How to Stay Motivated and Produce (Self Publishing Podcast #136)

This week the guys talked about how to stay motivated… well, at least for the last 20 minutes, anyway. As usual, the off-topic stuff was actually as fun as the topic itself.
They talked about email for a while. As any long-term listener probably knows, we’ve been slacking on email for most of this year. But now that we’re taking advantage of email again, a lot of fans are responding very positively.
Finally, the central topic, how to stay motivated, was nothing but gold. If you’ve ever stalled while writing, if you’ve ever hit writer’s block or lost all motivation in writing halfway through the project, then the second half of this episode should really help you!
Here’s the video version:

Show Episode Transcript

Johnny: Self Publishing Podcast episode number 136.Dave: This episode of the Self Publishing Podcast is brought to you by 99designs, the online market place that helps you get outstanding book cover designs at an affordable price. Start your custom design today at, and enjoy a free power pack upgrade valued at 99 bucks.
Welcome to the Self Publishing Podcast, where if you want something done right you’ve got to do it yourself. And now here are your hosts the three guys who sometimes use their powers for good instead of evil Johnny, Sean, and Dave.
Johnny: Everyone welcome to the Self Publishing Podcast, the podcast that follows three fulltime authors, as we attempt to change the face of Indie publishing. Join us and our trail blazing guests as we shove aside boundaries, freely experiment and occasionally screw up. I am Johnny B. Truant; my co-hosts are Sean Platt and David Wright. I’m not going to read the full long version of the intro, but I feel the need to say this is some advice, which is the essence of the rest. This is our experience.
Sean: I like that intro. It seems like it’s getting neater.
Johnny: That’s just because I say it faster. If I say things faster it’s kind of like how if you’ve ever been you know around one of those people who don’t speak English. I hear there are those people out there in the world I don’t know, I’m in America right.
Sean: What.
Johnny: I know. If you don’t– if they can’t understand you just speak louder. That’s the way that works, so this same basic philosophy.
Sean: Spoiler alert, Dave’s in a good mood today, so I don’t know if that’s going to fuck up our dynamic because he’s smiling. He’s making jokes that aren’t about dead animals.
Dave: Don’t worry it won’t last long. I just like briefly looked at the news feed and already I’m like oh no.
Johnny: Oh I thought you were going to say the news feed– you know what this proves it.
Dave: I used to watch the racism is alive and well in America unless anyone think otherwise.
Sean: I think redactor is following this, I texted him hi.
Johnny: Dave sent us a new story that I will not go into that just made me smile this week.
Sean: That was a good new story.
Johnny: It was fantastic. All right so and it was nothing inappropriate, so get your mind out of the gutter. So Sean wanted to– Sean just raised something and the breaking new spirit of Self Publishing Podcast that was just an interesting thing that we– an email we have been getting about print. Do you want to talk about that? This was interesting.
Sean: Oh yeah I’ll frame a little of this because there’s– I’d like to talk about email just for a couple of minutes because I think it’s cool. So you know we’ve long preached that you have to build your list and you have to send your list emails and all of that. And we know this like we know this. We know this know this know this. Johnny and I were able to feed our families from writing things like auto responders you know a few years ago. And we haven’t done such a shit job at emailing our list this last six months, just terrible like no excuses.
Johnny: I blame that on lack of communication though. It was like clearly nobody’s job and so we all just kind of went, somebody else is handling that.
Sean: I think there was a little bit of like burn out too from the whole like kick starter Fiction Unboxed thing, because it was really from then until like a month ago when we were like okay this is stupid. You know we have to be communicating. We have to do this, it’s part of our job.
Johnny: My green light moment was when the special on the Sterling and Stoner the what is that, platinum email which was expanding I said we haven’t told anybody it exists.
Sean: So Johnny sent those emails and then we did the whole thing with Joanna and David. And that required promotion and then 1.5 that required promotion. And so one thing that we have wanted to do for a long time– like there’s actually a lot of stuff to touch on here that you guys would be interested in. we’ve wanted to do something more dramatic with direct sales for a while. It’s part of the reason that we moved to Rain Maker and you know we did the whole Sterling and Stone site which you know we are constantly trying to refine.
But we’ve always been really attracted to selling the idea of selling bundles which is you know something we put into place back in May on the Realm and Sands site. But it was awkward we had to use gum road, where the situation now everything is kind of big ten. And so we wanted to sell bundles and we thought it would be really cool to sell bundles for black Friday, and you know just do a big black Friday extravaganza. And I’m glad that we did that because it forced us to do the bundles, which you know we would have killed time and found a million other things to do when we got the bundles done.
But now they ate done and they are in a place on the site and ready to go. And we ran a black Friday promotion and we figured if we are going to do it we are going to do it right. And one of the things that you learn you know sending emails out is that the last email that you send, that’s the one that gets a lot of conversions. You know that’s the last chance email. And it’s stupid, it would be awesome if it…
Johnny: It’s so true, when I used to do more internet marketing sorts of things, although I’m just saying that because it’s a catch phrase, like education right, it was the last email. The one that’s like okay times running out would make half of the sales, even if you’ve been doing it for a week.
Sean: Yeah and it would be awesome if that wasn’t the case. If you could just send out an email and be done. But it doesn’t work that way. If you send out an email and you are done, you don’t sell anything. Like that’s just– that is an internet email fact. You know it’s so minute compared to what you can do. And so we knew ahead of time okay we are going to send a sequence of four emails. There’s going to be one on thanksgiving which is Johnny just saying happy thanksgiving, happy Thursday if you are in another country. And it was tongue and cheek and funny and then the actual three days of promotion.
And we knew we’d get some unsubscribes, you know because you are sending four emails in a row. That’s going to get unsubscribes. So I was expecting that and I’m fine with that, that cleans out the list a little bit, but what I didn’t expect that was so awesome was the number of people who emailed us and were happy with the emails. The amount of– there was maybe a laugh, thank you. So the ratio was 12 to one which is pretty amazing. I think for every unsubscribe, there were 12 emails from awesome people saying thank you.
Johnny: Wow, this is the first time I’m hearing this.
Sean: It was really-really cool. And it made me really happy and the trend has continued with today, and so there were a few you know– today’s email…
Dave: By the way I unsubscribed. I was like fuck this shit, too many emails from these ass holes.
Johnny: There are some Dave jokes in the emails. There is some jokes about how Dave doesn’t like any of this and he’s grumbling at us right now.
Sean: Yeah Dave is such character in the email marketing. It’s pretty funny. We definitely went with comedic here. But we made a lot of people happy, like there’s so much good stuff here. Yes we had a few unsubscribes, but that’s okay. You know that’s part of the game here and the bottom line is we made a lot of people happy. You know they have got big bundles, they were able to very affordably pick up our catalogue, and like that’s so awesome. We did really well in a short four period day with numbers that would not have been possible on Amazon. We can’t sell bundles like this on Amazon. Not with our royalty rate. You know we would have gotten 30% versus the 98% that we got, and that’s pretty amazing so.
