In January, I set out to write a series. Comprised of one short story and five full-length novels, it is a post-cyberpunk saga set in the world on the brink of a new technological epoch, titled SINGULARITY SUNRISE. Yesterday, I wrote the last word on the last page of the last book.
The first draft of the entire SINGULARITY SUNRISE series is complete.
In between writing SINGULARITY SUNRISE, I also found time to complete my cyberpunk horror opus BABYLON BLUES. One short story and three novellas, and the latter two were just a few hundred words away from becoming full-length novels in their own right.
And there was THE JUDGE OF THE WASTES, a story I wrote on a whim.
In addition to that, I also published the DUNGEON SAMURAI trilogy, and brought HOLLOW CITY to market. I concluded two Kickstarters, one for DUNGEON SAMURAI, another for my upcoming work BABYLON BLUES.
In 2019, I wrote and published more stories than in my entire writing career.
2019 also had its own challenges. New medical issues, new allergies, new expenses, new responsibilities. I don’t talk about my personal life in public, much, but suffice to say that it was the most difficult year I’ve had to date as well.
Looking back now, I realized I’d set overly-ambitious goals for this year. On the other hand, I hadn’t anticipated many of these emerging issues, and the toll they would take on my life.
To quote myself from January:
In addition to Dungeon Samurai, I have prepared my next writing projects. I am presently editing the first draft of Unmasked, my second entry in the Heroes Unleashed universe. Once that is out of the way, I will start work on House of War, the fourth novel in the Covenant Chronicles series.
As you can tell, I seem to have the uncanny ability to write faster than my publishers can get books out the door. Which is why the next major project after House of War will be a self-published series.
This project will be my moonshot, my attempt at going pro. It will be a military science fiction / cyberpunk series with a touch of fantasy, spanning at least 8 novels and 1 short story. It is my most ambitious project to date, and I pray it will live up to your expectations.
All in all, I plan to write at least 9 novels, possibly more. It will take an entire year, possibly longer. But I’m confident that at the end of the process, I will have enough material to jumpstart a full-time fiction career.
UNMASKED is complete and with Silver Empire. HOUSE OF WAR (now retitled to something else), on the other hand, is delayed. I haven’t started work on it. After all, the previous book, PRINCE OF SHADOWS, hasn’t even been published yet.
The book market thrives on rapid releases. It makes no sense for me to write a book and then wait an entire year, or longer, before it hits the market. In the time it would take for me to write HOUSE OF WAR, I could finish two SINGULARITY SUNRISE stories. I decided to start on SINGULARITY SUNRISE first, then work on HOUSE OF WAR only when PRINCE OF SHADOWS was published.
In hindsight, it was probably the right choice. If I’d worked on HOUSE OF WAR first, SINGULARITY SUNRISE would be incomplete — and neither PRINCE OF SHADOWS nor HOUSE OF WAR would have been published.
As for writing 9 novels in 2019, it didn’t quite work out that way. But for good reason: I compressed SINGULARITY SUNRISE from 8 novels to 5. I realized that 3 story ideas simply couldn’t hold their own, so I rolled them up into other books.
Just as well that it turned out that way: If I’d gone for 8 novels, SINGULARITY SUNRISE would still be a work in progress.
Technically I’d written the equivalent of 9 novels this year. SINGULARITY SUNRISE, the two extremely long BABYLON BLUES novellas, and the BABYLON BLUES REMASTERED collection — which, at over 200 thousand words, is a monster as long as any two novels. But that requires a creative interpretation of ‘written’.
And that would be cheating, wouldn’t it?
As for my other goals, some were achieved, and some are still a work in progress. To summarise:
- Regain lost muscle to reach healthy weight and meet SAF fitness standard
In this year’s annual Individual Physical Proficiency Test, I received a higher score than last year. It’s safe to say this was achieved.
- Establish proper sleep, nutrition, hydration and rest regimen to achieve optimum health
I tried. But among my health issues were insomnia, restlessness, late night awakening, and the emergence of new food allergies. This is something I intend to double down on in 2020.
- Spend more quality time with loved ones
I did my best. But I felt it wasn’t good enough. It’s something else to work out.
- Build a network of fans, writers, and friends
It’s not where I want it to be yet, but it’s better than the beginning of this year, and I’m still making headway.
