Blog Move Update and a Link Not to Miss!

fireworks

Image courtesy of pal2iyawit/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Okay, the day arrived and I was mostly successful. The blog has moved to it’s new home at http://www.ericdontigney.com/blog. If you follow this blog, I recommend updating your bookmarks and RSS feeds, so you’ll continue to receive updates. This is also an excellent opportunity to sign up for email updates. Just enter your email address in the little box to right of this post, directly above where it says subscribe. That way you won’t miss a single post and you’ll hear about it as soon a new posts go live.

If you signed up before, I apologize, but I couldn’t find a way to automatically import existing subscribers. If you know a way to do that, please a leave a comment and let me know how.

I’m still trying to work out the details of the how to get the URLs that lead to the old blog to redirect to this blog. My hosting service redirect function is not playing nice, so I’ll be calling in some tech support to see if they can’t explain the issue/provide a fix for me.

You’ve all been very patient during this process, which included me being kind of flaky about getting posts up. Now that the blog has been transferred, I intend to get back onto a weekly schedule of posting. There’s always something new to discuss in the world of writing and I’m excited to spend more time focusing on that and less time focusing on the technical details of transferring a blog.

In the meantime, while you’re waiting on me to write something interesting, I’d like to commend a post from Jeff Goins blog (which you should absolutely be following!): 3 Steps to Building a Killer Tribe. No, it’s not directly about writing, but it’s certainly relevant to building the kind of audience you need to make a successful go at being a writer.

Official Update: Blog Move News

As promised, here is the official announcement regarding the move of this blog to its new home at www.ericdontigney.com. I think I’ve got the technical ducks mostly lined up and I’m expecting to make the transfer on Saturday, November 23, 2013. As I said, if I do things right, all of the old URLs should automatically redirect to the correct post at the new URL. I will keep you all updated about the status of the move.

Scheduling and Accountability Equals More Writing

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

While it’s not an exact equation, when it comes to writing for a living, there is a definite correlation between writing more and getting paid more. The tougher part is figuring out how to squeeze more writing out of yourself. This is where scheduling and accountability come into the situation.

For years, I followed a pattern of writing in fits and spurts. While this did sometimes lead to extraordinary burst of productivity, like 50 pages on a novel in one night, it also led to a very inconsistent income. I wasn’t happy with that inconsistency, but I stuck hard to my old routine even though I knew it wasn’t working. After all, I knew me and what worked for me better than every productivity and efficiency expert that ever put pen to paper. Right…sure I did.

So not too long back, I wised up a shred. I decided that I was going to try an experiment. Instead of writing willy-nilly, I would impose order on chaos. I would take some of those suggestions I’d read about and, when I’m honest, written about and commended to others….oh hypocrisy, thy name is Eric…and put them into action.

The first thing I did was impose a schedule for doing paying work. I would do paying work during the work week, Monday – Friday, and I would do it during more or less regular work hours. I would set daily and weekly earning goals. I also set writing goals for my personal projects.

What happened next surprised me, but it shouldn’t have. My productivity increased. The first week or two, I was still struggling against the changes and didn’t meet all of my earning goals, but I was making money way more consistently than ever before. More importantly, I was also being way more productive on my novel. Instead of thinking I could maybe, possibly, somehow get it written by the end of January, I was suddenly on track to finish by Christmas. The scheduling and goal setting was working.

The big change, however, was in terms of accountability. This happened for me by chance, but I suggest you impose it by design. I’d looped a friend of mine in on most of these changes and she began to act as both an accountability buddy and as a cheerleader. Once that happened, not only was I writing when I was supposed to be writing, but also writing more to meet my goals. That novel I was hoping to finish by Christmas is now on track to be finished by the first week of December.

I can’t really express the turnaround in my quality of life. My negative self-talk dropped off by something like 90%. I’ve finally started being able to take active control of my finances. I’m sleeping on regular schedule and sleeping better. Maybe, most importantly, my stress level has nosedived. If you’ve struggled with these same issues, learn from my mistakes. Embrace scheduling and encourage accountability. It can change your life.

