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Progress Report 2023 Week 28

The problem with high acceleration is that once you hit a certain speed, maneuverability becomes a challenge. Worse, a crash incurs and causes more damage. Yeah, it’s been that kind of week — and it’s only Monday. But it’s not all bad news. Before I get into that, let’s look at the numbers for the previous week.

Progress Report 2023 Week 28 By the Numbers

No matter how I look at it, it was a busy week.

You can see from the infographic that I completed two of my three goals from last week: finishing the second draft of the plot outline for Evolution’s Hand Book 6: Unnatural Crypsis and incorporating the beta/proofreading feedback into Evolution’s Hand Book 4: Blind Exodus. For the former, I think I can now see the plot through the POV characters’ eyes. For the latter, since we’re inbetween anime seasons, I had a little extra time, so I just plowed through the feedback.

As a bonus, I solicited bids for the Blind Exodus’ cover. Once again, I awarded the contract to Jesh Art Studio on Fiverr. Even adding that goal didn’t exhaust everything I tried to tackle this week. Unfortunately, I don’t think I did myself any favors.

High Dynamic Stress

An aerodynamic body can travel at high speeds through an atmosphere. However, if even a small part malfunctions or falls off, turbulence and friction from the high speed can rip the airframe apart. I’ve been trying to keep my primary career, my family life, my secondary career (anime blogger), and my aspiring career (novelist) moving — and moving quickly. I even tried to throttle up this week. In hindsight, I believe that was a mistake.

This morning, I tried to get my mind around all the moving parts of the workflow from a Facebook ad to an Amazon purchase. Yes, it’s stupidly simple. Yes, I should be humiliated I need to diagram it. But if I’ve learned one thing in my life (and there is doubt associated with this conclusion), it’s that I need to own my failings. Once owned, I need to work through them or strengthen them — preferably both.

Yeah, it’s trivial. But I have to get my mind around this or my characters won’t find readers.

I guess I can say it worked. I had expected the diagram to be more complex. I suppose it might be, but this was enough to help me realize just how hopelessly far I am from effective marketing. Yes, I’ve improved. But it’s not enough. This thought experiment helped me glimpse just how far off I am.

Ever see a house of cards when you slash across the bottom rung with a ruler?

My house of psychological cards blew apart. I’ve been pushing forward on all four fronts for so long, and I had accumulated so much momentum, that I didn’t have the emotional reserves to recover. Honestly, I considered never publishing again. I know that I can’t stop writing. But I could stop publishing.

I probably shouldn’t be so transparent here. But I chose to be so on the off chance that it might help another writer who faces a similar situation. To that kindred soul, please let me say this: the phrase about it being the darkest just before the dawn? Yeah, that’s optimism. It gets way darker than that.

But you know what? A dawn still comes. Even if it didn’t, it’s not like we can stop writing, is it? So, accept the darkness, maybe buy it a cup of coffee, and start putting the card house back together. Writing can be painful, but not writing is even worse.

My wife has contacts in the social media world. She found some leads who are experts in not only social media, but in marketing books in general. Consulting with them will be my next step. After I talk to them, I’ll decide whether I want to keep publishing or not.

Progress against Last Week’s Goals

We already talked about how I hit last week’s first two goals. The third goal was to start writing Book 6: Unnatural Crypsis. I didn’t get anything written. The reason’s simple: I knew I was missing something. Even after finishing the second draft of the plot, I had a sense I something still wasn’t right.

In my youth, that would have been enough to make me drop this project and try to start another. Fortunately, I’ve learned to take this as an indicator that I need to dig deeper. I spent Sunday working on it, and I think I have it figured out. Not only did it improve how cohesive the plot is for Unnatural Crypsis. It also helped me understand I had left a chapter out of Evolution’s Hand Book 5: Split Infinities.

I missed a whole chapter in the previous book. Sorry, Midnight Rendezvous! Well, at least I caught it before publication!

I added a goal mid-week. I store my Scrivener files on my house file server so I can use my laptop or desktop to work on them. Also, I have Backblaze installed on that file server. Before I write, I check them out; when I’m finished, I back them up. The longer manuscripts, like Split Infinities, were taking up to 30 minutes to copy. Obviously, that’s a pain. I found a solution (I think on Stack Overflow) that is genius in its simplicity: use rsync instead of scp. I felt like a complete idiot for not figuring that out on my own. I suspect that contributed to my marketing reaction this morning.

Talk about undermining one’s confidence…

Despite this morning’s meltdown, I did get a lot done. I also have a lot planned. I’ll take that as a good sign.

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2023 Week 28

Here are my goals for this week:

  1. Begin writing Evolution’s Hand Book 6: Unnatural Crypsis
  2. Take delivery of the cover for Blind Exodus
  3. Come up with an itemized list of next steps for my marketing effort
  4. Make a go/no-go decision regarding publication of books 5 and 6

What Do You Think?

Do you have any key performance indicators you use to know when you’re too close to the red line? I guess to put that in human terms, do you have any signs you watch for to prevent an emotional crash? I’d love to know your thoughts! Feel free to share in the comments!

3 thoughts on “Progress Report 2023 Week 28

  1. I think there comes a time when we just need to give ourselves a break. I don’t when that is though because I’ve got loads to get on with and so do you, by the looks of things.

    I’ve actually started to try to implement some small changes and seeing if the overall impact stacks. I don’t remember where I heard about it but it could have been Chris Fox’s YouTube channel. Be warned, it might sound like procrastinating, but I think it could work.

    Basically, if you come across a job that needs doing, for example an overflowing trashcan, do it – take out the trash. Don’t squash more in and say to yourself that you’re going to do it later. Every little task you complete is another accomplishment. The more you accomplish in a day the better you should feel about things, which might make it easier to accomplish more.

    I started it this morning and feel pretty good right now. Hopefully, the benefits will keep stacking. Will keep you posted!

    It wasn’t this video, but it’s also a good one to think about –

    1. Thanks for the ideas!

      I remember watching Chris Fox’s video before. I enjoy his work. He’s open with his process and is willing to share — all very cool.

      My problem is that I haven’t developed an off switch. I think you’re right — I need to figure out how to take a break. Unfortunately, some of the fronts I’m active on don’t allow it. That’s going to be an interesting puzzle to solve!

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