Welcome to my October 2018 Project Report. My goal with these monthly reports is to help other authors, entrepreneurs, leaders, or anyone else who wants to make an impact through their work. Each month It share how I spent my time as an author and creative entrepreneur and the successes, failures, and lessons I learned along the way.
How I spent My Time in October 2018
I track every minute of time I spend working on projects using an app called Toggl (here is why). Here is a list of the projects I spent the most time on last month:
- 17:05 – Shipping Christ in the Classroom to Members of The Religion Teacher
- 16:46 – The Religion Teacher Email & Customer Service
- 9:40 – Weekly Review
- 7:56 – The Religion Teacher’s Saints Worksheets
- 5:16 – Formative Fiction Fables
- 4:36 – Morning Preview
- 3:29 – Speaking (Wisconsin Directors of Religious Education Federation)
- 3:28 – Daily Review
- 2:39 – Taxes and Accounting
- 2:33 – Freelance Writing (Catechist Magazine)
Total Time Spent: 96:25
Here is what I produced last month:
- Worksheets: 11
- Articles/Blog Posts: 6
- Newsletter Emails: 18
- Videos: 3
- Books: 3,630 words (906 words of nonfiction / 2,724 words of fiction)
- Workshops & Webinars: 0
2018 GOAL UPDATE
In the past I tried to focus only on mission and vision and not specific performance goals. I’m trying something different this year and setting some big goals for myself as a entrepreneurial author. You can find my goals here. This is the progress I have made so far:
72% / double the number of members TRTm members (audacious goal)
3,000/5,000 copies sold of Christ in the Classroom (good/great)
1/1 published work of fiction (good)
5/7 paid speaking gigs (expected)
56/50 Read 50 books (good goal)
53% Paid Off / Pay off mortgage in 2020 (good goal)
24:39 PR / Run a 5K under 23:00 (good goal)
Incomplete / Start a support ministry for startup founders. (expected goal)
You can read about the process I used to set these goals along a scale of success here: A Simple Process for Setting Bigger Goals.
October 2018 Highlights and Lessons Learned
Beatitales: Volume I
One of my 2018 goals is to publish my first work of fiction. I kept the goal broad enough to include self-publishing or getting published in a periodical or by a publisher.
While I did not plan for this at the beginning of the year, I spent most of my fiction-writing time on fables to teach the Beatitudes and Ten Commandments. So, my first published work is a collection of one set of fables to teach the Beatitudes in what I call “Beatitales.”
I was excited to see that about 1,000 people downloaded this free collection of fables in its first month. I really had no idea how interested teachers and parents would be to share these stories with their kids. Thankfully, the feedback has been very positive.
It also gave me the chance to launch my home for fiction at Formative Fiction. I started a weekly newsletter and will be publishing new fables and stories each month and sharing them through that newsletter.
The biggest lesson I learned from this is: just start.
I could have delayed publishing these stories for months and months by trying to plan the perfect launch. Instead, I created a quick cover, set up a landing page, and launched. Now I can improve my initial plan based on feedback rather than guessing what might work.
The Religion Teacher Shipping Department
I spent hours and hours signing, packing, and shipping books for members of The Religion Teacher. I am SO grateful for Stamps.com, which saved me hours of time in the post office. The USPS people even gave me boxes to put my books in to drop them off each day.
It honestly wasn’t as bad as it seems. I spent most of this time signing and packing books while watching TV with my wife or here and there while playing with my kids.
I am so grateful that my wife and kids put up with the many, many boxes in the dining room and living room during these two months. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to be able to ship so many of these books to people who joined my membership website.
I did my best to make it a prayerful experience by thinking of and praying for each person that would receive the books as I signed and packaged them.
The Religion Teacher Saints Worksheets
I needed to start a new project for members of The Religion Teacher. I created a number of new worksheet collections recently and had a list of ideas to try out. I tested out a format for saints worksheets and the feedback has been very positive. It is so difficult to know what will work and what won’t work. The only way to find out is to create something and see what happens. I tested them out myself and my students did well with them. Thankfully, members are enjoying the resources, too.
One of my goals is to create “just-in-time content,” which means I want to share tools that feel like they are being sent just in time. The Catholic liturgical year with its many seasons and feast days makes focusing on the saints an obvious next step.
The format is pretty simple: short saint biography with questions for students to answer. I am using the Lectio Divina process in Christ in the Classroom to inspire the types of questions I include in these worksheets and that, I think, is what sets these resources apart from other approaches.