Course Correction! (Sunday Sevens)

The Otaku Author Sunday Sevens Course Correction

It’s time to get this ship back on course! By that I mean, me… although, I’m not sure I should be calling myself a ship… Anyhow, I’m sure you know what I mean, but if you’re not entirely sure, keep reading…

Course Correction!

I’m going to start this post by pointing out that it’s an odd one in that I usually reserve my Sunday Sevens posts to deliver anime based lists (and sometimes manga). This post coincides with the end of the month and we’re now five months into the year. Sure, the last three have been a bit different with all the self-isolation and working from home, but it’s as good a time as any to take stock off things and work out if I’m heading in the right direction or not. Spoiler alert, I’m not!

All right, that may sound a little dramatic, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. I’m going to go into this in more detail in my Author Journey post later today. The main thing that I’ve noticed of late is how little time I’ve been dedicating to writing fiction and doing more with the Author part of the brand. Well, these are seven steps that I plan on taking to get things going again.

7. Less Seasonal Anime Coverage

Demon Slayer Kimetsu No Yaiba Episode 10 Susamaru tricked into saying Muzan Kibutsuji

Now, this may come as a shock to some, but I never intended to cover seasonal anime. If anything, I’m a binge-watcher so watching one episode a week of a series is tough. This may seem like a crazy notion since I’ve covered seven titles in each of the last two seasons. The truth of it all is that I started writing anime reviews as a way to have something to talk about on my author blog. I didn’t want to be yet another unknown author talking about writing techniques and story structure, so I decided to focus on my other love – anime. It seemed like a great way to create content that fulfilled both sides of my branding.

So, what is going to change? Starting next season, I am only going to cover three series on a weekly basis. One of those is likely to be Fruits Basket as I’m certain this season will be a two cour series. I will be watching much more (I already have eleven on my to-watch list), but will only put out season reviews for the others. There have been a lot of great shows that I haven’t been able to write about and I’d like to focus on the stuff that I loved.

6. Writing Accountability

Dr Stone Episode 23 Kaseki Senku High Five

Back in 2017, I started working on my novella series. It was planned to be fifty-two books long with each book coming in around fifteen-thousand words. I started slowing, writing about one-hundred and fifty words a day, but I tracked it and reported my word count on Twitter. It may seem like an odd thing to do, after all, who cares how many words of a first draft I’d written, but my tweets got noticed and the more that happened, the more I wrote.

Within two months, I was writing three-thousand words a day. There’s a writing event called NaNoWriMo where writers around the world attempt to write a fifty-thousand-word novel in a month. Well, I did that for three months in a row. By the end of June 2017, I had writing almost three-hundred thousand words. So, if you follow me on Twitter, expect to see some daily word count updates.

5. Writing Partners

Akame ga Kill Episode 2 Leone and Tatsumi

Similar to the accountability side of things, but this is more of a behind the scenes sort of thing. When I was writing at my most productive, I had recently joined a group of writers and we regularly discussed what we were up to and it was incredibly helpful. I’m still a part of that group, but it has slowed down considerably. So, if anyone is reading this and thinking that they would like to write a book, a short story, or anything else, let me know and we can gently encourage each other to completion. That last line sounds way dirtier than I intended, but I’m going to leave there…

4. Listen to Writing Podcasts

Dr Stone Episode 24 Byakuya Recording in the Past

So, this is another thing I was doing back in my fruitful years… Basically, I was listening to a lot of podcasts on writing. I couldn’t tell you exactly how many it was, but it was a lot. Hearing what others were going through and how the industry is working for independent authors was fascinating and it always helped to get my mind focused. It’s going to mean I listen to slightly less anime music, but I will have plenty of time for that when I’m actually writing.

3. Write more Shorts

Shachibato President it's time for battle Episode 7 Minato doing paperwork

Attacking a large project is always fairly daunting, but I’ve found that if you occasionally throw a smaller project in that can easily be completed, it can give you a boost. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you aren’t getting anywhere. These could range from two-hundred and fifty words up to six thousand words and maybe beyond, but there are a million different ways to come up with ideas and at the end of the day it’s all practice. I imagine that I’ll end up publishing some of them here, so watch out for them.

