Procrastination: The Devil Within

Procrastination

[proh-kras-tuhney-shuhnoun. the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate action.  

Procrastination is a plague that hampers the vast majority of people in their daily lives. People tend to wait until the last minute to do anything. How many college students go through their school lives doing their assignments the night before? Even those who work for a living; how often do they wait until right before the report is due to work on it.

The question is rhetorical–we all know the answer. You wouldn’t be reading this blog if you didn’t have a problem with procrastination to some extent. Procrastination affects most people in all walks of life. From the very old to the very young and everyone in between.  Some say that without the very last minute, nothing gets done.

How it affects me?

To me, procrastination is the epitome of a bad day. When I fall into the procrastination trap, it turns a bad morning into a worse day that is near impossible to correct. To keep the evil devil away, many things  have to happen or else I don’t have the productive day that I desire.

As I have stated in past blogs, I write a daily list of things I want to get done the night before. This reinforces what I need to get done and keeps me motivated to stay on track with what I need to do.

I must also make sure  I get to sleep at a decent time. Staying up all night doesn’t help the next day at all. Getting to sleep and having a restful sleep is important. I do suffer from bouts of insomnia; however, it is stress related. My stress, at the moment, is on the low side. If it rises, I will suffer from days on end of it, but I do have remedies for that. It is not as good as going to sleep properly, but it is better than nothing.

The next thing is getting up at a decent time. I know there are many people that say that when you get up doesn’t matter. That as long as you are sleeping for the necessary amount of hours and are able to make it to other events like work or school, then who cares. Unless you work graveyards, in my opinion, then getting up at a decent time sets up the day. For me, having kids, they have school early, and that means that I have to be functional during that time. It is a given. So, by getting up at a decent time and fully rested, then I have a solid foundation to work.

The third thing is food. For me when I am working on a project, I get sidetracked, and I forget to eat. The day disappears, and it is soon getting dark, and all I’ve had is the four cups of coffee. The term ‘hangry’ comes to mind. It’s not good for getting things done. All it takes is one distraction on an empty stomach then the hangry takes over, and then I put things off. Once I put it off, I end up going down a rabbit hole that never ends up well.

What does this all mean?

Some think that all you have to do is simply do the work. Putting things off until the last minute is a lazy thing to do. Usually, most people come to realize and remorse that they have procrastinated. However, this is not always the case. For some, they are lazy, and they procrastinate because of it. However, there is usually an underlining issue that affects them. Bad habits, and mental blocks.

Bad Habits

Habits, both good and bad take time to set in place. Like good concrete, or good wine. It all takes time. The 21 days habit myth has been floating around the internet for ages, but it isn’t necessarily the case. Studies have shown that habits take between 18 and 256 days to form with the average being 66 days. This is significant, cause for one person it might take only a few weeks to break the procrastination bug, while others it will take longer.

However, a person with the bad habit of procrastinating must set himself up with methods and tricks to get him to move him to action. To break the pattern, it must be done daily for a few months. It is like learning how to drive. When I learned how to drive, I had to say the actions that I did before I did them. Cause I was afraid that I would forget to do them. I did that for weeks, to the horror of my mother I am sure. Then one day I stopped saying the words as the actions had become second nature to me. That is what needs to happen. To stop procrastinating and make the goals that I have set happen, I need to break the procrastinating habit using all of the tricks listed above.

Mental Blocks

Please note, that this is not writer’s block. It doesn’t exist. I have written about it in the past, and I may revisit it at some point in the future. This is a mental block to do the task that needs to get done. It is when the thought of it stops someone from doing it. Me, it is large crowds and long lineups. I hate them. As such, I hate the mall and going to government buildings to get things done. Unless I absolutely need to, I won’t do it. I will procrastinate going as much as I can for as long as I can.

Now, going to the mall or sitting in a long line up has nothing to do with my goal. But it may be necessary for other goals that I make. At that point, I am going to have to deal with it and do it. It is a given. But for writing, as it is my goal, sometimes the issue comes from not knowing where the story is going. This creates a block that sometimes makes it hard to push forward and get the work done. This easily leads to distraction and the issues of sleep and food become a big issue. If I am struggling with where the story is going, and I haven’t eaten or didn’t sleep, then the issue compounds. I end up procrastinating.

