Blog Archives

Is it worth it?

This isn’t my first time on this merry-go-round. I’ve asked myself this question several times over the years. Is this all worth the effort I’m putting into what I’m doing? I’m creating art, but to what end? Why put so many hours into something only to put it out and watch it fail?

GRPC2 launched yesterday. I sent an email to my newsletter. Put out a blog post. The YouTube video. Put it out on FaceBook. All my other social media.

2 days in, I’ve sold 0 copies.

Let me stop you from going and buying the book right now. Please, don’t buy the book because I don’t want to guilt anyone into buying a copy. I fully expected to sell zero copies. I said when I launched the book, I expected to sell zero copies in the first month of launching the book. This isn’t a surprise.

When I launched Golden West, I sold a couple of copies. Gave away quite a few. Second book, I sold very few. I didn’t sell any of the 3rd. To this day, I think one person has read book 3 in the Golden West trilogy and that’s a completed trilogy. Honestly, I expected to sell some copies. I didn’t think the story would fall dead.

It did. I didn’t fully promote that series. I don’t even know how many people know I wrote it. By the time I’d started publishing those books, I’d already lost a good number of my audience. These things happen. It’s all my fault for having so many stops and starts over the years.

For those that have stuck with me and watched what I’ve done, thank you for being there. Even if you’ve not bought a book and are waiting for audio editions, I still appreciate you being there. You help keep me motivated to keep going and put out more books.

So, is this all worth it?

Honestly, I won’t be able to tell you for quite a while. I don’t know. I’ve invested myself in a 2-year plan. I want to get these 16 books written, published, and out to readers. After those 2 years, I want to work on something else if the sci-fi hasn’t taken off. If, after 5 years, I’ve still not garnered an audience, I’ll have to evaluate if it’s all worth it.

Yes, I’m giving myself 5 years. I hit publish on my first book, Chosen: Astel 1, back in 2011. I’ve been at this for 10 years already. I’ve published in fits and starts and with no consistency in either topic, genre, or schedule. This time around, I’m changing my tactic. I’m on a schedule. I’ll be putting out only Sci-Fi (Space Opera) books until I complete a story arc. I want to give readers a completed story line to follow from beginning to end.

I know I’ve lost so many people because of what I published and how I published it. I can’t change that. What I can change is how I approach my publishing going forward. That means getting on a course, on a schedule, and sticking to it. Getting words down every day to get more books done. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

The only thing that’s currently out of my control is growing my audience. How will readers find me? By me getting more and more content out there. That’s my goal. If I stick to it, over the next two years, I’ll have a dozen new books, and 50 or more short stories. 2 years, over 60 new pieces out there for people to find. That’s how I’m planning on attracting people’s attention.

Well, part of it. I also plan on reaching out to podcasting friends when I get the wheels in motion. I’ll reach out to blogs, send out review copies, find websites that do reviews and see if they’d like a copy. I’ve got plans in my head and I’m reading more books and taking more lessons to help better chart my course. Many have gone before me. Some have been wildly successful.

Let me state emphatically, I don’t feel I’m owed anything. It’s not “my turn”. I won’t succeed simply because I waited long enough and I want it bad enough. That’s not how art works. First of all, art is subjective. What one person hates, another will love. I need to get work out there, and let people find it. That’s all I can do right now.

Is it all worth it?

I simply won’t know for quite some time to come. I’m going to enjoy the ride for all its worth. I’m glad you’re here with me and I hope you stick around to see what happens next.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0131-e10dirf

To Promote or not to promote…

First off, let me say, I’m tired. Like really tired.

The Mrs went on a week-long trip to Florida to visit family with her sister. All went well until their return trip. There was a major storm sweeping across the country. Their flight out of Orlando was delayed, but they got to Charlotte where all flights were cancelled. They had to get a room for the night, which, thankfully, they did. They were up early the next morning and back home.

