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Progress Report: Quiet Introspection Probably Isn’t The Most Productive Use of My Time

Progress Report: Quiet Introspection Probably Isn't The Most Productive Use of My Time

I am not upset with my productivity for the last two weeks. It might not be what most people would call “prolific,” but, I have put words onto the page every single day. Part of my progress comes from accepting writing fiction isn’t the only writing out there.

My competitiveness may also have an impact.

My father published a book. It’s a collection of poems and short stories. Just a small piece of him out in the world.

Talking to him about all the technical aspects of publishing triggered something in me.

I love the formatting and design aspect of putting together a book. It’s my favorite part of the process. There are so many subtleties and nuances. It’s more science than art, but masquerades as art. It hit my wheelhouse.

The other thing triggering me to reinvest in this piece of my career is the audiobook. With the Choices audiobook now available and Fallout in production, I feel I would let myself and others down by not continuing to create.

More than likely, I will not be going back to the Seven Keys Saga soon. But, knowing this is out there and others are enjoying it rekindles fondness in it for me.

And, it rekindles my enjoyment of writing.

So, I’ve come up with the basics of a new — well, not plan, per se. I guess the word would be “habit.” It’s just a concept of what I want to do.

For the last several months, I’ve been trying to figure out why I write. I’ve been framing the question as what should I write, but, that isn’t what matters. The important part is the reason.

After all of this eternal navel-gazing, I think I have come to a conclusion. I want to create value with words.

And, that’s it. I want to create value every day.

I can think of several ways to create that value, but I’m going with three main criteria:

  1. Does it help someone?
  2. Is it fun to write?
  3. Do I enjoy it, fear it, or both?

Not everything I write will match all three criteria, and it doesn’t have to. It only needs to meet one. If I can get 2/3, I’ll consider it a win. If I run the trifecta, I’ll know I have something important.

My decision to use these three criteria isn’t arbitrary.

Besides wallowing in my internal journey of eventual awesomeness, I’ve been looking back over the last seven years. Not just to obsessively reevaluate every life decision I’ve ever made, but, also to look at the things I have created and determine which ones filled me with the most sense of accomplishment and pride. I also looked at the things I’ve created to determine which ones filled me with the most dread and regret.

I want to create more of the things I’m proud of and less of the things I regret.

I will be experimenting with a lot of new things. There is a real possibility I will do a new podcast. Possibly with an accompanying YouTube channel and show. The podcast will be something I do because it’s fun and I enjoy it. The YouTube show will be a chance to work on something writing adjacent. The idea behind the show will involve research and writing a script.

On a pure whim, I also joined a 100,000 word challenge for May. This breaks down into roughly 3300 words every day. I’m writing this blog post on Tuesday night and am on course to have put that many words onto the (digital) page.

How many of those words will end up as publishable quality? We’ll see.

This is all about forcing myself to hit a goal every day. I needed a lofty goal, too. If it’s not stretching my brain, I’m not getting any better.

3300 words a day is hard. I forgot how hard.

Last year I tried to do 1000 words every day and struggled to keep it going. But, I will complete this challenge. I have a plan and a reason to execute it.

I don’t want to get into what I’m trying until I know if it will go anywhere. But, I’m positive. My projects for May — yes, that’s projects, plural — are the writing I’ve always wanted to do but told myself I couldn’t make money doing. Now, I’m just telling myself I haven’t figured out how to make money doing it, yet.

But, money isn’t the point.

If it happens, it happens. If not, I won’t cry about it. This experiment is about setting a baseline for a new skill I want to master. The last seven years of this blog have already given me the narrative voice. Now, I need to figure at a make it longer and more interesting.

By the next progress report, I should have something worth telling you.

In the meantime, the only other thing I’ve done this week was move the Seven Keys Saga back into KDP Select. That means those books are no longer available on any other platform. But, if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read them for free.

Published by M.A. Brotherton

M.A. Brotherton is a writer, blogger, artist, and fat-kid from the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri. He’s tasted a little bit of everything the Midwest has to offer, ranging from meth-tweaking rednecks in massive underground cave complexes to those legendary amber waves of grain. When he’s not writing, he spends most of his time screwing around on the internet.

2 thoughts on “Progress Report: Quiet Introspection Probably Isn’t The Most Productive Use of My Time”

  1. jwbrotherton says:

    I am glad that the joy of writing is returning for you.

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      Me too. Not writing felt wrong.

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