The Strategy

For those that want to end the plague of procrastination that has engulfed your life, you need to figure out what sets off the dreaded procrastination. Once you figure out the problem, then it is easier to develop a strategy to overcome those issues. My list above is what works for me. It may not be what works for you.

If you enjoyed this and wish to support me and my efforts, please feel free to buy one of my books available on Amazon.com. Or you can buy me a coffee. Until next time.

Stay shiny.

Dreams, Goals, and Daily Accomplishments.

With the coming of the new year and resolutions and all of that, I have thought that it is a good time to talk about the differences and similarities of dreams, goals, and daily accomplishments. Many people have the wrong idea when it comes to these concepts, and a more concrete understanding of them is beneficial to all people.

Dreams

A dream is a wish. It is an abstract concept that a person wants to obtain at some point. It might be to learn another language and speak it like a local or to buy a house when they work retail. Whatever it is, it is big, unobtainable and aloof.

Dreams are important though. They inspire us to make our lives richer, to make our life better, and to get us up in the morning doing the things that we’d instead not do to get to the things that we want to do.

The problem with dreams is that they seem very far away in the grand scheme of things. They are hard for people to obtain, cause they are always five years away and the intermediate steps are sometimes hidden from view.

Long-Term Goals

Long-term goals are the building blocks of obtaining your dream. Whether your dream is moving to a tropical island or to buy property, a long-term goal is a large piece to get just that. They are still big, still abstract, but somehow smaller and slightly more obtainable.

A long-term goal is getting a better paying job in order to buy property. It is cashing in your investments to move to someplace tropical. These goals are usually the end of a long struggle, but for many people are just as unobtainable.

They are many times five-years away and a large dark object that you are climbing up. Many people give up on there long-term goals for that very reason.

Short-Term Goals

Short-term goals are more obtainable than long-term ones, but they add up. These short items will make up a larger, longer goal. But the short-term goals still take time to do.

A short-term goal may be finding the better paying job or cutting expenses down to live within your means. They are obtainable but take work that will fill up many days.

The issue for a lot of people is the same as what they have for the long-term goals. They can be abstract, and people will have problems staying focused on doing what is needed to obtain the goal.

Daily Accomplishments

This is the meat of the issue. When I hear anyone talk about there dream, this is what I want to hear. That they have thought enough of there dream that they have worked there way down to this level. I want to hear that they have a daily task list that they can do to get there short-term, then long-term and finally there dream.

Without a daily task list, it is easy to get distracted and sidetracked. Once distracted, the ability to get anything done is limited and in peril.

My Dream

My dream is to become a full-time author earning enough money to allow myself to live where ever that I wish to. I don’t want to be tied down to any one place due to work or a job. My dream is the freedom to fulfill my wanderlust.

My Long-Term Goal

My long-term goal is to write 1 million words a year and publish 12 manuscripts in that time. I also want to earn enough money to pay for basic substance.

My Short-Term Goal

Please see my previous blog post on my 2019 goals. Those are my short-term goals right there.

Daily Accomplishments

To do those goals, I have a daily goal of writing 1500 words a day, plus editing a novel for 2 hours. Once a week I need to write a blog post. There will be other items that I will do when needed.

But, every morning, I take a 2-inch by 3-inch note card, and I write out my daily goal for the day. Then I do them. I track my writing on a spreadsheet to make sure that I am keeping to my goal. It is color coded and will go green when I accomplish my daily task. I am to make it all green.

What does this all mean?

This all means that my daily accomplishments will fulfill my short-term goals. By obtaining my short-term goals, I will make my long-term goals. With my long-term goals done, my dream will be in my reach. By having the accomplishments and goals set up the way that I do,  I don’t have to worry too much about the abstract goals.

However, I am not there yet. It is going to take me years to do this.

If you enjoy what you are reading and it has helped you in some way, please feel free to like and to share this post. If you wish to support me and what I do, please feel free to buy me a coffee.

Until next time. Stay shiny.

Goals, Dreams, and Money

“Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.”