Needless to say, I was also up late and up early. Had to do the day job until their plane landed. After work, took a short nap and my brain is goo. You can probably tell in today’s video.

Moving on.

One of the things I’m thinking a lot about lately is promotion. Yes, I need to be better at marketing myself. I’m not good at that. I’ve not studied what I need to do on that end. I’ve got books to read, yes. I need to get to those. Let’s not put the cart before the horse.

I do plan on doing marketing. Later. Right now, I’m concerned with planning and scheduling as well as writing that next book. It does me no good to market if I’ve got nothing to market beyond myself. This is why I’m slowly building my platform. I want those who follow me to see and understand that I’m putting in the hours. I’m doing what it takes to get that next book out.

Also, I want potential readers to show up here, and see “Hey, this guy is busy!” That’s not going to happen over night. Every “overnight success” put in the time. Paid their dues. Struggled to get ahead. I’ve read enough autobiographies to know that famous comes LONG before rich. That’s if rich ever happens.

My expectations have been set and lowered down to reality. I won’t be burning money trying to promote myself until I’m much deeper into the series than I am. I’m planning a 16 book arc across 4 different series. There’s a LOT of work that needs to happen. I’m only 4 books in. A quarter of the way. Once I get to the half-way mark, then I think it’ll be time to start doing more on the promotion side of things.

This isn’t a race. It’s a marathon. I don’t want to spin up a marketing engine, only to have it stall out. I’ll get books out there. I’ll try to catch people’s attention. Quietly sneak up on readers and BAM! Look! Books! WOO!

I kid. Though I have had several people rediscover me recently, and that feels great. Soon enough, we’ll get onto bigger and better things with regards to getting the word out. That is, if the sands don’t shift too drastically. I mention in the video about how some sites and devices may stop collecting user data for targeted marketing. That’s a danger for a small author who depends on those targeted ads to attract new readers. I understand privacy and all that. I do. I just know that the world is about to take a major shift. We’ll see where it ends up.

I’m off to get some rest.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0130-e10bbtr

The Prospect of Failure

One of the biggest things I fear as an artist is failure. I know I’m not alone. Confidence issues happen to every artist I know. The strangest thing is that every artist I know sees failure differently.

It could come as a 1-star review. It could be a negative reaction to some specific aspect of the work. It could come in any number of ways.

My job, as a writer, isn’t to entertain everyone that reads my work. My job is to produce the best content I can and let people find it.

Today I spent a little time going through reviews of all my works. There aren’t many. It’s easy to go through them all if I chose to. What I was looking for wasn’t how many negative reviews I had or how many positive reviews I had. That wasn’t the goal. What I was looking for was, did the reviews get better over time? Had I improved?

Now, there were a lot of people that LOVED V&A Shipping back in the day when I produced it in audio. When I released it in print and ebook, it got a lukewarm response, at best. I hadn’t been expecting that. What was different?

My first version, the audio, didn’t have any typos…that listeners could see. I could fix grammar and spelling as I read it out loud. Again, to the best of my abilities at the time.

I’ve said this many many times, but it bears repeating. You can’t get worse at something if you keep doing it. I say this repeatedly to reinforce it with myself. You can reach a plateau and that’s where learning from others comes in handy. Reading is a great exercise. Learning from someone who’s successful at what you want to do is invaluable.

At any rate, got a super late start this evening. I’m crazy tired and it’s time to get to bed.

5/5/2021 GRPC 2 will drop. I will make certain to provide lots of links to the ebook when it’s available.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0128-e1075ku

The Durango Radio Station.

When I was in high school, there was on radio station in town. KDGO. The Durango radio station. It played one type of music. No, not country or western. No, not top 40. It played oldies.

I’ll stop you right there. This wasn’t a modern radio station where oldies were Motley Crue and AC/DC were considered classic rock. Oh, heavens no! This was 1985 and the classics they played were from the 40s and 50s. On a daring day, the might break out a Beatles tune or maybe a Creedence Clearwater Revival song, but it was a rare day that would happen.

