Off to another good start

Author's note: This article is part of an ongoing blog about my adventures in the world of alternate currencies.

Devtome submission round 32 ended late Saturday evening. I'd made the somewhat startling discovery that my uncategorized articles were actually hurting my payout, so I spend an hour or two categorizing as many of my articles as I could. I am now up to having 91 articles categorized out of a total of 141. Only fifty left to go. I file and categorize my articles as I go, so that number will only decrease from here on out. Since finishing the job won't impact my payments until submission round 33 is done I'm going to make a point to categorize two articles each time I write one new one. Then if I publish twenty-five articles during the next round, I will be finished with all the category work and my payout will no longer suffer. Once I'm done categorizing the old articles I will work on filing them too, but I do not have to rush on that job either.

I have already submitted my first article for round 33. I don't know why, but it always seems to me that once the previous round earnings are made official I want to just kick back and getting that first article for the next round published is the hardest one. But it's on the Devtome now, and this one will be my second one.

In the past it has taken me up to a week (or in the case of round 30, much longer) to get going on writing more articles. Sometimes at the end of the round I double my writing efforts and push hard right up until the last block. Then of course I want to take a breather, which makes sense. But how long do I sit back and celebrate the previous round? The longer I wait the more difficult it is to start. On the other hand, continuous writing could lead to burnout.

Because Devcoin blocks are generated every ten minutes, pay is continuous once it starts. That also means there's a certain amount of pressure to make writing continuous. Every block that gets generated where I haven't published an article represents a block closer to the deadline. If I can earn a couple million Devcoins in the round, why not work harder to earn three or four million?

One of these days I would like to have an all out writing marathon where I max out the number of allowed shares for writing. I'd love to manage to write eighty thousand words in half a round, and then another eighty thousand words in the second half of the round. Then I'd know that I couldn't possibly get paid any more for either that round or the next. I could take an entire round off, just fulfill my admin duties, and still enjoy the payout. Better yet, I could give myself two weeks off, and then pick up the pace after that time, and build up myself a backlog of upcoming round payouts, and then any amount of writing I did would simply add to that backlog, and I could take time off whenever I wanted to.

The only problem with that scenario is that I am simply not able to produce eighty thousand words of fresh content in one month's time. Ever. OK, maybe if I did nothing else all day for an entire month, but even then I suspect I'd suffer from major writer's block. I can comfortably produce a bit less than half of the maximum each month, somewhere between thirty and forty shares from writing. This is nothing to be ashamed of as a writer–I essentially write half of NaNoWriMo every single month. It just means that at any given time, my imminent future payouts depend on today's writing.

It seems to work best for me to take a day off here and there, but otherwise keep writing a little bit each day. If I can write one article, I then try to write a second one. If I only get one done, then I'm still doing well. I tell new writers that the most important thing is to write consistently. Other than publishing previously written content, there is not going to be this massive burst of writing just in time for the round to end. It has to happen a little bit at a time.

It's actually a funny thing in that writing for the Devtome is becoming more and more of a job. It's not a bad thing, and I still very much enjoy it. I just more and more have to maintain the same type of discipline that I would need to maintain in a regular job. I have to make time to write, and then do it. I used to do my writing late at night after the kids were in bed, and I still do sometimes write articles during that time. But now I take time during the normal working hours of the day because this gig has proven its ability to pay as well as a normal day job–at least for now.

The issue I'm running into now is being able to quit for the day. Once I publish my articles I feel a brief sense of satisfaction, but then I notice how many blocks have generated and I get anxious to write just one more. I haven't yet figured out how to mentally put it behind me for the day until next time. I know I will soon; I'm just in that transition from writing in my spare time to writing as a job–a job that I need to do within set hours and then mentally leave behind when I'm done for the day so that I can focus on the people in my life who need my presence. OK, so we're going to get to keep the house, and the bills really are getting paid–major potential crisis averted. Now to not get consumed with the drive to write just one more article.

I find that the best thing I can do is start strong and then if I need to, take a break. I like to start off a new round with a few writing shares as early on as possible. Then I know I've gotten started and the momentum will still be there when I return. Tomorrow probably won't be much of a writing day, so I'm thankful for the time and ability to write today.

Round 33 is off to a good start.

Devtome Writers

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