Johnny: To give you a good idea of what we did guys, is the biggest bundle was the Sterling and Stone mega bundle. It contained everything from all the lines except for the newest releases. So Yesterday’s Gone season five. The Fiction Unboxed book which is releases tomorrow as we record this because we are recording early, and Axis of Aaron. I think those are the only three, but everything else that’s currently released. And it was 50 bucks, but the value of those if you were to buy them all like on Amazon was I think 150. And so people were like– like I remember one email…
Dave: [inaudible 00:08:45]
Sean: Yeah, it’s close to 200 hundred dollars.
Johnny: Is it.
Sean: If you bought them all individually yeah.
Johnny: People are like are you disc– why are you discounting it this much. But I’m on the other side I’m like– and by the way, most people bought the mega bundle, like by far. And I’m thinking…
Sean: The mega bundle did well.
Johnny: What I’m thinking is people just spend 50 bucks on our fiction.
Sean: On our fiction.
Johnny: That’s what I’m thinking.
Sean: Right, and so this was cool on a direct sale level and all of that but one of the– a few of the emails that we got were like okay this is a lot of email. And I’m like no you are just on multiple lists. Because if you are on you know the repeater list and the starter list and the– the Realm and Sands list is actually who we sent this offer to, and we hadn’t emailed them in a while because we’ve been sloppy. And so I told all those people yeah, but just expect more email next week. Because…
Johnny: If you are on a different list, if you are on what starters repeaters, I think got the…
Sean: Starters and repeaters and the original Fiction Unboxed list are all people that we assume would be interested in the Fiction Unboxed book. So we’ve got that email going out yesterday today and tomorrow because that three day sequence is important. So if you are on the list and you are annoyed that there are three emails instead of just one, just know that if we were sending just one, we would be doing it wrong. Because that’s not how you move books, that’s not how you move anything. That one email just doesn’t have gravity to it. And so we were sending these emails out today and again the [Inaudible] [00:10:19] you guys later.
But the response is really great a lot of thank yous. Thank you for sending this email. One person I really like this email where they said, you know you mentioned this on the show a few times. You mentioned it in the kick starter update. And every time I think yeah I’m going to get that and guess what I haven’t. So thank you for the email because now I will, and that’s exactly the point. But the thing that Johnny was bringing up is that we’ve had several emails from something that wasn’t even in my radar at all. You know we are offering this deal which basically it’s the last page of the pre order version of Fiction Unboxed. We have a link to the Udemy course for Write Publish Repeat.
Johnny: For free. So it said the $49 you get for free if you pre order Fiction Unboxed.
Sean: Yeah and then that will disappear after the– you know after everybody downloads the book, and we’ll do an update and you know that link will disappear from the last page. And so we just want to really digitally focus, this is a digital download blah blah blah, but quite a few emails today from people asking what if I buy the print version. And that’s a really great question and of course you should be able to get the– you know the deal. But I hadn’t even thought of that. That was not on my radar to offer that for print version because it never even occurred to me.
And it’s just, I think it’s really illustrative of print for nonfiction versus fiction because with fiction that’s not really an issue. You know no one would say is the Axis deal you know good for the hard back which the Axis hard back is gorgeous, but it doesn’t really matter. People– I mean a true fan might buy that, but nonfiction is just, it’s a bigger business with…
Johnny: And we actually got an email this week from CreateSpace saying just FYI…
Sean: Oh yeah this is awesome.
Johnny: Right, you’ll see 65 copies sell. It was Wright Publisher Repeat’s ISBN, and because we want to have them in store like we are anticipating demand, and for print books. So basically CreateSpace, is the way I interpret this is Create– Amazon was basically requisitioning CreateSpace and saying we need to have more of these on had like print books. So print us up a bunch and ship this to us, so that we will have them and we won’t have to wait for the POD process when people order. And that’s…
Sean: Which is really fantastic.
Johnny: Would never happen with fiction right now for us.
Sean: No, and it’s like being stalked in a store. Like I mean we were paid for those right away. Like they haven’t sold yet, but we got paid for 65 copies. That’s kind of cool, so anyhow.
Johnny: So what I like most about that, that was actually a really helpful discussion and I think people need to know like email is A, number one pay attention send emails. But what I actually meant was what you were saying right before about– oh no you did cover it. It was about the print thing, so never mind you did cover it.
Sean: Yeah, well I think the other stuff is important too because I think that the…
Johnny: It’s really important I just wasn’t interested in it.
Sean: It’s really easy to get– to get burned out, to feel like– to take it personally. You know like I actually subscribe to the unsubscribes. And Johnny is like why do you do that. Dave and I both do. Dave and I both– we want to be notified when somebody unsubscribes.
Johnny: Which I so do not.
Sean: Yeah, I do because I feel like there’s something that I could learn from that. You know one of the unsubscribes was just a dick. You know he was like “spam,” I’m like, “No that’s really not the definition of spam” you know, but…
Dave: Can’t.
Sean: Like whatever, that’s fine. But sometimes people have something instructive to say. And you know that I can learn from. And I think that that’s really good. You just don’t want to take it personally because…
Johnny: Sean is exactly in the middle. Dave takes everything really personally. I turn away from everything and stick my head in the sand. I don’t want to know about it, I don’t want to see it, blah blah blah. I’m not going to engage.
Dave: It’s not happening.
Johnny: And Sean is right in the middle. So Sean has actually replied to a few really-really negative people that I would just ignore. I would just be like, “you are that negative, I’m not going to pay attention to you.” And he turns them around and it makes me feel like I shouldn’t ignore people. But since we are a trio, we hit all the bases.
Dave: No, we are all doing our jobs.
Johnny: Yeah.
Dave: We are doing our jobs, its fine.
Sean: So yeah I think that you can’t be shy about sending email because I do that. Like I’m not shy if I’m writing an email for somebody else, I’m not shy at all; I know what my job is and I do it. But when it’s me, I am shy and stupid…
Johnny: And I’m the exact opposite.
Sean: Johnny is the exact opposite. So we have gotten really good on our email flow, we are like okay, Johnny you write the emails because I know he’s going to do a better job at it than I am. And you know and Dave is like, I want to send an email you know I want to send an email to CI and he did. And that was really cool because it is one area that we can as a company do a better job on. But you individually an author, if you are afraid to send an email, don’t. If you are afraid to send multiple emails, don’t be but do them intelligently, like we got by with humor. Like humor…
Johnny: Yeah people are joining your list specifically to get your updates. And if they aren’t, if they think they are joining for something else like– and chances are they are probably just kind of like deluded. I mean it’s possible that you promise something [crosstalk 00:16:10] it’s okay really. And you are not going to send emails and not get unsubscribes. So don’t worry about it. People worry about that so much, but just as a standalone example that had nothing to do with like big run up.
We did this with Axis of Aaron too. When Axis of Aaron launched we sent I don’t know, not a lot of email, maybe two separated. It wasn’t like a sequence. And you know what damn it, when you let people know about a book, like even literally mind bender. Like Axis, like it did really well when people, when we sent those emails.
Sean: Yeah and that’s– and we ignored that, and that was our fault. But we are doing better and you know and I think that’s setting a much better example. And so any how you just can’t take those unsubscribes personally. They are the cost of sending the email. But the people who love you will love you more. And I felt really happy by the response to those emails. It was the best part of my weekend by far. Like I love how well the promotion did. That was awesome. But the actual human response to the emails was for me better, like I was very happy.