My buddy Jeff LOVED music. He introduced me to many bands that I still listen to. Bands I’m sure many of my readers have never heard of. If it was 80s metal, I listened. The harder the better. Though I grew up with oldies and even big band era songs that I’d listen to with my grandpa. There wasn’t an era of music I didn’t listen to growing up, but once I discovered metal, that’s all I wanted to consume.

Jeff? Even moreso. He worked his ass off doing any job he could have have money to buy guitars and records. He was a purist and would only buy tapes if he had no other choice.

Along with Sean, the three of us were the metal-head, long-hairs of Durango. We’d hang out every chance we got and would often be out causing mischief.

One of our friends from school, Bob Cooley, worked at the local radio station. It was located downtown Durango around the corner from where my dad and step-mom had their dental lab. The front was all glass and you could see the DJ sitting there spinning records and waving at tourists.

Bob worked the night shift. His job was to sit and watch the massive reel-to-reel spin all night long on the weekends. Nothing else. Maybe, if he was feeling good, he could pause the tape, play a song, and then go back to the tape. That was a rare occasion. He knew how, but preferred to read, do homework, and let the machine do its thing.

Jeff had petitioned the station manager multiple times to have a spot, even late at night, where he could go in and play metal. It was on MTV. The tourists that were limited to one radio station had kids. He wrote letters. Made phone calls. Pleaded his case. Got told no over and over again. Until one day! The manager ask Jeff to come into the office.

He told Jeff how radio worked. How he was beholden to advertisers and they expected a specific type of music on that station 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There would be no new DJs and no new music. He must have gotten tired of Jeff not talking ‘no’ for an answer.

Back to Bob. On the fateful night in question, the three of us parked the car where my dad’s lab was. It was late, probably around 10pm. We had a midnight curfew. We had time to burn and nothing to do. Jeff had a mission. He was going to get metal played on the radio come hell or high water. We stood in front of the class until Bob noticed us. Yes, we could have banged on the glass, but we weren’t jerks.

Bob let us in.

Jeff had an album in his hands. Two if I recall. Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. As much as he wanted metal on the air, he knew the limits and brought something that wasn’t offensive. At least with no curse words.

We spent some time talking with Bob. We were there for over half an hour talking radio, how everything worked. Bob showed us how he would pause an album and play a song, if he wanted to.

Jeff begged. He pleaded. He promised his first born. He did everything to get Bob to play a song.

***If this were a sitcom, this is where the plan would have succeeded because Bob went to the bathroom.

Bob wouldn’t relent. There was no way he was going to deviate from playing the tape. If he would, it would be from a bin of records that sat next to the DJ desk and nothing else.

Jeff didn’t need to be told twice. He set his records down and dove into the bin. He came up with a comedy record. If I recall, it was Funnybone Favorites. The three of us, being Dr. Demento afficianados, knew comedy songs. We loved Weird Al and everything he produced. This was classic funny music predating Al. We picked a song, again if memory serves, Ahab the Arab because Guitarzan was rejected by Bob.

Bob wasn’t losing his job because we wanted to throw some spice on the air.

When the song playing finished, Bob paused the reel-to-reel, turned on the mic, and said he had some in studio guests. The three were giddy. It wasn’t metal, but our names went out over the airwaves.

I’ll tell a story next week about how us three long hairs changed music in Durango. It all started at the talent show.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only : https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0127-e101al4

7 days out.

One week. How fast we got here. Next Wednesday is May 5th. The day I start dropping content like crazy. It’s something I’ve wanted to do and talked about doing for a very long time. In the video, I do some reflection on this point.

Yes, over the years of me publishing books, I’ve made many mistakes along the way. One of the biggest mistakes was stopping and starting and starting over again trying to reboot something that never got off the ground in the first place.

The other major mistake I made was throwing everything at the wall and seeing what stuck without giving anything a chance to find an audience.

