Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 87: Whistle While You Work

One of the things I'm loving about this writing challenge is that I've integrated housework (which I don't often like doing) and writing for hours at a time (which I've typically not had the patience for) and I've turned it into something I look forward to every day. One of the areas of my life I'd love to use this concept on in the future is with the marketing of my books. I've been very fortunate to have spread the word of my 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts book far and wide and I've sold over 6,000 copies of it from various sources. I have not been as successful with my other books and I know deep down that my Happiness book could be a big hit. I just need to get the word out to everyone and their mother.

The big thing that I really want to happen is to get it very much in the public eye by May, since that will be the time that hundreds of thousands of students are graduating from college, which is the perfect demographic for the book. I haven't figured it all out yet, but I'm going to try my best to make marketing a fun and productive part of my day.

On the writing front today, I worked on some character writing prompts about animal lovers and outdoorsy folk. I also wrote a post of kindergarten writing prompts. Onward to another day of writing fun!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 86: Home Sweet Home

Coming back after Thanksgiving was like a breath of fresh air for my writing. It was awesome getting back into the routine of my exercise biking freelance writing and for my creative writing prompt creation as well. Since I've also integrated housework into my daily writing routine, I'm already unpacked with a much tidier house than I woke up to this morning. Now, there are drawbacks, like the 20 degree drop in temperature from Pa. to Ill., but there are always benefits of detriments of any situation. I'm all about concentrating on the benefits :).

Still trying to figure out how I want to release this character writing prompts book. I may wait on Amazon, etc. entirely and just put the first part on my website, before doing a big launch of a BIG book (over 150,000 words big) some time in February. We shall see what happens, but I better make a decision soon. I also need to decide what I want to do about Ted Saves the World, which requires some serious revisions.

On the writing front, I worked on some character writing prompts about vegans and I put together a top ten list on writing prompts online.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 85: Communication

Being a writer does not always make you a good communicator. When I was younger, communication was far from my strong suit. I loved writing out my thoughts but had much more trouble expressing myself verbally. Thankfully, college and my dramatic art degree got me far out of my shell, dramatically (pun intended) expanding my comfort zone. From living at different times on both ends of the communication continuum, I've learned that most people communicate in their own unique way. The most important thing you can do when attempting to figure out how someone communicates is to listen. Don't just listen to the what. Listen to the why as well.

Today in the writing challenge, I wrote some character writing prompts about Knights and Jews. I also created a blog post about writing the Great American Novel. Hope everyone had an amazing Monday.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 84: The Muppets

I was extremely lucky today to see the new Muppets movie today with my family and Amy. It was good old-fashioned, wholesome, family entertainment and I loved every pun-laced minute of it. I think before I depart this world, I'd like to create something that everyone and their mother could love. I imagine that there's only a small chance that I could make a show or movie that so many people would see, but who knows, if Jason Segel could get in on that, maybe I could as well :).

On the writing front today, I worked on some more character writing prompts, coming pretty close to topping 100,000 words for the entire volume. I also created a blog post about a creative writing tip concerning a writing workout idea. Have a fantastic rest of your weekend everybody!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 83: Where to Be

It's interesting living a life as a writer because you aren't tied down to one particular place. While my girlfriend has a job that places her in Chicago, I could certainly finish my 2,500 words and my freelance work from any computer in the world. I haven't taken full advantage of this during the challenge (aside from this week in Pennsylvania) though I plan on doing it in March or so when I interview people for an awesome book that I will be working on in 2012.

In addition, we will hopefully be taking trips to Colorado and perhaps even California over the next year, which would allow me to see some amazing places while keeping up my challenge as if nothing has changed. I'm grateful for this freedom and I suggest that those who are thinking about writing full-time give it a shot for this very reason :).

Today, as I worked out some of the open bar drinks from my reunion last night ;), I worked on some character writing prompts and on a blog post of how to use writing prompts.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 82: Reunion

Today is my 10 year high school reunion. It's relatively low-key as it's at a bar in Philadelphia, not some crazy convention hall like the $48 price per person might convey. That being said, I'm glad I'm going and that I can afford to go, unlike some of my classmates due to financial situations. It'll also be fun to introduce folks to the girl I see myself spending the rest of my life with. I'm pretty far removed from high school after 10 years out and as a writer and a comedian, I've definitely traveled a pretty far path from the nerdy, quiet kid who mostly thought about girls he liked and how to be awkward around them :).

