Jeff recaps his past week in writing and his 90 Days to Done class. The guys talk about their plans for the final 100 days of 2019. Jeff also talks about the book Fire Me I Beg You: Quit Your Miserable Job Without Risking It All by Robbie Abed, which has great guidance for authors considering taking a leap from their day job.
Here are the things we talk about in this episode. Please note, these links include affiliate links for which we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase.
- Ep. 144: Katie Forrest on Character Quirks on How Do You Write?
- National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) website
- Fire Me I Beg You: Quit Your Miserable Job Without Risking It All by Robbie Abed on Amazon
- Fire Me, I Beg You – Robbie Abed – Love Your Work, Episode 193 on kadavy.net
- Jeff & Will’s Websites & Social Media:
Will: Welcome to the “Big Gay Author Podcast” the show that invites you to follow along as two writers attempt to make the transition from part-time to full-time authors of gay fiction. I am your host Will Knauss and with me is my fellow writer and husband. Mr. Jeff Adams.
Jeff: Hello, everyone. Today is September 21st, 2019 and we’re glad you could join us. Today we’re going to discuss plans for the final 100 days of 2019.
Before we get to that though, a little update on my writing week. I jumped over 10,000 words in the “Kyle Project” book, which was kind of exciting. There’s something magical about that first 10,000 words.
Will: You’re essentially 20% done now.
Jeff: Yes, if I stick to a book that’s in that 50,000 range, I am about 20% now, which is pretty cool. I also had a few days this week, again, where I didn’t write for various reasons. One was a good reason because I had a podcast interview to do for the “Fiction” show. I honestly don’t remember what happened the other day this week that I didn’t get words on the page. But it is what it is.
Overall, because of the some power sprint’s I did, i got close to where I should be for the end of the week. I hope to make up for that this weekend to keep myself on the right track.
I also allowed myself to shift the POV in the story. I started out in third person, which is where I try to do category type romances, and I struggled a bit with it. I had one particular sprint that I had done earlier in the week where I had started in first person and then shifted back becaise I was like “oh no, that’s wrong.”
But later I kind of got into it and didn’t catch it until I was about five or six minutes into the sprint. And I’m like “screw it” maybe this book is supposed to be first person and I’ll just fix the beginning part later. Which I have to say was… We talked a little bit about this in my class this week, the 90 the Days to Done class. There are several of my classmates who are adjusting to the idea that you don’t need to care about what you did back there. Just keep going forward. You can fix all that stuff later, which is exactly my approach on the first eight thousand words that are in third person. I’ll just deal with that when I get back to revision.
The other thing I wanted to briefly talk about because we we went off on podcasts last week to a huge degree.
And once again, I think Rachael Herron dropped great stuff in the intro to “How Do You Write?” this week. She was talking about some events that she’s been doing around the release of her book “Stolen Things.” She had this big launch party in San Francisco that was very well attended and she was very happy. She relates it as one of the most magical moments of her writing career.
Then a few days later she had another event in which I believe she said that there were two people in the audience who were not family and those two people did not buy books.
She was doing this to point out how you never know how a public event is going to go. You can plan for it. You can promote it. You can talk all about it on social media and you think you’re going to have this turn out that then may not happen. She mentioned an event she’d done a few years ago where, again, two people turned up. They actually all went to dinner instead and had a lovely time.
I think this is something to just keep in mind as we build towards GRL, which is about a month away now. You could be having an event or having an author lounge or something and it’s not going as you expect it to go. But it’s just one piece of the author journey and you can’t really use that to judge yourself. Rachael’s basic message was this happens and it’s just part of the journey and you just move on from there.
Will: I think part of that is how you individually define success. That can mean an auditorium filled with people listening to you read from your book or can be two people who show up at a bookstore and you decide to go have dinner and hang out with them for the evening.
It’s a little bit about… How do I want to put this? Expect the unexpected. Temper your expectations and try and go with the flow because life happens. You never know how things are gonna turn out.
Jeff: That’s that’s a very good way to put it. Speaking of GRL being a month away, next week’s episode of “Big Gay Author Podcast” will be our tips for preparing for GRL and handling the event. This will be our eighth GRL and we’re back to where we started in Albuquerque.
Will: Super looking forward to it. We’ve talked about GRL and the preparation that goes into it before on the “Big Gay Fiction Podcast,” but we tried to temper that advice from a reader’s perspective with tips and tricks on how survive a conference.
Next week we’re going to be able to dig in just a little bit more about what you should and shouldn’t expect when you’re an author and going to your very first event. So I’m looking forward to that.
Jeff: Yeah, it’ll be a good conversation.
So we’re getting really close to the end of the year and the hundred day mark is right around the corner.