I accept that I did this and I’m moving past those failures. There’s nothing I can do about the bad books I put out or the poor editing I did in those books. What I can do is clean up what I did, and let them be. That’s what I’ve done and it’s time to move forward.

For the most part, the next 2 months of content is already scheduled. I’ve one more upload to do and I need to order print copies so I can verify the print proof. Other than that, we’re on auto-pilot.

In the past, many authors would have a lot of fanfare for what they were doing. Book trailers. All day events and giveaways. Video chats. You know the like.

I’m not doing that. I’m not ready to start shouting to the heavens that it’s all there. I’m doing this, no quietly, but I’m also not shouting from the rooftops. I’ll post across all my social media accounts. That I’ll do. But I’m not going to try and generate a fuss about what I’m doing.

I’m a small fish in a big pond and the best thing I can do is drop book, after book, after book. Let others make the noise for me. Again, I’ll promote to my current platform, but I’m going to do a slow burn. As we get closer to the first 12 books in this major arc out there, then I’ll start to make some noise. Why? Cuz we’ll be getting the something major happening and I’ll have a lot of books for people to buy and read. That’s when it’ll get interesting.

What does that mean? It means I’m ready for many months of slow sales and little movement. I’m prepared for that. Mentally. Before when I launched books, I wanted to ride in a limo lighting cigars with $100 bills. Yes, I’d bought into the myth. I’ve matured since there and I’ve got my head back on the ground and out of the clouds.

Not only have I seen what my mistakes have wrought, I’ve also watched my friends succeed and how they succeeded. What they did to get to the level they’re at. It’s time for me to be consistent and push forward. It’s going to be a tough couple of years getting the ball rolling. I may slip a time of two, but as long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I’ll make it up that hill.

I’ve said this before and I’ll continue to say it, thank you for coming along on this ride with me. It’s going to be exciting!

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0126-evv8kj

By The Numbers.

My apologies for missing yesterday. Let me say, I’m doing much better today. Thank you for those that asked.

One of the things I’ve been saying all along, I want to be transparent on this blog. I’m going to show you all my behind the scenes numbers as we progress. This post may be dry for those looking for entertainment. It might be interesting for those writers looking to launch their writing careers. I’ll let you decide how it works for you. As always, feedback is appreciated.

The first April number for you is the magical number of 0. As I’ve said many times before, I’m starting from 0. What do I mean by that? I mean my total sales for April were 0. Yes, I sold a few in March and February. For April, that was a normal month. Zero. Nil. Zip. Nada.

I won’t cry over my 0. It’s entirely of my own making. This is where we’re turning this ship around and work on selling books. Each month I will report out how many books I’ve sold. If you really would like me to, I’ll break it down by book, but for the time being, we’re going to use one number for all book sales.

Short stories, also zero. This is no surprise as I haven’t published any short stories. This number can only go up, right?

Now, where am I not starting at zero from? Let’s look at the number of published books I currently have. For books I’ve Indie Published, we’re at 12. Well, 13 really, but one of those will be coming down soon enough. Let’s call it 12. To do along with those 12, we’ve got 2 that are traditionally published. When I report out books, I’ll lump them all together. When I give book counts, that will not include trad pub as I don’t know those numbers. Unfortunately.

Next, platform. Let’s talk all about platform. Where are people finding me and what I’m doing? As of the end of April 2021, here as my counts across all the platforms I’m currently active on (active to any degree).

Twitter1227
Facebook (personal)701
Instagram314
LinkdIn300
TikTok177
Blog subscribers104
Facebook (author page)56
YouTube40
Newsletter31
Anchor2
Tumblr0

Nothing amazing or astonishing here. Why I post on Tumblr still, I have no idea. I’ve never had a follower and I doubt I ever will.

Anchor is a new platform that I’ve launched on. This is where the audio from my 5 a Day videos goes and gets distributed to places like Spotify (am I the only on that pronounces id Spot Ify?).

