So, we’ve reached the end of FiYoShiMo. Wow.
Thank you for taking this ride with me. I hope it has proven helpful. What you’ve done is shown me that the big fancy dreams aren’t wasted. Get up every day, put up over a thousand words on average on topics ranging from characters to chronology, and watch people respond. It really makes me so happy to read tweets and emails where people have been helped by the last thirty days.
As many of you know, I’m not a well man. On top of a terminal heart condition, I’m currently fighting pneumonia, which is a really craptastic one-two punch. But I got out of bed every morning for the last month and put up a post. I did it because I had a goal. And yeah, sure, I went back to bed after, or I sat in the chair and caught my breath, but I did what I set out to do. There’s nothing so valuable to me as the confidence this last month built.
It’s okay to have goals. It’s okay to have big dreams. But you have to go after them. Not wait for them to be brought to you, not only visualized, not waited on until stars, moons, and other people line up for you. These are you opportunities, these are your goals, so you take your dream, you make a plan to make it happen, then one word, one action, one step at a time, you chase your dream.
Some days you’re gonna make huge strides, some days you’ll run for miles on the adrenaline or excitement of reaching that goal. Other days you’re gonna crawl like you’re pulling yourself forward by your fingertips. But you’re making progress. And it’s that progress that separates the people who wish for things, and the people who make things.
There are going to be days where you just plain don’t want to do it. You’re not going to want to write. You’re not going to want to try and tweet. You’re going to sit there and find every excuse possible, manufacture some new ones, and still not get anything done.
And that’s when you need to get your ass moving. That’s exactly the moment where you need to be making that choice to get up and go after your goal. Your biggest obstacle isn’t the difficulty of your plan, it’s not the loftiness of your goal, it’s the person looking back at you in the mirror. The person who maybe doesn’t think you deserve the success. The person who thinks that since you’ve never done anything like this before that it won’t work. The person who thinks that if you do this thing, you’re gonna get judged or shunned or shamed for it.
You gotta believe in yourself. You gotta find whatever small spark you can fan into a flame so that you don’t give up on your dream. You gotta build a plan out of a steps that you can do, even when there’s a challenge in there every now and then.
That’s what Fix Your Shit Month has taught me. It’s solidified that. It’s the biggest blog thing I’ve ever done. And I’m proud of every word on the page. I’m proud to have sat there and tweeted out links. I’m proud of myself.
Here are some numbers, if stats are more your jam:
The number of words (not counting this post) written during FiYoShiMo — 38,828
The average length of each blogpost per day during FiYoShiMo — 1,294.2
The number of posts I wrote mid-FiYoShiMo to rewrite the Star Wars prequels. You can read them here, here, and here. I had been saying I’d rewrite them one day, and I’m glad I did. I just didn’t think I’d be doing it while writing the biggest blog-project of my life – 3
The number of times I doubted that FiYoShiMo had any value to anyone – 8
The number of times that doubt stopped me – 0
The number of hours spent giving myself “This is going really well” peptalks about FiYoShiMo – 14
The number of posts WordPress ate, resulting in them being written a second time – 6
The average number of times per week I would look see the blog stats, hoping for any numbers greater than 3 – 13
The number of people who asked for FiYoShiMo to be produced in a single volume – 57
The number of nights where I got less than six hours sleep worrying about FiYoShiMo being produced in a single volume – 3
The number of jokes about bikini car washes that got cut from the Day 13 post – 2
The number of jokes about 80s montages that got cut from Day 6 – 9
The number of times I thought I erased the entire blog post archive thanks to WordPress UI elements being poorly laid out – 5
So What Did I Learn?
With a goal and a plan, anything is possible if you take action.
I may not have the most interactive audience, I may not have a blog fat with comments, but I know that people do read what I post, and I’m comforted by that. Too many times I find myself struggling with some notion that a blog is only as good as its comments, even though so many comment sections are cesspools of spam and hateful things. I suppose it comes from a longstanding thought that as a writer or producer of things I’m only as good as the people who tell me I’m good. When I write that out, it does sound really shitty, and I know I deserve better than that. Part of today will be spent reflecting on that for sure.
When there’s been a response to FiYoShiMo, it’s been positive. And that makes me happy. Now more than ever, I believe that learning the craft of writing isn’t supposed to require years of abstract study in miserable classrooms, and that the writers who choose to spend their time teaching craft have somewhat of an obligation to present the material in ways that don’t only demonstrate their genius, but instead make the material accessible to people. It’s not alchemy. It’s not rare magicks that only the royal court wizard should know. It’s storytelling. It’s creativity. It’s universal.
There’s tens of thousands of words on what I think the principle elements of writing are, and I worked hard to make them not suck. After so many unpleasant academic experiences, after reading crappy vague books and brag-heavy blogposts by “experts”, what began as something I thought I might do ballooned into this sort of challenge. First, it was getting started, then it became about getting it done. The middle bit, those middle ten days, I don’t think I ever plateaued, more like I hit some sort of stride. This month very much changed the way I approach writing.
The big discussion now is turning this into something more than blogposts. With this damned pneumonia, my momentum and energy level are cut way down, but I do want to turn this into something. A book. A thing you can have for yourselves. The hard part is that my Smashwords reach is capital-T Tiny. Did you know I’ve got material for sale? I admit to sucking at marketing my own stuff, usually out of fear that buying my stuff after reading it seems unnecessary or that you need that $3 for something more pressing. But, if you want to buy some books, I’d appreciate it.
So I’m strongly considering trying to get this mass of words traditionally published. The downside there is the time it would take to get it published is time when it wouldn’t be available to you. And I want it to be available to you. It should be available to you, since you know, it’s FOR YOU. I’ll give it some more thought today.
Would I do this again? Yeah, yes I think I would. As crazy and as taxing and stressful as it was, it was a challenge I rose to. It motivated me, it helped me sort out my thoughts, and I like to think it made me a better coach and blogger.
This is the last blog post of 2015. I’m taking a few days off next week, and then I’ll resume the Monday/Wednesday/Friday posts. But I earned the hell out of some time away from the blog, and I’m going to take it.
Thank you, truly thank you, for reading FiYoShiMo. It means so much to me that even 1 person came to my little slice of the internet and read my words. If I could, I’d drive to each of your homes (or, if you want something less creepy, we could meet somewhere) and thank you in person. You’re the reason I do this. The potential of your work is worth sharing. Seeing you succeed is a good thing. And you deserve to succeed.
See you in 2016.