On the writing front, as I woke up from my turkey coma today and ate leftovers for breakfast, I worked on some character writing prompts. I have a feeling I might be nearly done part 2 by the end of December with a February release possible! To do that, I better put out part 1 first :). I also wrote a blog post with a happiness quote list. Enjoy your turkey sandwiches everybody!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 81: Turkey!

I have to be quick here, because we're about to dash off to get Amy from the airport. I'm particularly glad to have gotten all of my writing completed before 9 a.m. because it means I can focus on cleaning, preparing and eating today instead of the writing challenge. That's the best part about this 365 day challenge, I can do it whenever I want to, and after 81 days of practice, I can finish it in a reasonable amount of time. Some days go by extremely quickly and if you don't put in some effort to add to your life's work each and every day, you might find 10 years have gone by without much to show for it purpose wise. If I can keep this going for those 10 years, I would have over 7 million words to show for it, and hopefully over 50 books. They might not all be masterpieces, but it's better than waiting for the masterpiece to come to me :).

Today, I wrote a blog post about using your leftovers and I continued to work on part 2 of 1,000 Character Writing Prompts.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 80: Home

It can be difficult keeping up a writing challenge when you're at home. One of the first steps is to set up a decent work area for yourself. The best areas I've found so far are in my brother's old room, which has a desk and no brother in it until tomorrow night and the dining room table which will be covered with plates and food in no time. Another challenge is to try to fit in all your writing around family activities. I tried getting up early to take care of everything today, but I'll admit, I faltered a little. As long as you're geared up for the challenge and you refuse to quit, you will be able to weather the storm of going back to the place in which you're used to getting pampered and having to work. You'll get through it as long as you want it enough.

In preparation for turkey day, I wrote a blog post on a creative writing exercise called "home for the holidays" and I did some character writing prompts work while setting the table. Happy Thanksgiving eve, all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 79: A Bit of Peace

It's funny how much things can change over the course of a few years. A little bit of peace can go a long way. Today, as I prepared to connect from Detroit to Philadelphia as I prepared to connect from Detroit to Philadelphia, I looked up at the monitor and saw my flight was cancelled. A few years back, this would have stressed me out incredibly. Nowadays, I can just shrug it off, smile and figure out the next step. The issue was resolved within minutes and I was able to keep a positive attitude throughout. Plus, it doesn't hurt to get a little more unimpeded time on the ground to do some writing :).

The moral of the story? Practice peace, gratitude, love, forgiveness and humility and after a while, the small stuff won't bother you nearly as much. After a few 4 a.m. writing prompts before my flight, I wrote a blog post on early morning writer.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 78: We Roll Along

Not too much on the news front today, though it was a pretty interesting weekend. Had an audition for the sequel to The Laramie Project, which would be the Chicago premiere of the play. That would really be an awesome project to be a part of. I also got to watch the Eagles win in the Meadowlands, which was unexpected and amazing. Throughout all of this, the writing challenge continued to roll along with some of my quickest writing days to date. Tomorrow and the rest of the week will bring a series of challenges as I will be far away from the place I've spent the last 78 days writing.

Tuesday will require planes, trains and automobiles to get me where I need to go, though I home to finish most of my writing early and may have to get up around 4 a.m. to fit it all in. Wednesday will require writing in my Pennsylvania home. Thursday will be a wild day of cooking, picking up my girlfriend from the airport and trying to fit my writing in before family arrive. Friday should be a relatively easy day, though Saturday may present issues with the late-night partying at my 10 year reunion the previous night.

No matter what challenges come, I will push through them and write my little heart out! :)

Today, I worked on some character writing prompts and I created a blog post about how to cure writers block, enjoy!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 77: Keeping Things Interesting

Last night, my girlfriend and I checked out the movie The Descendants, starring George Clooney. I thought the movie was fantastic, but the reason it's worth mentioning here is because it is such an intriguing story. There are so many books and movies that come off like bad knockoffs and copies of movies that were previously successful. How many movies do you have about a man dealing with the inheritance of 25,000 acres of Hawaiian land at the same time as coping with his dying wife's previous transgressions as she slowly dies from a speed boating accident? I would have to say, none!

Of course, it's important as a writer to put money in your wallet, and more often than not people tend to buy what they know or recognize. Every so often though, if you create something completely unique, that can have some major benefits as well. Keeping things interesting and yours during the writing process is imperative to writing something that will truly stand out.