The newsletter and YouTube subscribers have grown since I launched 5 a Day With Jay and started blogging daily. To that end, so have the blog subscribers. The first two went from the low teens since August and the blog went from the low 80s. I’m convinced that posting with regularity has caused those numbers to go up all on their own without any effort from me other than doing the posting.

The rest, they’re fairly static. I’ve rarely looked at those numbers. But that’s what I’m going to start doing going forward. Track my Social Media stats and see how they’re growing and if they’re growing. I’ll be doing this toward the end of the month of the 1st day of the following month to get more accurate numbers.

I’m NOT doing this to encourage anyone to go follow me everywhere. I don’t want to flood you with the same notifications over and over again. Pick one, you’ll get a majority of my works. YouTube, this blog, and my Facebook author page are the best places to get publishing news. The others, follow me if you like. I don’t post much elsewhere, yet.

As I’ve said many times and I’m sure I’ll say it again, this is all a learning experience. If I post it here, I’ll be able to refer back to it should I need to clear my head and look to see where I’ve been and where things went right or wrong.

There you have it. The starting point for this stage of my writing career. I’ve had many false starts and it’s time to put my foot on the gas and not let up.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0125-evsosm

A journey of 1,000 steps…

After many false starts writing Of Gnomes and Dwarves, I felt I needed to do something different. That world wasn’t ready to be written and my brain wasn’t fully ready for the task of creating such a monumental body of work. I had several things I needed to learn before I’d ever be able to write my great epic fantasy.

One of the biggest things I needed to learn was how to tell a full story from start to finish. I had limitations on word choice and needed to study up on grammar. There were many holes in my education. I understood technical jargon, but when it came to writing a story, I was lacking.

During NaNoWriMo, oh so many years ago, I wrote V&A Shipping. It was, at the time, intended to be a stand-alone book. I had no intention at the time of writing to create more than one story in that universe. Much like Of Gnomes and Dwarves, Vic and Argmon were from a role-playing game we’d played in high school. Other than the characters, the story had very little to do with the game.

At this time, I also thought I wanted to be a humor writer along the lines of Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett. Only, when I wrote, that humor didn’t fully materialize for me. There are a few funny moments, but overall, the tone of V&A Shipping is a serious story. Far deeper than intended. Yes, I wrote the story, but it went where it wanted to go.

Now, when I say this was a NaNoWriMo novel, I wrote a majority of it during the money of November, but I finished it off in December. The book weighed in around 100,000 words. It was a hefty work, but I’d finished it. I told the story I wanted to tell and I loved it.

Then I did a re-write because as everyone knows, a good book isn’t finished until you’ve done at least one re-write, right! I subscribed to the myth of re-writes and did that a couple of times with this book before putting it aside and working on Astel. Then Billy Barbarian. Then Paradise Palms. Then My Teacher is a Zombie.

I’ll stop here and pause for a second and try to explain what I was thinking at the time. My intention was to write the first book in several series. I would drop those books out into the wild and see which people loved the most. V&A Shipping and Billy Barbarian I did as podiobooks and got those uploaded. They generated an audience. So, logically, the first book I published was Astel.

You can see where I’m going here. I failed many times over. First off, I should have kept writing in the V&A Shipping universe. Secondly, I should have published V&A Shipping first. Eventually I did, but I’d released so much else first. I compounded my errors by not sticking to one series or even one genre. I wanted to write and publish everything.

Nothing sold (of course).

This caused me to completely rethink what I was doing and I stopped writing and publishing. I’d put out 16 books over the course of 4 or 5 years. Nothing stuck. I’ll put numbers out next week and show where this failure happened. It was depressing.

I’m one of those people that was quite prolific and then disappeared. I’m a “what ever happened to?” writer. I’ve done that a few times. I’d pop my head up and drop something, only to fade away again. Why? Cuz I kept failing.