Changes, They Are a Coming

World on Fire

Image courtesy of chrisroll/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For the last several years this blog has been proudly attached to the Samuel Branch website. When I first started it, the idea was to use the blog as means for delivering updates on the Samuel Branch series of novels that I’m still hard at work on. It was also there for the occasional foray into book and movie reviews, some thoughts on writing and a bit of social commentary.

As we draw toward the end of 2013, and thanks to a salient comment on Twitter, I’ve been giving some thought to the future of this blog. In the last year and a half, give or take, this blog has evolved away from its original purpose and taken on a different kind of life. While I certainly intend to keep my readers abreast about my various writing ventures, this blog now serve primarily as platform devoted to the professional side of writing and, to some extent, the particular challenges facing indie authors. As such, I believe it’s time for a change.

In the next month or so, this blog will transition to a new URL: ericdontigney.com, specifically. (For the curious: At the moment, there isn’t anything to see on the new site, but there will be soon.)This move will come as part of a consolidation of some of my varied projects and the new site will, with any luck, serve as central hub for those interested in just what it is I do and what I write. Transitioning the blog is the first step in that process.

What you won’t see is any major changes in the appearance of the blog, though a new header that includes a decent picture of me is almost certainly in order. When the blog makes the transition, I will leave a redirect page in place at its old location. If I do this correctly, old links should automatically redirect to their corresponding post at the new URL location. If I don’t do this correctly…well, here’s hoping I do it correctly.

I will keep you updated on this process and make sure to announce it before the transition goes into full effect.

Branch Novel Update

For those of you who come here mainly to find out about Sam Branch related news, I have some. I have recently crossed the 80,000 word mark on the third Sam Branch novel (Rises). With hope, and some luck, I’m aiming to finish the first draft by Christmas.

Writing Success is Not the Same as Successful Writing

pondering writer

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Like a lot of writers out there, I made a fundamental error for a long time. I assumed that success as a writer was a mark of successful writing. That’s not true. These are categorically different things and, as writers, we need to keep the distinction firmly in mind.

What is Successful Writing?

Successful writing is, in the end, writing that achieves its intended goal. Did you set out to write a novel? Did you write it? You did? Awesome! That’s successful writing. You set a goal and reached it. Did you set out to write an article about why the term “mommy blogger” is one you should avoid like the plague? Did you write it? If you did, that’s successful writing.

Finishing isn’t the only thing that matters, but finishing is the first major step in successful writing. If you don’t finish, the writing can never achieve any of its other goals.

Of course, successful writing also means employing a particular set of skills to the task of writing. Is it grammatically correct? Typo free? Does it use an appropriate structure? Have I chosen the right word and not its first cousin? Have I avoided fallacious reasoning? Are the facts correct? Does it evoke the proper emotional response or engage the intellect? Does it inform? All of these are hallmarks of successful writing as well.

Writing is an activity to which we can apply a loosely defined body of rules, conventions and techniques. If you’re doing that and, preferably, doing that well, you are successfully writing.

The question that does not apply to whether something is successful writing is this: Did it sell a lot of copies? Other variants of this question go along these lines. Did it get a lot of hits/likes/shares/pins/tweets/retweets and so on? None of these have anything to do with successfully writing something.

What is Writing Success?

Writing success, though sometimes correlated with successful writing, is about an entirely different set of rules, conventions and outcomes. Writing success is all about the sales numbers, the hits, the shares, the tweets, retweets and pins. Writing success is about reaching a level of popularity, not about how well or poorly you engage in the activity of writing.

We can all point to books, articles, and blog posts that demonstrate a profound failure in the actual activity of writing that are, nonetheless, writing successes. They are juggernauts that no amount of reason, critical commentary or the rules of grammar can seem to bring down.

Sometimes these bits of atrocious writing tap into something that’s been nagging at the collective unconscious of the country, world, or intercybernetwebspace. Other times they rise to the top by being the first to talk about a particular trend. Other times, there seems to be no explanation for it. That doesn’t mean the authors of these pieces are successfully writing, just experiencing writing success.

The next time you sit down with a piece of your writing, look at it from the perspective of successfully writing and not just from the perspective of writing success. Look at all the things you did right with it and forget about whether the world at large loves it to pieces. I bet you’ll discover that you are, in fact, successfully writing.