Will: What Jeff is talking is about is on September 23rd we will have 100 days left in 2019. So you can look at this one or two ways. It’s all about perspective. You either panic and go, “Oh crap, where did the year go?” Or you can say, “Good. I have a hundred days to make 2019 the best year ever.”
Jeff: Can I look at it both ways? Like holy crap, where did all the days go? But hey, there’s still a hundred days left to do awesome.
Will: There is exactly one hundred days left. So while Jeff was busy writing and working I was trying to come up with a game plan for 2020. The reason I was planning that far ahead is because I think when you are a professional author, you need to constantly be aware of where you are in time and your process and your production schedule.
For the remainder of 2019 I am going to attempt to ramp up to hopefully a highly efficient production schedule for 2020 because I’ve got some very big plans. Shall I talk about some of those plans?
Jeff: Please do because I would love to hear them. You’re getting them just as I am folks.
Will: So essentially we have the fourth quarter left. This year in October November and December, I want to number one get through GRL because that takes a certain amount of planning and stamina. Once we got that out of the way, I want to strategically and intelligently build up my writing muscles so that I can tackle some pretty big goals for 2020.
That means I am going to attempt for the bazillionth time NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo happens every November. It is a writing challenge. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, if you haven’t heard of it before, and specifically 2019 marks its 20th anniversary.
So in November, I’m going to tackle NaNoWriMo yet again. And in December I’ll get myself all prepped and ready to go for some pretty big projects.
It’s essentially going to be my job to be as professional as possible and get as much product out into the marketplace as quickly as I can so that we can start bringing in some cash.
Cash flow. It’s important for the author business.
So 2019 is going to be about ramping up and 2020 is about being as professional as humanly possible. I got a couple different things that I want to try and tackle. Some big ideas that I’ve been thinking about for a really, really long time. I think 2020 is going to be the year that I finally execute those.
The first one is that I have a short story project. I’ve talked about this with Jeff off and on for quite a while and I’m definitely going to start doing that next year. We’ll go into more details about that at a later date.
I also want to tackle a novella project. Essentially, I’m going to try to model the success of an author in the gay fiction romance space that’s done incredibly well the last couple of years writing several different novella series. I’m going to try and mimic that success. I’m going to try and attempt to essentially follow a rapid release schedule in order to get quality content out to eager readers as fast as possible.
So I’ve got the short story project. I’ve got the novella project and in order to achieve those two big goals. I’m going to attempt to do something called a millwordy. And that is something that certain high achievers in the author space call writing a million words in a year. This is also called pulp speed one.
There are some authors who model their author careers after pulp writers from days of yore. Writing one million words in a calendar year is considered pulp speed one. Just one.
Jeff: Dare I ask what pulp speed two is like?
Will: It’s writing like the wind. It’s orders of magnitude faster. But anyway, I’m going to attempt… A millwordy is like more than enough of a challenge for me.
I was looking at some of the math this past week and looking at the calendar for 2020 as well. In 2020 there are 53 weeks in the year. That’s because of the way that the days happened to fall. I consider a working week Monday through Friday. If I’m going to attempt to write a million words during 2020 and work five days a week for 53 weeks, that means there’s going to be 265 working days. That boils down to essentially 3,774 words per day and that’s a perfectly acceptable professional writing speed especially for someone who is not working full-time or part-time or doing anything else, which is my case.
Now 53 weeks is essentially an ideal scenario. That does not account for sick days or days when we’re traveling or doing other things. Other things are certainly going to be happening in 2020.
So I rejiggered the map. If I account for working 50 weeks in 2020 that’s going to be 250 working days in the year, which means I will have to write 4,000 words a day Monday through Friday. That is also a perfectly respectable production schedule. Essentially most people can crank out a thousand words in an hour.
Hopefully I can focus long enough, four hours a day, on creating brand new content and get the short story and novella project underway. So that was some of the math I was working on in the past week.
Jeff: I have to say that the math didn’t freak me out as much as I thought it would.
Will: Well, I’m glad to hear it.
Jeff: When I have days off and I write, with dictation, in the flow, I can hit 5,000 words in a day. Sometimes I still feel like I have creative juice to maybe go a little bit further. I think the the peak I ever hit was about seven thousand words in a day and it was just a really crazy day where I was doing a set of words for scenes that I knew really well and I could just bust it out.
Will: Busting a move baby.
Jeff: So I can see where that’s in the realm of possibility to hit pulp speed one as you put it. I feel like there needs to be a t-shirt for that. I like your goals a lot. I do.
Will: Thank you. While the math seems reasonable that is still a huge leap. From now until January first I’m going to attempt to go from 0 to 4,000 words in a day and that is a big freaking leap. That’s why I’m trying to take small incremental steps during this last quarter of the year in order to prepare myself because you don’t wake up one day and say hey, I’m going to run a marathon. That would be stupid. You prepare to run a marathon and that’s essentially what I’m going to be doing for 2020.