Johnny: How did your email go Dave? The one you wanted to do.
Dave: I only sent the one email. I didn’t send the sample.
Johnny: So how did it go?
Dave: Yeah, a few people, you know emailed back. It wasn’t anything. Mine wasn’t quite– mine was just like hey we have got this thing going on. Go here. It was very un-strategic, it was very last minute sort of thing. Sort of like 9,000,000 things going on and the only reason I didn’t email the list is because you know I didn’t want you know anybody that was on the collective inkwell list to miss out on the opportunity. I wasn’t really trying to sell to them, but I was also thinking, well I would hate for them to like find out about this and then be like well why the fuck didn’t you send us a list. We would have like so it…
Sean: And that was — we got a few of those emails too from people who– because on yesterday’s email to the repeaters, to the people who just signed up and then…
Johnny: The non-fiction people.
Sean: The nonfiction people. So we send them a list and Johnny’s opening line was, sorry you know if you are on the other list you are probably sick of hearing from us by now because you just got the black Friday deal. And we got emails they are like what black Friday deal? Which was kind of awesome again, like you– that’s…
Johnny: Yeah, I want to address that sell to thing because of the three of us I probably I’m the most aggressive sales wise. And Sean knows how to be, but he is timid. You know he is worried about being yelled at and asking for favors. But it’s– one of the things you’ll see with multiple email sequences is– first of all the whole idea of, you can’t sell unless you are like selling water in the desert or something. Like it’s very hard to sell to somebody in a way that is– that they don’t, like it’s forced on them.
You know what I mean like you always have the option not to buy. And I think that people are maybe too apologetic with selling their stuff because like if they are interested, a mutually beneficial sales transaction, they should be happy and you should be happy. It’s not like haha I got, their money hahaha, I pulled it off I tricked him. And the thing about the last chance email in general. I’m not saying you should always do this sort of thing, but with the last chance you know…
Sean: It depends on your promotion.
Johnny: If you don’t send a last chance email, in some cases, I’m not saying for every book you produce or whatever. People will get mad because they procrastinate. And if they don’t see last chance, they’ll miss it. And I mean I have literally had that. You didn’t send the last chance email, what the hell I missed the deal. I was like what we sent you several others. But it’s just the nature.
Sean: Yeah and it depends how you are framing your promotion too because if you have a book that’s just coming out and it’s just a release date, you don’t have a reason to send a last chance email. You need a reason and it can’t be like because you are an ass hole. It’s not a good reason. You know you can’t– false scarcity is bull shit and if you do that you are an ass hole and you deserve the unsubscribes. But you know for black Friday it was a legitimate promotion, ended on Sunday, so there’s isn’t a last chance email. You know tomorrow we’ll have a last chance email go out because the pre sale will be over and the link will disappear. So it’s a legitimate reason for a black– you know a last chance email. But you have to be legitimate. What were you going to say Dave?
Dave: I’m kind of the same way as I think our readers, our emails, you know people that open the email. Like when I see like videogame bundles and like video game sales and like the humble bundle and then the video game. Like I’ll see that it’s out there I’ll be like, I think I want it, but I’m not sure. I’m not familiar with all the games.
Sean: But you answer the last chance email don’t you.
Dave: I usually fucking forget and I’m mad at myself. I’m like oh I missed it. Because like the humble bundle, they offer it for like you know a set amount of time and if you don’t get it…
Sean: Do they not send the last chance email?
Dave: I don’t know if they do.
Sean: Oh they are terrible marketers.
Dave: They do fine. But I’m mad because I like– I think they do send like a couple because they add games to it actually, so there are a couple of chances. But sometimes like don’t go to the promotion folder and I’ll miss it. Then I’ll be like, “there is a game I really want on there, I’ll be mad at myself whatever so yeah. I can see how people are like, because I’m like that and isn’t everyone just like me.
Johnny: What’s so funny is as much a Dave rails against like you know like I don’t know. The sleazy marketing or whatever like the sort of things that we make fun of him about. He’s like classic, like he’ll miss the last chance email and go listen to the last better off Undead where and Dave describes how he won some internet marketing by watching like an hour and a half long video.
Sean: Oh my god it’s my favorite thing.
Dave: I hate that [inaudible 00:22:06]
Sean: It’s my favorite thing. He watched like the some spammy video sales letter.
Johnny: Where they don’t put…
Sean: It was about– it was like they built it is like– okay there is a little beat of a back slide. I don’t want to get too much into it. But basically there is like you know once you get in to it, it’s awesome.
Dave: Five signs that you are going to have a heart attack. Like five like things like you– a lot of people miss, but it like happens a few days before a heart attack. So I’m like kind of concerned about my health and stuff and so, I’m watching this video waiting for the five signs, and the video is going forever and ever, I’m like [crosstalk 00:22:43].
Sean: Knows what it is okay, but…
Johnny: And you say no like if you started railing about the fact that there’s no– they don’t tell you how long the video is. They don’t– there’s no play, you can’t pause it, you can’t mute, you can’t do anything.
Sean: Downloaded it of the things you suffered to down load it because he’s like fuck them. And here’s what’s amazing…
Johnny: He won that sales letter.
Sean: No, right he’s arguing and he’s like, but I use their bandwidth. That was actually his response to how he won because he used their bandwidth and didn’t buy anything. We are talking about a nickel, right. [Crosstalk 00:23:20] he spent an hour and a half of his time, used a nickel of their bandwidth and feels like a victory. It’s amazing, I love you Dave.
Dave: Okay, we have got some comments that I want to read here.
Johnny: I love that so many people are watching us live. Did you tell them ahead of time?
Dave: Yeah tweeter.
Johnny: All right, go tweeter.
Dave: Yeah [crosstalk 00:23:41] I have noticed that no matter how dark things get, Sean is always okay with it. Somehow he is a balance to Dave’s relentless pessimism, there must be an ultimate mirror-mirror universe where Sean is evil and Dave is good. Johnny would be exactly the same though because he’s [Inaudible] [00:23:52].
Johnny: Because I’m what?
Sean: We should write that book.
Dave: Dylan Perry. Sean snuffs out hate with kindness, Johnny ignores it, Dave uses it to fuel him. You are correct sir.
Sean: That’s the perfect assessment right there.
Dave: Cassie Bases. I’m not sure how to say her name. First time I get to watch live yeey, hi guys. Hi Cassie.
Sean: Hi.
Johnny: Hi Cassie.
Dave: G Max says all this talk a big bundle. Some of us aren’t lucky strictly talking books here of course. Well I mean in time you’ll have enough books. You can create them…
Johnny: I think he’s was making a reference.
Dave: Yeah, I am surprised how well you know our books are selling directly on the website. I really did not expect that. So kudos to you guys for pushing through on that, I really did not think that they would do that well.
Sean. There’s still some hiccups you know for sure. But man our ball is rolling. You know and that’s awesome because we don’t even have buy pages for individual books.
