October 21, 2020 I hit record for the first time and did the very first episode of 5 a Day With Jay. I do think I’ve done more than 150 episodes, but for the sake of numbering, this is the 150th. I took a moment in today’s video to think about lessons learned along the way.
If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never be ready. When it comes to creative endeavors, the longer you drag your feet, the less likely you are to get started. If you wait until everything is perfect, you’ll never get any better. Take a look at Beeple Crap’s feed on Instagram. Sure, he’s putting out some neat stuff. For him, it started out as a hobby and every day he worked at his craft, he got better. Not everything he does is ground breaking or amazing, but he’s putting out something every single day. He’s been at it for years. If he’d waited until he had the exact software he needed and the right tablet or mouse to draw with or..or..or…you can see how it goes. Don’t wait to start. Use what’s handy and get going. You will get better along the way.
2. Learn what you’re doing along the way.
Had I continued to watch videos and tutorials on how to create a youtube channel and created videos, and do title cards, I would have been in a learning black hole. I would have never started. This ties in with #1. But there is a time to learn and you should make time to learn. Along the way, I’ve watched more “behind the scenes” about video creation. That’s why I decided to start going live instead of recording. It’s sped up the process for me and freed up a LOT of time to write this blog and write books. I’ve also started doing learned courses about writing, and reading books about writing and social media. Learning is as big of a key as getting going, but you can’t use it as a crutch not to start.
3. Time management is important.
As I said in #2, you need to also learn how to do things faster. With doing the videos, going live sames me a ton of time. With writing, typing faster saves me time. Keeping notes on both ends helps me better focus my attention on what I’m doing even if I don’t always reference those notes. I’m not a professional. I need help getting started some days, and making sure I have the time to do what I want to do helps. To accomplish my goals, I’ve had to cut back. I’ve started unsubscribing from a number of YouTube channels that I regularly skip content on (feel free to skip my videos if you get nothing from them). I’ve cut back on the blogs I’m reading. I’ve cut WAY back on the amount of news I consume across all media. I’ve increased educational videos both on video creating and writing. I’ve increased the amount of time I’m reading. But I’ve also freed up a LOT more time for getting my publishing career going in the direction I want.
4. Planning is important.
This ties in with #3. I know I need to get on a schedule with my video production as that’ll let people know what time to expect me. I’m thinking about shooting for 6pm PST. It’s not too late on the East Coast, and early enough for me that I can get to writing as soon as I’m done. Beyond videos, I needed to plan my book release schedule. What books I’m going to write next. When they’re going to come out. Scheduling the release of those books so they’re ready to go and I don’t need to think about their release. I want as much of this process on auto-pilot as I can make it. I’m a developer and that means I’m lazy and will come up with a program or process to make my life easier. It’s how I work. Having a plan allows me to keep content flowing without having to put too much thought into the process. This frees up my mine to work on other things.
5. My Videos and Blogs don’t always match.
If you only read the blogs, or only watch the videos, you’re missing half the picture I’m getting out. It’s fine. I don’t expect everyone to do both. I’m doing different content for different audiences. There’s only so much time in the day and I don’t want to be someone’s crutch preventing them from getting to their creative endeavor. Explore what you like, ignore what you don’t. I never had an expectation that anything I record or write would get viewed or read. This is why I do more free-form on the videos, and try TRY to have a little more format on the blogs. I don’t always succeed.
6. Slow, steady progress is good.
I knew that nothing I was doing would take off like a rocket. That’s the nature of the game. I’m not a megastar. I’m not famous. I was barely a blip on the podcasting scene. I made many good friends along the way and enjoyed my time doing that. There is zero expectation that those friends will watch my videos, read my blog or buy my books. Those kinds of expectations are deadly and dangerous. I had them before and they lead to disappointment. This time around, I’m going for slow growth and I’m happy with any sale.
7. Keep going.
Unlike all my other false starts, I don’t intend to stop what I’m doing. As long as I’m enjoying the stories I’m telling, I’ll keep telling those stories. It’s that simple. With my goals small and under my control, I won’t be stopping any time soon. I want to have fun. I want to tell stories. That’s it. That’s my current goal. Yes, I’d love to sell books, but that’s for Tomorrow Jay to deal with, not Today Jay.
8. Look forward, not back.
I don’t want to revisit what I’ve done in the past any more. I’ve analyzed those failures and I’m moving on. They’re in the past, they’re done, there’s nothing I can do about them other than move on and do better. A book failed, write another one. A book has a plot hole? It was the best I could do at the time. I get a 1-star review. I can’t make everyone happy with every book I write. The future it out there waiting to be had. I’m going to reach out and grab it.
This blog will be my 137th consecutive blog post since I decided to start blogging every day. Today’s video my 150th 5 a Day With Jay. Some numbers I didn’t cover in my By The Numbers episode were video views and blog hits. I’ll make a point to get to those come the end of June.
Also of note, I will be gone a majority of next week, the week after that, and probably the week after that. it is, after all, Summer and there’s vacations to be had. I will continue to blog daily, even if it’s only a picture or two. 5 a Day With Jay will resume with regularity in the 1st week of July.
For a grand total os 17,118 words over 7 days. Just under 4,000 words from the goal. So, a miss. I started out from behind right out of the gate, did well one day, missed again, hit a three-day streak, then I had to work most of the day on Sunday and didn’t feel like sitting in front of a computer, but did anyway.
Is it really failure? If you’re looking purely at word count per day, yes. If you’re looking at it as the average for the week, yes, I missed. Regardless, my whole point is to TRY and write 3K per day average over the next two weeks. There’s still a chance I may catch up, but I’m not going to fight and struggle. I’ll take a 17,000-word week every week if I could.
I’ve still got a week to go, and I learned a lot about myself over the past seven days. I learned that I can write very quickly as most days I didn’t start writing until after 8pm. I also found out that I love to procrastinate.
I still spent time with my family. My wife and I had a great date day on Saturday since I knew I’d be working all day on Sunday. I learned that sitting in front of a computer for 12 hours is tiring (well, I knew that already), but I learned that even if I’m mentally exhausted, I can still bang out words. I’m excited to see what I’ll learn this week about my writing process.
So what’s with the 1,000,000 words of crap?
I posted a few years ago that I’d hit that number. I haven’t written another million. What that number represents if the number of words I’ve written in novels. My previous count included every short story I’d ever written, a rough estimate of words that came that would never see the light of day, and stories that will never be published, self or otherwise.
So this million is only the count in books I’ve written. I’m proud of that number. It tells me where I came from and where I’ve gotten to. I still have all those other words stored somewhere. For example, there are 4 Of Gnomes and Dwarves books, multiple drafts, some hand written, that I’m not counting in that million. Those words are only books that will see the light of day, or are currently in the process of being written or edited.
When I crossed that number this week, I had a little smile. I’m proud of that accomplishment. If I can keep pace with my writing over the next year, I may hit 2,000,000 faster than I hit the 1,000,000 mark. Like, next year faster. We’ll see how it goes.
I’m off to get my start on week two of my 3K per day ’til May challenge. If you’re enjoying my blog posts, or if you just want a free ebook of mine, consider signing up for my newsletter. I share different information there and may modify the format soon. I’d love to have you be part of what happens over there. You can click here.