What to do next?

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Paul Whybrow

Full Member
Jun 20, 2015
Cornwall, UK
Prioritising work is fiendishly difficult. How to decide what’s important and needs to be tackled first?


Jim Rohn - Wikipedia

There’s no way of telling what will work in publishing until is does. My original intention as 2020 started was to promote myself as a writer and my Cornish Detective series as crime stories worth reading. I already had a blog about writing, a website devoted to my protagonist and various social media profiles. Adding posts to them might support my publishing career. Last Christmas, I uploaded the first four titles to KDP Select, a commitment I’d previously avoided. Book 5 would appear to coincide with holidaymakers appearing in Cornwall at Easter. I was 50,000 words into completing the sixth story. I had a plan! :rolleyes:

Then, everything went bonkers. While updating my Linux Mint operating system, it somehow gobbled up every document on the desktop. My fault, I think, as I inadvertently had another update running at the same time. Somehow, I’d saved everything to the Cloud except my work in progress! I wasted two months attempting to recover it, without result. As I struggled, the coronavirus took hold of the world. Slowly, I realised that the manuscript would have been unusable, as the story was set in 2020.

Slightly deterred, but not crestfallen, I refocused my energies to add another string to my bow by learning how to narrate and record my novels as audiobooks. The lockdown had further stimulated this sector of publishing which was already growing exponentially.

I chose Audacity as a digital audio workstation (DAW), which is free to use. I spent several hundred quid acquiring equipment. The Olympus LS-P4 Hi-Res Audio Recorder I bought wasn’t needed for home recording, but I intend to use it with a digital SLR camera I got to film videos about the stories out in the field.


I’ve been learning how to record audio files that satisfy Amazon’s ACX vetting procedure. The advice I received from Colony members who preceded me on this mind-blowing obstacle course was invaluable. My audio-files have finally passed ACX. All I have to master now is how to pronounce words perfectly!

Each novel will take at least a month to narrate and master, so that’s most of the rest of the year gone. I record in the evening, as the place where I live is quietest then.

Other activities I could be getting on with, include blogging, writing articles for the Cornish Detective website, making myself known on Twitter, my Facebook business page, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and LinkedIn. I’m also writing the third novella in a series about an American Civil War veteran. I should be querying literary agents, my least favourite part of being a writer. :angry-face:

There’s always something to do being a writer!

How do you prioritise what to do next?

Do you have a set daily routine?

Or, do you mix and match?

Story stuff first. Other things as needed. Housework (anything other than writing, really) is a thinking strategy when stuck at a point in the story where the glue is stronger than the pen.
When I came in, the one thing I knew was that it takes about ten years to get to the point where a writer knows enough to be a writer who can write. I'm at ten years (almost). I think I know how to tell a story. Now I have to put out a story on a regular basis. That is the priority.
Although my plan has changed a little (now it's about completing a number of stories and publishing one a fortnight/month for a year), it always remains about the story. Until death catches us on the crossroads ...
My priority so far in 2020 has been to get one house sold and another built. With luck, both those will be finished by the end of this month, and I can get back to prioritising writing (in the new, warm, dry house--yay!) In terms of writing, I try to be open to possibilities--willing to set a project aside to pursue opportunities as they arise. So the priorities I set down in my quarterly plans aren't always how things happen--priorities might change. For the moment, I'm stalled on the novel I'd hoped to finish by the end of April, but with encouragement from locals I'm compiling my pandemic poetry into a wee collection, so that's taking priority (and isn't on my quarterly plan at all!). I guess you could say my priority is always to be productive, so if one project isn't going well, I shift focus to another until I'm ready to come back to the stalled one.
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Fanfare! Sorry for this

Anyone use Blender?