Johnny: Yeah and guys here’s the other thing about buying direct. Once somebody buys from you once, you are past that hurdle where what is this thing with side loading and the whole question. Once they bought from you once, then it’s easy. Then it’s like okay the next one…
Sean: Like you have– that person is on a buyers list. Like everyone who bought the bundle for– look we have people who bought– we know we have– we have to have people who bought that bundle who already had some of these books, right. I would consider those people our true fans. Like anybody on– that is a true fan list. A true fan bought on our site in bundle like, I love those people.
And so those are the people who make this all possible for us. And it’s just, look I know that its way easier to buy on Amazon, so to buy from us it’s a level of trust and it’s cool. And like– I mean a year from now we’ll have individual buy pages for every single one of our books. We don’t have that now, but the fact that it is so rudimentary and yet that ball is rolling is a testament to the fact that it does work, and have awesome fans. And those things are powerful.
Dave: And it is the truest way to be like a patron of our stuff. And like a lot of people have like asked us you know why don’t we do a patron campaign or something like that, especially for like SPP, and I don’t know that we won’t ever do it. I don’t know if we will. But it’s just I feel kind of weird asking for money for something…
Johnny: I feel the same way about tip. Have you ever like pay– somebody who have PayPal tip button on their site?
Sean: I would never do that.
Dave: I did that briefly with my comics because my comics like made no money whatsoever and people said hey I want to tip you blah-blah-blah. [Crosstalk 00:26:45] but here we are actually it’s a direct, you know exchange. You are giving us something, helping us to continue doing what we are doing and we are giving you our books. It’s the cleanest, clearest transaction there is in– I don’t know, I like it a lot of them, just you know.
Johnny: He’s in a good mood.
Sean: What kind of value is there the value– hi Dave maybe it’s that they should not do this on Friday anymore. I don’t know, but happy Dave fucks up the dynamic.
Dave: Sorry.
Johnny: He’s going to be all talkative.
Dave: Don’t worry it won’t last.
Sean: That’s true.
Dave: The minute I leave my house something bad will happen and then I’ll have something…
Johnny: I have two admin things I would like to mention before we move into our topic which is the whole motivation thing. How to stay motivated, how to keep going when things are tough. And the first is– just I forgot to mention this at the top. But if you watch live, just a reminder to everybody, we are at a weird time today and this should be the last one for a while that’s at a weird time although we would have one the day after Christmas. But in 2015, instead of recording it 2pm eastern on Fridays, it will be 3pm eastern. So jut– I want to try and remember to say that at the end of the show. Yeah we moved it back. And then did you– were you serious about the Briccio [phonetic] question that we talked to…
Sean: I was serious about that yeah, but I feel bad asking him about this with Dave not even knowing. And he’s disappeared.
Dave: I’m here.
Johnny: You know he’s right there, he is masturbating.
Sean: So Tyra Jacobson who is really-really awesome, and she’s a social media wizard.
Dave: Wait, don’t say guru.
Sean: I don’t like that word any more than you do. So…
Dave: I didn’t want you to refer like wizard.
Johnny: Wizard is better because a wizard knows what she’s doing.
Sean: So she’s a wizard.
Johnny: You don’t see any wizards out there that are bullshitting people and going shazam.
Sean: So she’s a wizard…
Dave: I did that on my wedding night.
Sean: And she– so on Almanac which we do each Sunday on Sterling and Stone. It’s the authorpreneurs Almanac and I just– we’ve done– it’s kind of cool we– a lot of times it’s just us having a meeting. Like a business meeting responding to something that needs to be talked about. And we’ve done a few on social median, and Tyra sent us a video. She custom made this video for us that talked about, you know this is how you should do it. This is my formula, this is what I do. This is how I organize stuff, and I saw it and thought wow that’s awesome. She should do our social media, because I know she was trying to articulate a plan that we could follow, but I’d rather have somebody work with us to help us build that infrastructure.
So we are working with Tyra to do that. And Johnny and I just right before this SPP had a meeting with her where she was kind of trying to minus for us as much information as possible so that she could draft a good plan. And what’s really exciting about this is that it’s really fiction focused. You know it’s about how do we grow our fiction business in social media, which is a question I think– I don’t know an awful lot of people listening to this right now would have. And I’m excited to answer that question, and one of the things that she chastised us about is not really using the assets that we have. And the biggest best example you know she had– and Dave will love this part. So Dave her favorite part of kind of formulating a strategy for us was working with CI first. Because it’s single genre, and it’s really easy to get your head around.
And you know we have got basically– like on Facebook we can capture you know Steven King, Dean Koontz, J.J. Abrams fans. It’s very simple, but that we should be doing that if she is going to help us do that, but we also have our own assets that we haven’t done anything with. And Briccio was her example. You know like you need to get Briccio out there. You need to have quotes and you need to do this and you know she wanted to have a, what would Briccio…
Dave: Something I did for like a week two years ago, yeah.
Sean: You know have a like what would Briccio T-shirt, because she is like, you mentioned that like nine times, why haven’t you done it. Why isn’t that on Café Press. And…
Dave: Because Café Press sucks.
Sean: Okay, well.
Johnny: This episode brought to you by Café Press.
Sean: Okay, we had fans that like– we threw the idea out there kind of jokingly and a lot of people are like yeah I would so buy it what would Briccio do T-shirt.
Dave: For $91. Well, See, that’s one thing I have never been big on like merchandise like that because I don’t want to rip people off. I don’t want them to pay too much for a shirt that is shit. Because you know A) we are not getting a lot of money for a T-shirt and B) they just bought a T-shirt that’s way over priced and the quality sucks. And I don’t want to [Crosstalk 00:32:12] that reflects on us. I would rather have no products than put out shit products. So…
Sean: I agree.
Dave: Okay, but we tried it just once just to see you know what the shirts would look like and one of our listeners– one of our readers not even a listener of this show bought the shirt and they got it and it was just absolutely shit. And I felt so awful. I said please return that. I don’t want you having spent money on that. She wanted to support us, and she loves Briccio. She loved the idea for the shirt. She got the shirt it was just shit. So I said I’m not going to do it until I know there is quality there.
Sean: Yeah and I agree with that. I think there are some other companies and we could look into it. But anyway she was saying that Briccio needs to be– there needs to be a graphic. There needs to be something like Briccio, even if it’s just in silhouette, there needs to be a Briccio that we can say this is what Briccio looks like.
Dave: Looks like ray chase.
Sean: And so…
Johnny: I actually thought about that. Would ray be the face of Briccio.
Sean: It could be like a comic-sized version of it. But anyway I said, “Wow I don’t know like who is going to draw that.” And she’s like, “You just talked about it on the show. I bet you some people will draw it.” So if you are interested in drawing a Briccio, and you have an idea of what Briccio looks like and you listen to the show and you know Briccio, I guess we need a place to put those. Maybe…
Johnny: Email Sean.
Sean: Maybe on Facebook, the CI on Facebook page.
Dave: Yeah okay
Sean: Yeah and lastly I know we want to transition into the topic, but there’s a cool little new story. I think it’s actually a few weeks old but I just heard it. And I think it’s really interesting as far as entertainment and publishing and all of that. I’m always really interested in what Netflix is doing, because Netflix is just outside of the game right like they are not part of the Hollywood machine. And yet they are creating Hollywood entertainment.
