December 22, 2019

Week 52 Update: Starting a New Streak

by Ryan

Last week I set new Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) for 2020. This week I started to take steps to reach those OKRs—starting with my first weekly review and celebration post.

How did it go last week? What challenges did I face? What progress did I make? Let me tell you. It wasn't the best possible week.


Starting a New Streak

On Monday I came up with my new OKRs. I tweaked it a bit on Tuesday. Mostly to improve the publishing objective, to get it to the next level, make it a bit more inspiring, and fit the key results better.

Most of my attention on Tuesday went to my job. I love being a librarian, but I don't imagine my job is exactly what people think of when they picture a librarian. That's okay. It's interesting and engaging work. So much so, that I sometimes spend a bit too much time and forget to take breaks. That doesn't help me with my personal OKRs because I often use my breaks to make progress.

I didn't start the new writing streak until Wednesday. In itself that was an achievement because it was a long day sitting in a room interviewing people for multiple positions with the library. That took all day and then I stayed to attend the library Board of Trustees meeting. After 10 years of charging overdue fines (the library didn't charge overdue fines for the first 40 years), the Board of Trustees adopted the new policy to eliminate the fines and the barriers that go with fines. Lots of people have worked on this and it's a positive step forward for the library.

Despite (or because) of everything going on, I did write a bit on my breaks and managed 695 words on Synthetic Pain. Short of my goal, but better than nothing!

Thursday ended up my best day of the week. I started out the day by visiting the Starbucks in the old Prairie Grange. I don't normally go to Starbucks to write. Now and then it's nice to go someplace else to write, but I usually prefer the outdoors. Given that we were enjoying substantial rainfall at the time, however, it wasn't the best day to write outside. It did kick start the day in a positive way, plus the excitement from the Board meeting, meant I was in a pretty good mood. It's the one day I managed to exceed my minimum goal for my novel W.I.P., writing 1,895 words on Synthetic Pain.

Friday didn't start out great thanks to a headache, a long day of interviews, and acid issues. Despite all of that I did sit down and wrote 756 words on Synthetic Pain. By the time I got home from work I gave in to my fatigue and watched Angel Has Fallen instead of writing more.

Finally, on Saturday, I was off work on vacation! I spent some time writing, adding another 768 words to Synthetic Pain. Other than that, I relaxed with my family. We watched GremlinsAnna and the Apocalypse, and I baked chocolate pecan bars. I took some of those over to the grandparents' house.

The key win: I started a new writing streak. It's only days old, but it has to start somewhere.

OKRs Confidence

Let's review. I'm rating my confidence level for each key result.

Write fantastic novels

Key Results

  • Write 1,500 words (minimum) per day.
  • 40,000 words (minimum) each month on the current novel.
  • Complete 6 novels in 2020.

Even though I haven't hit my minimum word counts each day, I'm still fairly confident that I can reach it. As my streak increases and I am more consistent, my confidence in the second two results will increase.

Write Amazing Short STories

Key Results

  • Write 500 words (minimum) per day.
  • Complete a finished short story bi-weekly (26 stories).
  • Submit or publish each finished story within one week.

I'm putting this at a 50/50 confidence right now. I tweaked the key results for a new story every other week because I want to study published stories in the alternating weeks.

Achieve success with my novels

Key Results

  • 12 novels released on my store and retail stores.
  • Average 10 sales per day, per title.
  • Match my income from my full-time librarian job.

Releasing the novels is one thing—they're written. It's mostly taking the time to get them out, but given my track record I think 50/50 is fair at the start. I have less confidence in the other two results without a lot changing. That's fine! I'm going for it.

Build a Community of Engaged Readers

Key Results

  • Readinary newsletter subscribers increase by 25%.
  • Broadcast open rate averages 60%.
  • Click rate averages 10%.
  • Reach 250 Patreon subscribers.

I'm more confident about getting newsletter subscribers than patrons right now. My open and click rates have been near those levels, which makes me fairly confident I can average that with work.

This Week's Priorities

It's a holiday week with family activities. I'm not working at the library until the end of the week. Well, that's not entirely the case. I have some things I want to do before I go back to work. On my OKRs, though, I have three main priorities:

  1. 1
    Finalize Past Dark files for publication.
  2. 2
    Write a minimum of 10,500 words on Synthetic Pain.
  3. 3
    Write a minimum of 3,500 words on a short story.

If time allows, I'd like to tackle additional work. My family is my key priority this week. Next week is the official week 1—this week is a rehearsal.


Ryan M. Williams lives a double life as a full-time career librarian and a multi-genre writer with over twenty books. He writes across a range of genres including science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, mystery, horror, and romance. He earned a Master of Arts degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University and a Master of Library and Information Science from San Jose University. His short fiction has appeared in anthologies from Pocket Books, WMG Publishing, and in On Spec Magazine.

Ryan M. Williams

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