Writer's Life - Full-Time Author Two Year Review

Time is weird. Can we all agree on that? Like, 2018 simultaneously felt like it lasted both 3 years and 3 weeks. Two years ago this month I quit my “normal” (what is normal?) job. You can read the blog post here. Oh, past Dana, you were adorably naive. Right, so I’mma talk about some stuff I’ve learned since my first day as a full-time author.

Goal Review

Release a new book every 18 months or so ~ This, I’m thrilled to say, has been a smashing success. I’ve actually released about a book a year since I started this journey. Out of the Shadows came out just as I was gearing up to leave the old 9 to 5. You know how I was talking about time being weird? Yeah, that feels like forever ago! Anyhoodles, I still love the idea of publishing two books a year, and I have a strategy (sort of) for that. It has yet to happen because said strategy is incredibly ambitious. Still, I keep my goals high so if I miss, I miss better than I would if I’d set lower goals to begin with.

Transform into a human every day ~ Uh, yeah. Where the first goal was a smashing success, this second one…


Hard. Failed* so hard at this (she said, while wearing her PJs past noon while writing this blog post). I know it’s a thing that helps transport your brain from hangout mode to work mode, so I need to just freaking do it. Okay, I’mma go get dressed and stuff. BRB. Cue the hold music.

I’m back! Right, onto the next goal.

*I don’t seriously like calling missed goals failures. To me, a failure means nothing good came from the experience, and I just don’t think that’s the case a lot of times. The meme was too funny not to do, though 😉.

Keep a strict schedule ~ This is the one that’s transformed the most (and the hardest to pin down), but I’m totally okay with that because I’ve learned a lot about how I work (and don’t work) these past two years. Firstly, I don’t work well with timetables. I know some people work best when their life runs like a train schedule. Not me! And that whole “I’m gonna wake up at 6am everyday” thing. That’s hilarious. I stay up late. That’s just how I/my household works. Again, I’ll address this subject/organization in more depth later.

One hour of social media a day ~ This one is so weird because 1) I didn’t realize at the time what social media would become to me. I can spend half an hour just crafting a post. 2) Back then, I didn’t have all the lovely friends on social media that I have now. I have made awesome connections with such amazing people I really cherish**. 3) Social media still very much seems like a requirement for my line of work, but just how much time is required and what’s the best way to spend it? Nobody knows! So this goal is something I still grapple with. If I ever feel like I get a handle on it, I’ll let y’all know, but don’t hold your breath.

**Yes, you absolutely can make authentic friendships through social media. Fight me.

Write 7k words per day ~ 😳 Oh, honey. Well, past Dana was certainly shooting for the moon. Suffice to say that is not a realistic goal for me or anyone I know. It has been adjusted to something way more reasonable.

So there are the goals I had. I’m pretty pleased on that front. As far as stuff I’ve learned…

Prioritize ~ I only recently started feeling like I had a good handle on this. A guest on the podcast Productivity Alchemy shared a tip that has changed my life: in the first three hours of your day, get two hours of your most important work done. Y’all, I have never felt so pulled together as when I started doing that. Turns out, I work far better with time blocks than any kind of actual times.

I’ve also started keeping lists. You may have seen in my post from two years ago that I was using an app called Habitica to help keep me on task. Unfortunately, that didn’t end up working for me. Since then I’ve cobbled together a Franken-system that uses my Apple Calendar and Reminders apps and Evernote. This last one, you may recall from this post, is what I use for my e-BuJo, which I use to sort and prioritize tasks.

Adaptation is key ~ That super strict schedule I had back in early 2017 fell apart PDQ when literally anything else came up. If you read the post from two years ago, you’ll notice I didn’t have any time built in for any of the other stuff that comes with running your own business like marketing, accounting, correspondence, etc. Prioritize so you can be flexible.

Points for getting the reference 😜

Points for getting the reference 😜

Just keep swimming! ~ Okay, I said this two years ago too, so it doesn’t really count as something I’ve learned. But it bears repeating. You know how everyone wants to know the secret or key or whatever to success? I think the only answer (though not a guarantee) is persistence. Every inch of progress is still progress. Keep swimming!!!

Thank you to everyone who’s been a part of this journey with me. It’s still scary even two years later, but also still exciting. And I’m really looking forward to what the next two years holds. And if you want to share any tips, encouragement for fellow authors and readers, or just say hi, feel free to leave a comment below 👇.

Thanks for reading!