Today on the writing front, wrote some more prompts for 1,000 Character Writing Prompts, Part 2 and wrote a blog post of journal writing prompts. Have a fantastic weekend and start getting excited for turkey day!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 76: As You Go Along

The thing about a challenge like this, one that I've never taken on before in my life, is that you kind of figure out things as you go along. Today, as I picked back up with part 2 of 1,000 Character Writing Prompts, I did some housework between prompts and ended up finishing 2,000 words in an hour and six minutes. That little break between each prompt allowed me to figure things out much more quickly than if I was staring at the screen. For me, it's just another trick in the arsenal to throw into the toolbox. These are the tricks that I will use on days that are difficult or crazy in order to get myself through my 2,500 words. It's encouraging that I keep finding new tricks and it makes me think that maybe I can exceed 365 days and go on for a lifetime :).

Today, I also wrote a blog post of journal writing topics that focus on writing about your life from someone else's perspective.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 75: Traveling

As the holidays come up, one of the most difficult challenges for everyday writers come to the surface. How can you get everything you need to completed when you're jumping from one flight to another and headed home to see your family and friends? The name of the game is definitely discipline. I will be getting up very early on Tuesday so that I can finish all of my writing, paid for or otherwise, to take a lot of the pressure off of needing to do it all while I'm on a plane or in an airport terminal.

That being said, when you're actually traveling, via plane or train, if you have a pad of paper for yourself available and a writing utensil (plus one backup), writing in transit is a synch. Know what scenes you plan on writing or make a note what you need to write about at the top of each page. I've used this method on multiple trips around the country and while it's tough to fit everything in, it's completely worth it not to "take a break" just because you're on "vacation." I would much rather have to make a few sacrifices here and there and complete 12,500 words during my 5 day vacation than have to catch up once I get back to Chicago!

Yesterday was my big Twitter #JournalChat and it was a ton of fun. Here's a transcript of the entire conversation. Did some fun back story work on Ted today and I'm thinking of taking a break soon to get back into the world of creating characters for 1,000 Character Writing Prompts, Part 2. I also wrote a blog post today about everyday creative writing. Happy Friday, all!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 74: The Deep Freeze

As winter in Chicago begins (about a month earlier than the official solstice), the deep freeze is on and I once again feel blessed to live in a warm apartment and to have a job that keeps me cozy. While I wouldn't say that the cabin-fever-causing life of a freelancer isn't ideal for everybody, it's certainly nice for people who like to stay warm during the winter :).

Interesting opportunities seem to abound this week as I'm involved in my first ever live Twitter chat with blogger Dawn Herring. Around 4 PM CST/2 PM PST I'll be answering questions and chatting about one of my latest blog posts that was centered on Journal Writing Ideas. Search #JournalChat today around that time to check out the chat!

Today on the writing front, I worked on Ted and I tried to be a step ahead of the game by creating a post of December writing prompts.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 73: Results

I have accomplished a lot of great writing over the course of these 73 days so far. One of the only things I haven't seen a lot of is results. We live in such an automatic worlds these days when you can reach anybody immediately through so many different channels and where you can watch or listen to anything you want to with the click of a button. As a person who has been immersed in this world, I can't help but expect something to happen right away from my efforts. Of course, this doesn't mean that it will :).

The first book I wrote during this challenge, The Post-College Guide to Happiness only has three reviews so far and it's the kind of book that probably needs more than 50 to do some serious business. I did the writing and want the results, but it will probably take a lot more effort to get the reviews I need to get this book out to a larger audience. The second book I completed, and my longest ever, 1,000 Character Writing Prompts, Part 1, hasn't even been edited yet, in part, because I've been really busy. So, it's impossible for me to get any results out of that project yet.

I have increased the traffic on my website a great deal, which is quite encouraging. These are the results I'm going to need to focus on at times that I feel like quitting or putting my writing off till later in the day. If I keep pressing ahead, the results will come, they just might not be completely visible for months if not years. Sooner or later, my hard work will pay off.

Today on the writing side of things, I did some work on Ted Saves the World, including this gem:
"Ted, many people are saying that you are beaming alien signals through your nipples to gain your powers. Is this true?"
Dhiraj and Ted both stopped for that one.
"What are your sources?" Dhiraj asked.
"The Internet."