I am not sure where I heard that. It might have been from someone famous, but then again, it might have not. But over the last few weeks, it has resonated with me.

Today, I am going to talk about dreams and money.

Most people that I know have dreams of some kind. They are deep desires, and wishes of things that they want to accomplish. Some want to own their own house, some want to travel, some want to meet the perfect person and settle down. Some will tell everyone that they encounter about their dreams. Others will keep their dreams close to their chests. If they tell anyone, it may fly away and fail to happen.

Those that I have met that don’t have specific dreams have problems. You see, dreams and desires are goals. They keep us focused and moving forward. Dreams will allow us to see the light at the end of whatever tunnel that life is dragging us through. Without a goal, you become becalmed. Stuck in one place, without any direction. Dreams are fickle things, they seem like they are right at your fingertips one moment, then gone the next.

Dreams, you see, keep us sane.

Life comes at us hard and fast. We close our eyes and years have rolled by like sand through our fingers. We start work, blink three times and then realize that we have been working for the same company for five years. Yet nothing in our life has changed. We still live in the same crappy apartment paying rent, have a massive debt load, out of shape. All that has changed is things have gotten worse. Anxiety, depression spring up in our lives and stands like a roadblock.

I believe that having a dream, a goal, then keeping it in front of you. Focused on it, ever doing things to accomplish it will focus your life. You will be able to make decisions that go towards that goal. If you are planning on buying property and that is your goal, going on a vacation to the tropics is counterproductive. Going on an expensive vacation will not bring you closer to that goal. You can justify it to yourself, but it still won’t change things. People can justify many things if they put their mind to it.

By having a goal and making decisions towards that dream, you will accomplish it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day, it will happen. Dreams also take sacrifice, commitment, and stamina. It takes an hour of bad decisions, made in the spur of the moment in the middle of a time of high stress and emotions to completely ruin all of the progress that took years to get to.

But not just any goal will do. Many people have abstract goals. They want to lose weight. Or make more money. Most people never think about their goal enough to break it into parts and pieces. It is too scary. Dreams are fickle, to think about it too much will cause it to scatter.

But dreams and goals need to be thought about. Plans need to be made. Steps need to be laid out. A goal that has steps is a more straightforward goal to make. If your goal is to lose weight, then having a step of going to the gym three times a week, every week, is a good step. Having a weight loss goal is secondary and the next step. Getting into the healthier habit is a better first step. If your goal is to earn more money to afford a house one day, then living within your means is an excellent first step. Cutting out unneeded expenses will take you that one step closer.

I have a dream.

It is a glorious dream, one that I am keeping close to my chest. But I am making decisions that will allow me to get to that dream. Cause one day, it will happen. And one day, I will tell everyone about it. But today is not that day.

Until next time.

Stay shiny.

 

 

Update July 3, 2018

So I know that I haven’t been posting in a while. I am sorry for that. I published my first book, then my posting fell off. So far this year, I have written 200k words. I have two full novels published and two smaller kids books that I did with my kids.

Plus being a dad has taken up much of my time. My son is in piano, and my daughter is a ballerina.

I know. I am creating excuses for why I haven’t been posting. The suns in my eyes… the curling game is on…

No more lame excuses.

I will be moving to post once a week for now, and maybe posting more later.

In other news, my day job was going fine. Until they laid me off. It sucks, but I have written 25k words in the last 2 weeks, and I have published one book. I have another in the editing process and a short story in editing as well. I am not letting the depressiveness get to me. I am getting things done.

I also have an outstanding cover artist. His work is fantastic and has upped the game to my novels. His cover is the image for this post.

His site can be found here: Josh Thornbrugh

So now that you know that I am unemployed and working on my novels full-time cause that is the cards that have been dealt, what’s my future?

Well, the plan is to go back to school. Learn more about the writing and publishing process. It is a scary prospect, but I will make a go of it.

I will close off here, but if you all want to support my family and me, the easiest way will be to buy a book or three. Right not they are only available on Amazon and as e-books. They will be released sometime in the near future.

The full list of my published book can be found here.

My published work. 

Until next time.

Stay Shiny.

 

Title changes

Just a short note today.

