Progress – 2018 official

Last year I gave a report for the 2017. I thought I’d do the same this year, just to wrap things up, even though I feel (as I’m writing this sentence) that it won’t be nearly as impressive as last year’s post. I did a lot in 2017, considering it wasn’t a very good year personally with my dad passing away. I’m sure that bleed into 2018, but maybe as I look back, I will find something to surprise me. So, let’s reflect now on 2018.

I’m running this a bit late so that I could get in all my numbers for the 31st. I wanted the year full and complete. I was going to add that I usually write during the turning of the clock to the new year, because I was told many years ago that you should be doing what you want to come in the new year at the striking of 12. Because of that, there might be a few words that I’ll transition into 2019, but actually I probably should be editing. 2019 needs to be the year of reviewing what I’ve already written. I have a lot of work to do there. So, let’s move on.

Let’s start off by talking about the numbers for the last full week of 2018.

Words written in the last week of December: 6,668 words of both fiction and non-fiction. Sorry, I forgot to write these down the breakdown before I set the sheet up for this week, so that’s all I’ve got.

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,354 words today, because today all I’ve been doing is writing blogs. No fiction for you today!

Writing month to date total:  28,761 words

Drawing/painting last week: I continued working on those dang space paintings which I keep swearing I’m done with. I started playing with some acrylic fluid medium and am really enjoying how it enhances the depth of them. We’ll see how it looks when they dry. I really wanted to finish them in 2018 since that’s when most of the painting was done. I’m hoping I’m there. I also have been repairing the canvas of my lotus painting. It’s almost done. I’m thrilled because I’m not even done and the scar has nearly vanished. Pictures coming; I’ve been documenting the process.

Audio: I spent 6.6 hours last week recording and editing audio and just over 2.6 hours today. I did manage to get Fall’s Confession uploaded, so even though it won’t come out until 2019, it’s a 2018 complete. Check that box off! I have started recording the voices for Manifest the Magic and I’m ready to get started on editing the first couple of chapters.

So how did the year turn out overall?

Let me start by saying that it’s been another not fun year. In fact, I kept trying to hire an assassin to kill 2018 in its infancy. Toward the end of the year I was commenting on how fast it was going and my son replied with a comment akin to, “Well, Mom, you kept saying that you wanted to throw 2018 back and the universe knew that it couldn’t do that, so it just fast-forwarded the year for you.”

Timey-whimy, whibbly-wobbly. That’ll teach mean to wish the years away!

Of course, it certainly didn’t help matters when my websites were hijacked by the hosting provider who refused to give them back. Fortunately I still had access to my dashboard, which allowed me to at least buy new domains and redirect my websites with forwarding. But because I wasn’t sure I’d get my websites back and that my forwards would one day stop working when the websites were taken offline, I had to go back through my books and get everything pointed toward the new websites, which also had to be built on a different platform away from my original host. I had to set up new email accounts and get all my accounts all over the Internet as well as newsletters I wanted to make sure I continued to get. Honestly, I got quite a bit of all that done, but not all. I made phone calls to the registrar of the domain and to ICANN, all who had their hands tied because of the privacy settings on my domains so my name wasn’t associated with them. I wrote letters, sending them certified. I went looking for an attorney to start suing to get my domains back.

Then one late night in October, I decided to do another Google search on the company and found a post from a guy who was experiencing exactly the same thing with the hosting company, but he reported that he’s called the registrar and after about 10 minutes on the phone, got his domains back under his control. Needless to say, the very next morning, I call the registrar, found out they were authorized to return the domains to those who could provide the invoice for the domain purchase, and, well, it wasn’t 10 minutes but maybe more like half an hour, I had my domains back.

I swear that was the first thing in 2018 that went right. That same week other things started falling into place. I think I had finally turned around the series of unfortunate events that had started in 2017.

Lesson: DON’T EVER LET SOMEONE ELSE CONTROL YOUR DNS RECORDS!

Now I fully understand why I had to become an indie author/publisher. I had to have control of my copyright — the publishing industry is rampant with intellectual property thieves. Whether it’s your domain name or your copyright, it’s your intellectual property and it can be taken from you if you don’t keep control of it. Don’t ever think a contract is going to keep you safe, especially if you go with the one that is offered; it’s not written for your benefit. I learned that when I was fighting for my domains and really dug into the contracts I had with the hosting company. I had literally tied my own hands. Only because of the hosting company’s non-response did I have any leg to stand on. Literary agent and publishing contracts are not for your benefit; they are for the agent or publishing house. Let that be your final warning.

Because of this whole fiasco, I initially bought 4 extra domains, not including the .net versions of my domains so that could move everything over. Three of those domains are something I had been thinking about for a couple of years, but I hadn’t taken action. I still didn’t get to do anything with them because of the time needed for rebuilding and relinking everything. But I hope that in the next year, I can do something with them.

I currently have 10 domains. My previous webhost lost out.

And the DNS records are under my control!

Sorry, that was kind of long winded, but it took a lot of my time and energy, which meant things didn’t get done. When I’m writing and sending emails or certified letters (for which I don’t get to take the word count on!), rebuilding websites on a new platform so I could establish redirect links, or I’m having to update the web addresses in my books and republish, new words aren’t getting written and the words that have been written aren’t getting reviewed.

