Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Project Update IV

Ugh. September was a brutal month.

Failed to stay on task. In fact, receded quite a bit from those healthy productive habits I established back in May and June. Numbers don’t lie. In September I devoted 25.25 hours to the self-publishing project – 50 minutes a day, and a lot of that reading and research, not doing and producing. Compare this to 33 hours last month and 54 hours in July.

(All told, I’ve invested just shy of 200 hours into the project over five months. The guy who inspired me to do this last spring said you need to devote 16 hours a day for a full year to launch a successful business. So … I’m operating at 8 percent of the desired level of energy. He’d be twelve times further down the self-publishing world. 16 hours a day, however, is unrealistic for me in my situation, but I have to up that 50 minute mark significantly to succeed.)

As far as my physical health goes, same gloomy news. Only walked 12.5 miles, 2 miles less than August’s total, 8 miles less than what I logged in June and July, 16 less than what I did in May. And I only lifted the weights twice the entire month. Shameful. May, June, and July saw me lifting six times a week. And you know what? I really feel the difference.

Also, since we’re mind-body units (nothing is compartmentalized), I do feel that my decline in productive hours getting the business off the ground is a direct result of this inattention to the physique. Richard Branson, the head honcho for the Virgin conglomeration, was once asked what one thing he – or anyone – could do to increase productivity. After a moment in deep thought, he said: “Work out more.”

But there’s more to this than just me cutting corners with the working out. September was an insanely busy month for us. We celebrate three birthdays – and six birthday parties – over the course of two weeks. (If you’re wondering, it’s: Patch’s family party, my family party, Little One’s family party, the extended family party for all three of us, Patch’s friends party, and Little One’s friends party. Whew. That even tired me out just typing it.)

It’s the Back-to-School month, with adjustments to the girls’ schedules and, being their prime caretaker, mine. Back-to-School nights. Ice cream socials. Throw in a handful of soccer practices and games. I spent four afternoons staining the deck and throwing out my back. There was a second family get-together one afternoon for a cousin’s graduation. Two trips to the doctor. A day trip into NYC to see the Mets play. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

So my schedule wasn’t as open, carefree and moldable as it was back in May and June. Instead of doubling down to do the work, I looked for escape in time-wasting side projects and activities.
All right. Enough self-flagellation. I pledge to do better in October, and actually get things launched. What did I accomplish in September?

Well, the book, Oncewhere Walked the Whale, is finished. Completely. I’m satisfied – no, proud of it. I also finished a 19-page e-Book I’m going to send to everyone who joins my email list. I’m proud of that, too. I researched six self-publishing authors’ websites top to bottom, authors I’ve known about before I threw my hat into the ring. Of the six, three had outstanding websites – excellent and professional. Two were sort of average. Glorified billboards. And the last was absolutely terrible. Childish, ineffective, and downright embarrassing. I know where I want to be on the list, so I have quite a decision to make settling on a web hosting company.

The book cover is still throwing me. One of the many things I’ve discovered about myself this summer is that I am not a graphic artist. I can write, yes. I can jam out on the guitar, yes. In those senses I am artistic. But I can’t come up with a satisfactory book cover and translate it into a 1500 x 1000 pixel jpeg. And I’m using respectable photo editing software. Three days of work late in the month and nothing to show for it. I even had Little One help and try to design a cover on her own. No dice. So I decided that lack of a cover will not hold me up. Whale gets published in 30 days or less regardless. I can always add a cover the following month if need really be.

Read five books in September. Only one science fiction, Eon, reviewed a couple posts ago. A spiritual book, a pair of physics books. The last was The Warrior Ethos, a compact 90-page inspirational essay from Stephen Pressfield, which I finished in one day, and then proceeded to re-read each day for the next four days. Highly motivating, and probably helped me salvage this awful month.

Saw a couple of crappy movies (worse was the latest Mission Impossible, seen with my buddy one weekend) and a couple of good ones. Watched one of my all-time favorites, Limitless, and was pleasantly surprised by an enjoyable Riddick. And wasted a lot of time watching New York football. Oh well. I’ll have to multitask while the games are on I guess.

October can’t help but be better, and thinking about it as I write, I can’t help but reach my goals with a little application. To that extent, I must, on a daily basis:

– Resume waking at 6 and hitting the laptop keys for an hour.

– Get my walk in and then lift some weights after dropping the little ones off at their schools.

– Keep taking my supplements (basically a multivitamin, an omega-3 pill, and green tea extract … I really can feel the difference, too, when I cheat on these)

– Avoid my distractions during the workday (believe me, I have a list of twelve of them – the “Dirty Dozen”).

– Get three or four more hours of work in. I have a very ambitious long-term strategy.

– Then work on my honey-do list, which includes finding something that will bring in some cash flow on my behalf.

That’s it. If I can succeed at that, I can succeed at this self-publishing project.

Looking forward to a triumphant Project Update V.

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