Now, I wasn’t putting a lot of effort into keeping things rolling. I’d write books and keep track. I blogged. But I wasn’t releasing anything. I came up with more excuses than you can shake a stick at not to publishing anything else.

There is a silver lining to all this. I found my way into the story I wanted to tell and how I wanted to tell it. I wound up with a backlog of books in that story and I’m excited with the direction it’s headed. Much has changed in publishing over the years and with my mindset around what I’m doing and planning on doing. I’m excited once again about what’s coming.

I’m not just excited, I’m pumped! I’m eager to start putting books out again and getting this machine rolling. Why? Because for the first time in years, I’ve a plan, a schedule, and a backlog. With this series of blog posts I’ve been doing over the past few months and with the YouTube videos I’ve been doing, I’m excited once again to see what’ll happen.

As I keep saying over and over and over again, I know this will be a LONG slow journey. I’m not expecting to do well out of the gate. It won’t happen. Each time I’d drop a book, I’d anxiously reload the web pages to see what sold. Multiple times per day. I’d be disappointed. I’m not doing that any more. I know my numbers will stink on ice. I’m starting at the bottom. Lower even. I’ve already put out books that went up the charts and rapidly dropped.

My plan going forward it to, once a month, pull the numbers and present them. How are books doing? How am I selling? How is my platform growing? What am I doing to expand my reach? I’m going to do all of this publicly.

Why?

Transparency.

I want you to see what I’m doing and know that I’m keeping an eye on things. That I’m not letting this slip again. I’ll even start posting daily word counts once again so you can follow the progress of the books I’m working on.

I’ve got big plans. Everything is already in motion. It’s difficult to explain how excited I am. I almost can’t contain myself.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0123-evhu4o

From here to there, from there to here.

When I was still in high school, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to tell stories and write books. Long ago I’d bought into the myth that selling a book meant instant fame and fortune.

So, I tried to write a book and failed miserably. I did, however, get on the path to telling this story about the first book I ever wrote.

Like many teens in the 80s, I played Dungeons and Dragons with friends. Many, many hours of Dungeons and Dragons. Also fantasy games like Ultima, Adventure, Wizardy, Bard’s Tale. But it was the characters from those lengthy D&D sessions that stuck in my head well past high school. I knew I had to tell stories about them.

Now, I’ll stop you from your eye rolling. Yes, I’ve long since heard the “Don’t tell stories about your D&D characters. I’ve heard that many, many times over the years.

In the Navy, I read many fantasy books and I thought, “Hey! I can do this!” The excitement overtook me and I set out to write, by hand, long form, in a notebook, the first stories about those characters. I would get 3 or 4 chapters in, re-read what I’d done, or someone else would read what I’d done, and it was terrible. I’d throw it out (I wish now, so many years later, I’d have kept it all).

I did this several times over my Naval career and failed every time I tried. I would give up and shake my head. I didn’t have a typewriter. That was my excuse. My hand writing is so bad that it’ll never be good enough to be a book. I had every excuse to stop and not continue.

The writing bug kept calling me back.

When I left the Navy, I still wanted to write those stories. I’d started collecting comics again and discovered Cerebus. I read every word in those comics cover to cover. Dave Sim was quite clear that he wanted to write 300 issues and end with the main character’s death and be done with it.

Wait a minute! That’s what I could do! I decided writing comics was easier than writing a novel. Why didn’t I describe each panel and put in the words that’d go with each panel? I loved comics, maybe that’s what was holding me back. I understood story structure, but I wasn’t good at telling the story.

Over the course of the next year, I would spend time writing, by hand, the first book as a comic. My plan was that each story arc would be 15 comics and I would later re-write it all as a novel. Over the course of 300 comics, that’d be 20 books in total. I plotted and planned each arc and wrote the first 15 comic arc.

Then I wrote the next 15 comic arc. Then the third. Then the fourth.

