Small victories are worth celebrating too, and another tip for increasing traffic

So, today is the eighth day of my blog’s life. Over days one through seven my baby garnered 351 hits, averaging out around 50 per day. This made, and still makes, me ridiculously happy. I put myself out there and people are actually interested. Bear in mind only one of my friends actually knows about this blog and linked to it from his. The rest of it is people I’ve met through Twitter, other blogs and randoms but not anyone that I actually know personally. This I consider to be a success.

My point is that, while 350 hits in a week is not world-changing, it is success. It shows that I have been successful in setting up a blog and keeping it stocked with content (either my deranged ramblings or assorted fiction) that other people are interested in. It is not a huge success. But it is a success.

Another success this week occurred just yesterday – I formalised, so to speak, a critique/beta partner relationship with Leona Bushman, another aspiring author and already a beta reader for various other people. She knows what I am trying to do and she is not afraid to tell me what she thinks is wrong with my writing. Another couple of people got pulled in by the vortex of Twitter happiness surrounding this, so I think we just started a very small critique club. The main thing is, I have a critique partner. A good critique partner. She has sent me some of her stuff too and she is a good writer. Call me picky, but I want to be critiqued by someone who knows what they’re doing. And by inference, she thinks I’m a good writer for exactly the same reason. There was a point where I would have sold my soul for a good critique partner. In the end I didn’t have to. I just joined Twitter and started networking. Oh, and started this blog. You see how one small success leads to another?

Over the last three days I have written a chapter a day of my novel. That’s between 1300 and 1400 words on my novel each day. Not only is this progress but it is regular. Now that I have a critique partner who has decreed (ok, I agreed to it) that we will write a minimum of one chapter a day, five days a week, this is likely to continue. Again, one success leading to another.

These are small things. They really are. But big things are made up of small components. Every small success takes you a step further towards your goals and they really are worthy of celebration. In just over a month I have gone from no one but my family and friends knowing about my writing aspirations to over a hundred people who didn’t previously know me from Adam, and that’s just my Twitter followers that I am fairly sure aren’t bots.

I used to think that celebrating each chapter was very stupid – how pathetic, I thought, to get all happy over 1200 words (my chapters ran a little shorter at that time). The book itself needs to be somewhere between 80 and 100k! 1200 is nothing! Except that it’s not nothing. It’s over 10% of your final book. You write 1200 words a day and in less than three months’ time you’ll have a 100,000 word manuscript. Celebrate these small moments, because they add up to the big ones. One day, those 1200 words a day will equal a finished first draft. Two edited chapters a day will equal a completed manuscript. Submission to five specifically targeted agents a week will equal representation.

One day your critique partner will be standing next to you in a bar at a convention cooing over the hardcover edition of your recently released book while a fan lurks, trying to muster the courage to come and ask for you to sign their hardcover edition of your recently released book because you are the AUTHOR. The PUBLISHED AUTHOR.

But you won’t get there without taking these small regular steps. Every one is important, so every one should be celebrated. Consider your work in progress as a very small child, whose every step, word and new tooth is something to be cherished, because they will all add up to the man or woman that child will become, out there as an adult, making their own way in the world.

And the tip I mentioned: Set your blog to automatically publicise your posts on Twitter and Facebook when you publish each one. But don’t leave it at that. Retweet/facebook that day’s new post every 1-2 hours. There is a lot going on on anyone’s Facebook or Twitter feed and things get lost in the rush. Also, bear in mind that you are interacting with people from all over the world and your readers may not be online at the moment you publish your post due to the time difference. So keep retweeting/refacebooking. You will see the difference in your numbers.

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About Mhairi Simpson

Writer, dreamer. Magic, dragons, pink mice, cake. Come say hi!
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12 Responses to Small victories are worth celebrating too, and another tip for increasing traffic

  1. Melissa says:

    Nice post.

    I agree that celebrating the small victories is important. Not only as a way to measure your accomplishments, but you also enjoy the final result more.

    Taking notice of the small things, not only give you a finished book, but gives you stories so share with your readers about the process.

    • That sense of actually making progress is so important. The ‘Great Swampy Middle’, as Jim Butcher refers to it, finds it harder to suck you down if you stay conscious of what you have achieved thus far.

      Thanks for coming by and commenting πŸ™‚

  2. It took me years to average 350 hits/week, so congrats on that! I’m in your Crusader group (we met on Twitter already) and wanted to stop by and say Hi!

    Congrats on your new critter too! I love my critters like I love wine (probably too much, but they make my day so much better ^_^).

  3. Mike says:

    Very good advice! Thanks for your blog and I look forward to keeping up with it.

  4. I love how you put this! Also, I like the crusade group πŸ™‚

    I’m really happy to hear that was a twitter happy critique group forming LOL my internet was being so…I shan’t use the words that come to mind first…crazy that I wasn’t able to completely follow the conversation. That makes me happy! *dances a jig*

    I’m going to tell you something you may not know yet. I can write between 5-7k a day when I put my mind to it. However, I have an editing project right now, so the numbers will have to stay around 1500-2k while I’m involved with that process. I’m telling you what I’m capable of so that when I don’t have editing to do, you don’t let me fall under 2k, even if life goes to somewhere hot in a handbasket… πŸ˜€ And on a public forum so that I can’t hide it later LOL

    Congrats! I love how successful your blog has been when you weren’t sure you could even do one. Little steps of success. You’ve done it. Keep it up πŸ™‚

    • That’s actually really good news, about your output – I can probably write that amount as well, if I have to keep up with someone else. Once your editing project is over, we’ll up it to two or even three chapters a day which should speed up the getting-a-first-draft-finished process somewhat πŸ™‚

      Yeah, the Twitter Happy Critique group was fun – I’m helping Ellie with her stuff so we’ll see how that goes as well. It feels good to be doing something productive!

      The Crusade group is a lovely bunch of gals – really looking forward to this πŸ™‚

      Thanks for the compliments. I’m impressed as well. Today’s hits level was 25% higher than my previous best, so I am happy. It was low on Monday but I’m assuming that was because a lot of people had better things to do than surf the internet! I’m hoping to get up to 100 hits a day by the end of the month. As we know, a goal is good.

      Looking forward to finishing our first drafts, CP friend πŸ˜€

  5. Great advice! Definitely something I need to keep in mind. I’m overwhelmed by my own projects a lot easier than those of others. That’s gotta change.

    Congrats again!

    • It’s so easy to become intimidated by the mammoth task of completing a manuscript. It’s only after several years of being intimidated by the task that I have learnt to take a step back and celebrate each small milestone as bringing me closer to my main goal.

      Thank you for commenting, I appreciate you taking the time and I’m glad to be of help πŸ™‚

  6. Anne-Mhairie,

    I am really enjoying your blog posts, keep them up!

    It is very difficult to find a good critique partner, and I actually have more than one. You target of a chapter a day is an honorable and impressive one, and one that is difficult for me to maintain.

    Small victories are well worth celebrating, and I love seeing when my hits skyrocket.

    I will be around to congratulate you when you get your first copies of your published book πŸ˜‰

    Peter

    • Oh thank you! I’ve actually managed to up it to two chapters a day – Leona and I have invented the IdeM Writing Challenge – we aim to finish our first drafts by the Ides of March, which is 15th March. Handy because the next day is my birthday πŸ˜€

      Isn’t it strange what makes the hits go up or down? Mine were skyhigh on Tuesday, for no reason that I can determine. Strange.

      I intend to have a big party, possibly several, when I get my first copies of my published book πŸ˜€ Might have to have one in Australia too πŸ˜€

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