I also wrote a blog post of elementary writing prompts for the kids. Happy hump day, all!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 72: Jealousy

I have a friend, Amanda Deibert Staggs, who is pretty darn awesome. She writes for this fun show on Hulu called "The Morning After," in which they recap the previous night in television in about five minutes. Amanda was in the first play I ever directed and I've always been a fan of her as she is a fantastic actor and really cool person. I find it incredibly amusing that I've been a teensy bit jealous of the successes she's had, after she came out with this amazing comic, which is wonderfully illustrated by her wife, Cat:

Jealousy is a huge part of Facebook stalking. We go around looking at how well people have done for themselves and we see families and achievements. We see people we used to date getting married and being in love. We see people in our own field exceeding where we are and we get super jealous.

For the most part, I've been happy about how well Amanda has done for herself and for my other friends who are kicking butt in the world. But every so often, I'm jealous and I wish I could achieve those same levels of success. The comic goes to show, that more often than not, the people you are jealous of are actually jealous of other people too. The best way to break this vicious cycle is to try your best to be happy for what these people have achieved and to be proud of your own achievements as well.

I've done some awesome stuff and even though I'm not always living up to my expectations, there is probably someone out there that is looking at me with jealousy. It's time to just be grateful for what I have and move on with my life! Besides, getting all mopey looking at Facebook wastes time that I should be using for my writing.

Today in the world of my 365 day writing challenge, I wrote some really funny scenes in Ted Saves the World. Here's a quote from one of them:
"Erica internally lamented how easy it was to play the part of the punch drunk, lovelorn teenager. All she had to do was pretend to make frequent awful decisions that were guided solely by emotions."

I also wrote a Christmas-themed blog post about Christmas creative writing ideas. Without doubt, I am the most prolific Jew on the Web when it comes to writing about Christmas ;).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 71: Opportunities

It's funny how random opportunities tend to come along. I just got asked to be an Expert contributor on a website for children's book authors. The site gets better traffic than mine and has a mailing list of 40,000 people, so I figure, why not :). Of course, this opportunity comes at a time when I haven't even been thinking of writing for kids since my 500 Writing Prompts for Kids book.

It seems like more often than not, when you put something into the most inner reaches of your mind, it tends to come into your life, but when you're constantly pushing to make something a reality, the world tends to be more resistant. I know I'm not the first to make such an observation, it's just funny how often it's true.

Today in Ted, I wrote some fun dream sequences. I also wrote a post about selling books.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 70: 10 Weeks

It's official, I've been doing this challenge for 10 consecutive weeks. It's by far my longest writing streak of all time and here are some of the things I've accomplished in that time.

- Over 100 blog posts on Build Creative Writing Ideas
- Traffic increase from 422 visitors per day in Aug. 2011 to 706 per day in Oct. 2011
- Completed two books: The Post-College Guide to Happiness and 1,000 Character Writing Prompts, Part 1
- 70 blog posts on this blog, my first successful attempt to write a more personal blog
- Nearly doubling my AdSense income from August to October
- Writing 175,000+ words in total!

I'm very excited to see what else I can do in the next 42 weeks. I have several extremely awesome projects coming up including my novel, the second part of my 1,000 character prompts book and a journalistic look at a long-lost love story in North Carolina. All this and more coming your way :).

After working on Ted for a bit today, I wrote a blog post on quotes on happiness on the blog. Go Eagles!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 69: Advertising on a $10,000 budget

Yesterday, I started a thread on the website Kindle Boards, asking the question, "If you had $10,000 to market one book, what would you spend it on?"

There were some hilarious scenarios posed including soliciting Oprah (many rightly pointed out that she would probably cost more than that) or entering the headquarters with a clear suitcase asking how to make a book the "Kindle Book of the Day" which would lead to hundreds of sales. Many people said they'd spend it on various things like paying down their credit, going on a European press tour or on a ton of custom artwork for the book (I actually loved that last idea).

Author David Gaughran, who wrote the book Let's Get Digital, took the challenge at face value a bit more than the others, understanding the Brewster's Millions style of the situation. If you had to spend it all, how would you spend it? Not as an advance for the next book, not as cover art for the next 10 books, but if you had to spend it, in hopes of getting a decent return, how would you?

See, the thing about this hypothetical deal, is that you really need to sell about 5,000 copies (at $2.99) for the investor to get his money back. Let's imagine that I'm not concerned about making money off of the book myself and it's all about the experiment to see what the $10,000 could do. Let's try to break this down a little.

