This is what I woke to today and is the inspiration behind me writing this and sharing some insight with you, in hopes that it will inspire you to achieve.
Each morning, before working on my new novel, I track the sales ranking of my published novels, collecting daily data in a spreadsheet so that I can track my behaviors with sales trends. This is today's ranking for my debut novel, Chasing the Demon:
The book is nearing the Top 50,000 in all of the Kindle store & is in the Top 1,000 in each of its 3 categories.
Why does this matter? It does.
Did I write this to brag? No.
Millions of people dream about writing a novel.
And the vast majority give up on that dream somewhere along the path.
There are as many reasons why people quit on their writing dream, as people who quit dreaming about writing.
I've been there myself and understand it well. And as I close out 2018, I have published three books this year, have 3 more in the queue, ready to be edited and published (aiming for all of them to come out in 2019), and I'm weeks into outlining what will be a long-running epic fantasy series.
I'm on a roll.
I'm living my writing dream.
And I believe everyone can live their dream, with a slight tweak.
It wasn't about discipline for me--I've had plenty of that since my teens. It wasn't about a writing habit--I've been getting up hours before work to get my writing in before the day started.
No, the difference between all those years I wrote and published nothing to this year was my mindset.
The way I chose to look at my writing, my writing experience, my writing accomplishments this year has been the difference between being the dude publishing books like he's wanted to since he was 8 years old, and the dude who continues to bring the same stuff to writing groups week after week without ever putting it into the world.
The difference in my mindset, and the key switch that I made, was not focusing on the "big" goal, like publishing a book, but focusing on the small victories along the way.
Setting a word count goal and sticking to it
Completing a scene
Asking for/receiving feedback on a concept
Finding a cover artist
Talking to the cover artist
Posting on Wattpad
Using a writing prompt to write a flash story
Editing a tough chapter
These are victories. Small, though they may be, they are victories nonetheless. Posting the Amazon rankings for Chasing the Demon isn't about ego; it's not about a brag (trust me, hitting the top 1,000 in all 3 categories today might buy me a 2nd craft beer), it's not even something I use to dream of bigger paydays to come, when I have more books in the marketplace.
It's a small victory. Nothing more.
But it's taking the time to recognize small victories which sustains me through the dark times, when I doubt myself, when others do it for me (usually with glee), or even when my current Work-in-Progress isn't giving me that mmmmm-mmmm-mmmm feeling I love to chase.
It's an accomplishment.
Small. Tiny. Insignificant in the big picture. But an accomplishment.
You see, part of my publishing plan was to get the first 3 books published and then spend time learning how to market them, how to use Amazon Ads effectively, etc.. Over the past two weeks, I've started doing that. I'm taking a course on Amazon Ads and I'm filling my brain with advice from various writers and writing organizations. I'm drinking from the fire hose.
It's intimidating and scary. Every once in a while (approximately, ever third hour), it gets to be overwhelming. But I keep pressing on. My eye remains on the prize--which I've laid out in a 5-Year Plan.
I don't get derailed. I don't get distracted. And that's because I take the time to recognize the small victories along the way. There are times when those victories happen a few times a week. And there are times when I don't see a victory for a week or two at a time. But, by establishing a mindset--and following it up with behaviors--I've made it a habit now. And that's the key to sustaining for the long journey ahead.
So, I ask you, dear writing friend, are you accomplishing your writing dreams? Would recognizing the small victories instead of dreaming of the mansion you'll buy once Pixar options your book help you stay on track?
Take some time this weekend and make a list of what you'd consider and accept as small victories. Keep that near your writing area, wherever that may be, and review it constantly, until you, too, find yourself proud of doing that "small" thing today. It makes a world of difference when you're able to push away from the keyboard because you wrote those 100 words before racing off to Christmas shop because you subscribe to a theory like my "Zero 0 Word Count Days." It helps your mind switch into a positive productive mode (like mine this morning), where you're energized to edit a 2,500 word chapter because you "won" the internet with a small Amazon ranking that no one else in the world cares about.
Recognizing the small victories quells the dissenting voice that kills creativity.
Find your small victories.
Commit to recognize your small victories.
And keep being epic.
Check out my Horrible Writing podcast for more insight into my journey and interviews with authors, writers, and audio dramatists who share their real stories of achievement.
If you're interested in selling more books, pick up "Novel Idea to Podcast: How to Sell More Books Through Podcasting," out in ebook and audiobook.
Are you looking for the perfect Christmas gift for the horror fan in your life? Grab my new holiday horror anthology "12 Deaths of Christmas."
And if you enjoy thrillers, check out my debut novel, "Chasing the Demon."