And think that’s really interesting. I think there’s someone to watch because I feel like we are all related you know in a way. Like the last time I suggested we follow the Netflix model it was wrong because it was okay, well let’s just put all the episodes out at one time and the season and that ended up dividing reader attention, and it didn’t really work. But I did think it’s interesting to explore, and I like watching what they are doing. And I just heard, I don’t know if either of you guys have heard this, but they signed a four picture deal with Adam Sandler
Dave: Yeah, I have heard that.
Sean: And that to me is really-really smart, because if you think about this, this is no sum, like this is no loss for them. But there’s so many cool angles to this.
Dave: The only loss for Netflix viewers.
Sean: Adam Sandler movies are very specific kind of movie, right. They don’t require…
Dave: Shit, that’s one way of putting it.
Sean: They don’t– okay this is not a judgment on Adam Sandler. This is just talking about the business of publishing here, right. That they are going direct. Okay they are completely circumventing the studio system here right; they are changing traditional publishing right. Because they are counting on people who are going– the only way you can get these Adam Sandler movies, you are not going to be able to see them in theatre or rent them on DVD. You can see them because you are a Netflix customer.
Dave: Well, they’ll probably do DVDs. House of cards is on DVD. They want to go eventually to the whole market so.
Sean: Right okay, but they are not going to the theatre. Like that’s the biggest– the biggest problem in getting a movie made is getting them distributed right. It’s getting into the theatres. And now…
Dave: I just had a nightmare going to a theatre where there is an Adam Sandler movie playing, holy shit.
Johnny: This would just be as bad as if your Apple Podcasts got out of control. Wait Sean where were you going with this because this had something to do with something, and I’m trying to keep track of it.
Sean: Well it’s the publishing thing. It’s the fact that this is — it’s not any publishing thing, it’s just kind of, it’s interesting. It’s an entertainment story that I feel is somewhat related to what we are doing. And I think that Netflix is a company that’s worth paying attention to as far as the way that they do business. And when you think about it, Netflix has more user consumer data than anyone out there. They know how people consume entertainment. And it’s interesting there because an Adam Sandler movie doesn’t require a big screen right. It’s not like…
Dave: Or a large mind.
Sean: I’m saying it’s not like you know a Spielberg movie where you’ve want to go to see those on a big screen like it matters, Adam Sandler doesn’t. You know Adam Sandler, he’s got his team of people that he works with and they are constantly producing. And you know Dave can’t see around…
Johnny: You heard it here folks, Adam Sandler doesn’t matter.
Sean: So you know…
Dave: I used to like Adam Sandler, and I went– my wife likes comedies and we went to see that…
Sean: [Crosstalk 00:37:33] comedies.
Dave: What’s that?
Sean: Does she consider Adam Sandler movies comedies.
Dave: It was like I think when grownups came out or whatever, it was the only thing playing in the movie theatres, so I said okay you know we haven’t been out of the house in a while. You know my son was younger, so any excuse to get out was a good one. We went to see that and oh so painful.
Sean: Yeah, it looks like…
Dave: It was less funny than Shinler’s list.
Sean: Yeah I haven’t seen a funny Adam Sandler movie, I don’t know. I think happy Gilmore was funny, but that was like 20 years ago, it’s been a while. The only Adam Sandler movie I love is Punch Drunk Love which is the opposite of a comedy. Like it’s not, it’s Paul Thomas Anderson.
Dave: I don’t hate Anderson, I just you know [crosstalk 00:38:27]
Sean: Movie okay, why don’t we get on…
Dave: We could get to the actual.
Johnny: Right, so before we talk about the topic, inside joke about spontaneous ad read here. But seriously I did want to talk a little bit about the experience of our latest ad with 99designs. So the reason why is because we didn’t– Dave does…
Dave: I lost it.
Johnny: Right. What did I say?
Dave: Ad.
Johnny: Oh no okay our last contest with 99designs where we had– we put an offer up for people to compete and to do a cover. And so Dave does a lot of our covers and we have a few cover designers that we use. We have Aaron Maylos who did the cover for– the illustrated covers for Dream Engine and Unicorn Western and Eric– what’s his last name for The Beam?
Sean: Oh crap.
Johnny: Sorry Eric. Eric did the covers for The Beam.
Sean: I’ll find out because that sucks [inaudible 00:39:23]
Johnny: Okay. So he’s going to figure that out and…
Sean: Dagley, Eric Dagley.
Johnny: Eric Dagley, Derrick Murphy is doing some work for us right now. He’s redoing The Cursed covers and we’ll have Derrick on– some time in 2015. And so anyway we have a stable of designers, but nobody we kind of knew what to do with this book for Leflore De Blonk for the cover. And the reason is because we were kind of unclear on what the hell the book was, and so we needed a lot of opinions because it’s Lexi Maxxwell, but it’s primarily me and Sean almost exclusively. Like it’s got a final cut thing, but that is basically a Platt and Truant book under Lexis name, and we kind of wanted to do a romance, but then we didn’t want to do a typical romance because once it`s not…
Sean: We just couldn’t do it. We just…
Johnny: Once it`s not a typical romance it`s not a romance anymore at all, and so we kind of said, well it`s kind of romantic, but here is the differences and…
Sean: It`s romantic, it`s not a romance.
Johnny: So we just had a hell of a time figuring it out and we eventually handed it to several of our female listeners and friends, who– for them to weigh in who might know more and– is Amy going to care if I say who? Like I can say this, right?
Sean: I don’t think so. In fact one of them can get a round of applause.
Johnny: Well, Amy and Monica two of our summer attendees just to get their opinions.
Sean: Round of applause for Amy.
Johnny: Yes, and for Monica who is working with us know which is great. So basically Monica pulled up a very adept you know analysis that this wasn’t really– it didn’t fit any of the genres we were saying. It kind of sounded like women’s fiction, and I was kind of like okay I don’t know what to make of women’s fiction. So anyway long story short we had this– it was in the middle of the contest, and we had one that we loved, but once we realized what the book was, we were kind of turned around. So we ended talking to the designer who re-did it for us and he`ll screen share results which I actually really-really love. Once we…
Sean: The more I look at it, the more I like it too. It`s really fitting of the story, like its– yeah that looks good. It`s fitting of the story and its going to convert better than the other one for sure.
Johnny: Right, so this– and once Monica like said I think its women’s fiction, I didn’t get that at first, but I looked and my wife said, that she is reading it and she kind of loves it. Like she is kind of wow this is really cool, she is zooming through it, and she said it reminds her of the devil wears Prada and or sex in the city. So it has that vibe and I guess and those are all women’s fiction, and so once I started looking at some of the covers Monica gave us a few, it fit. So we ended up– the designer was awesome enough to work that up. So anyway that the story of the Leflore de blunk, cover and just a good thing to know.
Sean: And I think that’s a good take a way here too that the better your description is to the actual you know– the better description you give to the designer, the better your cover is going to be, which is you know it’s a tiny bit of heavy lifting on your part but oh! Men does it help with the end result, like we have a pro looking cover, I love this cover.
Johnny: So just quickly Dave do I have anything to lose on this?