Jeff: I look forward to seeing how this goes. And, of course, I’ll help how ever I can with that.
Will: I am really, really good at making plans. It’s the execution where I constantly fail.
Jeff: It’s true folks.
Will: So, I’m gonna need a whole lot of help when I attempt NaNoWriMo this year. It’s the 20th year. I think this is going to be the year that I’m going to do it. If I’m going to achieve anything during NaNoWriMo, this should be the one. It’s important. It’s a milestone.
Jeff: So podcast listeners, our goal across November is to keep Will accountable and actionable to get through NaNoWriMo with whatever he’s going to write–whether it’s five novellas of 10,000 words or however the 50,000 words suss themselves out.
Will: We were also discussing this a couple of days ago about how we want to tackle talking about NaNoWriMo on this show. Specifically rather we just want to do a standard update thing–this is what I achieved during the week–or if we want to do something more.
So we are certainly open to suggestions. Go to the shownotes page for this episode and drop us a question, a comment or your opinion about how we might want to tackle NaNoWriMo for ourselves and for our listening audience.
Jeff: Yeah, that would be good to know. My NaNoWriMo is going to be different because I’m in the midst of the 90 Days to Done class. Essentially that’s spending three months doing a NaNoWriMo as you’re trying to get through the book. I might speed my writing up during NaNo to more hit the Nano pace, but then I get out of sync with what the class is doing.
Will: You’re moving at a really good pace right now. Do you think you will finish this book before November first?
Jeff: Well, currently the way I’m going, No.
Jeff: The way that I’ve got the writing blocked, I do about 6,000 words per week…
Will: Okay, that makes sense
Jeff: …and about 1,200 words a day not accounting for writing on the weekends. I used to account for writing on the weekends.
But like Sunday’s with Fiction podcast production and just other stuff that has to happen during the weekend from a household perspective. I just don’t have time to write and sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t on Saturday. So it depends. Like today, I think I’m going to have time to write to catch up from where I didn’t get to this week so that I actually crossed 12,000 words and get back to balance.
It’s possible because I have done NaNoWriMo and I’ve cranked out 50k plus in a month. I might speed myself up through November to finish faster, which wouldn’t bother me to get that draft done.
You’ve talked about the schedules a little bit and the last hundred days of the month for me are definitely to finish this draft for the “Kyle Project” to get through as much revision as I can knowing that I’ve got a deadline for this book that it has to be done and published on March 3rd.
There are other things going on like preparing for the re-release of “Hockey Player’s Heart,” which doesn’t have a date attached to it but it starts getting that hockey brand of Jeff Adams back out into the marketplace. And there’s organizing what 2020 looks like with re-releasing where I can and trying to sort out the YA stuff. I mean the whole goal of this podcast is the transition to full time writer. There was a time that I thought 2020 would be that year and maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.
Certainly the production schedule that was being built into 2021 that has been derailed might have been that bridge. Who can tell right now because I’m still trying to sort out the course correction that has to occur because of separating from Dreamspinner. So some of my 100 days stuff to is to figure some of that stuff out and get myself back on a production schedule.
Will: It’s not only just about your writing itself.
It’s also about figuring out what your job is going to be looking like in the next year, which you happen to have read a book about this past week.
Jeff: It’s an interesting book that I read. It’s called “Fire Me I Beg You: Quit Your Miserable Job Without Risking It All” and it’s by Robbie Abed.
And I think there’s stuff here that I think no matter what your job situation is–if you’re considering trying to move from being in your day job to being a full-time author or if you’re considering switching one day job for another and continue to write as your side hustle–there are things here that are fascinating for authors who might be trying to make the break.
Will: I heard Robbie Abed on a podcast not too long ago. I thought he was very smart, very charismatic and I immediately downloaded the book and put it in front of you.
Jeff: As Robbie says when he made his initial break from the job that he left, he ended up with a 100% clarity on what he wanted to do with his life and also clarity on what he didn’t want to do with his life. One of the things that resonated with me as I read this book is that… I think we all know this, but the book certainly put it in perspective, jobs have changed over the last 50 years tremendously. My grandfather worked for General Motors his entire life from being barely out of school until he retired in his sixties. My mom worked as a nurse and worked at two hospitals over the course of her career and the only reason she switched is because we moved states. But once we settled in Alabama in 1978, that was her job until she retired.
I’ve moved around jobs, usually every five to seven years, and every time I did it my mom was like “are you sure that’s a good idea?” She was very much in that vein of you have this job and you keep this job and you only switch if you have to switch. It’s not like that anymore millennials hop around all the time. I’m always shocked when I’m hiring somebody and see that maybe they’ve switched jobs every year or two. The whole job market is so radically different now.