- Gain proficiency in the basic principles of Pekiti Tirsia Kali
I’ve achieved my first formal ranking in the system (after three years!), so in a sense I’ve done this. But there’s always room for growth.
- Grow in faith
Accomplished, but really, there is no end goal for something like this, is there?
Going forward into 2020, I intend to achieve nothing less than a radical redesign of my life. I will take massive action to create the life I want, and to achieve my lifelong dreams.
The foundation of what I do must be sustainability. Without time, energy and health, all is meaningless. While writing the final book of SINGULARITY SUNRISE, I pushed myself to my limits and beyond. Every day I strove to write no less than 4000 words, and usually I exceeded that. While I achieved what I set out to do, it also demanded a terrible cost in energy and time, one that I cannot meet forever.
Sustainability is the cornerstone for next year’s strategy. I will get my life in order, deal with my health issues, focus on getting proper rest and nutrition, and modify my training schedule accordingly.
I do intend to maintain PULP SPEED, but with a different strategy. While I know now I can write 4000 words or more every day, the experience left me burned out and frazzled. It doesn’t profit anyone if I write a book, but cannot maintain energy to follow through on it.
In 2020, I plan to write 4000 words every weekday, and on the weekends, I’ll write however much I feel I can without burning out. The idea is to free up time and space for rest and recovery, and social interactions, while simultaneously maintaining high output. And if I do this right, it would generate an even higher average output than in 2019.
With that said, I don’t expect to write as much fiction in 2020 as in 2019. It might actually write less.
This is because of the second major change. I am committed to achieving financial freedom. More than just going pro, it means obtaining the means to live life on my terms. Throughout the year, I’ve attended numerous seminars, read various how-to books, and am now putting these plans into action.
There will always be demand for content that is educational, entertaining, and inspirational. With this in mind, given my knowledge, experience, talents, and personality, I aim to break into the knowledge market. I will pass on what I know about writing, life, politics, philosophy, and other subjects in which I have expertise. And make money from it.
This means non-fiction books, and possibly other services. I am still planning these, but I am considering personal coaching, extended mentorship, possibly even video courses.
I can’t say how many books I will write in 2020, simply because I’m going into uncharted waters. I don’t have any basis with which to estimate my progress. But I do know that deep in my bones that I must make full use of my abilities and knowledge to create my vision of life.
What I do is that I will need to reduce blogging. Time is zero-sum; there are only twenty-four hours in a day, and if you want to do more of one thing you have to reduce your involvement in another.
Despite my best efforts, blogging doesn’t achieve much traction and viewership. Steemit’s cryptocurrencies still hasn’t begun to recover its value. Narrative shut down, and after a whale completed a massive sell-off, the NRVE tokens I’m holding now are functionally worthless — even 1 yen holds more value than 1 NRVE.
Further, I experience more engagement on other social media sites, especially Twitter. From mid-November to now, I’ve blogged exclusively on Twitter, and I noticed far more views and engagement there than a year’s worth of blogging here. I need to go where my readers are, and they are not on this website.
This blog needs to change.
In 2020, I will reorient my website towards business. Instead of being just a repository of my thoughts, it will be geared to meet the needs of my ideal readers and clients. I won’t stop blogging, but business has got to come first.
Steemit, while nice, will become secondary: I want to earn money forever from my posts and pages, but Steemit only pays out for a single week of engagement. I’m not a whale on Steemit, and looking at the web of interactions on that site, I probably won’t ever be.
But that’s okay. Internet funny money is just one more tool to get to where I want to go.
With these considerations in mind, here are my goals for 2020:
- Bring SINGULARITY SUNRISE to market
- Write Book 3 of A SONG OF KARMA for Silver Empire’s HEROES UNLEASHED universe
- Write Book 4 of the COVENANT CHRONICLES — after Book 3 is published
- Write the first phase of my next, as yet unannounced, fiction series
- Break into the knowledge industry through writing and publishing non-fiction books and offering other services
- Refocus and realign my image, website, and other public-facing materials to develop my brand and online presence
- Achieve higher quality of life through better sleep and nutrition, improved exercise and training regimen
- Continue training in martial arts and improve proficiency in critical skills and principles
- Spend more quality time with loved ones
- Grow in faith
2020 will be a turning point in my life. I will meet it head on, take advantage of opportunities as they arise, resolve challenges as they emerge, and be who I am meant to be.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and may 2020 be a better year for you.
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