Advertising bursts at Kindle Nation Daily seem to lead to a temporary burst in sales, especially if it gets you into the Kindle Movers and Shakers list or into the Kindle Top 100. I assume that some of the other advertising pushes would have a similar, temporary affect. David suggested I create kind of a marketing dream list and so here is an idea for one, including advertising, book costs and giveaway expenses.

Advertising Methods:
Kindle Nation Daily Platinum Package - $439 - Estimated 50 sales
Pixel of Ink Sponsorship - $179 - Estimated 50 sales
AuthorBuzz Campaign - $1,500 - Estimated 100 sales
BlogAds Book Hive - $1,500 - Estimated 100 sales
Facebook Ads - $382 - Estimated 50 sales
Part-Time Social Marketer - $1,000 - Estimated 100 sales
Blog tour - Free - I love setting those things up on my own :)

Book Costs
Killer cover art - $500
Editing, formatting, etc. - $500
Book trailer - $500

Giveaway Expenses
Give away 250 paperbacks through Goodreads - $1,250 - Estimated 50 reviews, 50 sales
Give away 10 Kindles on a blog tour, etc. - $1,000 - 50 sales
Give away other wonderful prizes, etc. - $1,250 - 50 sales

Total Expenses: $10,000

So, using my completely unscientific method for estimating how many sales each method would bring in directly, spending the $10,000 to get some sales would lead to around 600 sales on the low end of estimates. That would mean that in order for the investor to get back his money on the deal, there would have to be around 4,400 indirect sales.

If the book is well-reviewed and the giveaways and advertising has led to at least 100 reviews, then the advertising methods might lead to some indirect sales. By which I mean, sales that come on the days after a marketing blitz or that come from people simply buying up a book with great cover art and a cool book trailer. Could that lead to 4,400 additional sales, to bump it up to $10,000 worth at a $2.99 price? Perhaps yes, perhaps no.

Obviously, this is all very speculative, but I think it's fun to come up with little ideas like this every now and then.

Today in the 365 day writing challenge, I worked a little more on the full-length novel version of Ted Saves the World and I did some work on a blog post of happiness quotations.

172,500 words down! Only 740,000 more to go :).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 68: Patience

One of the most important traits to learn during a major writing (or any creative) challenge is patience. There are so many activities that you are used to doing during the day that you may have to put off or cancel when your challenge becomes a major priority. Before the 365 challenge, I spent at least two hours a day learning everything I could possibly find out about the world of movies and television. I was obsessed. When I began the challenge, I knew I would have to cut that amount of time in half or make it non-existent on certain days when my creativity taps seemed to be running dry.

I also had to be patient when it came to enjoying late night activities. My girlfriend and I would occasionally stay up past midnight hanging out, playing games or watching television. Since I know that my best work tends to come between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. and that I need at least 7 hours of sleep to be awake enough to produce it, I have to put off some of those fun activities to another day. It's become so easy to have fun and to be entertained in life, that you can't help want to put off work when you don't have to do it.

When it comes down to it, a writing challenge isn't even mostly about writing. It's about patience, perseverance, hard work, willpower and the understanding of the people around you. If you want to be a writer but you're worried about your skill level, there's no issue. The hardest working writers with the most patience tend to be some of the most successful. The fact that you will get the opportunity to do something you enjoy with your life will help you to push even further.

Today, when I first started working on Ted Saves the World, no words came, but I was patient that I could get my brain revved up and ready to work. Low and behold, two hours later, I was done my 2,000 words. In addition, I worked on a blog post today of poetry writing prompts.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 67: Flurries

As I write this post, I am looking out my window at the first snow flurries of the season. I think I've set myself up pretty well for the cold weather this year, writing-wise. After moving into the bigger apartment with an office, I have more writing room than ever. With my laptop bike, I'm able to get some much needed oxygen to my brain while I write. In addition, I get an adequate amount of exercise (though it still requires some supplementation) as I wrote, saving me a ton of time.

There will no doubt be days during which I will not want to work. Fortunately, through the previous 66 days of this challenge, I've set up grate habits for myself that will be easy to follow. Currently, I am confidence I can take this challenge through the winter and all the way back around to September 2012.

Today, I continued to work on Ted and I wrote a blog post about my prospective visualization goals.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 66: Happiness

How has this writing challenge contributed to my overall level of happiness?

