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Progress Report 2024 Week 11

I had a nagging feeling that I was missing something in The Sword of Sirius Book 2: Collapse Zone. Or was it another case of inner demons trying to assert themselves? Also, I watched a Chris Fox video this week, and it made me realize something. Multiple somethings, in fact, but one thing relevant to my writing efforts. Finally, how’d writing go this week? Let’s look at the infographic before diving into those questions!

Progress Report 2024 Week 11 By the Numbers

Astonishingly. I broke 10,000 words again this week!

I’m not sure how I’ve managed to do it, but since I started writing Collapse Zone in 2024 week 6, I’ve managed to stay north of 10,000 words a week. Writing this book feels a little different. I tried to put more thought into the plot and how the individual components connected. I also tried to think hard about the three POV characters. I wanted to have a good handle on their motivations, the obstacles facing them, etc.

I did that in the previous seven books I’ve written. This time, though, I’m trying to pull those elements out of my subconscious into my conscious where I can breath more life into them. This week, for example, I felt like something was missing in Ira Malhotra’s arc. I was about to write an emotionally critical chapter, but it felt hollow. Looking at the outline, which is another way of saying “reviewing how her arc has developed,” I realized I needed more depth at a previous point.

It felt great to make that determination in minutes, instead of wringing my hands and blaming inner demons for weeks. It felt even better to write the new chapter and feel the threads of her arc snick into place. I really hope readers connect with this new series!

Reflecting on Malhotra’s arc, I realized her Pinch 2 needed more punch. It was easier to articulate that this time around.

Chris Fox’s Video “Why I Stopped Making Videos”

Introspection Based on Chris Fox’s Video

On March 8th, Chris Fox posted an introspective video about why he hasn’t posted a video in a good long while. To be honest, I’d started to get worried. Not only do I like reading his books, but I appreciate what he’s done for the writing community. I wondered if something had happened to him.

In this new video, he spoke of some writers turning on him as he became popular. That’s not cool. I know of few other writers who have been so honest and transparent about their journeys, all for the purpose of helping others. His book Write to Market isn’t just the excellent resource it promises to be in its title. It’s also the best reference I’ve found for understanding the business components of self-publishing. Even if I didn’t plan to write to market, I’d find that resource insanely helpful. So I don’t get the pushback he had to endure. It bugged me.

For his sake, I’m glad he’s stepping back from publishing videos for that community. And once again, by making a video, he helped me take more control of my writing career. After I watched the video, I selfishly worried where I’d get that kind of advice in the future. As I’ve mentioned here before, I’ve scrutinized my writing and marketing processes, and I know they both need improvement. His videos had been very helpful.

I thought about it for a good long while. And I realized something that shocked me. The idea began after I’d finished listening to Chris Fox’s audio book of “Write to Market” and David Gaughran’s book Strangers To Superfans: A Marketing Guide to The Reader Journey (Let’s Get Publishing Book 2). Because of them, and other books like Tammi L. Labrecque’s outstanding reference Newsletter Ninja, the writing/marketing process felt like it was coming into focus.

That’s a not insubstantial amount of writing. I wonder if 1,107,449 is enough to sand down the initial rough edges?

The School of Hard Knocks — But with Preparation

In fact, I’d say that since I started this journey back in 2020 Week 52, pretty much everything I’ve learned could be summarized and woven together with those three books.

At the very least, if a new writer were to ask me where to start, I’d stay start with Chris Fox’s book, then read David Gaughran’s, then wrap it up with Tammi L. Labrecque’s. That realization made me understand something else. At a certain point, education becomes polishing. That is to say, I think I’m now subject to the law of diminishing returns. My best way to move forward now isn’t to study, or to read, or to listen, or to watch. It’s to do.

As I looked upon that bizarre, tattered web that is my marketing strategy, I realized that all the pieces are there. Those Fox/Gaughran/Labrecque books gave me the framework. Now I need to experiment on my own. Instead of freaking out in the first week of the month if my Facebook ads aren’t producing, I need to remember to let them go for at least two weeks. Instead of panicking that I’m not getting the sales I thought my new blurbs should produce, I know where to look (clicks on my Facebook ads) to see if, statistically speaking, I should expect new sales, and if so, how many.

To be honest, it’s a little scary. It’s like graduating. Or maybe it’s like getting my first job just out of college. Or maybe I’m being an arrogant ass by assuming I’m this far along. Well, one thing’s for sure: my readers and sales figures will let me know!

Progress against Last Week’s Goals

Here’s how I did against last week’s goals:

  1. Finish Ira Malhotra’s Plot Turn 2 (might stretch into two chapters): Done!
  2. Finish the second chapter making up Owen Payne’s Plot Turn 2; it might stretch out another chapter: Done!
  3. Write Luisa Brunner’s Plot Turn 2: Done!
  4. Write Luisa Brunner’s Resolution: Not Done! Instead, I wrote another chapter for Malhotra’s Pinch 2 to give her Plot Turn 2 more punch
  5. (Stretch Objective): Continue plotting the short story/lead magnet staring Jackson Scott: Not Done! See below.

As an added bonus, I finished Payne’s Resolution. His arc is done! And I hope he doesn’t hold what happened against me.

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2024 Week 11

Here’s what I hope to finish this week:

  1. Finish Luisa Brunner’s Resolution
  2. Finish Ira Malhotra’s Resolution
  3. Touch up any of the arcs/plot points that need reinforcement
  4. (Stretch Objective): Continue plotting the short story/lead magnet staring Jackson Scott

What Do You Think?

Given that there’s always a need to learn and adapter, when did you realize that you needed more experience and less research for your marketing/sales efforts? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!

One thought on “Progress Report 2024 Week 11

  1. I experienced that a couple of years ago. I’ve been listening to podcasts and reading everything I could about craft, the business, and more. It was all starting to get very samey. That was when I just needed to do more and experiment more.

    I recently started listening to podcasts again and other than the occasional nugget of information, nothing has changed in the last couple of years. And, all too often, what worked for one person rarely works for everyone, so you definitely have to experiment. It’s the same as the endless list of so-called rules for writing. Some will apply to you, but most probably won’t.

    The best way to learn is by doing, analysing your results, and then adjusting your process accordingly.

    And that’s sad that Chris Fox was bullied like that. He’s been nothing but helpful to the community. I loved watching his videos.

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