I recently volunteered to be a guinea pig for Personality Hacker. I offered my personality up to be profiled by one of their new students. For those of you that don't know me, that is my idea of a fun Saturday morning. It also proved to be incredibly enlightening. After several years of thinking that I was an INFJ, I discovered that I'm actually an INFP. Suddenly, a lot of things that had baffled me, started to make sense. Cue the violins. Some of the biggest struggles in my life revolve around structure and completing tasks. I make to-do lists, but I usually choose what I feel like doing first, priorities be damned.
The older I get, the harder it is to force myself to do the tasks that life requires. I look at other people around me and everyone else seems so much more together. Things like juggling schedules are a nightmare. I once took my kids to school a day early. The school secretary looked at me and said, "You do realize school doesn't start until tomorrow, don't you?" To which I replied, "Great dress rehearsal kids. We'll return tomorrow for the real thing." My oldest declared that I was dead to her, but she forgave me. Eventually. I am a forty-five-year-old woman with three kids. Why do I struggle with adulting? What is wrong with me? Apparently, this is a common struggle of the INFP.
Also, like many other INFPs, I am an artist at heart. I dream of making my living writing books and being able to stay in my pajamas all day while doing it. Unfortunately, I have historically tended to get excited and churn out a third to one-half of a project and then change my mind and start working on my next shiny idea. As you can imagine, for someone with limited free time on their hands to achieve their writing goals, this is a productivity killer.
But recently, while devouring all the information I could find on INFPs, I made an interesting discovery. While listening to Antonia Dodge speaking on the Personality Hacker podcast, she mentioned that her father was an INFP and she said that he did this thing called "Throwing your hat over the fence." So, say for example he wanted to get something accomplished like retiling the kitchen. He would wait until he had company coming to visit in a few days and then he would start. Once he'd started, he had no choice but to finish.
This got me thinking. I wondered how I could use this tactic with my writing. Enter Kindle Vella. What is Kindle Vella you may be asking? It's a fairly new platform that Amazon has put out that harkens back to the days of Charles Dickens. Back then, novels were too expensive for the average person, so books like Great Expectations and Oliver Twist were put out in installments. Now you can do the same. The first three episodes of every Kindle Vella are free so readers can try them before they buy and everyone with an Amazon account gets 500 free tokens to start with. After that, tokens cost about a penny a piece and you pay one token for every one hundred words so a 1,000-word episode will cost about ten cents to read. That's a pretty good deal for those who are voracious readers.
I decided that putting out regular episodes could be incredibly motivating so I have started putting out episodes of my new murder mystery Arsenic is for Amateurs. Think And Then There Were None, but with a detective. Thirteen people are trapped on an island and people start dying one by one. My humble detective's assistant takes the case while master detective Lei Liang is out of town. Now he is trapped on an island with no hopes of escape and up to his neck in dead bodies. it's up to him to stop a killer before no one is left. I am up to thirteen episodes now with no signs of slowing down. Checking my reports to see how many episodes have been read and the number of thumbs up I have received is great at keeping me going. I feel like people are depending on me to keep producing the story my readers are already invested in. I've thrown my hat over the fence, or maybe in my case it's a typewriter. Either way, it's hella motivating.
My only caveat is that generating traffic to Kindle Vella is a bit of a challenge, but there are Facebook groups for Vella authors and you can generate quite a bit of traffic if you are willing to read some other people's work in exchange. You don't get the organic traffic that you would on the regular Amazon platform, but once your book is complete in Vella for thirty days, you can publish the book to the regular Amazon platform as a full novel. I have found this to be a game changer as far as my productivity and I enjoy exchanging stories with other authors in the Facebook groups. It's good to communicate with like-minded people and help each other.
I hope that this nugget of insight has been helpful for you. If you would like to check out Arsenic is for Amateurs, you can find it here:
Until next time, happy writing!