Simple Math Large Results

It’s funny how something so simple like basic arithmetic goes write over my head sometimes unless I’m looking right at the results. What I mean is, obviously writing every day has its perks, but writing a little more than you’re used to can yield major returns.

When I first started writing (late 2014 early 2015), I had a daily goal of 1000 words, not bad, and I would play with that sometimes going up to 1500 sometimes just settling for 1200. Anyway, I always wanted to hit 2000 so I finally started doing that and of course, the product finished sooner (twice the speed duh).

Then I bumped my daily word count goal up to 3k (where I currently am now) and of course, I finish books even faster cause DUH! The 32k novella I just wrote was completed in 10 days (the final day I wrote 5k).

These big chunks were easy to understand. I mean everyone knows writing 3000 words a day will hit a goal 3 times faster than writing 1000 words a day, but what if you started adding a couple hundred words to your daily word count goal. Nothing overwhelming, I’m talking next time you write and you hit your goal and 200 more words. What would that do for you?

Well, assuming you write daily that’s an extra 1400 words a week for possibly five-ten minutes more of writing.

I know this is pretty basic stuff, and almost insultingly simple to put down in a blog post, but I’m writing this because it’s one of those things that’s so simple I’ve completely overlooked it for so long. I’ve hit my goal and called it a day instead of putting in an extra ten minutes, which by the end of the month could earn me an extra 6000 words.

It’s why now I say my minimum is 3k but usually, I write 3100 or 3200 and the results are so obvious it’s cool. It’s fun to see how quickly you reach your goals just by adding an extra inch each day.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

4k today no stress

I know 4000 words are nothing to some people, but it’s a fair amount for me. These past three days now my numbers have all been over 3000 words, and it hasn’t felt particularly demanding.

Today was a day off for me so I obviously had more free time than usual but this technique has worked for me in the past even when I work full time or go to school.

It’s nothing new or groundbreaking, all I’m doing is focusing 100% of my attention on writing for short bursts of time then rewarding myself with a brief break. I’ve discovered one good way to time your breaks is to watch a show on Netflix (preferably one of the sub 30-minute shows).

Rather than trying to present this as polished advice it would probably be more beneficial to just write out my day so you all can see what I did and if it would work for you.

I started my day with a baseline word count to give me a bit of a cushion: 1000 words. From there I rewarded myself with a 22 minute break and watched an episode of Death Note.

I wrote 600 words following that episode and repeated until I reached 3200. I then gave myself a longer break to finish some errands, get out of the house, feel like an actual human and when I returned I knocked out the final 800.

The reason I liked this approach so much is it’s quantity focused not time focused. It doesn’t matter how long or short it takes me to write those 500 words, it’s the goal I set and the goal I have to reach. The break is then time driven because 22 minutes is enough to recharge, get some coffee, and let ideas percolate.

Why I think this idea worked so well is that I never fully exhausted my mind or my imagination. The ideas were still flowing when I took my break so writing didn’t feel like a chore, it was something I was chomping at the bits to get back to.

Anyway, I hope this helped.

Thanks for reading.

-R.K. Gold

Know your ending

I know the title of this post seems obvious. The most important part of a book after all is the ending. People can disagree with me all they want but I will stand my ground, you can come back from a shitty beginning and middle but there’s no coming back from a shitty end. The culmination of all your hard work into a rushed pile of garbage is something you want to avoid. It would be much better to smear fertilizer all over the page and let a beautiful vegetable garden sprout on the final pages.

Lol sorry, I didn’t mean to go poetic at the end. I’m a little out of it this morning. It’s been a long week at school and it’s only Tuesday. But I digress.

As I mentioned in the title, before you start writing you should know the destination. This is not a call to outline the entire book, just know the cardinal direction of it. That way you can spend the entire novel trying to get there.

The reason I am emphasizing knowing your ending is that one issue I have when I write is that I think I know my ending then I write myself out of it and have to come up with something new.

The reason I am posting this advice today is that yesterday I finished my rough draft of Third Life and since I now have a physical ending that I’m in love with I know how to fill the rest of the story with actions, clues, and props that will make the ending POP. Honestly, this is more a post to remind me that I need to focus more on my endings before every aspect of the writing process. Far too many times I have changed my ending mid-story and while being flexible when writing has opened me up to some pretty cool twists it’s also sent me down some pretty miserable rabbit holes.

The Absolute for example used to be about a writer who wanted to kill God. Now it’s about a painter remembering the importance of family. Both of these stories have absolutely sucked lol (part of the reason I’ve taken a break from editing The Absolute).

Wow, this post is already longer than it needed to be. I’m just gonna end it here and repeat the title. Know your ending before you start writing. It makes the process SO much easier.

A Faster Mind

Did you know our minds can process 400 words a minute? Despite our ability to digest large volumes of information in a short amount of time we inhibit ourselves by stressing to retain and memorize each word, which is stored in short-term memory and forgotten, instead of focusing on the overall message.

In 10 days to read faster, we are told the most important skill any of us are ever taught is the ability to read, yet we stop learning reading techniques at too young of an age to really perfect the skill, and it ends up serving more as a stress factor than an ability to enhance our lives.

Maybe that’s why according to PEW Research, over a quarter of Americans say they haven’t read a book in the past year. That’s kinda sad, and I’m not just saying that as an author.

Studies have found that people who read novels develop a larger capacity for empathy than those who don’t. That’s obviously not to say people who don’t read cannot feel empathetic, but the correlation still exists.