Dave: No I want to talk real briefly on this, and the importance of working with a pro designer and see, I do decent covers for the stuff we do, but I`m not familiar with romance or women’s fiction books like that. And there is something about working with somebody that knows that genre, knows the covers, knows what they should look like. Your book should look like it belongs in the genre. If I put this book together it would not look like that. Our first idea that we had did not look like that, and that is where working with pros at 99 designs comes in. These people know what they are doing, and our designer did a great job making this you know into a book that looks like it fits into the genre it’s going to be in. It looks like you know other best sellers in the genre, and that is something that most people cannot do on their own. So yeah 99 designs definitely, you`ve got nothing to lose. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to pay.
Johnny: But just separately and then I– we really do need to move on but the whole point of a contest, like yes obviously they are pros, but we needed a lot of options like we really didn’t know and being able to do these contests on 99designs, you can get a lot of options which is important. So I`ll just say start your custom designs today at Be sure to use that link as you get the free power pack upgrade that gets you more exposure, and bold you listing and you get about 185% more designs on average if you use that. So, our experiences have been great.
Sean: You know I have a question on 99 designs. I think we should put another design like in the queue. Do you think we should do like we talked about logos for smart artists, or CI or Realm and Sands, and a cover for adult video which has been a pretty tough nut to crack.
Johnny: Very hard nut. I would like a contest for that.
Sean: Okay.
Johnny: I think CI is probably more important because didn`t we talk about that for the…
Dave: Why don’t we get on to the topic, we are running really late here?
Johnny: I know, I was thinking the same thing. We could also just shelve the topic and…
Dave: I told people this is what we were going to talk about on twitter…
Johnny: [crosstalk 00:45:19] All right let’s talk…
Dave: I want to talk about…
Johnny: All right hold on. You have five minutes to tell me everything you know about being motivated, we`ll keep this brief. All right do you want to lead that discussion Dave? I definitely have something to say on this that`s timely?
Dave: Okay, I will. The topic came about because you know we talk about the shows you know about five minutes before the show starts. Now a little bit earlier than that though, but one of the emails we get a lot from people is how do you stay motivated, how do you keep writing when you don’t know whether your books are going to sell, or even if you books are selling how do you just keep at it, because it`s very difficult it`s even more difficult if this isn’t you career. If you have a job that you are juggling your kids that you are taking care of stuff like that. Real life really can get in the way of writing, and it is damn hard to stay motivated. It`s hard for me to stay motivated, to write even though this is my full time job.
I`m more motivated to write; I mean I love writing but motivated to stick with the story through the hurdles that come up. You know sometimes you think your writing sucks or this story isn’t working for whatever reason. There are just a million and one things that come up. And we get emailed a lot even on our regular emails about something else, people will ask you know you guys– they will comment on how we write a lot. How the hell do we do it, and I thought you know we ought to talk about that a little bit.
Johnny: Well, what are your first blush tips on that?
Dave: The first– my first thoughts on it are to really ignore the inner critic because that inner critic is a real bastard, and yes you should– you know you want to write well you want to– you don’t want to write shit, and you don’t want to just throw something out there, but you can’t– like early on when I was trying to write, before I met Sean I wanted my draft to be perfect, and I would just start and stop on the same damn chapter over and over and like I would rewrite chapter one 100 time before even going to chapter two. And that is just insane.
Some people it might work for, but it did not work for me. And you know even nowadays like when I don’t like something, I struggle through it, and one other things that I like to do is to actually get up and get out of the chair, because being in the chair, sitting there looking at the words you know if I can’t crack it, I get up and I leave. And I found that walking, like when I do my walks…
Sean: That`s a really good one.
Dave: It helps me so much like. Like I`m in a much better place when I`m walking and for people it might not be walking for everyone. It might be jogging, it might be riding a bike, some leisure activity where you are not like really thinking about the activity you are in– you are involved in. It allows your mind to wonder and every time I go walking I come back and I feel refreshed mentally. Even if my back is hurting because I`m so fat and out of shape, I still feel in a better place when I come back to the writing, and I see things I haven’t– that weren’t clicking for me before; like they start coming together, it really helps.
Sean: One thing that I liked in you slack before we started, when we were just kind of brainstorming ideas for the show. The words you use like what do you cling to? I like that that was powerful because I think sometimes it’s not even about being motivated. It is about clinging to something you know. It’s like what is the cling is it the hope, is it the finish line like what is it when you feel lost, like what is it that you are just clutching?
Dave: For me it’s always been– from early on when I was in school and I was you know writing stories; I always had the belief that I would be a bestselling author or a popular author. I always even in my darkest hours I somehow– I had a stupid belief in myself that this is going to happen. And it’s rare that I have that I have any kind of optimism like that whatsoever. But it was a belief like I want to share my words with other people, and that’s what got me through it, like I need to do this because if I don’t then I’ve wasted my time on earth not to do this. It`s what I need to get out of me and I need to put out there.
Sean: You know one thing that I think that people can– because we talk about the perfection is the enemy of done, right? And the need to be perfect and that can really inhibit your free mind which just gets the words out and gets the story out. But I think there is another– you touched on it but I think you are doing it in a really health way, but I think something that can keep people down and can keep people from you writing fast or well or getting done is the opposite side of that. Where it`s not that they– it`s that they envision something in their head, like they are making the Oscar speeches in their head already. Like they are accepting their pullets, they are imagining themselves as a bestseller and when they get to that point in the story where they know it`s just not that good– because all of our stories suck at one point, like that’s just a fact right?
And so it`s your job to make it better and it takes work and revision and whatever to make it better, but no story is just perfect off the page. And you get into that illusion that this is a great story, and I`m going to sell a ton and you are imagining the cover and the accolades and the great reviews, and when you get to the part of the story where it`s not that and you know it`s not that it can feel very-very defeating, because you`ve already built it up in your mind and then that could just destroy your momentum. So you want to careful about perfection on both sides. You don’t want to you know be so driven to make everything perfect that you don’t actually move, or so convinced that its awesome that when you realize it`s not, it also crumbles your [scuffleting] [phonetic].
Johnny: Yeah, actually those are pretty– those are big those are macro answers to the question, but also it can occur on a day to day level and actually sort of on the level that Dave was talking about taking a walk. Right now we are finishing up– Sean and I are finishing up the third Dream Engine book, which is called the Ruby Room as part of Fiction Unboxed 1.5. We tossed it in, so the 1.5 people got the second book the Nightmare Factory and the Ruby Room together, they got both. And so we`ve been writing these back to back with no– we didn’t pose to perfect two, well perfect in quotes before moving on to three and the reason we did that is because we wanted to be able to go back and seed stuff into that occurred at the end of three which is beginning to happen.
And but the side effect of that really cool thing is that we feel really-really distant from the narrative sometimes, and it has meandered a ton. And I think that both of us have felt way many more off the rails than sort of out in the open waters of faith as a writer than is typical for us. And I`ve had several times more than is typical for me, where I’ve just had to stop, and there is the time pressure for us. You won’t have that if you are working at a normal pace, but it can be a really-really demoralizing and so what Dave mentioned about getting up and taking a walk, is both times that this has happened in sort of a more severe way recently, I`ve quit for the day.
And that’s a defeat, like that feels like a defeat because I had a goal and I fell significantly short of the goal. Like it wasn’t just like I missed it by you know a few hundred words or something, like, it’s half or less.