This is an important question to ask for several reasons. First of all, as someone who has written a book about happiness, I should make sure that what I'm doing at any given time is contributing positively to my levels of joy. Secondly, since the first book I wrote on the challenge was that happiness book, how well it represents the subject is worth looking at to see if I'm keeping my quality up as well as my quantity. Thirdly, I think that other people on writing challenges such as NaNoWriMo should know if they can maintain their general happiness while working on something as difficult as a novel.

I'm proud to say that this challenge has contributed very well to my happiness during the last two months. While it has caused some issues socially and there have been days in which I've felt like collapsing on the couch for a few days, overall, I am feeling happier compared to a few months ago. I knew at that time that I needed something to keep me focused and to keep me excited about writing. Even though I know that writing is a major part of my life purpose, I still needed to set a goal for myself that would be challenging and this idea of writing 2,500 words a day for 365 days straight has fit the bill.

Today, I continued to work on the young-adultish fantasy novel, and I'm very glad to be giving it a second go in a full-length version. I'm able to flesh out some characters more and I've had a great time seeing how they get from point A to point B in a much more complex tale. I also wrote a blog post today focusing on quotes about happiness, which provides some context to several amazing quotes on the subject of joy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 65: Laugh a Little

Something I've found helpful with this challenge is that when I feel a little stale, I try to spend a little time watching something funny. While my girlfriend and I tend to watch a few sitcoms a week, sometimes I need a bit of a boost in the middle of the day. Thankfully, I have websites like Hulu and Netflix to help me meet my comedic daily requirement. The trick is, to only watch one or two videos and to try not to spend more than 20 minutes in total. That way you can still be productive and not worry about wasting your day sucking up the Internet's bandwidth :).

In writing news, I worked on some fun scenes in Ted Saves the World and wrote a blog post of essay writing prompts.

For those of you keeping track at home, I've now written 162,500 words as part of this challenge. And it seems like I just started yesterday... :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 64: Direction

When I was in college, there was this awesome moment during which I really fell in love with directing. I haven't done it as much lately as I think I should, which is why I was really fortunate to be able to direct a commercial yesterday. I was in the hallway of the Center for Dramatic Arts when a friend of mine asked me to come in and watch him perform a scene with a partner. I gave the two of them a little advice and the next day he told me he knocked it out of the park.

After I gave the directing advice, I felt like I'd come upon something of a calling. I've directed some shows here and there since, but I'm often caught up in the producing side of things and I can't focus. Yesterday, working with the cast of Jersey Shore: The Musical was awesome and I hope that what Brian Sly and I come up with will be something special, whether it wins the Crash the Super Bowl contest or not.

On the writing side of things, this morning I worked on Ted Saves the World, including a scene where our hero has to catch a thief while wearing nothing but his boxers. On the blog, I wrote about how to recover from procrastination. While I'll be writing most of the day, I'll be buzzing with anticipation until I see some of the footage from yesterday. Woo hoo!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 63: Quality and Quantity

I've had more than a few people ask me during this challenge if I was going for quantity over quality. This is a perfectly legitimate question, because it's obvious that I'm spending a whole lot of time on writing, which may be cutting into my editing time. In actuality, I've always been a quick editor and I'm happy to hand off some of the duties to my editor and friend, Ashley Daoust. By making sure I have someone on hand to help me through the important process of re-writing, I hope that I can strike a good balance between quality and quantity.

Today in writing, I continued to work on the beginning of my new full-length novel version of Ted Saves the World. I also created a page of middle school writing prompts. Off to shoot a Doritos commercial!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 62: On a Whim

Last night I decided, on a whim, to scrap my plans for adding content to Writer on the Side for the time being because I was inspired to turn my novella, Ted Saves the World into a full-length novel. It was my initial research for Writer that made me realize I've been spending too much time helping others to be creative without giving myself enough of an outlet.

I was a little rusty at first at bringing my fantasy action-adventure back to life, but I really got into the swing of it with Ted and the rest of the good guys. I've pegged the book as my homage to Joss Whedon and mixing the witty, the hilarious and the tragic in equal measure. I'm really excited to do what I can to make it a jam-packed book with humor, action and general craziness :).

On the writing blog today, I created a page of journal writing ideas to give people a different perspective on writing about their boring, routinized days.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 61: Doritos and Callback!

