Wow! I can’t believe I’m finally writing the first post for The Create Diary. I’ve been putting it off for the last several days because I was anxious about how to get started—so instead of trying to write the first post, I just announced that I was starting it to my entire email list.

And now, here I am, starting—so obviously it worked. Hello, accountability.

I was thinking a lot about what to write in this post as I was sitting outside this morning with my westie, Mia. It’s summer here in Chicago, and now that the weather is nice she’s gotten into a new routine that involves lots and lots of SITTING during her walks.

Seriously, this dog thinks she’s a little human, leisurely spending her days sunbathing in Printer’s Row Park. For awhile, I tried to drag her over to the other parks a few blocks away, where we normally walk during winter, when there’s tons of snow on the ground. But last week, I decided to just go with it, stop fighting her stubborn tugging on her leash, and enjoy some non-walking time with my HTC One while she soaks up some rays and people watches.

Yes, she really people watches. I’m not much of a people watcher—I am too stuck in my own mind and imagination—but she loves observing all the people and dogs and bike riders and joggers that pass through our little neighborhood. Just yesterday, she saw a woman who called out, “Well, hello beautiful!” to her as she jogged through. Mia literally gave her a triple tail wag in acknowledgment and sat back down, back to enjoying the breeze whipping through her fur coat.

I couldn’t make this stuff up—I swear!

Anyway, I was sitting in Printer’s Row Park next to my dog, playing Candy Crush on my new phone, when I received another email asking me about how I write my books. I have a little process that makes writing a lot of content really easy for me, something I’ve shared with writer friends, and something I am pretty sure could help people. However, writing a book is a big long, crazy process, not something that you can teach in a series of blog posts or a packaged, 4-week ecourse with any real results.

So the other option is to do a big, intensive one-on-one, but it’s expensive, and most writers just don’t have the budget or don’t want to invest so much in a hobby, especially if they are just writing a first novel.

I’ve worked with a handful of clients one-on-one, but it’s never been anything I felt I could really sell as a package to someone. It’s always been sporadic and custom. And expensive—did I mention that already? Something that no one is really just going to buy off of the streets.

But today, I came up with a potential solution which immediately made me exit out of Candy Crush… I’ll get to that in a minute, though.

In this post, I cover:

  • Why I’m really doing The Create Diary
  • The projects I currently have on my plate (as an introduction to what we’ll be talking about for the next several months)
  • The thing I started typing while I was sitting outside today with Mia, and the tough decision I have to make about it

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Progress, Wins, and Misses

I write from 1pm-5pm almost every day, even on weekends. Normally, I’ll put my word count stats and words for the day in PDF format in the members-only section of this post, but today, I’ve decided to skip that part.

Why? Well, to be honest, I’m finishing up a rough draft for a book that’s under my pen name, and since I have a writing partner, it’s all coming together… weirdly. It’s not something that anyone who hadn’t read the books could follow (we are on the fifth book) and since we split the chapters between the two of us on this one… well. Let’s just say it won’t work for this update.

Instead, since this is the first post, I’m just going to use this section to list the projects I have on my plate right now and where I’m at with each one. Here we go!

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Notable Trends and Results

One of my least favorite things about working online is that the people who are actually succeeding don’t talk much about the day-to-day that most of us (or at least that I think most of us) experience while trying to run an online business.

What you see instead are these perfect blog posts, polished programs, and seemingly simple launches that get gazillions of sales before the entrepreneur whisks off to Italy or Greece with a laptop and a dozen other friends who also don’t have typical jobs and also seem to magically make money online.

My experience is very different from that. Struggling to make progress every day, difficulty deciding what to focus on, having way too many projects and opportunities to complete, dealing with trolls and negativity, trying to balance having a life with supporting a life, reinvesting in my business instead of buying new shoes, meeting regularly with my writing partner, making time for family, chores, exercise…

I certainly don’t try to live a frazzled life. A butterfly landed on my shoe today, and I took a picture. How could that be frazzled?

But my experience has not been one with rainbows, cupcakes, sunshine, unicorns… you get the idea.

It also hasn’t been one of pushing, pushing, pushing and seeing huge results by shooting 5-hour energy between cups of coffee and glasses of wine. Yuck! Who the hell would want to do that?

Mine has been somewhere in between, puttering along, struggling, seeing progress but not really ever arriving at my destination. Well, or have I? I don’t always know what my end game is, only that I want to write for a really, really long time.

I certainly don’t consider myself lazy, but I do still want to have a life. And I do really believe that people can have both sustainable work and sustainable fun.

As such, I spend a lot of time shifting strategy and trying to figure out what I really want, what I really don’t, and how to align my behaviors to the outcomes I desire.

That’s what this section is going to be about—the experiments I’m launching, the shifts I’m making, and the results I’m getting.

Normally, sales numbers and word count statistics are included at the end of this section. I’m going to save that for later again, since we’re just getting started. But I expect to be sharing those by the end of the first week!

Ready to hear why I really started The Create Diary and what my decision I’m on the fence about is? Keep reading…

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The Final Word

A few people have asked me whether The Create Diary is really going to be of interest to them, and can I really keep up with it for an entire year? I’ve actually started projects similar to this one in the past, including a public failed attempt called Full Disclosure.

But this project is a little different from that one not because I’m offering anything different, but because my approach is very different. In Full Disclosure, I tried to pack tons of information into one letter every week, which was often interesting but way too much content to write. I couldn’t keep up, I couldn’t talk about my work while actually completing it, and I couldn’t maintain that project long-term.

The Create Diary is going to be much more serialized, with small updates every few days or so. I don’t need to pour all my ideas into one post, because I can just start again tomorrow.

And actually, that is a big lesson that I’ve learned since that attempt (way back in 2011). Make a little progress every day and keep showing up. Easy to say, extremely hard to practice.

But, once you get it down, that will help you do just about anything. It’s helped me publish 5 books in the last 5 months and also helped me draft another 8 or so in the last year.

It’s also something I’ve implemented in terms of strategy—in case you haven’t noticed, I write a lot of serialized fiction and novellas now. That’s on purpose, because the stories I want to tell are often pretty big, and 250,000 word volumes (translating into 800-1000 pages) are just not realistic for me at this time.

I sometimes wonder if George R.R. Martin regrets the format for A Song of Ice and Fire for that exact reason. His books would work really well in a more serialized format, but he can’t do anything about that now because the format is already established.

However, I think his fans would be happier to receive more frequent story updates, and he might be happier as well—it always feels better to deliver a finished project than to be slogging through a honking huge project forever.

Until next time!

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