Last Thursday and Friday, my final free days before the start of the spring semester, I read months’ worth of articles I’d collected on succeeding as an independent author and on how artists support themselves in this crazy “I don’t read anything that ain’t free” economy we find ourselves in. Then, I wrote two drafts of a plan of action for this spring (and, hopefully, beyond). Finally, to give my ideas a sanity check, I wrote to the people who already support me: my patrons on Patreon.
A couple of core ideas came out of these two days of brainstorming:
- I should be releasing at least some of my work simultaneously to patrons and to the public, in order to better enable sharing (and thereby increase my readership);
- a balance must be struck between work released for free and work saved for publication in paid markets with wider distribution (journals, magazines, and anthologies);
- my stories should be shared in multiple media whenever possible, in order to capture the attention of more eyeballs and earholes; and,
- attention must be paid to balancing my work for Clarkwoods with my teaching and familial commitments, and with my need, as a high-strung worrywart with a penchant for downward spirals, for some daily quiet reflection.
And now, having sat with these ideas for a week, I’m ready to make some changes to the way I do business as a writer. Here’s what I’ve got planned:
- Get back to writing 7 days a week, even if it’s only for 30 minutes a day, treating the exercise of my mind with the same seriousness that I treat the exercise of my body;
- Separate my daily writing practice from my near-daily Web-publishing habit by publishing 3 drafts per week instead of the 5 that I publish now;
- Publish 1 of those 3 stories simultaneously to both my private Patreon channel and to the public (leaving the other 2 exclusive to Patreon), streamlining the sharing process for myself and my patrons (who currently have to wait a day after they’ve read something they love to share it with everyone else); and,
- Syndicate that 1 public story far and wide, as both Web-based text on variety of channels, as an email newsletter, as a podcast/series of audiobooks, and on YouTube.
Since Monday is the day I release new episodes of my existing podcast, Horribly Off-Topic, and Friday is my busiest day as a teacher, I’ll be releasing stories on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. And since Thursday is my one day off from teaching, it’s the day that makes the most sense for the simulcast of the 1 public/Patreon story.
Got it? Awesome!
There’s oodles more I could share from Brainstorm 2016, including how I’ve scheduled my whole life around being done with work and present for my children and family by the time I pick up my youngest from childcare each afternoon, but this article is already too long. If you’d like to chat about my plans, or anything else, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Thanks, as always, for your support.