What I’m doing now, January 2017

Writer, wonderer, wanderer: Me in a nutshell

I’ve been a full-time self-employed professional writer since 2011. I’m the author of 4 travel fantasy books in my Rucksack Universe series. I write about craft beer, food, business, and other topics that fascinate me and fascinate others. I help other people with their online content and marketing. Outside of my home office, I spend lots of time with my wife, son, and daughter, in lovely Eugene, Oregon, in the US Pacific Northwest. And I love to cook.

January

Happy New Year! May you have an amazing 2017 full of love and joy #2017 #newyear #sayonara2016

A photo posted by Anthony St. Clair (@rucksackpress) on

  • The waiting
  • Articles & projects
  • A journey underway
  • A milestone of zero
  • Tech talk

Coming into 2017, there has been a lot of snot.

How I wish I hadn’t needed to write that.

But I did. ‘Tis the truth and all that. My wee family and I came through the end of the year with both kids catching sinus colds and (luckily) mild cases of pink eye. Then my wife and I caught them too.

Yup. Pink eye. At the age of 39, it’s like I was 10 again. Suddenly I had an urge to lie on the couch, watch Silverhawks and Transformers, and eat and drink nothing but apple sauce and ginger ale.

We’re all getting better though. The kids are better. The cold hit my wife harder than it hit me, so there have been some tricky weeks of getting back into my work groove while also taking extra care of my wife, son, and daughter. But we’ve managed. We’ve got each other, and we’re still getting stuff done.

So, I’ll take that as a decent start to the year.

This month I’m…

Waiting

2017 has also been ready… set… wait.

On Dec. 31, I finished writing the rough draft of Roadsong. Despite the holidays, two birthdays, and a holiday visit from my in-laws, December wound up being my most productive writing month of the year. It was the first and only month in 2016 that I cracked 50,000 words written for the month:

 

Totals Days with writing

# of words

# of minutes

Avg. words/day

January

24

25,675

538

1,070

February

19

20,891

409

1,100

March

12

12,239

178

1,020

April

25

28,170

835

1,127

May

26

37,461

1,014

1,441

June

25

31,985

703

1,279

July

20

32,279

779

1,614

August

25

37,597

830

1,504

September

18

33,117

998

1,840

October

26

40,132

1,182

1,544

November

26

35,814

1,167

1,377

December

27

52,357

1,413

1,939

All

273

387,717

10,046

1,405

# of hours

Avg.words/hour

167

2,776

Roadsong has been a lot of fun to write, and overall I’m pretty happy with this first full draft. Now the manuscript goes into its waiting period. Like Stephen King, I believe in writing a draft, then tucking it away and putting it out of my mind for a few weeks. The file is waiting for me, and it knows that I’m not thinking much about it right now. A little bit, sure—there are times where I’ve written down some notes on things I think need improving—but overall I’ve focused my January on other things for the year. Come February, I’ll start reviewing and revising so I can get the manuscript ready for my Chief Reader, Beta Readers, and copy editor. I’d like to have Roadsong out this year, but we’ll see how things go in revision.

Writing about beer and more

In 2016, I filed/published 64 articles. Pretty sure that’s my most to-date.

I wonder what 2017 will look like. So far it’s had me hitting the ground running with deadlines on articles and other projects. I’ve been finishing up a few things at the start of the year, oddly enough, so that I can start some new things too. It’s been pretty exciting, and it also reminds me that this year there are more markets that I want to explore and get into.

Here are a few recently published pieces and publications:

A journey underway

2017 also has me thinking about a particular journey, one both for my writing, and one for myself. After 5 years in business, I’m starting to realize some of my goals. Others have a long way to go. One of them is simply being more open. That’s always been hard for me. By life circumstance and by nature, I’ve always erred on being a very private person.

However, I’m realizing that I’ve hit a point in my life and in my career where that is holding me back from greater success. It’s scary as hell, but I’m trying to figure out how I can, well, be more open and approachable.

