Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Yeah, that’d be great.

If you haven’t seen the movie OFFICE SPACE, please go watch it right now.

Put everything else in your life on hold, bookmark this blog post so you don’t lose it, lock your computer and go sit your butt down in front of the TV and watch the movie.

Don’t do anything else until you do, and for the love of all that is holy come RIGHT BACK to this blog post immediately after you watch the movie!

Ok... got that?

Good. Now that you have watched the movie you will understand what I mean when I quote this line:
I'm gonna need you to go ahead come in tomorrow. So if you could be here around nine. Yeah... that’d be great.”

Hahahaha! That’s so funny, huh?

So, what’s the point of quoting this line?

Over inflated expectations. Candy coated glossy pictured rose-colored glasses Polly-Anna-ish-ness.

Let’s face it.

In life on the way to accomplish our life’s dreams, there’s always a little bit more to do.

A little bit more expected. Just one more task or maybe two... but that’s about it... maybe, and then you can be done. Your work is finished. Oh, wait... except for this. And this. Oh, and that...

You get what I mean?

Every time you get to a point where you think you are done and you can finally sit back and relax you suddenly realize that you have about a thousand more things that you have to get done before you can even start to think you are getting close to completing a goal!

There are a lot of different terms you could use to label this.

Scope creep. Requirement creep. Project bloat.

Call it what you will, the end result has only one name:

Writers and artists are particularly prone to fall to the infection of project creep, and are then also prime candidates for the resulting symptom of disappointment. And we all know what disappointment can lead to right?

Disillusionment. Depression. Delay. Defeat.

Man that’s a LOT of Big D words!

And eventually, when we don’t realize the success that we thought would come from all our hard work, we just decide to forget about it all... we give up.

But I have another big D word for ya...

You can DESTORY all this negativity!

That’s right! It can be done.

If you plan properly, set timelines and stick to them, set your expectations realistically, you will never again experience disappointment, delay, disillusionment...ddddddd...

It’s not always easy. To help you out and get you to a point where you can feel good about the work you are doing, there are three things you should understand before you start your writing project.
(You should ALSO keep track of these things throughout your whole project experience (writing, editing, formatting, pre-publishing, and final publishing) so that you don’t forget what your true goals are and start to fall into the disappointment and delay and yada yada yada.)

1. UNDERSTAND YOUR END GOAL: Before you even start to thinking about self-publishing, you should really sit yourself down and read up a little bit about it. And I am not talking about only reading the rah-rah stories that tell you there are unicorns and rainbows shooting out of every indie authors butts and that they are all now independently wealthy and that if you don’t hurry up you are going to miss the boat. I’ll give you a little cold hard facts that I just pulled out of my ass cause I’m too lazy to look it up looked up: Independent authors don’t make very much money! SURPRISE! You lose! Hahahaha! So, the bottom line is this: Don’t do this to get rich. Set a realistic goal. Like, your goal should just be to (at first) get a book published to Amazon. Then start setting other goals like get a press release done, get some reviews, try to get a local paper to report on your book, find ways to market. These are different goals, and should be treated as such. That way, you can feel that you have accomplished at least a little bit of something to be happy about. This leads us to...

2. Divide and Counquer: That’s right, just like I mentioned in the last paragraph, cut up those goals into individual tasks, slice them and dice them and set end dates and timelines for each and every one of those nasty little buggers! That way, you can have a subset of goals that will be MUCH easier to reach and complete and feel good about. AND YOU SHOULD FEEL GOOD ABOUT REACHING THESE GOALS! Just because you split them into smaller subsets doesn’t mean they are any less meaningful. Did you just finish your second edit? GREAT! Celebrate it! Go have a Margarita! Wait... you have Margarita’s? Have you been holding out one me???

3.EXPECT SOME SCOPE CREEP: Look, no matter how hard you try, no matter how hard you plan, you are GOING to have some amount of underestimation on what your requirements are to complete your goal. The list of tasks you have to complete in order to get things done will inevitably grow. The idea here is to do the best you can to anticipate these things before you start out so that you are not totally surprised and become overwhelmed and give up before you really have time to start. For example, if you know you are not that good at doing art work for your cover, don’t just blow off the need for making a cover! Plan it into your overall project. Think about ways to get the artwork done in advance so that when the time comes to add your cover art to the project you don’t freak out and throw your hands up in desperation. If you have a plan and take the steps necessary to get it done in advance, then when the time comes you’ll be just fine. BUT... if you just happen to forget that you were supposed to have cover art.... DON’T FREAK OUT! It is expected (or it SHOULD BE) that you will have certain tasks that just pop up unexpectedly. And if you plan for these last minute “uh-oh’s” you will be ready to overcome them and not fall to despair (there’s another cool D word!)

In the end, if you still do not seem to be getting the results you wish you could get, just keep on going! Don’t stop!

Remember your goals!

Now, let’s be realistic, if your goal is to get rich quick, or even just to get rich, then maybe you need to look into some other line of work.

Because, well... I hate to break it to ya, but independent authors ain’t raking in the BIG BUCKS!

But are you in this for the long run? Do you want to be a writer the rest of your life?

If your answer is NO and that is NOT your goal, then you can just move along and forget you ever read this blog post.

If the answer is yes then never give up. Why would you?

If you want to do this forever, then do this forever!

Don’t let anyone else’s definition of success stop you from feeling successful.

Take enjoyment from all the little accomplishments you have completed.

One sale? GREAT! Celebrate that one sale!

Or, maybe it’s just enough to know that you have a book out there on Amazon.

Your happiness is dependent on what your expectations are.

DO NOT over exaggerate your expectations.


HEY! If you want to check out the results of MY OWN little foray into the world of self publishing look here for my book The Plotters of Cantaera:

And, I also wrote a little ditty to help out my struggling brother and sister writers called "Stop Sucking And Start Writing!"