Mid Month Short Story Challenge #13

Welcome to August — objectively the worst month of the year for anyone who likes holidays, cold weather, or nighttime1In the northern hemisphere, at least.. August is always the month of the year that I like the least and that feels (to me) like the hardest to get through. I don’t like to do much of anything in August2I say this despite having a ton of posts written for this month., not to mention it always seems like the month where I’m the most creatively stagnant3Which is in no way convenient to the fact that this is the first month I have Patreon rewards going out..

I’ve been told that some of you out there feel the same way, so I figured, why not build off of last month’s music based theme? However, instead of you having to pick your own song and coming up with a post based off of that, I’ve given you three song options to choose from directly in this post. Two of the songs are peppy, upbeat, new songs, while the third is a song I was saving for last month’s prompt for myself…only to forget that I wanted to use it after the fact.

Your prompt is for this month below. Your story should be posted on September 1, 2018. Be sure to link back to this post so I can see your story and share.

WIP Update #2

Inner monologue: La dee dah. I should really write another update for where I am on my work in progress. I said I’d give updates with some level of frequency. There were even people in the comments who wanted them. It has to have been three months or so since I did an update, right?

*Checks blog post dates*. February 12th.

Inner monologue: Well fuck.

So uh…time kind of got away from me over the last few months. Combine the fact that I’ve had a ton going on (I started a new job, I launched a Patreon, I started a podcast, plus other things I haven’t talked about on this blog yet) with the fact that I didn’t realize I had written that post so early in the year, and that’s how I go six months between giving updates on the new book I’m working on. Weird how that works.

At the time of the first update being published, I had just cracked the 24,000 word mark, having written around eight chapters of the book1I think I was midway through the eighth chapter, though it’s been long enough that I don’t remember exactly where I was at that point in time.. That accounted for somewhere between one-quarter and one-third of the chapters I had planned out in the story, though only about one-fifth to one-quarter of the word count2I’m thinking the story will be around 90,000 words when I’m done, pre-edits..

I gave what I had done at that point to my very thorough, very patient alpha reader. And she tore the first three chapters apart. Which is awesome. There’s a reason I trust her to be the first person to read my story. That said, I also realize it was a bit of a mistake to send the file over when I hadn’t even finished the book yet. All of the comments, recommendations, and tweaks she suggested were wonderful advice, but they also (unintentionally) sapped my motivation to write on in the story at that time. That’s 100% my own fault for not taking into account how I have to structure my writing and editing process in order to be as productive as possible. That said, it also meant that I didn’t write anything new in the book from early March through mid-May.

Between mid-May and mid-July, I think I wrote a total of 1,500 words across eight weeks. Considering how busy this time in my life was3As this time period includes everything I mentioned above except the new podcast launch., the fact that I even got this much done was impressive in its own right. Nevertheless, I was disappointed in my own productivity.

So why write about this now? If nothing else, this post can serve as a reminder to myself about the struggles I had over the past five to six months4I’m not sure when I’m going to post this. I’m leaning towards mid-August at the time of writing this post, but we’ll see if that’s what actually happens., as well as the fact that I still got a little bit done in the book during one of the busiest times I’ve ever experienced. There’s a positive side to this tale as well though.

As of writing this post, the work in progress is now up to around 35,500 words, with 12 of the 26 planned chapters completed5Along with one scene later in the book that accounts for nearly all of the 1,500 words that I wrote between mid-May and mid-July.. Although I’m not at the halfway point of the book in terms of word count or chapters that I’m estimating, I have finished what is essentially the story of the first half of the book. I’m relatively happy with the way the story is progressing and I really like the way some of the main characters are developing.

I’ve also realized that I want this to become a series, though I’m unsure at this point exactly how I want to go about that. There is character that won’t appear until at least the second book of this series that I have in very vivid detail in my mind. While this is great for the long-term prospects for a series, it’s frustrating as the new character doesn’t fit in this first book at all. In fact, she needs the events of the first book to transpire for her to even have a need to exist — but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself by saying that.

I do want to take a moment to thank a few people — in particular Laidig, Eve, Tabitha, Mike, Stephanie, Erin, Dem, and my wife6As well as others I’ve surely, though accidentally, forgotten. — for their support as I’ve worked on this. I know my Patreon has been a big thing over the last few months. I know that I’ve written more than my fair share of video game posts, garbage posts, and random short stories while not talking about this project at all. But this project is one I care a ton about, not to mention one I want to do really well. There’s a ton of work that’s going to need to go into this project. I’m both thinking and hoping that in the end, the story that’s told7Both this book by itself and whatever series comes out of it, if I go that route. will be worth it.

