Saturday, February 22, 2014

Subject to Change

I have dreams. I have big dreams, and I have little dreams, and I have dreams inspired by books that I read. I aspire for things now that I didn't think I would ever aspire to ten years ago, and almost every new book I read makes me want to do something else amazing. My dreams are subject to change.

When I read The Millionaire Messenger, I decided to become an expert in writing. I made a conscious decision to publish an article a week on my website on the subject, and I've been keeping to it. I built a schedule to publish new material across my three main sites regularly: my writing website, my personal blog, and my poetry and prose blog. I haven't missed a day all year. I'm still on the path to establishing myself in the field.

As part of this, I wanted to write and publish three books on writing that go a step above and beyond Planning Before Writing and 25 Ways to Beat Writer's Block. I planned all three, and I still intend on writing them. Today, I drew up the schedule for completing a novella, and then beginning the first of these three books.

When I read The $100 Start Up, I decided that it wouldn't be too difficult to start a publishing house. I drew up lists of ideas to get things off the ground. I drew up lists of what people I knew had experience in. I ended up with two potential publishing houses that I could, in theory and with some persuasion, follow up on.

One of these has been on my mind for a long time. The other first came to mind last summer. I still haven't followed through on either idea beyond the lists, because I have to acknowledge something: there's a time to start a business, and a few months before planning to begin a one-year, full-time Masters is not that time. In the interim, I still have books to write and publish myself, giving me a full 18 months to develop:

- My publishing prowess
- My ability to market, including cover design and through video
- My plans for publishing
- My audience
- My ability to guide writers in the right direction

The dream job of working in publishing still exists, and there are some things I can only learn through experience. That said, there's a lot to learn before I start out trying to publish others on a regular basis. I don't know that I would do anybody justice taking control of the publishing of their books right now, not on a professional basis. (I can offer help, or give it if asked, but I can't be The Publisher.)

When I started reading Teach Yourself: Make Money From Freelance Writing, I decided that I could build upon existing ideas, and work from previous research. The world of established publishing is looking more appealing. It's also reshaping the three books I've planned. By the end of the month, I intend on having an established plan set out - or at least a new name for the first of the three books I have planned on writing. (I need to re-visit the plan before making a decision on whether to change it entirely or not.)

When I read The Curve, I had an idea of how to actually do all of this in a changing world. A publishing business can't exist in a vacuum. If I pursue digital publishing, I need to be prepared to offer alternatives, and I need to find ways to make everything more appealing than just another ebook on the virtual shelf. I decided I wanted to be more than a publisher, and more than a writer. I wanted to be the go-to guy that The Millionaire Messenger was encouraging me to become, but with a more direct focus on how to it in the face of the future.

I have big dreams, and I don't know how long it'll take until I start ticking them off the proverbial list. I aspire for great things, and all the time my aspirations are subject to change. Every book I read, every experience I have, that's relevant involves a degree of fine-tuning, or gear changing, or adding a whole new perspective on the unseen potential at hand.

I'll talk a lot about how I want to do X, Y and Z, but you've probably noticed by now that a lot of the time the talk remains that way until I'm actually ready to do something about it. I know how quickly life can change and how that affects even the simplest ideas, and I'd like to say I'm doing everything I can to anticipate those changes before they do any real damage.

Here's how I see things right now: I want to write professionally, and I want to do it as a hybrid writer - part Indie, part Traditional. I want to see a novel in the bookshops, a book on writing on a nearby shelf, and articles in the media, and I want to put more work online by myself, managing those decisions myself until or unless someone else decides they look like something they want to publish. I have dozens of ideas to work with, and I don't want to limit myself.

By mid-April, I'll have a lot of freedom in my life, and a lot more time to spend on different tasks and challenges. Between now and then, I need to finalise the next step. I let life get in the way a bit too much, lately - life and procrastination - and I think it's about time I did something about it. I have a book to publish in the next couple of weeks, another I want to write - both novellas - and a third, a book on writing, that I need to get a start on, bit-by-bit for the next few weeks.

Everything is subject to change, and that's the challenge of trying to write for a living. But like anything that involves money, starting out is often the hardest part.

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