40 Things in 40 Weeks


I didn’t blog much last week as my energy levels were all over the place and I got super absorbed in finishing up a thing, but two things I mentioned were a change in life habits and a determination to basically kick off the new year properly in February after January being a mulligan.

That whole sentence is all deeply interconnected, as the fluctuating energy levels were due to the changes in eating, and the thing I was pointedly trying to wrap up by the end of the week related to my resolution. The metabolic stuff has leveled off and even picked up, and I’m now feeling pretty good and expecting as smooth as sailing as is possible for someone with a weird metabolism to begin with. This should mean I can keep to my resolution without detracting from my other activities.

That resolution?

Sometime around or a little bit more than a decade ago, the limited pool of people who knew about me were calling me the most prolific author on the net. I hadn’t figured out how to make money doing what I was doing (and most of the tools necessary honestly didn’t exist, or weren’t quite there). I was writing thousands of words of story per day and posting it for free.

Now the tools are all there, but I’m not… or haven’t been. Too much indecision, too much insecurity, too much paralysis, too many directions being pulled at once, too much brain fog, too much fatigue.

So this year, 2016, is the year that I start getting it back. I started with the goal of every week, putting something up for sale somewhere. A story, an RPG thing, something. Now, for practical reasons,I’m giving myself January as a practice month and considering December a holiday for this purpose, and then just to keep things simple and give myself a little leeway, I’m going to consider every month to be four weeks. Four self-published things “shipped” every month from now through November is the goal, or forty things total for the year.

This might give some people quantity-over-quality concerns, but the thing is: I am that good. I know I’m that good. I know that not everything I write and publish will be everybody’s cup of tea, but that’s not the goal and never the goal. Even if a bunch of people think that 90% of everything I write is unworthy of publication, they’ll never agree on which 10% is, and so if I try to please everyone by withholding the stuff I think people won’t like, I ultimately won’t have anything for anyone to like.

Last week’s thing was a slim, no-frills PDF manual of cleric options for 5th Edition D&D, published on the DMs Guild site. I announced it quietly on social media over the weekend, and will be giving it a proper announcement post here later today. It’s already netted some sales, according to the royalty figures. Not a blockbuster, but not bad.

Now, the other thing I’m going to be working on getting back to is my more daring and experimental phases. Accordingly, some of the things I publish may not be under my own name or visibly connected with me. I’m not 100% committed to that idea because it’s very against the idea of staking out a public position for motivation, but there are a lot more eyes on me than there were in 2004 or 2006 and honestly that’s part of what makes me so inhibited. I’m just leaving myself the option open.

By the end of the week last week I was working exclusively on the D&D manual, but I don’t expect that to be the normal experience. I was learning some things about PDF formatting I’m not going to learn again (nor is everything I publish as part of the 40 going to be a formatted PDF), and dealing with greater than usual fluctuating levels of ability to can.

Don’t take this as an announcement of something I’m going to be doing instead of the stuff I have been trying to do. My approach to this is actually going to be to treat it like a new hobby, something to keep me motivated and moving forward even when I’m stumbling on something else and keep me in the creative brain space between other tasks.

And it’s bound to bring in more money than the other ways I could be spending that time. There’s a question to be answered as to how much, and the only way to find out the answer is by doing, but the number is going to be a positive one. If it’s positive enough, it could make a big difference in my day-to-day stress level.