This is a big weekend for me. On Saturday, I have my callback for the role of Bartley in The Cripple of Inishmaan. On Sunday, I'll be directing a commercial for the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest featuring the awesome cast of Jersey Shore: The Musical. When you have a lot of projects going on, it can be difficult to stay focused on the task at hand, but as long as you stay as close to your routine as possible, you'll usually be fine.

For example, today I had to figure out how to load in all the equipment to Vibes Media in downtown Chicago and fit my writing in. Since I was able to schedule the load in for the afternoon, it didn't conflict at all with my writing. One of the benefits of freelancing is that you have the freedom to fit stuff around such a wacky schedule :).

Today in writing news, I finished 1,000 Character Writing Prompts, Part 1 and I started doing some work to revamp my previous books Sharpening the Pencil and Writer on the Side. In addition, to keep myself in the holiday spirit, I wrote a Thanksgiving writing prompt list.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 60: Writing Challenge

After approximately two months, I think it's time I took some extra time to reflect on my writing challenge. I am just four writing prompts away from finishing my second book of the self-generated competition, which will have been my longest book of all time at around 70,000 words. I'm extremely proud of myself and I think that I've grown since I began 60 days ago.

Starting a writing challenge like has caused me to think outside the box about what was directly affecting my writing productivity. I knew that I needed some extra oomph, which caused me to purchased the Fit Desk X bike. Since I bought it, I've used it over an hour each morning to get the oxygen necessary to my brain to complete my daily task. In addition, I know now for a fact that having an office for my very own with a door I can close has been extremely helpful. The days in which I finish my writing before noon have tripled in our new apartment because of the office and the added space.

I was a little worried about splitting my writing between the three sources: my books, my writing blog and this blog, but I've learned it was a great decision. Not only is my web traffic up, but my book sales and advertising clickthroughs have gone up as well. This helps me a great deal in the challenge because I can immediately see my results having an effect. If I was writing the books alone, it would be a bit tougher, since you can't make money off a book until it's edited, designed and published. Even though the books are likely to bring more "pudding" in the long-term, having that short term reminder that, "Hey, your writing pays!" is a welcome reminder.

Now that I've finished The Post-College Guide to Happiness and have come quite close to completing 1,000 Character Writing Prompts, Part 1, I have proven to myself that the longer I go with this writing challenge, the more books I will write. If I can keep up the same pace, I'll end up 12 books completed by the end of the challenge with another book on the way. In addition, I'll have over 450 blog posts completed (since I'm posting parts of the books along the way), which should help me to reach my website traffic goals.

In other words, life is good, and I'm glad I've embarked on such a journey! Continue to follow along to see if I can make it to the end :).

In today's writing, I wrote a blog post of short story topics and post a page of character writing prompts on landlords.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 59: Next!

One of the reasons that I decided to split my 1,000 Character Writing Prompts book into two parts is because I've gotten a bit tired of prompts for the time being. This will allow me to take a break with the prompts and focus on another book for the time being. I will be just about finished the first 500 prompts tomorrow or Friday, at which time I will have to pick something new.

I have a few ideas in mind, including revamping a few of my old books in time for the wonderful gift-giving holidays coming up. I've always been very proud of my book Writer on the Side, but one of the issues is that it's too short and doesn't include enough information. I'd like to beef it up from 32,000 to at least 50,000 and give it the most up to date information I can. I really think it could be one of my top sellers if I can make it as amazing as I'd like it to be, and get it out to as many reviewers as possible. Then again, I'd also like to go back to my Ted Saves the World series because it's so fun. I've got 24 to 48 hours to decide, let's see what happens!

Today on the blog, I wrote a post about my favorite free writing prompts and I caught up on posting a few character writing prompts pages like this one on the subject of royalty.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 58: Habits

I've found that the productivity in my life has been directly related to my habits good or bad. When I worked out every morning at 5:30 a.m. during my junior and senior years of high school, my productivity went through the roof my first few periods of the day. When I worked at a coffee shop and downed double shots to keep myself perky during work(-y), I found that my productivity suffered when I went home.

Now that I'm writing 2,500 words every morning (that is more recently accompanied by a laptop bike ride), I'm finding that I'm able to get a ton of stuff done each day. While I would like to be able to market my books 24/7 when I'm not writing them, my other tasks like my freelance work, housework and my fun activities on the side have been much more tended to then they were when I wasn't on the writing challenge. If you can make it your habit to get something done each day, you'll find that other things get done as well. Hooray!

I wrote an article today about giving up caffeine and I came very close to finishing at least the beginning of all 500 prompts.