Another episode is up and ready for your viewing pleasure! You can watch it below.
Before that, I thought I'd muse a bit on what it means to have a workflow as an author. If you're an indie publisher, I think you'll vibe to this. If you're a reader, think of it as a sneak peek into how the magic happens!
The video below talks more about the tools I use, but my workflow is really a "system" for getting books written. I've had a few people ask me about this, especially those with "a book in the works." I'm going to give you a "how it works for me," and you can try it to see if it works for you. But my caveat is this: A process or system only works if you've decided to be disciplined enough to use it every day.
Got it? Good. Let's go!
It starts in the morning. Early morning. I generally wake up at 5 a.m. and get going on my day. So first thing after waking up, I exercise.
I can hear the groaning now. I know there's groaning, because that groaning used to come from me. But I've discovered a startling truth: Your brain lives in your body! And if your brain is the primary tool for creating awesome creative work, you probably need to take care of the thing it's attached to. Think of your brain as being a sort of parasitic organism, with a symbiotic relationship to its host (the body). Mmm ... parasites.
Getting up early has a lot of advantages. It's quiet in the mornings, for starters. You know that groaning you were doing a minute ago? Everyone does that. Because most normal people don't like to be awake at 5 a.m. Most normal people like to sleep as late as possible, until the need to go to a job or to feed a child or to urinate becomes too overwhelming to ignore.
Newsflash: You're not normal. If your goal is to turn over page after page of written work, in the hopes that someone will read and love your story, and by extension love and adore you, then you have some serious issues. I'm speaking from knowledge. Writers are not normal people.
So getting up early means avoiding all those normal people. You can usually get at least two solid hours of writing done before someone in the house starts grumbling their way out of bed.
Discipline isn't a dirty word
I used to hate hearing the word "discipline." For the most part, the only time anyone ever said it was when I was going to be on the receiving end of a whole lot of suck. Discipline, as far as I could tell, meant "I'm not going to have any fun at all."
Which was true for very long time. And now it isn't.
Why the change? Because I finally figured out what discipline actually means.
It isn't a punishment, it's a tool. In fact, it's the tool. It's the most powerful thing in your utility belt for actually accomplishing this ridiculous dream you have.
If you want to write a book, there is literally only one way to accomplish that dream: WRITE THE BOOK.
If you want to write a lot of books, there's a correlating answer for that, too: WRITE MORE BOOKS.
The way you write a book is one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one scene, one page, one chapter, one book at a time.
Want to build a wall? Start stacking bricks. Eventually you'll have enough bricks in one place that they magically morph from bricks to "wall."
The same is true for books. Start with a word, and keep adding to that. But the important thing is to come back to it every single day.
I write every morning. No matter what day it is, I try to knock out my word count for that day. When I don't, I feel like crap. Because after forcing myself to come back to the keyboard every day, for months, it's become more than just a habit. I've developed a discipline, and that discipline nags me when I step out of line. Which is good, because I can be pretty lazy. You probably are too.
Decide: "I'm going to sit down in this spot every day, and write until I have at least X number of words each day."
I have a word target minimum of 1,500 words per day. Most days I blow that out of the water with 3,000 words, and some days I obliterate it with as many as 10,000 words. Since my books tend to be between 50-thousand and 75-thousand words in length, sticking to the discipline of hitting my word goal each day makes it possible for me to knock out a book in a month. Not years. Not decades.
Writing discipline is force multiplier. Get more books out there by committing to writing every day.
You down with GSD?
Turns out, Getting Stuff Done (GSD) is actually a lot of fun.
When you have a list of things to accomplish, and they sit there waiting for you, it makes the suck increase exponentially. All you can manage is to dread that list, every time you think about it. Also, don't those To-Do lists seem to grow like crazy? It's like they're hit with fertilizer every couple of days.
I use Asana for task management (I mention this in the video below). This lets me create a list of To-Dos that I can check off as I go. But that's not what helps me GSD.
As part of my discipline (see above!), I make my To-Do list, and then I organize it by priority. This takes a few seconds. It's not actually all that tough (though I used to dread it ... because I'm a writer, and thus not normal). Once I have that list organized, I immediately look for things to check off. I start at the top, and move through everything as quick as possible.
Email that client? Check!
Upload that content? Check!
Send that invoice? Check!
Edit yesterday's words? Check!
Every check mark is like a little mini slice of heaven. I watch that list dwindle down to nothing but greyed-out liens of text, and I allow myself to feel the pure ecstasy of GSD. I get shivers just thinking about it.
For example, on my To-Do for today?
Write a companion post to the Ep 002 video: CHECK!
There's more to this workflow, of course. Nuances. Tricks. Tasks that are too mundane to describe in a blog post, or those that are too complex to break down here. The important bits are these: Decide what you want to do, determine when you're going to do it, and then do it.
Taking action is always the way to get something done. Sounds simplistic? It is. But surprisingly, too many indie authors spend their time worrying that they aren't getting any books written, instead of actually writing them. Or task creep overwhelms them, and they can't figure out how to get out of the mire.
If you're an indie publisher, and you'd like some help in developing a workflow of your own, or help in developing the business of being an author, contact me. I offer some author coaching that will help, I promise. And I will be here to walk you through it, so you won't be alone in this.
Now ... check out the video!