I knew it was having an impact on my writing and art, but until I wrote these words, I don’t think I had really considered how damaging that loss of time was. No wonder I lost my daily word counts for a while and why I couldn’t even manage to get the weekly counts in. In looking back at the data of my spreadsheet, I see that my days started to fail when I first discovered that my websites were having issues and I wrote my initial demand for the sites to be unlocked and transferred. Then, things really crashed as I scrambled to build new sites. My word counts once again pick up once I had the websites and redirects in place.

Seeing the devastation in the numbers, it’s amazing I managed to hit my yearly word goal. And it’s little wonder that my drawing and painting took a side seat.

That reflection was probably good for me. It tells me that I can get back on track all around.

Let’s see what happened.

Writing year to date total: 338,586 words. This is pretty close to what I achieved last year. So even though I had lowered my daily word count, I still hit over my 300,000 goal. I have more on this below in my reflection and goal area.

My best month was January at 36,294 words. My most productive days were Sundays, followed by Saturday. Third most productive days were Wednesday.

In 2018, I spent 239 hours recording and editing audio. I produced 12 and a quarter hours of finished, uploaded audio. Goal for this year: make that a better ratio!

Titles released in 2018:

To me, this is the real proof of a successful writing year. After all, if it’s written but it sits on the computer so no one else can read it, then the work hasn’t been completed. This year, I have a lot of words written, but not enough completion. As I said above, I”m going to be working on my “rabbit-hole editing” next year.

Oh, wait! I have a picture for you. My “publishing calendar” for 2018/2019

I know it looks like a shorter list, but don’t let that deceive you — there’s only 3 titles difference. This list will grow hopefully throughout the year as projects become more fully realized.

I released the following titles last year:

I’m with Cupid

Prince of the Ruined Land (Sacred Knight #4)

Eggs at Play

Mystery of the Stardust Monk

1-800-IceBaby

Let’s Make a Deal

Eggs at Play was the children’s book I wrote and illustrated. I also released the print version of 1-800-CallLoki (the omnibus of the first 5 novellas of The Loki Adventures).

That is 135,775 words published between the 5 titles (not including Eggs at Play). I had wanted to publish 7-8 titles this year, and I got 6 new ones and 1 omnibus. Not bad.

In audiobooks, I released the following titles in 2018:

For Sale, Call Loki

For a Good Time, Call Loki

Quest for the Three Books

I’m with Cupid

Fall’s Confession

I had wanted to put out 2-3 audiobooks, so I really think that reaching 5 was awesome. I attribute this to using Adobe Audition over Audacity. Editing just goes so much faster. I’ve gotten even more tools to use and really hope that I can make my editing hours ratio even better as I stated above.

Reflection and goals for 2019

I’ve continued my weekly Wednesday free fiction. I hope those of you reading them have found them interesting. Those of you that read through Onesong with me last year will be in for quite a surprise when I release Tangled Magic and Walk the Path. There are many changes that took place. For those that remember the story, I feel like you will enjoy the developments.

My 2018 writing goals aren’t quite so lofty as they had been in 2017. I wanted to keep a steady pace but avoid burnout. I admit, it got really hard toward the end. There were days I wanted to throw my word count streak to the wind. It’s a good thing I’m stubborn. For 2019, I’ve lowered the daily word count even more because I want some time to work on drawing and painting. I just don’t have time to do it all at the level of production I want to be at. That means I have to scale everything back rather than just having one area of focus. I don’t like arguing with myself about how to spend my time because then nothing gets done. So, I hope that dropping my word count down just a little bit will free up the time I need for the drawing and painting. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, so we shall see what really happens.

Of the 12 titles currently listed on my “publishing calendar,” I really do believe that 4 of them are far enough along that I can say they will be published next year. That being said, I hope to have 5-7 titles actually released.

Audio is another area that I will continue focusing on. It and writing will continue to be a priority. My plan is to have 4 audiobooks out next year. If I can get my ratios up, then maybe I can make even more. It would make me happy. I enjoy doing the audiobooks.

I want to paint enough pictures next year to overcome whatever block I have had for the last several years. I can start a painting, but I lose my confidence and I start to hate it. I know that putting myself before the canvas is the most important thing, so I will do more of that. I will push myself through this obstacle and I will succeed. I hope to do more art shows next year so that I have a deadline to push me.

I also attended several comic/gaming conventions this year and I’m already signed up to do several in 2019. Marketing and getting out there to sell your wares is always a large part of being in business.

Speaking of which, I wasn’t very faithful to my newsletter in 2018. It’s my hope to go bi-weekly for this in 2019. As I said in another blog, I’m learning and I’m hoping people enjoy it. Much like I hope you keep enjoying my blog.

Nothing happens overnight. It takes time to build. Now that I’ve reached the end, yes, 2018 has surprised me in how much consistent action taken over time can build up. Even after the fiasco with my websites, I managed to get a lot in. I believe that my goals and plans for 2019 are exactly where I need to be. I’m looking forward to the adventures ahead.

Thank you for reading and being part of my journey. Happy 2019 to you!

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