Dave: How many words?
Sean: No, that’s not the point though?
Johnny: I knew you were going to say this, and when I put– okay when I put this in the– now you are going to make me talk more about this, now aren’t you asshole? So when I put this in the development diary for the unboxers, I said nobody look at my word count and say poor baby aren’t getting as many. It`s relative to what you get. So if you are a thousand word a day writer and you get 500 or 400 words, that sucks. Now for me the numbers happen to be higher, but it doesn’t change the facts. So we are at a very accelerated pace right now, I`m going on a vacation in a few days. That wasn’t planned originally, and so I need to finish this up, so I`m writing 8000 words a day.
Dave: Oh my God!
Johnny: Now that’s- and so when I`m talking about my disappointing day here is the part where I say the one that really knocked me out the other day was 3000. So but– this is the part where I wave and go– now let`s pretend Dave didn’t mention that, and let`s not talk about 3000 and let`s talk about doing 40% of what you expect to be doing.
Dave: I understand, you are right.
Johnny: So with that said, dully chastise Dave, I won the podcast today.
Sean: Yeah because it’s the hours that were the same, and what’s defeating about that is you spent the same amount of you know ass in chair time and you produce significantly less and what you produced was actually harder.
Johnny: And you’ve added more ass in chair time to the end, you know you said but I put that time in.
Sean: And it was harder and it was just, it can feel defeating because then the worst thing– the best thing you can do is to get momentum, the worst thing you can do is to lose momentum because then you start feeling defeated, then you are like I got to make up that time and I`ve got to make up those words and then it’s…
Johnny: That’s exactly what I do.
Sean: Yeah and I know I always-always bring this back to weight loss because or going to the gym because I just feel like they are so parallel. It`s like if you are trying to lose 10 pounds and or you are watching calories you know…
Johnny: Look at Dave laughing at the numbers again.
Sean: You know if you are counting calories and you just, you have a day where you`ve just binged and you say okay now I can’t eat for the next three days. Like it’s just not a healthy way to think about it, it’s not. You have to think okay, this day is a loss and tomorrow is a new day, and you know starting over…
Johnny: But that said, it sucks to say that’s the end of the day, because you…
Sean: It totally sucks…
Johnny: I’m just aware and especially with me with my hard deadline of needing the leave, I need to finish this before I go, I just need to. If I wait until I`m back– I`m not going to take it with me, and I`m not going to do it when I`m back because I will be out of flow entirely and it will be impossible to finish. And so I need to finish this and I`m just like, where the hell am I going to find more time. And that’s like if you are trying to go to sleep and you think okay I got it. If I fall asleep right the second, I can get six hours and they you look at the clock and you go, okay if I fall asleep right now I can get five and a half hours. And it’s like that’s the worst thing, but that’s what happens is it perpetuates, so what– I think what Sean said about rhythm and momentum is a huge deal.
So the reason that that occurred that the second day the one that felt really like a kick in the teeth and Sean got some of it when I messaged him is I just felt so defeated. Like I just spent more than my normal amount of time, and I achieved you know, half a scene and it was a good scene that I produced, but I had to rearrange it. So it had two major things occurring in the scene and then I had written them AB, and then I realized no I need to call it BA. And so I needed to not just flip them, like the dispositions of the characters within it were wrong, because A hadn’t happened yet. And so I had to go through and rewrite it, and so it was productive.
I ended up with a better scene, I rewrote a scene that`s writing time, planning is writing time, but no net words had been produced and all I could say is that I`m after more than my normal time, and I`m like I`ve only done that much, and I hit a hit. And then I stared at the screen for the next scene and I couldn’t get my head past the next scene. Like we– I usually say I don’t get writer’s block, well I get it on a micro level, and after feeling defeated I was just like I can’t do the scene, I have another hour I can spend another hour and a half, but I can’t do the scene, just because my head is in just a shit place. And so I quit with time on the clock, which is actually more of a defeat because I could use that time, but I had to walk away and I’ve had to do that several times during Ruby Room.
Dave: Yeah, I have that happen a lot.
Johnny: But my solution was to walk away. It sucks.
Sean: Yeah because…
Johnny: And the next day was much better.
Sean: The one thing you can’t do you– the worst thing to do is to just beat yourself up because guilt is that– but that’s the worst, like it’s just guilt and– it`s a really negative emotion, it doesn’t– it`s not something you can use to build. It`s destructive.
Dave: Yeah I want to talk about that real quick because I was– I had two shit weeks in a row with 12 because my son had strep throat and then my wife had like a shit ton of family in town and like my schedule just was off the rails.
Sean: They just ruin everything, don’t they?
Dave: Yeah, family ruins everything, they always hold you back. So I was feeling shit and Sean is like, hey don’t worry about it you know that stuff happens you know. He wasn’t– you know see I was worried like not delivering words to Sean and he was completely cool with it and that like eased the stress on me greatly because then I felt a little more human rather than…
Sean: See the thing is– if you– because look and again I`m going to bring this back to weight loss because, people, they will do that. They will have a bad day and what do they do to make themselves feel better about the guilt, they binge, they go and they eat. They go eat like chocolate cover potato chips or something horrible.
Johnny: That would be absurd.
Dave: Who would do that?
Johnny: Who would text a picture of those to their podcast mates?
Sean: So you can’t do that because it just makes a bad problem worse, and if you are feeling guilty because you didn’t like write, then the next day instead of writing you are like you know re-surfing or you know.
Johnny: Re-surfing?
Sean: I meant like egotistic surfing.
Dave: If I go surfing it will through me back in the water.
Sean: So I think you have to just keep– you have to understand that it’s not the end of the world. It’s a new day, most deadlines are pretty soft you know especially if you are writing fiction for yourself it’s– you know those deadlines are important and you do want to meet them and maintain them, but it’s a worse thing to beat yourself up, or to punish yourself you know in any way. And like guilt usually leads to punishment.
It’s a self perpetuating cycle, it’s just– its destructive and you want to really build on the emotions that are constructive emotions, because they just allow you to do more in less time.
Dave: We do have an on topic comment. Dylan Perry says, one thing that motivates me is looking at things long term. I’m motivated to sell my stories and be a full time author one day, and keeping that in mind helps me as I produce words that feel like shit.
Sean: Yeah long term thinking is really-really helpful. I also like to feel my mind like if I had a crap day writing then I want to watch a movie, or I want to watch good TV. And you know think about my story in the context of this other story that I’m being told. And usually I’ll come back to the page stronger the next day.
Johnny: So I actually have two things to say and they are unrelated, but they both occurred to me. One was related to Dylan’s comment I know I’m going to need a reminder on that, but the first is related to what Sean said. And I think it depends– I think it comes down to knowing yourself. so what Sean said was with the eating example, the weight loss metaphor to this is that if you– some people say well the day is over and I’m just going to go nuts with the rest of the day.
That actually describes me and the way that I behave relative to food. Now I don’t have a weight problem, but I am little bit compulsive and I do tend– if I eat foods I should– I am diabetic, if I eat foods that I shouldn’t eat I should stop, like I just should I should stop it‘s going to pack me up. But I don’t and I’ve actually learned to do the opposite of what Sean said where I just say the day is over.
