sitting in my brand new office.

As a writer, it can be a major boost to have your own private space to write. Even though I often work from home without anybody home, this will act as my sanctuary for my creative ends. Whereas in our last apartment, I would write in the same spots in which I ate and slept, now there is a place where only writing will happen. I'm extremely grateful for this opportunity to produce more work in a more efficient manner.

Today in the prompts book, I worked on some new sections including prompts about zombies, werewolves and vampires. On the writing blog I wrote about doing what you love.