Thursday, December 22, 2011

#ROW80 - Final 2011 Round Wrap-up

Ironically, today is also my last day at the Day Job for the year. There's going to be a big, drunken celebration tonight, let me tell ya. It'll probably just be me, my wife and video games. Crazy, I know. But our Christmas shopping is done, we both have tomorrow off, we don't have to travel until the evening, and my latest project is in editors' hands. It really is vacation time for me. Which, as a writer, means thinking about your next project, maybe a little light outlining, and, my personal favorite, blurb writing. Gah, I hate writing blurbs.

Anyway, today wraps up the second round of ROW80 that I've participated in, and the fourth round in this inaugural year. It's been a great ride, and I've met some other great people (and great writers!) through the challenge. I don't have as much time as I'd like to be social, click around, comment, etc, but I still feel like I get a lot out of ROW. I may not be the most worldly writer, but I have to believe that for the time spent, you get more back through ROW in terms of connections, advice, and inspiration (not to mention support of "the lifestyle") than any other challenge. It's just a great group of folks, really doing it right.

So yeah, I'll be here next year, ROWing along. Let's take a quick look at what ROW has helped me accomplish both in this round and this year:

  • Lessons Learned - Once a week, for 160 days, I've posted a lesson I've learned. Some are writer oriented, some personal, but the big takeaway here is that I'm constantly improving, one week at a time. Slow and steady wins the race.
  • WIP Progress - I published my first book, started a second project, and finished it this year. ROW chronicled the words as they ticked off. More on this in a bit, but this goal has always been the meat of my involvement in the challenge. The aim is to make writing a daily thing. I would call it a job, but I hate that word. I'm certainly approaching it that way, with daily objectives, and a long term plan, but it's something I enjoy doing. Thus, it doesn't feel like a "real job"  most to the time, though I have started to tell people that it is "like a second job." Self-publishing is a legit endeavor, and people are starting to recognize it, at least in my life.
  • Blogging - Really, this is my social media of choice. I try to do Facebook and Twitter as I can, but I'm a blogger at heart. I've consistently posted on two blogs this year (including this one), keep a monthly online journal, and started a third blog for the football program I volunteer for. That's a lot of writing. It's not always as formal as my projects, but I maintain that anything that forces you to squeeze big ideas into written language is going to you improve as a writer.
  • Those were my three big goals that I tracked each week. Some ancillary things that happened: I got my book reviewed by two book bloggers. Hardly a tour, I know, but a big step for me as I wasn't sure what to expect. I anticipate contacting a lot more book bloggers (salt of the earth, these folks!), but I want to get a few more books out first.
  • I formed a partnership program with a fellow author. This wasn't really through ROW, but I'm not sure I would have had the confidence to do it without the weekly support here.
  • I participated in a giveaway. Two if you count one of my book blogger reviews. But huge thanks to Nadja for her 12 Days of Christmas giveaway. It was fun and exciting to be a part of.
  • Oh yeah, I formed my own small business. Sometimes I think we indies overlook that. To start out, we have to get tax IDs (and I'm a bit anxious about filing this year) and a whole bunch of other junk that legit businesses have to do. We even got my first book officially recognized by the Federal Copyright Office. I never anticipated being a small business owner, but, well, I guess I am now. We're totally small potatoes, but its definitely something I think is cool.
So yeah, it was a pretty good year. Sometimes it's hard for me to be patient; I wish I were doing all this as my Day Job now. Still, this was my first year going down this indie road, and it's been a productive one. ROW80 played no small part in all of this. Setting goals, working toward them weekly... well the achievements start to rack up without you even realizing it. I see great things in the future for this group of writers, and I'm proud to be a part of it.

I forgot last week, but generally I end with word counts. I stick them at the end because I don't use them to measure my progress, as you can see from above. However, after focusing on your real goals, it can be exciting to see how that translates into actual words written. Most challenges are fueled by word counts (not ROW), but I suppose I hope by showing the underlying count, that I'm proving how well this challenge actually works. Anyway, I'll end, as usual, with the counts:
  • Since last check in (two weeks): 8,657
  • Round 4: 61,097
  • Grand Total (two rounds):  130,472
It all adds up.

7 comments:

lauralynnelliott.com said...

Great progress, Matt. You've done so well!

You're one of the many authors I'm glad I met. I love your sense of humor!

So, did you get a tax id because you set up your authorship as a small business? I treat it as "self employed" but don't have to have a tax id. A funny thing...I'm using an accountant this year from up your way. Because of what I made in books sales, I'm going to have to pay the IRS this year. Bleh. So I figured it was time to use a professional for a change. Maybe he can find some extra deductions. LOL

Matt said...

Ditto.

I snagged the ID because I was under the impression that you needed it in order for Amazon to cut you a check. I thought that they wouldn't make royalty checks out to individuals and so you needed to set up a company bank account to deposit it in. Even if that isn't the case, the nice side-effect is that we have a completely separate account and card and such for our business expenses, so when it comes time to look into what I can deduct, it's all very easy to discern from my normal, personal stuffs.

If the tax guy is good, let me know. Shoot me an email or whatever. I may be interested in a referral or what-have-you.

Ryan King said...

Excellent work Matt. Sounds like you've had a very productive couple of rounds. You should be proud. I hope next round and next year is even more productive. Happy Holidays!

cmstewartwrite said...

A published book, a new business, AND 130,472 words? You Rock! Hope your hangover is slight to nonexistent. ;) Happy New Year!

Matt said...

Thanks both of you. See you in the new year!

Steph said...

This was my second round too. (Great place you've got here, Kait.)

Anyhoo...congrats on your successes.

Hope 2012 overflows with wonderful new opportunities.

Have a great Christmas season.

Matt said...

Thanks! Hope you have a great new year as well.

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