Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Taking Inventory

I know it’s been a while since I actually blogged on something deep. I’ve had my Flash Fiction Fridays and project updates, but that’s pretty much been it lately. Now that we’re finally through the holiday season, I have time to take a deep breath and start refocusing my efforts on what’s really important both in my personal life and in my writer life.

I have devotional time with God each morning, and lately I’ve made it a point to try and read the Bible from start to finish. The other day I began the Book of Numbers. The Book of Numbers can be a bit rough to get through because a lot of it deals with the census that God required the Israelites to take so they could prepare themselves to enter the promised land. When I read through the first chapter, I came across a side note in my Bible that talked about how we need to take inventory of our own resources whenever we get to a crossroads in our life – to take a census of all that we have: relationships, possessions, spiritual health, and even our time and goals.

I think this process is especially important where I’m at in my life right now. My wife and I moved here to the Bay Area almost a year ago to help start a church plant. When I first moved here, I nearly allowed the move and the church plant to deplete me of my own vision and calling to be a writer. Now I find myself no longer associated with the church plant and most of those involved with it, living in one of the most populated areas in California, and with my writing sales at a standstill.

This is hardly where I imagined my writing career would be at more than four years after I set out to do this full time. This isn’t to say that I’m where I’m not supposed to be. I fully believe that God orchestrated me to the place I’m at now. I am truly blessed to even be able to live in the Bay Area, stay at home with my son, and write for a living.

But, I’m at the very beginning of a brand new season, a rest stop of a sort, a place to evaluate my writing career and the direction I would truly like it to go in before I begin taking those first few steps into this season.

When I first started this journey to be a stay-at-home self-published author, I had no clue how to market, how to social network, how to really do a lot of things that are required of a self-published author nowadays. I did my best to get word out about my books, I even did book signings at the local used bookstores. I read articles full of advice from other self-published authors, many of which contradicted other articles that I read from other self-published authors. I stumbled and struggled through the process to try and figure out what I should be spending my time on – do you market all the time, write all the time, split it down the middle, or something in between all of that?

Now I’m at a point where I wake up in the morning and realize I am spinning a few dozen plates with none of them really having much direction. I keep announcing new projects that I’m not able to follow through on, set unattainable deadlines for books that I am writing, and pour myself into things that do nothing but eat my time and give little to nothing in return – such as Facebook.

It’s time to take inventory. Time to pour over the resources I have at my disposal and figure out better ways to use them to reach my end goal. God has given me so much, but I know I waste some of it simply by underestimating how valuable it can be. Like time.

So, here’s me taking inventory. At least for the first half of this year. These are projects I can solidly commit to, things I can honestly say I have the desire to pour my time and energy into:

The Crossover Alliance Anthology
Of Dreams and Faith
The LZR Project
Dark Horizons (Expired Reality #3)

These things will get done before the summertime, at which point I’ll evaluate my project list for the second half of the year.

For those who have been following me on Facebook, I am going to be streamlining some things this next week. I have too many pages to keep track of, so I’ll be shutting down my Black Earth and Expired Reality pages and streamlining all Black Earth and Expired Reality related announcements through my official author page, David N. Alderman.

And for those of you who have signed up for my email newsletter, I will be putting out a newsletter each month which will announce all of my projects and my progress on them. I will also be using my digital mailing list to send out various announcements, such as the release of a new project. I promise not to get too crazy with the emails, but I want to make sure I am keeping in contact with my fan base and spreading the word about the things that I am working on. If you still have yet to sign up for my newsletter, you can do it from the home page of my website.

I have an expectant attitude for this year. I expect to start making headway in the world (regarding influence) with my writing. But that expectancy has to be paired with prayer, effort, and wisdom or it’s all a pointless endeavor. The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions. I need to make sure that’s not the direction I’m headed in with my writing career.

Photo Credit - Seabamirum

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