What’s Next?

I didn’t get any writing done today. Last night I did not sleep well. There are times, when working on a book, that insomnia sets in. My subconscious keeps churning away on problems I don’t even realize exist yet. When you’re too tired to get up and work stuff out, and yet too awake to sleep, it can become a nasty cycle. I can also be a good thing —not the insomnia, but the subconscious working, because when I sit down to write, stuff comes very easily.

Not writing doesn’t mean I didn’t get work done. I did a lot of maintenance stuff—email, etc.. I also managed to adapt an origami design for a CD envelope into something that makes wrapping paper into a perfect little envelope for gift cards. That was the first time I’d ever adapted an origami design, but the author of this book I was working from has the annoying habit of challenging the reader to figure out new ways to do things. That tweaks my competition-gene. After all, it’s just folding paper for crying out loud. How tough can it be?

The main work I got done today was to sit down and line out all the things I need to be doing starting in the first four months of 2010. I’ve been reading yet another book, Crush It! by Gary Vanyerchuk. Vanyerchuk has successfully used new media to build himself a couple of businesses. His book is about how your build your own brand. I highly recommend the book. I’ve done half the stuff he’s mentioned already, and the rest of it makes perfect sense. In short, being creative, innovative, passionate and full of hustle will give you success.

Or, in “old school parlance,” it’s elbow-grease and vision.

So I laid out the things I must be writing (since those are the things I’m getting directly paid for) and then all the other ancillary projects I want to take on. It’s a fairly comprehensive and long list, but not one that’s impossible to get done. It’s just going to take a lot of long hours. I know the popular image of writers is that we’re urbane and live lives of leisure; but really we’re word-farmers. Farming is a lot of work, and what we turn out are products that need to serve three purposes:

1) They must entertain.
2) They must promote my skill, building my audience and brand.
3) They must create income in some way or another.

And, to enable things to do all of the above, I also have to make sure I have the infrastructure in place, like a reliable website, social networking sites, web servers for podcasts, distribution channels, mastery of new publishing formats and a raft of things that don’t even exist yet.

I’ll discuss branding more at another time, because it’s important but not as easy to identify as a buzzword might suggest. What’s important about what I did today is that now I know what I’m doing. I don’t ever have to stop and wonder. I have a list. I can knock these things off, and revise the schedule to include things in May and June and July. Without a plan, without a goal (and a goal beyond your immediate goal), it’s really easy to get lost.

Lost is not good.

Lost is pretty much of a dead end, at least as far as careers are concerned.

So, with this plan in hand, I knock off two chapters tomorrow, and begin to knock other things off the list.

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2 Responses to “What’s Next?”

  1. One thing that I always admire about you is the way you can make an activity multitask. I love the way you use your time in Second Life to play, teach and entertain.
    I am going to print out your list for farming and put in my studio. It is a good goal for every piece of artwork also.
    Thank you,

    Rennata, aka Mira.

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  1. Building a Business « Growing Unique- an Artist’s Journey - 09. Dec, 2009

    […] Michael A. Stackpole, had a wonderful post on his blog  called What’s Next.  It touches on the “popular image of writers is that we’re urbane and live lives of […]