Like that’s it. I can’t I’m typically not able to arrest a downward slide, and I know that if I have something I shouldn’t then it’s kind of over for the day. And so I’ve learned to actually structure my weeks and days such that I just– I know that that’s going to happen and I just let it happen and I know that I better not start. Now that’s obviously food specific, but with writing it’s a little different, but I think it’s comes down with knowing yourself.
Some people might be able to take a break and then come back and write whereas I know that if I stop and come back the next day I got the whole day to– what’s stopping me is the arrest of mojo. Like it’s like I get pissed and I– the mood of being pissed affects me more than some actual block if that makes any sense.
Dave: Yeah.
Johnny: I’m actually remembering now what the other thing I was going to say related to Dylan in the long term thing is that when I had a day like this earlier in the Ruby Room, not the 3000 day but another day where I just I had to quit for the day. And I got– it was like the phenomenon where like you are expecting a package and you don’t really need what’s coming, but if it doesn’t– you are expecting a Tuesday morning via UPS and it doesn’t come and you get pissed off, you are like what else was supposed to come on Tuesday morning and you are like, I don’t even really need that thing but I had this expectation.
Sean: You use that metaphor on robot proletarian.
Johnny: Yeah I know and that’s why I thought of it because I was just listening to robot proletarian, it’s involving Spencer in his urges.
Sean: Yeah.
Johnny: So I– the point is that with that day once I realized that I wasn’t necessarily upset about the word count it was about the goal which I guess is the word count. I wasn’t upset about maintaining the schedule. We had time in the schedule at that point. It wasn’t a rush at that point. It wasn’t a matter of failing to meet a deadline or failing to complete a project or reaching an impulse in the story I couldn’t get past, it was about failing to meet an arbitrary deadline that I had set for myself that day.
And once I realized that and got past it, it’s kind of long term thinking like it allowed me to say, okay we are on the grand scheme of this project. Does it matter? Yeah I got to make up those words, but kind of who cares?
Sean: There you have to know when to bend the rules and you know I’m pretty bad about that actually, like I beat myself up a little bit more than I would like to. But I think that as I get older, I get a little more mature and I do it less. But you know like I’m going to write this amount of hours each day. I’m going to edit this in an hour; I’m going to beat this amount of hours. And when I don’t hit those goals I get frustrated and I feel like I let myself down and you know that’s a short you know part to letting the whole team down. And you know like, neither Johnny or Dave is ever like, fucking Sean…
Johnny: I’m like that a lot…
Dave: No, I wish he’d slowed down actually.
Johnny: Now tell the truth Dave, are you saying that you are never like fucking Sean, like I mean you must say that all the time.
Dave: Only when he sends to me like long ass lists of things that need to be done, like every single cover that needs be redone right now and I’m like, fucking Sean!
Johnny: List that looks at you with un-appraising eyes shall we say.
Sean: So yeah, I think let’s boil this down. The best stuff is to know yourself you know and when you do fall short of expectations you know don’t beat yourself up and really capture celebrate. Don’t be afraid to celebrate. Don’t be afraid to say I had a great day, today’s words are fantastic because you are what you tell yourself you know and if you– because there a lot of writers out there I think who will beat themselves up whenever they fall short.
Dave: Have a whip on the standby.
Sean: Yeah, but they are not willing to do the opposite. They are not willing to celebrate when they succeed. And I think…
Dave: No you can never celebrate because you are just inviting bad things to happen.
Sean: So I think that that’s important. I think that you have to not beat yourself up and if you do you have to at least be willing to celebrate when you do it well so there’s balance there. Because otherwise you are only suffering and you are never thriving. And I think that if you are able to have a good day like damn it that was a good day I’m going to have another one tomorrow, and tell yourself that you did a good job and that you expect the same thing of yourself tomorrow.
Johnny: The last thing I would add on this topic is that what Sean said about getting more aware of yourself, getting to know thyself is for me the silver laps a little bit with faith not in a religious sense, but in your ability sense which comes with more familiarity. And there have been so many times with what we are writing where the history that we have from previous, put in chair time this helps you when you have to get through it before you have the time behind you.
But I just I’ve learnt to trust that shit works out. Like I’ve just– that’s something that you have to season into yourself over time, it can only be learnt from experience is for us I know the process, I know how things will work out, so I think being more aware of your process will help you know yourself which will in turn hopefully help you have some of the faith you need to get through those tougher times.
Dave: Anita Sullivan says I have four T-shirts from Café Press with illustrations on, and they are in nice quality. They may wash a lot and look just as good as T-shirts bought from any store. So yeah, we’ll try maybe it was just one bad experience though.
Johnny: Or maybe Café Press has a Denmark division that’s superior to, if shit ever happens over there.
Dave: And also on the Adam Sandler thing, I’m thinking about it. I feel like kind of– I don’t like to be a snob and like make fun of stuff that other people…
Johnny: Too late!
Dave: Are entertaining.
Johnny: You know he’s been obsessing about this since it came up.
Sean: I know [crosstalk 01:09:06]
Dave: I don’t like being that kind of asshole. Like being a different kind of asshole but…
Sean: That’s okay you make up for it with your food choices.
Dave: All right. We done?
Johnny: No well I was saddened, it’s like I’m feeling like blindsided by the end. It’s a real end collision
Dave: That would be a great sound to end with Better off Undead with a gear team.
Sean: A gear team, get that sound if they going.
Johnny: Yeah I guess that probably is about it. So just tease.
Sean: No, that was so un-ceremonially.
Dave: One last comment I forgot, Mitchel Osman says obligatory P.T. Anderson reference in spite of [inaudible 01:09:45] ask is P.T. Anderson on the big 9, will that list grow again?
Sean: Oh yes, he is.
Dave: He is or he is now?
Sean: No, he needs to be.
Dave: Okay.
Sean: That list is growing.
Johnny: Should we call it the Big 10 or just keep it like…
Sean: They said always to be called the Big 9, even when there was like 84 people.
Johnny: J.J. Abrams, Clive Barker, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, John August, John Green, Louis C.K., Chuck Palahniuk, Kevin Smith and Paul Thomas Anderson. Not P.T. Anderson who is somebody else. All right, so that’s it.
This has been the Self Publishing Podcast, thanks for listening. If you– well I don’t even know what to promote anymore, I guess we’ll go back to Write Publish Repeat. So our Write Publish Repeat the no luck required guide is self publishing success at and the sequels are now out, or will be when you are not listening live. Fiction Unboxed that’s it, I don’t know. I don’t know what else to say. See you next time guys, thanks very much.

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2 Replies to “How to Stay Motivated and Produce (Self Publishing Podcast #136)”

  1. Jim Wilbourne

    This podcast was really helpful for me.
    Coming off of NaNo this year, I’ve written more words last month than I’ve ever written in a 30 day timeframe. Now I’m faced with “well, you did it once. You should be able to do it every month.” But I know my family isn’t going to deal with that every month.
    I think what has helped me so far is looking at the long term just like you guys mentioned. Another is remembering why you were excited about writing the story and what scenes you can’t wait to write next. One more is taking a peak in your nice-things-people-have-said-about-my-work folder and remembering that you do have chops.

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