At the time, I hung out a lot at the local comic book store and met Pete Woods. Pete was a struggling artists and fantastic! He was submitting his art everywhere. I let him read my first pages and he nodded and said “Yeah, I could draw this. Looks interesting.”

I was stoked! I had an artist. I would just need to get money together to pay him and to produce a comic, indie style! It was the wild west with comics and indies were the thing.

Then Pete got a gig doing Warrior Nun Arela. Then he got picked up to work at Jim Lee’s studios. Pete and I hung out at the studio and I met many young artists, colorists, letterers, and a couple of the big names (never Jim Lee). Pete was on the fast track and we soon lost touch as our schedules no longer lined up.

I didn’t have an artist any longer. Drat!

Then I finished school, had my associate’s in Electrical Engineering, and went to work at Qualcomm. I put writing aside. I was there for a year and started at Pacific Bell.

I’m unsure why, but the writing bug hit me again while I was at PacBell. I had these comic scripts and knew I wanted to write them as novels. It was time to write a book.

Using the first 15 comic arc as a plot outline, I wrote book 1 over the course of a year. I agonized over that book and struggled to get it written. That first version was roughly 50,000 words when done. But it was done. I’d done it. It took me 15 years, but I’d finally finished book 1 in the Of Gnomes and Dwarves series. My epic fantasy novel had been written. Only 19 more to go and I’d have the entire collection done!

Yeah. The book was awful. Even though I had a computer to write on with a spell checker, I wasn’t well versed in sentence structure, grammar, and the flow of a story. I was excited at telling the tale, but it wasn’t a good book.

That didn’t deter me. I wrote the same book again. Then I spent the next 2 years editing, re-writing, and editing some more. I submitted that book anywhere I could, only to be rejected over and over again.

It took me a long time to finally put book 1 aside and look at the pages for book 2. I’d changed positions at work and was sent off for a week-long training. I took my laptop and decided, I’m going to write book 2. Let’s see how much of a start I can get into book 2 on this week long trip.

I left Sunday afternoon and checked into my hotel. I wrote all night long until around 10pm, which was my normal bedtime. I was up at 5:00 am, showered and ready by 5:30 am. Uh…I didn’t have to be to class until 10:00 am. So, I sat and wrote until the last minute I needed to be out the door. Packed up my laptop, and off to class I went.

We had an hour long lunch. Being frugal, I’d brought lunch. I had an hour to sit there and write. We had 15 minute breaks regularly. I’d write. We’d get done around 4:00 pm. I’d go eat dinner, go back to the room, call the Mrs, then spend all night writing.

Over the course of that week, I wrote book 2. It weighed in around 60,000 words. I couldn’t believe what I’d done. It was finished. It was, to this day, the fastest I’ve ever written anything. The closest I’ve come is writing 95,000 words in one month.

Of course, both book 1 and book 2 in that series were terrible. So was book 3 and the half of book 4 I’d written. It’s not garbage. I learned a LOT writing those book. They were all lacking.

I’d finished them, though. I learned that the best thing I could do was to finish a book, and move on to the next. By doing that, I became a better story teller.

This post is getting long. I ramble more about this in the video. Suffice to say, this is only the next stop in my writing journey. I’ll talk more about that journey tomorrow.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0122-evfseg

My brain goes where it wants to go, I guess.

Read the quote again.

One more time.

I never intended to do this blog as writing advice, but I’m going to pontificate for a bit today, if you’ll indulge me.

Back in 10th grade…oh so many years ago, I took a creative writing class. I’d written some stories before and tried drawing cartoon. All were awful. This was the first time where I had a teacher explaining things like structure, pacing, and the like. I learned about poetry and haiku as well as different styles of writing.

The teacher introduced me to things beyond what I had thought about when it came to creating stories.

Learning about writing was a great thing and I applied what I learned in the stories I wrote during her class. It was a great class (watch the video for more about the class).

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot of great things about writing and I picked up many hard to forget myths about writing as well.