The Space Courier is no more. So in the light that I have made no sales from the Space Courier Book, I have replaced the name of it.

It is now, “An O’Neal Spy Adventure.”

That is the new cover. I also tweaked the marketing copy, so maybe people will be more interested in it. We shall see.

Now I have to get back to the land of Agersolum. I am working on Felix Book 2.

Cheers.

I’ve been Tardy…

It’s now the eighth of March and this blog post is later than it should have been. I apologize for the lack of blog posts. I have been busy.

Tonight, I should have been in bed hours ago…such, I shall ‘try’ to keep this post short, but knowing me, no promises.

This post is intended to act as an update on my writing process and some of the issues and errors that I have made. Some that I have corrected, some that I have not.

So far I have published two books and a third will be launching next week sometime. My cover artist is busy and it is likely it will be a bit before she gets to it. It’s all good.  As of the end of February, I have made a total of fifty bucks from my books and I have realized I have made some mistakes.

My marketing needs work and I have no sense of cover design. The two book covers that have been posted, I love. I think that they are lovely designs, the issue I have with them is that they’re not drawing people’s attention. No one wants to click on my books. No clicks mean they won’t buy my book.

After that, my marketing copy is bad. Bad marketing copy means that they will not be wanting to buy the book.

I have no data on how many people clicked the covers, or getting to the sale page, or putting it in their shopping carts.

The books are included in the KDP Select program. So people can read the books for free. KDP select is the only place that people will read my Phantom Sorcerer’ books. Most of the revenue made is from having ‘Phantom Sorcerer’ in KDP Select.  So far no one has read a page of the ‘Missile Attack’ book.

I think the problem with the ‘Missile Attack’ book, is that it’s a hard market to get into. And it makes sense. The kids that would enjoy the books don’t read KDP Select and don’t have credit cards to buy it.

That means that I need a new marketing strategy for my middle-grade book before I launch it on Amazon. But what to do? More research time I guess.

But from what I see in the reports that I get from KDP select, people read it. Not a lot, but when they do, its a cluster of times that they read the books. Meaning that I think that people are finishing the books. But I have no sign-ups for my newsletters or reviews on the books.

And that is that. I am currently 90% done on my June release, while I’m working on my July launch. But I haven’t gotten much down.

I have been hit by a wave of stress and a defeatist feeling. The peanut gallery is back. My inner Statler and Waldorf have made their untimely resurrection. Their presence has halted my production down to a crawl. They are an unwanted tumor in my life, and I must again figure out how to get rid of them. They’re halting my writing process and it’s not very good.

Advice would be greatly appreciated for any of the above statements and concerns. Feel free to email me at NAPedde@peddehouse.com, leave a comment, or a Twitter message.

Until next time.

Cheers.

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on this Indi-Publishing thing 1.0

As it goes from being January 2018 to February 2018, it is approaching 15 days since I published my first book.

You can find it here. Phantom Sorcerer.

It has not been any type of success. No movie deals offered, or entry onto the New York Times List.

It just hasn’t. It has sold a grand total of four copies. I managed to give away forty-five copies one weekend, but people horde free books and never read them. So I don’t expect any reviews from that bunch.

It happens.

So does that mean that I need to give up? Like all the pessimists out there that tell me all the time?

No.

This is exactly as I expected it to happen.

I am a complete unknown with very little social media presence. I have an email list, but no one on it.

This indie-publishing thing. this experiment. Is not for the faint of heart. It is a long-term game.

Does that mean that after the first books that I should be able to make lots of money?

No.

There is a strategy that is called, “20 books for 50k”. In it, the idea is that you write twenty books you should be able to get successful. If you write twenty books, then the total sales of each book will make enough to be successful.

The traditional model of being able to write a single book a year and being able to live off of the royalties and the advance from that is dead and gone. Traditional Publishing as we know it is an unwieldy, dying beast. The indie-community knows it. The traditional publishers know it. The traditional publishing world is thrashing around to save itself.

Indie-publishing is the way to go. But it is not perfect. In the indie-publishing world, a big argument is the elephant in the room.

Amazon.

There are many publishers that an indie author like myself can go to. There is Direct-to-Digital, Smashwords, Amazon to name a few.