Part of that is a cool wee program called One Little Word. Run by Ali Edwards, One Little Word brings together people all over the world who, for one year, each pick a particular word that has meaning to their lives. We do different tasks and creations and such based on that word, and the year-long class takes each of us on a journey through different parts of our lives, our pains, our dreams and hopes. Jodie and I did this last year too, and it was a big help for us—it’s helped our finances, it’s helped us communicate better, and it’s helped us with goals and projects, such as us redoing our kitchen last summer.

As you might have already guessed, my word for 2017 is OPEN.

I’m exploring what that means to me—and why it means something to me. I’m looking at how I can be more open with myself, with my readers and customers, with my friends and family. I spent much of my life believing that silence was my best defense. Lately I’ve been realizing that I’ve overused it. I was made as something who can express—yet too often I’ve not done that.

So it’s time to make a change. Month by month, word by word, bit by bit, that’s exactly what I’m going to be doing.

In addition to One Little Word, Roadsong also got me thinking about a particular book that I needed to come back to.

Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey has been a big influence on me. I hadn’t read it in years, and recently picked up a copy of the third edition. Vogler uses Joseph Campbell’s work on mythology and the hero’s journey to talk with writers about effective and meaningful ways not only of telling a story, but of connecting with readers and connecting readers with themselves. In parallel, I also see reviewing the hero’s journey not only as something that will make Roadsong a stronger book, but that I can also apply the hero’s journey to myself. It will help me learn and grow, help me challenge myself, so that I am a better writer, a better person, husband, dad, businessperson.

A milestone of zero

It’s not too often that people talk about their milestones as reaching zero.

But that’s exactly what I reached on Dec. 23, 2016.

See, I’ve been in business for over five years now, and over some of that I had taken on some debt in the business. For 2016 I had set a goal of paying off that debt by Dec. 31, 2016.

It wasn’t easy. I skimped and worked and threw pretty much every penny I could at my business debt.

But I got there. On Dec. 23, I sent my last payment and soon saw that my business credit card had a zero balance.

Mission accomplished.

Now I’m looking ahead not at what I need to pay off, but at how I can invest more in my business, pay myself more personally, and further grow my business as an author, writer, and overall creator. It’s an exciting time, and while it may not seem as glamorous as, say, hitting a bestseller list, it means one hell of a lot to me that my business is in the black.

Tech talk

Now that my business is in the black, I’m also looking at one of my goals for 2016: replacing my 2008 MacBook. It’s been an excellent computer—hell, it’s even running El Capitan, and it’s nearly 9 years old! But it’s high time I got a new machine.

It’s been quite a quandary though. I started looking at options last year, and the day I wrote this, I went down to my local Simply Mac to talk with the folks there and get my hands on some different machines.

Why is that such a hard choice? Because I’m kicking around 2 options:

  1. Buy a 13” MacBook, and go big in options to future-proof my purchase. That would give me one simple device, and is similar to the setup I’m already used to.
  2. Buy a 21.5” iMac and a 9.7” iPad Air or iPad Pro. That would give me both power, lots of storage, and plenty of oomph for my work, while I’d also gain easy portability.

I’m still kicking around my options (and would appreciate any insight you might have). Cost is a factor of course, but so is making sure I’m meeting my business needs. I’ll be making my choice in the next couple of months.

The year is off to a good and interesting start. I’m hopeful things keep improving—and that how my family and I handled our initial wee health challenges indicates how we’ll handle the rest of the year.

Now to get back to work.

Yoga once a week and walking over 10,000 steps (about 4–5 miles) each day. The kids also love doing yoga with Dad. I also got some new yoga videos for my birthday, and now that my sinuses aren’t splitting I’m going to tuck in to them.

Always intrigued by other people’s stories, so feel free to email me: writer@anthonystclair.com

I typically update what I’m doing NOW about once a month, more if merited. Most recent update: Jan. 16, 2017.

What else have I been up to?



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Hi.

Anthony St. Clair - Travel Fantasy Author / Craft Beer Writer / Business Copywriter
Author and copywriter Anthony St. Clair has specialized in online content since 2000, blogged since 2004 and is the author of the Rucksack Universe travel fantasy series.

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