This is all I’ll say. I don’t subscribe to the million words of crap theory any longer.

Yes, I’ve written about this in the past. I no longer believe that EVERYONE must write a million words before they’ll write something worthwhile.

Why?

I think back to that creative writing class. everything I wrote in that class got a “A” from the teacher. She didn’t know me. Didn’t know my background. All she knew was my passion for creating what I thought was a good story. She loved the stories I wrote. So I kept writing stories.

I lost my way many times along my writing journey, but I always wanted to be a writer. An author. To have people read my stories and enjoy them. To that end, I’ve succeeded. Many people have read and enjoyed my work. Many I don’t know.

Not all the words I’ve written are crap even though, over the years, I’ve written somewhere between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 words, of those not everything it published. Many of those words will never see the light of day. They were practice words.

That doesn’t mean I’ve trunked everything from those early days of writing. As I said, I don’t think all of it is crap. Some of those stories I learned a lot from and some are decent stories. I’m sure not everything I will write in the future will be a great story, but I will learn from everything I write.

Why am I saying all this?

Because I know with every word I write, I will get better at my craft. I’ve said many times over the years, it’s impossible to get worse at art if you practice with regularity.

To that end, not everyone will be at the same path on their journey. Some will take longer to produce a quality story than it’ll take someone else. One person will write significantly faster than another person. Everyone is different. What will make a person a better writer is persistence, patience, and practice.

That’s my goal, to keep plugging away and putting out books and improving my craft. Not everything I write will be a story everyone will want to read, but that will be more a matter of taste and opinion. Not so much that the story is lacking in quality.

What I’m saying is simple: don’t try to be Stephen King with your first book. Have patience with yourself and know it’ll take time to learn the craft of writing (or any art for that matter). Practice your craft regularly. Be persistent in completing and producing work. You’ll get better at your own speed and in your own time.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0120-evarrk

15 days. I can feel the tension in the air!

The Mrs and I are back from out (mis)adventures. We got in some great hikes and I’m sore as can be. Even so, I did get back into my routine today. My workout done, and I recorded 5 a Day. It feels good to be able to escape for a few days and get right back to where I was before.

That said, it’s also great that we’re now 15 days away from relaunching my writing career. The biggest difference is, this time, I’ve got more of a plan. Far more of a plan. I even have a schedule to make sure I stick that that plan. I can’t explain how refreshing and freeing it feels to have everything laid out. I don’t have to worry or stress about what’s coming up next.

What I do need to worry about? Writing 4 short stories and a novel every 2 months. That’s a schedule I know I can stick to. I’m already half-way through the series and over the next 2 years, I need to write the second half of the series. I also have the first half of the short stories written and I can focus on that second half of short stories.

It’ll be good mental exercise to do that.

Keeping up with my workouts and the short trips the Mrs and I are taking will help me keep my sanity and keep me healthy. If I stay happy and healthy, my output should stay constant.

If you’ve read Dean Wesley Smith’s blog over the past few days, he’s talking about “pulp speed writing”. Yes, I /could/ write at pulp speed. I type quickly enough to do that, the issue is having enough hours in the day. Were I a professional writer, making enough money to support my family with my words, I’d easily be able to write over one million words in a given year. I’ve no doubt about that.

And that’s the plan. Yes, I’m working toward retirement, but I have no plans to stop writing. I’d love to have my retirement from my day job as a cushion, but I’d love to get my writing career going and have even more time to write and not be dependent on my main source of income.

Perhaps one day, but not today and likely not in the next few years.

We shall see.

I plan to be very open about my book numbers, sales, expenses, etc. I’m starting at the bottom, again. I’ve been here for a long time. Had I been consistent over the years, I’m confident I’d be much further along. It’s now time to see how far along I can get in the next few years.

If you’re from the future and reading this blog posts, say hello and you can see where this all started.

Fifteen days. It’s weird to say that, but exciting at the same time

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0119-ev8kag