2. Anthologies

The Promised Neverland Episode 1 Isabella Ringing for Breakfast

I already mentioned writing more shorts, but I would definitely like to look for more anthologies to be a part of. Sometimes, it’s just about finding the right group and jumping in when someone puts forward the ideas and sometimes you need to be the person to drive the project. Hopefully, I’ll get to the point where I have enough to put together a collection of shorts all on my own. Maybe, you’re reading this and thinking that you’d like to have a story in an anthology. When I was a part of the Otaku on Writing podcast where we would watch classic anime and come up with new story ideas after watching them, we released six collections, each with three stories in. They were a lot of fun to put together, so maybe an anime-inspired anthology would be an idea I should look into. Anyone interested in being a part of it?

1. Just Write More!

Fire Force Episode 20 Hinawa Hiding

The bottom line is that I need to write more. I can say that I will and often do. If you glance back through my Author Journey posts, you’ll see a running theme where I say I’m going to write more and then didn’t. Hopefully, all of the steps above will help me to push forward and finally get myself back to where I was a couple of years ago. I have no shortage of ideas and plans, I just need to put them into action. That starts now… well, once this season finishes, I’m not a complete monster. So, I have one month to get everything ready to hit the ground running in July.

And those are my thoughts on that. It’s something that has been weighing on my mind for quite some time and I’m not sure how I fell so deeply into writing about seasonal anime. I don’t have any regrets other than the time it’s taken away from writing fiction. It’s about time that I take a bit of control back and find a way to balance the two.

Have you got any suggestions or are you interested in writing some fiction of your own? Hit me up in the comments or DM me on Twitter.

Other posts in the series

Lynn Sheridan The Otaku Author Header


    • Awesome. I’ll pencil you in and start looking for more people. It was a lot of fun doing them with the Otaku on Writing podcast. We’ve unpublished all of them now, but I’ll post them here over the coming months.

  1. Writing accountability is a great idea. I use Jira (software developer issue tracking tool) to track my writing work. For the Spring 2002 anime season, I’ve spent 121.1 hours writing anime reviews. I’ve only spent about 20 working on the beats for my next novel.

    Sigh. But tracking helps me know where I stand, and every season, I make adjustments. You’ll notice I’m only writing Best in Moment reviews right now. It’s a better version of my anime brand, and it leaves more time for novel writing. If I can get the other parts of my life under control…

    I’d love to do the writing partners thing, but I’d be a terrible partner right now.

    I’ve started with podcasts, but I couldn’t really find a good way to determine which were worthwhile. I invested in one Master Class by Neil Gaiman on story telling, and it was helpful. Lately, I’ve just started practicing identify which genres I want to write on Amazon and buying audio books. My commute to work before mid March had been about 75 minutes a day; now it’s zero. So books like Peter F. Hamilton’s The Reality Dysfunction at 33+ hours is a bit of a challenge to get through…

    Shorts are interesting. I’ve been thinking about using them as lead magnets after I actually get the books written and ready to market. I intend to do self-publishing, at first through Amazon, so I’ve been reading up and practicing that stuff. That was one of the original reasons I started the anime site, in fact. Nick Stephenson is a great resource for that kind of thing.

    Just Write More is probably the best advice possible. Everything else reduces to that. You can’t sell what you didn’t write. You can’t rewrite what you didn’t write.

    “and I’m not sure how I fell so deeply into writing about seasonal anime.”

    I’ll second that! I publish 6 times a week on my anime site. My novel/writing site? The last post was in February. My application security site? January!

    Course corrections like this are helpful and healthy. I hope they have the intended impact!

    • Thanks. I’m hoping it gets me back on track too. Ideally I want to get the best of both worlds where I am able to keep up to date with anime and publish books.

      I switched from my full episode reviews where I had my favourite moments and characters to a shorter version for the last two seasons, but even then I still find I’ve no time to do anything else. I’m actually looking to watching an episode and not having to write a review of it.

      As for podcasts, I was following a load of them and would listen on the commute and at lunch so could get through a lot, but no commute at the moment either (or me time). I might do a Sunday Sevens for podcasts once I’m back into them.

      I had a short as my lead magnet for my series and it did all right. Amazingly people seem to want full books for free though… so, a collection of shorts might be an interesting way to do that, but then it wouldn’t be specific to a series.

      I think it’s always good to be aware of what you’re doing so that you can make changes, otherwise I’d probably do this for another three years and wonder why I hadn’t written anything…

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