Help Me Earn Money For Writing

Hey all!

About a month ago, I mentioned that in the near future you could support me and my work on Patreon. Well, today is the near future.

MY PATREON IS LIVE. CLICK THESE WORDS TO GO THERE.

Yes, they’re all caps. Yes, they’re giant. I really would like your support. You can also click the button below, which will start appearing in other locations on my site throughout the week.

Become a Patron!

If you’re still here — and by here, I mean my blog (as this is going on Patreon too) — I bet you’re all wondering what perks you can get for pledging to support me. Here’s some information on the perks, along with some frequently asked questions.

Perks

At launch, there will be four support tiers. These are as follows. Note that if you support at a higher tier, you’ll automatically get the lower tiers (so if you support with $3/month, you’ll get both the $1 and $3 rewards).

  • $1/month – You can submit questions to a Q&A that I’ll either post as a Patreon post or as a podcast. Said podcast Q&A will be done quarterly, however you’ll be able to submit questions each month. More information on this perk is in the FAQ section.
  • $3/month – I’ll be digitally signing pictures that aren’t me or aren’t of me. Some of these will be signed with my name. Some will not. It’s a new surprise picture every month. I promise terrible signatures and things that make no sense.
  • $5/month – You’ll get access to a once a month patron-only blog post. More information on exactly how this will work is in the FAQ section below.
  • $10/month – You’ll get access to a once a month patron-only podcast that I’ll be doing. More information on exactly how this will work is in the FAQ section below.

Additionally, there will be patron count goals. The first two of these goals are as follows.

  • 25 patrons – Once my account has 25 patrons, I’ll do a Q&A separate from the quarterly Q&A mentioned above. My goal is to do this Q&A within a week or two of hitting 25 patrons, though we’ll play it by ear depending on how quickly I get 25 patrons.
  • 100 patrons – In the extremely unlikely event I ever get 100 patrons, I’ll add a new tier of rewards. I’m thinking this will be related to whatever work in progress book I have at that time, but we’ll see if this ever happens.

FAQs

We’re giving you money…and yeah…we get perks…but what are you going to do with it?

The three goals I have with my Patreon are, in order of how likely they are to happen, as follows.

  1. Pay for my blog’s monthly hosting expenses. As my site is growing, these are likely going to go up in the next 2-3 months.
  2. Pay for someone to redesign my blog/website and make it a more professional portfolio style site.
  3. Make enough money to allow me to devote significantly more time to writing fiction/publishing books/researching for my writing/podcasting/etc.

If #1 happens, I’ll be overjoyed. If #2 happens, I’ll be ecstatic. If #3 happens, we’re clearly living in an alternate timeline, as there’s no way in hell that’s going to happen.

Why now?

Because I want my writing to be taken seriously. I’ve been writing in some capacity for 10 years now, not to mention fiddling around with blogging for closer to 15. It’s about time I took this seriously in terms of having some level of compensation for the amount of time I devote to it.

Why should I support you?

Because I’m awesome. Because you’re awesome. Because reasons. Pick one.

Really though…I feel pretty strongly that there needs to be more support for writers of all kinds, be they bloggers, novelists, journalists, or whatever. Whether that support it sharing someone’s work, supporting them financially, or subscribing to their paper, it’s a great and necessary thing. This is doubly true for independent creators like me.

What’s the plan with the $1/month quarterly podcast?

I wanted to do a quarterly reward, but Patreon doesn’t offer that. This was the next best way to handle it. Basically, if you donate $1/month in any of the months of the 3rd quarter of 2018, you’ll be able to ask questions for the 4th quarter Q&A. I’ll announce when you can submit questions and what not on the Patreon.

Tell me more about the $5/month tier patron-only post.

Let’s say you donate $5 in the month of July. In early August, I’ll put up a poll where you can vote on the topic that I write the patron-only post about. The winning topic at the end of the polling period (3-5 days?) will get a post written. Said post should go up in mid-August in this example.

Tell me more about the $10/month tier patron-only podcast.