One of the main reasons people read slowly is that they try to read every word. Their eyes will stop up to 8 times reading a single sentence, hindering their momentum and creating stress, because not only are they trudging along the page, they aren’t retaining any information.

Another problem individuals face is they will mouth the words while reading, slowing their mind down to follow the speed of their lips, which as mentioned above is much slower than our maximum ability to delivering and retain information.

10 Days to Faster Reading offers brief exercises, they may seem strenuous at first but will ultimately help you read faster and retain more (which is the ultimate goal). These exercises are teaching yourself to literally read between the lines; that way your peripherals will pick up on the text of the following sentence before you even get to it, thus it will already enter your mind before you move your attention to it.

Focusing on keywords in the sentence and allowing your mind to fill in the rest by context. Our mind is actually very good at this. Though it may feel uncomfortable at first, if you focus on the keywords you will be able to recite the entire sentence word for word (or just about).

Finally, do not look back. Re-reading not only halts any momentum you’ve built, but it will also create a subconscious stress to memorize the words, which will actually make retaining the information more difficult.

The main key to reading faster seems to be just trusting your mind.

Personally, I’m excited to keep practicing this skill and after just a single day I’m already noticing a difference.

No need to even buy the book, just remember that reading is like any other skill; practice makes perfect and the more you practice the exercises above the stronger reader you will become.

Why Indie Authors Should Read Business Books

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don'tGood to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by James C. Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Why Indie Authors Should Read Business Books

I am finally pursuing my lifelong passion of becoming an author, and writing is a business, so I needed to invest in myself. I figured “the bible” of the business world would have some interesting things to say. After all, a business of one is still a business and who wouldn’t enjoy the leap from mediocrity to longevity? The book made it clear that building a great business isn’t just about a great leader who exits the company, only to have it fall apart. What makes a great business, and leader of the business, is someone who is able to build something that will last long after their lifetime.

That should resonate with authors. I don’t know any authors that want their books to disappear without their presence? We have the benefit of creating products that at the very least will never go out of style. Innovations may change the way we read but they will never eliminate books altogether. What we write will last and it’s our responsibility to build something from it so people actually give a damn about our work long after we are gone.

The lessons in this book teach a person how to develop a strategy, how to build a team, the importance of being disciplined, and the importance of managing expectations.

The Hedgehog Concept is something creatives should be able to maneuver to their advantage. It’s all about finding what you can be best at, passionate about, and quantifying how to measure your success. For an author maybe that’s finding a niche and having the discipline to stick with it rather than chasing the latest genre fad.

For building a team, again think about how many people it takes to make a book. You don’t just write a draft and publish it on KDP. If you do, and are successful than I am jealous but most of us can’t write perfection the first go around. You need beta readers to give you general feedback on what’s working and what’s not; you need an editor (or two) to make sure it’s readable; you need a top-notch book cover (some authors can make their own, some need to add a graphic designer to their team) and finally you need to build your audience, because they’re the most important part of the team.

Though there are a lot of lessons in this book the final thing I’m gonna touch on is the Stockdale Paradox. It’s all about managing expectations. You can truly believe you are going to find success, while also managing that expectation. Stockdale was a POW in Vietnam who knew he would return home but kept his sanity because he knew it would be a while, while other soldiers in the camp were overly optimistic, thought they would get home by Christmas, only to be heartbroken when their expectations failed.

Pursuing a creative endeavor is still a business, and today it’s never been easier for someone to enter that business It’s my educated guess that it’s in order for creatives to educate themselves on traditional business practices if they hope to sustain long-term growth and success in their field.

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The Ideal Reader

Let me start this piece by apologizing if it is sloppy, disorganized or rambly. I am in my school’s library because I needed a quiet place, but it has been anything but. Who knew people came to the library to carry on the loudest conversations possible, and set off the alarms of emergency exits, which are clearly marked “Keep Closed Alarm Will Sound.”

Anyway. . .

For those of you somewhat familiar with me and my writing process, you know the book I thump around like my bible is Stephen King’s memoir On Writing41cqe00ZzsL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.

One piece of advice he gives, which I always remembered but have never fully implemented is the importance of an ideal reader. For him, his ideal reader has and always will be his wife Tabitha. What this means is he asks himself, while writing, how Tabitha would feel about it. She is always the first person to read his work and, from what I’ve gathered, outside of his editors, her opinion matters the most.

Why is this beneficial? As the old saying goes, if you try to please everyone, you’ll please no one. Think about how exhausting and unproductive it is to write a book that everyone would love. Is something so impossible really worth the effort? It’s important to know your audience. That being said, sometimes, for me anyway, thinking of an intended audience can be overwhelming. When I see an audience as a bunch of faceless readers (well if I’m lucky there will be a bunch of them) my mind naturally assumes they all have different tastes and automatically begins trying to please them all. What I ended up with is a diluted piece of garbage.

Lately, I have been trying to actually follow the advice I’ve been told. Radical I know. I have been focusing on one ideal reader to please because, despite our best efforts to be different, people all around the world share similar experiences. Not everyone, but if you can resonate with just one reader, chances are you are resonating with every reader who has the same nostalgia, same high school experiences, same theories on the afterlife or trust issues etc. You end up reaching a large audience by focusing on just one person. That is a lot more manageable than starting with a large audience and funneling down to a specific channel.

I wanted to share these thoughts because this is something I am personally working on, and that means (based on the above paragraph) chances are there are a lot of other writers out there dealing with the same thing.

Anyway, thank you for reading.