One of the things that Robbie gives in the book that I think authors can take advantage of, from a planning point of view, is he talks about being in survival mode. When you’ve hit that last like “I can’t do this thing anymore and what does it take for me to just walk away.” He breaks down figuring out your finances and figuring out what you need to survive while you’re getting to that next thing. For authors that could be I’m going to walk away. I’m going to do rapid release. I’m going to force the writing to become that income that I just left behind. Survival guide can help you figure out how long you can make it on your savings or how long you can make it scraping by or what that looks like. So that was an interesting piece to the book.
Also his networking stuff. Robbie did this amazing thing where he went on this quest to have coffee dates with people. He had 250 coffee dates in like 400 Days.
Will: Yeah, he talked about this on the podcast. It’s really fascinating.
Jeff: He would just reach out to people and ask to buy them coffee to essentially pick their brain on something that he wanted to know.
Will: He was in information gathering mode and he contacted the most important and thought-provoking people he could find.
Jeff: Yeah, it was very much learning and also network expansion.
Jeff: You know, I think we have the benefit of doing that a little bit with the “Fiction” podcast because we’re talking to authors all the time. Now we’re not talking to 250 authors in 400 Days but we do talk to probably 40 in a year with the interviews. It’s a way that we broaden our author network of people who we can talk to about business sometimes and have conversations about things away from the podcast. So learning how to do that kind of networking was quite interesting.
There were three key sentences that really stuck with me as I was reading. I think these are important for folks to know not just from a career standpoint but it can resonate through life itself.
So Robbie said “It took me a while to realize that every decision I make for myself will always be the wrong decision for at least one person.” And that’s very true. You cannot please everybody so be true to yourself and do what you need to do.
Connected to that is “You need to make the best decision for your goals and not for what other people want for you.” At some point you have to take a moment for yourself and do what you need to do for yourself and for your business.
And I’ll leave you with this one because I think it’s the most interesting thing to hold onto. “Hesitating just fills time with anxiety and regret. Don’t fall into indecisiveness. You’ll hate yourself for it later.”
I can say that’s very true. I’ll tie it back to when we got our rights back from Dreamspinner. We hesitated on it for a few weeks. And then when we finally pulled the trigger that was a weight that lifted and went away. So, as Nike says, “Just do it.” That’s really what it boils down to.
Will: Do you think what he’s talking about when it comes to hesitation is that your the hesitation is coming because you’re looking for some sort of a guarantee? You’re waiting for a sign?
Jeff: That’s part of it I think. It’s waiting for a sign that you’re making the right leap. Or with with the way that job culture has historically been it’s always about, it’s got to get better. It can’t be this way. It’s got to get better and you kind of leave yourself in that spinning loop waiting for it to get better. At some point you’ve just got to cut and go.
Will: News flash people, it does not get better. Unless you decide that you’re going to be the guy who fixes this company or this situation then you need to go. Unless you appoint yourself to be the savior and say I’m the guy who can save this situation and fix it for everybody. Unless you’re that passionate about it, then you need to cut the cord. Pull the trigger. Wrap things up.
Jeff: Just do it.
So yeah, I think there’s stuff in this book that everybody can make use of. Especially if you’re considering trying to make that leap, there’s things in here that can help you understand what you need to do from a business perspective to get ready to make the jump to full-time author. And if you’re having day job issues it can probably help you with that as well. So it’s “Fire Me I Beg You: Quit Your Miserable Job Without Risking It All” by Robbie Abed.
Okay guys, I think that’s going to do it for this week. If you’d like the link to anything we discussed simply go to the shownotes page for episode 12 at biggayauthorpodcast.com. On the shownotes page you’ll also find the links to our individual websites and social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Jeff: And speaking of Twitter, you can follow us at BigGayAuthor where we’ll share things during the week the catch our attention. Plus if you want to give us feedback on the show, have suggestions on topics or anything else you can tweet us or leave comments on the shownotes page. And, of course, be sure to subscribe to this show so you never miss an episode. We are available anywhere you listen to podcasts
Will: Usually I close out each episode with an inspirational quote. I don’t have one this week. I actually got a marketing email from an author that I follow. I printed it out and I was going to do a whole big thing because I was worried we weren’t going to have enough to talk about this week. So I’m just going to save that for another day because I think it’s worth discussing in depth.
Instead of a quote I’ll just remind you that having 100 days left in the year is not a bad thing. It is a time to reassess and look at what you know you have achieved, what you haven’t achieved, and what you want to achieve in the rest of 2019. And, start thinking about what you want to do with 2020 and how if becoming a full-time author is your career goal how you can reach those goals.
So what will you create in the next seven days?
Thank you everyone for listening. We hope you’ll join us again next week.
Until then keep writing.