I’m running a series for my newsletter subscribers; a
fantasy story that leads into Era of the Scourge Book 2: Warblooded, out this
winter. Unfortunately (Lesson 1), I hadn’t finished it by the time the series
I thought I could rectify that this past week. I’ve been
only a holy tear, cutting back on my social media so I could focus on finishing
this story. Sure enough, I had a two thousand word day on Tuesday that would
enable me to finish the story the next day.
Then, it was gone.
Three or four hours of work was flushed down the proverbial
toilet just like that. Few things are more disheartening in this business than
putting everything you have into an endeavor only to have it taken, leaving you
with nothing to show for it.
Unless you learn from it. Then, it’s worth something, at
I came away from the experience with a bruised ego and
having to play catch up, but I did learn a few things I’d be happy to share.
1). Know Your Software.
My editor and I both use Scrivener and Dropbox to get stuff
done. I write, upload to a folder, she grabs it, does her thing, and
re-uploads. Simple, right?
Dropbox, like most cloud-based software, doesn’t like it
when two people edit the same file at the same time. Dropbox has a workaround,
though; it will create a “conflicted copy” which is a file of one person’s
work, while the other person’s work will be saved with the original title.
See the wreck coming yet?
Often when I write, I’m offline, and I can’t sync until I
get back to wifi. Then, the sync process happens without my knowledge. Both my
editor and I were backed against the wall with our deadline, so she began work
without my having synced the work I’d done on Tuesday. Hence, when I logged
back onto wifi, her conflicted copy didn’t take my work into account, and for
some reason, my upload didn’t record what I’d done.
A day’s work. I can still hear the toilet flushing.
I learned to always,
always, ALWAYS ensure my work was uploaded to the cloud before
turning my editor loose. Ensure the upload and then check, just to be certain. Know the limitations of your tools and don’t
assume. It may cost you.
2). Respect Your Deadlines.
I’m a plotter/pantser hybrid who’s trying to become more of
the former than I am the latter. Writing is hard enough. But when you’re an
indie, that’s only the beginning of your labor. After you’ve written, you have
to market, release, and engage your audience. All of these can be herculean
tasks on their own.
If I had finished the story before releasing it to the fans,
I would’ve been able to spend much more time on the business aspect of things
and I wouldn’t feel so rushed at the end of each week. Had I not felt so
rushed, I would not have put myself in the position that cost me a day’s work
and the end of the story.
Deadlines exist for a reason. Use them and respect them.
Writing is a craft and a passion, but it is also a
discipline. In order for one to be successful at it, planning and careful
execution is required. Plan ahead, know your limits, stick to an agenda and
your errors will be greatly reduced.
Thanks for reading.
Avery K. Tingle is a
brand-new writing coach and author of multiple short stories across varying
genres. Epic fantasy “Era of the Scourge Book 1: The Ring of Asarra” was named
a recommended read by Amazon and is available as an ebook or audiobook. Ask how
to get a free copy of the audiobook!
Born and raised in Northern California to two parents who did the best they could, and really screwed up anyway. After sampling juvenile delinquency and teen parenthood I graduated to homeless nomad, trekking through the United States for eleven years and having many, many grand adventures. Following a brush with death and adulthood, I settled in the midwest and accepted a sentence at a day job where I learned how to sell myself and telecommunications. Following a disastrous marriage, I relocated to Eastern Washington, and for now, that's where I am.
I turned to writing in 2008 and I've been making a go of it ever since. Still learning by screwing up, I started to find success in 2016.