The accountability posts march right along. Since this is the last Sunday of the month, it’s the day to sit down and look at how well I did for the month.
The results were–surprising. The graphic above doesn’t go into a lot of details, but the main point? The process of planning, reviewing, and contemplating the goals I had set for myself, and taking a hard look at what has kept me from accomplishing some of those goals seems to be paying off. In the January summary meeting, I could only identify four things that really got done that month. February, though a shorter month, had eight things that got completed.
Now, granted, the to-do list is shorter as well in January. However, the February list also benefited from further clarity in some areas; most specifically getting a workable, organized promotion process set up by creating a number of spreadsheets (well, all right, THREE spreadsheets) to help me keep track of various aspects of promotion and marketing. One tracks online interviews and reviews; another events (both sales and appearances), and a third is…oh, I don’t know, I’d have to look it up but it’s there (correction: I do know and it’s sitting on my side desk. It’s the monthly promotion plan, broken down by week, and it’s printed out and tucked into my planner so that I can look at it, create graphics as needed, and check off to-dos).
One thing that has thrown me for a small loop is the whole AI kerfuffle. I have eleven short stories that I’ve had out on submission. At the moment, possible markets are either closed or else limiting submissions to once every three weeks after a rejection or acceptance. This somewhat causes problems with sending stories out to the top markets first, which is supposed to be best practice for submission protocols. It slows everything down, and…at this point, I’m having to change my regular submission day from once a week to once, maybe twice a month. And that is still problematic because rejections somewhat trickle in, bit-by-bit, and they don’t necessarily fit MY schedule. One of the challenges in managing ADHD is being able to set things up in an organized fashion so that I am not extremely dependent upon a faulty executive functioning process (I had an entire tracking protocol set up for case management when I worked in special education) to remember when stuff is supposed to happen. So–push submissions days out to every two months? Only once a month? Set up yet ANOTHER spreadsheet (or connected sheet) to track WHEN I can send a story out to the next market? ARRRGH.
I haven’t figured it out yet. I’m still struggling with how to make that work. Meanwhile, I’m just letting rejections flow back in. I created a folder in my email program which is labeled “Unprocessed Rejections” and am leaving it at that, until I figure out what to do next. Do I want to keep sending stories out, against a rising tide of AI competition? Wait and see what happens as magazines develop protocols to manage this new twist, just like they did when electronic submissions became dominant? While I’m becoming known (hopefully in a positive manner), I’m not sufficiently well-known that my name alone will get my foot in the door. Which means–still in the slush pile.
One possibility is that I use those short stories as Patreon rewards. Between those short stories and my previously printed stories, I probably have enough to last me for a while. Would I have enough subscribers to make a Patreon worthwhile? I don’t know. I’m not encouraged by my Substack subscriptions, and those are freebies. At the moment, I’m still sticking to the goal of writing one short story a month. Right now, they’re going to be reader magnets and worldbuilding tie-ins for my Goddess’s Vision series. Which is still in development (sigh).
Why do I have this mental image of moving huge piles of laundry when I think about this? Because that’s what a lot of what I am doing right now feels like. I have a lot of one-time organizing tasks to get done that, once I get them set up, will hopefully sustain themselves. But oh dear God, it’s processing to get to that sustaining mode that is such the heavy load.
Nonetheless, things are working. I’m making regular book sales. Nothing huge, but enough to be encouraging. I’m making my way through a backlog of things that got shoved off when the cataract started acting up a year ago.
I have decided that I’m going to work on adding a 100% Human Produced branding to my work. I’ll write more about this later, but my suspicion is that 100% human produced creative writing is going to become like handmade craft work. Perhaps I’ll add in my handmade craft work as well–and oh do I want to get back to having time to sew and design craft work as well as write. It’s just finding the damn time!
I’m using the new MacBookAir more. Right now, it’s where I’m doing the formatting for reissued work in Vellum. I can sit in my recliner in the evenings and get some done.
Plus–this is only the second month that I’ve been doing this. I know from my teaching days that oh yes, I am so capable of putting together an organized plan. I have created scope and sequence lesson plans for entire years. But…sustaining that organizational work frequently fell by the wayside (well, I was training a horse, working special ed, managing some home stuff, and writing…lots of stuff on the plate and lots more chaos than my current life).
Will I be able to keep this up?
I hope to do so. But we shall see.