Amazon has 70% of the US market for indie books. It is also the only one to demand exclusivity in being able to sell on Amazon.

But it is only some of its books. It is called, “KDP Select.” In it, you get a range of promotional benefits as well as the ability to put your book into the lending library of Kindle Unlimited.

One side will argue that it is best to go wide. To not leave out the 30% of the market that is not Amazon. That you can still get 70% royalties from any books sold on Amazon and be able to sell it everywhere else.

That Amazon is an evil beast, and you shouldn’t hitch your horse to that wagon. That by saddling yourself with Amazon, you are becoming a dependant author reliant on Amazon for your lively hood. That I am no better than going with traditional publishing.

I, however, have a different opinion.

Scary huh?

While I have sold a grand total of four units, which means that I have a total of approx. $15 Canadian so far. It is approx cause the differences in the values of the currencies.

So far, I have a total of approx. 2000 KENP Reads. That is the number of pages that someone that subscribe to Kindle Unlimited has read. That is, of course, new page reads.

I don’t have any idea on how many people started the book and went to something else, or how many people have actually read the entire thing. They don’t give me the number of users that have read it.

For authors, KENP works by Amazon setting up a fund from the subscribers to Kindle Unlimited. That pot is split up to be paid to all of the authors. It is currently based on the amount of KENP page reads that has been read by a subscriber. Based on the given approximations, it doubles my revenue from that single book.

Now, this is without using any of the promotional abilities that KDP Select allows me to use other than the free days. It does not show the other side of the equation. How much could my book have made by going ‘wide?’

For an entirely accurate number, I can’t tell you. I’d have to pull my book out of KDP Select and put it up on the other markets. I may do that when I can. I may not.

But if Amazon has 70% of the market and I have managed to receive 70% of the sales possible for that book, then I should be able to get another $4.50 from them. That means KDP select is $30 while going wide is $20.

That is only a guess at the moment, based on some rough numbers. It might have gone differently if I had done differently.

Now in regards to the notion that my going exclusive with select, that I am no better than going with traditional publishing. I disagree.

As an indie author, I still hold my rights. I have the audio-books rights, the paperback. The only right that I have given up is the digital rights to the books. And it is easily returnable. I’d only have to wait 90 days. With tradition publishing, you have to wait a pre-selected amount of time that the book is out of print, or spend a boatload of money to get it back.

Those are just my thoughts so far. I plan on posting more of these posts later, once I publish more books.

Nathan’s Amazon Author Page

Phantom Sorcerer

Until Next time.

 

Ramblings: Writing for a living, Debt management, and You

So I have been thinking a lot about becoming a full time author and the things that I need to accomplish to get to that point.

At the moment I make all of my money from my day job. That is what pays the bills. I spent 40 plus hours there working to be able to keep my roof over my head and food on my table.

In the future I want to be able to make all of my money from my writing. That means that I am going to have to sell a lot of books to be able to do that. The problem is debt load.

Everyone has some sort of debt. If you are lucky that you don’t have any debt, then you are a lucky one, and not the norm. Me, I have lots. Credit cards, mortgage, car payments. I also have bills that come with owning my own home. House insurance, utility payments, property taxes. Throw life insurance, cell phone bills and internet payments and my expenses are quiet high.

And the home owner stuff isn’t that bad. It is the debt part that throws me off. I have a plan to get rid of my bad debt, but it’ll take the sale of my house to do it. Don’t worry, I bought a fixer upper and I have been fixing it up. The sale should be good enough to not only get rid of my debt load, but to be able to have a down-payment for another house as well.

As someone that is seeking to become self employed, I believe that it is imperative that getting rid of the bad debt and unwanted expenses is necessary. Imagine how many books that you must sell to cover the credit card payments of $500. That is a lot of units per month. Easiest way is to get rid of the payments.

So, to all of those that seek to become self-employed like me. Get a financial planner. Get a plan. Get your expenses down. The less units of books that you must sell to be able to live off of your creative outlets the better.

Figure out a way to spend less with still having the same standard of living. I am not advocating you to live in a cardboard box to be able to be self-employed. But I am sure that your family will think that you are when you tell them that you are self-employed.