Initially I didn’t have this tier. Yet there were enough of you that I shared my beta rewards plan with that said I needed this as a reward that I wanted to try it. Like the $5 reward, let’s say you donate $10 in July. In August (likely mid-August), you’ll get a recorded podcast featuring one of the blog posts I published in the previous month. This will be via a RSS available only to patrons. Some months I’ll pick the post I record. Some months I’ll hold a vote. I’ll announce more on this each month, presuming people actually are crazy enough to give me this sum of money.

Does donating to your Patreon give me free/discounted access to your professional editing/writing services?

No. That may change in the future, but it will not at this time.

Will the Patreon-only posts and what not go up on this site?

Maybe. The Q&A posts/podcasts likely will, though only Patreon supporters will get to submit questions. As for the other posts, if they go up on this blog, it won’t be until a few months have passed for sure.

Any other final words?

If you do choose to support me, thank you. That’s really all.

Mid-Month Short Story Challenge #11

We’re semi-permanently in double digits for these prompts. That’s exciting. If you’re into numbers and that sort of thing. Not that I would ever have a thing for numbers.

I actually wrote this prompt before prompt #9 came out, but I rearranged some of the prompts for various reasons, meaning this one fell out of the first ten. That said, it’s a prompt I’m excited about. This will become clear for reasons you’ll (hopefully) see below.

Your prompt is for this month below. Your story should be posted on July 1, 2018. Be sure to link back to this post so I can see your story and share.

  • Suggested number of words: 1000-2000 words
  • Seven words to work into your story: Waddle, impetus, serene, porcelain, terror, young, positions
  • Genre: Documentary/research paper style. Exactly how you achieve this is up to you.
  • Rating/Content/Perspective Limitation: No limitations
  • Topic: Mundane first-world problems explained to an alien

2018 Blog Goals – Q1 Review

At the beginning of this year, I decided to set some blog goals for 2018. I was inspired by someone on Twitter (I swear it was Kaytie Zimmerman from Optimistic Millennial, but I can’t find her goals post or tweet talking about this) to try set some sort of plan for myself to grow my blog in a few ways during the new year. It’s something I’ve only done one other time in the history of any of the other sites I’ve written for1On my old blog, I set a goal to write 365 posts in 2011. I think I ended with 435ish.. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try this year, particularly since I had some new projects I was planning on doing this year. I’ve talked about a couple of those projects so far, with a couple of them still on the way.

So…how am I doing on the three goals I set this year? Let’s take a look.

Goal 1: 20 New WordPress Followers

Let’s lead off with the goal that is going the least well, shall we? In 2017, I picked up 16 new WordPress followers, so I figured I’d try to grow this total by 20 this year. In retrospect, this might not have been the best goal, particularly since 12 of the 16 new followers in 2017 came in the first half of the year. While 2018 started off good, with the blog gaining a new follower in the first week of the year, I’m well behind pace on this one. I’m at a loss on how to improve this one at the moment, particularly since even in the heyday of my older blogs, I don’t believe I ever topped 100 total WordPress followers. If you blog and have suggestions, I’m open to them.

Goal 2 – Average 250 Visits Per Month

While I’m not on pace to hit this goal so far this year, I’m relatively happy with how this has gone so far. As you can see from the table above2If you needed further proof that I’m a spreadsheet nerd, I started a sentence in a blog post like that., while I hit my goal in January, I fell short of the goal in both February and March. That said, the fact that I was over 200 visitors in all three months shows that I’m sustaining growth, as the last month I was under 200 visitors was August 2017. On top of that, the 708 visitors by the end of March represents a 51.9% growth over where That Tiny Website was at the end of March 2017 (466 to 708). So while I’m not quite at the 750 visitors that would mean I’m meeting this goal, I feel pretty good about this pace so far.

Goal 3 – Grow Comment Count by 20% Again

I have to be honest. I expected this goal to be the hardest to achieve by a large margin. I don’t have the number of commenters on my posts that I once did. Yet, despite expecting struggles with comments, I’m shockingly ahead of pace on this one. Technically, I could not get a single comment in April and only be one comment behind pace for the year3Please don’t do that. I love you all.. But seeing how well this one has gone has been a nice surprise for the start of the year.

How are your 2018 blog goals going? Do you have any ideas how I can solve my follower struggles? Would you like to encourage people to flood to my site and click follow? Awesome. Sound off in the comments.