The Condition You’re In (Numbers!)

The Condition You’re In (Numbers!)

No matter who you are, you’re in a condition in life.

It’s going to be a good condition or a bad condition.

There are a lot of external factors that can influence your condition in life. But it’s part of my philosophy that you can always take steps to improve that condition.

Furthermore, I think conditions can be measured exactly. That means I’m not talking about conditions like “happy” or “sad,” because that can’t really be measured. I’m talking about conditions like “affluent” or “normal” or, at the bottom end of the spectrum, “unviable” (meaning you aren’t making as much money as you’re spending).

These things can be measured. If you’re affluent, you’re doing way better than you were previously. If you’re doing normal, that means you’re doing well, consistently improving yourself, and earning enough back from your efforts to continue doing them. If you’re unviable, you’re scrambling while you try to make ends meet.

Which brings us to my final belief: conditions can only be accurately measured against other conditions over time. In other words, you’re doing BETTER than you used to be. Or you’re doing WORSE than you used to be. Or you’re doing the same.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that all of this is part of the philosophy of my religion. I’m not going to go into that here, because I don’t want to open that can of worms. That’s another discussion. Some of you know enough about me to know it already. If you don’t, and you’re curious, you can contact me and I’ll inform you. No proselytization — promise. Just information.

But anyway, conditions.

CONDITIONS AND STATISTICS

I realized this morning that I haven’t been the best about measuring the condition that I’m in. And so, in the interests of doing so, I decided to measure my production over the last few months.

Statistics are extremely useful in keeping track of your condition for all of the reasons I listed above. They are exactly measurable. They measure your production against time. And they let you see what steps you have to take to improve your condition.

Believe it or not, I wasn’t keeping track of my production statistics. I was keeping track of my ROYALTIES. But that’s not production. That’s the REWARD for production.

Without tracking production, you can’t know what your future rewards are going to be. Life becomes unpredictable, uncertain.

So without further ado, here is my writing graph for the last four months (since August):

Monthly

Holy shit, right?

I had no idea that it looked like that.

I had NO IDEA I had written more than 100,000 words in the month of September alone.

Truth be told, I thought I was writing more than that EVERY month. I didn’t know it was such an outlier.

I didn’t know that my word count has been declining since then.

All of these things I DIDN”T KNOW.

INFORMATION

Statistics are information. They allow you to see how you’re doing and plan to change it.

So my writing has been declining. But I know without question that I can hit that September target again. I did it once, I can do it again.

And if you think about it, with months that average thirty days, hitting 120,000 words a month only requires you to write 4,000 words a day. For some people, that’s impossible — and that’s fine. Everyone writes as fast as they write. But if you know me, you know that 4,000 words per day is easy peasy.

Looking at the above, I can see that I’ve written 18,264 words in December (so far).

To hit 130,000 words (and thus beat September’s numbers) I have to write another (130,000-18264) = 111,736 words.

As I write this, it’s the 10th of December. That means that there are (including today) 22 days left in December.

111,736 words / 22 days = 5,079 words per day (rounded).

So that means that, for a nice safety margin, I should write 6,000 words per day. This means three hour-long writing blocks per day, something I can easily do.

Why haven’t I already been doing my three hour-long blocks per day? I let my discipline slip. I’ve been focused a lot on marketing the last few weeks (hence my declining writing statistics).

But now that I see what CONDITION I’m in, not only do I know what I need to do to fix it, but I’m motivated. I look at that graph and I think, “Holy shit! I need to do something about this!”

It’s not only a useful tracking tool, it’s useful for making you accountable to yourself as well.

SUMMARY

Measuring your condition with statistics is an invaluable tool. If you’re an independent artist, you’re also an entrepreneur. That means you’re your own business. And that means that you need to measure, track and improve your production.

Statistics let you measure it. And they let you see what you need to do to keep your statistics UP. And thus improve your condition.

There are other things I need to measure. I should have a graph for number of titles published for month. Maybe number of WORDS published per month. I should definitely measure how often I get reviews.

But all of that has to wait.

Because right now, I need to sit down and write some words.

See you all later.

Garrett Robinson

Over 100,000 readers have read and loved Garrett's books, like the fantasy hits Nightblade and Midrealm. He's also a film festival favorite with movies like Unsaid, and a tech guru who posts lots of helpful how-tos for writers and filmmakers over at garrettbrobinson.com.

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1 comments
SimonCantan
SimonCantan

I'd be really interested in the effectiveness statistics. If you've been working on marketing, then is that having more of an effect on the back end of things?


It's a debate I've been having internally: Should I do some kind of YouTube/podcast show, that would take a significant chunk of time? Or should I just buckle down and write as much as possible? Which would end up getting me more readers?


At a guess, I think writing more gets more readers long term, but I don't really know. If you look at Ed Robertson, he did loads of work on marketing/stat analysis and he's in the top 10 of big lists.* I may experiment a bit myself, when I have more stuff written.


*Obviously Ed wrote a ton of stuff too.

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