Storyslinger No. 2.23
News: February 2023
Boy, January flew by, didn’t it? Before I knew it, I was behind again! If you’re anything like me, you’ve got ten projects, a hundred deadlines, and a thousand tasks. They just pile up.
I’ve decided to start letting some things go. There are only so many things you can devote a hundred percent of your time to (hint: it’s only one thing). So, I’m trying to divvy up my goals into chunks that I can tackle in segments (think weeks or months). I’m hopeful that this idea will see me realize some big goals this year.
I’m also changing up my newsletter a little. It seems that folks like to listen, so I’m doing audio versions of everthing to see how that goes. In addition to the podcast, this newsletter will be accompanied by a voiceover version, as will the monthly story or essay. Because I have so many paid subscribers (note: this is sarcasm), I will be paying myself to record. (I’ve agreed to do it for free.)
Let me know what you think of this concept in the comments.
Writing is a marathon. Much like my running ability (I ran 13km last weekend at an agonizinly slow time of 1:20), writing takes some muscle building. I’m still struggling with the Write Every Day thing. And I’m not beating myself up for failing every day. Some days I get massive (for me) word counts; other days I log the big empty zero. I’ve begun looking at things in aggregate and viewing my writing on a broader scale. A weekly checkup on Sunday shows a tally of about 8,000 words over a seven-day period. I can live with that.
In parallel with working on the latest Space Force Recondo story, Unlucky, I am transmogrifying The Sea at Sunrise into a screenplay. My goal is to screenplayify all of my books. Having screenplays at the ready will prepare me to start pitching to production companies when it comes time to start turning my stories into a movie or streaming series. Keep your fingers crossed on that one.
Simon K. Jones posed a question over at Write More: What motivates you to write?
Here’s my answer:
Also, painters paint. Leaders lead. Runners run. Teachers teach. Mathematicians (mathers?) math.
It’s always been fairly simple for me. I think people are what they are. They may pursue other careers to make a living, but they are always drawn to what they are. I’ve been constructing stories since I was old enough to remember being read to. Charlotte’s Web, Runaway Ralph, The Hobbit, The Chronic-(What?!)-cles of Narnia. All started me down the path of storytelling. My mother even subconsciously named me after the profession of storytelling.
So, my motivation is primordial. That doesn’t mean that I’m always doing it right or even well. I fail daily. But I also try daily.
All that to say, there is no true metric for a writer. He or she simply must write.
But I do have some arbitrary metrics. And they’re financial. Stephen King says a successful writer is one who sells what he writes and with that money he pays the bills.
I have a fantasy of selling everything and buying a sailboat. Maybe just living and writing in the Caribbean. But maybe also sailing to more distant shores. With my family of five, I’ve whittled down the monthly expenses (assuming debt-free ownership of the boat) to about $3,500. That’s $42,000 a year net (about $50,000 gross). So, that’s my target as a writer. About what a school teacher makes, but being able to work on my own terms.
I honestly believe that if you write what you naturally enjoy writing and get better and better at it, you will eventually have enough readership to support your writing. At Substack’s average of $7/month subscription, you need fewer than 600 paid subscribers to earn that $3,500. And with the rule of thumb that you will have a roughly 10% paid subscriber base, you need 6,000 subscribers. I write in English, and with about 1.35 billion English speakers around the world (about 400 million of them being native speakers), that’s certainly doable.
Feel free to spread my newsletter and books amongst your friends (or strangers—I’m not picky). If I can get to 6,000 subscribers I can set sail! I promise I’ll keep writing. Hell, maybe I’ll write even more.
Again, thank you all for being part of the journey. It’s fun being able to engage with technology like this. And I look forward to your feedback.
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