In September, I participated in the Project 24 Content Warrior Challenge – writing 60,000 words of content. It’s a twice-a-year event and it’s a lot of work – it’s like NaNoWriMo, but it’s for blogs and articles rather than a novel. Even so, it’s a lot of daily, dedicated work – and they’re awesome. So let’s see how things went in September – and if I met that 60,000 mark.
Here’s the breakdown of what I wrote in the month of September.
- Articles: 14
- Videos filmed, edited, and published: 5
- Stories written: 1
- Stories submitted to publications: 1
- Stories accepted: 0
- Story rejections: 1
- New stories outlined and plotted: 2
- Total Page Views: 19,475
- Overall EPMP: $12.99 (up from $10.45 last month)
Total word count (with each video counting as a standard, 2000 words per video) was over 65,000. Woohoo! Now, of that, 45,000 was for articles and videos – with the last 20,000 for stories. And a good chunk of that (almost all of those 20,000 words) was used in world-building and outlining, so those words aren’t even going to be seen publicly.
14-Month Analysis of my Project 24 Membership
Writing groups and masterminds are some of my most favorite things – and I love the blogging mastermind group I’m in. (I’m actually back on the market for a good writing group – so I’m open to input on that particular front.)
In any case, one of my mastermind group members is an amazing woman named Cheryl. She pointed out that there is a relatively easy way to gauge if a course was worth its investment fee (what it costs). Any course should be able to give you an ROI (return on your investment) of a multiplier of 10 within 1 year of completion.
So if a course cost $1000 up front and takes a year to complete, then by the next year (so at the end of the 2nd year so you’ve had time to take the course and implement it), you should have made $10,000. That way, you’ll have had room to earn back your investment, earn a profit, and create jobs to bless others.
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Despite only being 14 months into the 24 months of learning Project 24, I decided to see what my ROI is so far. Keep in mind – that the 1-year implementation beyond learning would mean I don’t need to evaluate this until the 36-months-in point, but let’s do this now anyway. For science. 🙂
- First year’s membership dues: $449
- Second year’s renewal: $199
- Total investment so far: $648
My ROI so far:
- As of last month, I’d earned $2697.
- So let’s add in the revenue since then (all ad revenue) of $217 (from August). I won’t include September’s ad revenue, as I won’t receive that until the end of this month – and I do my accounting on a cash basis. So I’m only counting the money I’ve earned and have, rather than all monies earned. I also won’t include several affiliate-related incomes, as those are also not yet received.
- Total earned (and received) to date: $2914.
Now, let’s do some division: $2914 divided by $648 to see the ROI. That equals 4.4969135802… and it keeps going. So let’s round that to 4.5, because that’s so much easier!
So at the 14-month mark in Project 24, I’ve already earned back my investment 4 and a half times over. Not too shabby. Okay, fine – it’s awesome. Especially since I can see my income graph, even if you can’t.
The income is growing at a growing pace. Several months ago, it was increasing at a rate of about $5-7 per month. Two months ago, it grew by $15 per month. Last month, from August to September, it grew by $40. That’s an exponential growth curve – and it matches the traffic growth. It’s really quite awesome!
This means that I’m at least on track to 10x my investment by the end of month 36 – if not sooner. Of course, this is totally contingent on my effort. I have to keep doing the work. But the work is paying off – quite literally.
September Was Content Challenge Month – Success!
So now a quick review of how September went. It felt like I did a LOT of writing – because I did. I wrote 14 articles, did 5 videos, and did a good bit of fiction writing.
Oh, and did I mention that September was also the month where we got hammered by hurricane-strength winds – and it knocked out the power? I lost several days of work time thanks to power outages and cleanup recovery. I’m not complaining – I was able to catch back up. And thankfully most of the cleanup was in helping others – our yard escaped relatively unscathed.
But even with the (major) distraction, I’m quite pleased with my efforts.
Here’s the breakdown of what I wrote for which site.
- BackyardHomesteadHQ.com – I wrote and published 8 articles. (I’ve also got several others still outlined and started – but not yet finished, so I didn’t count those in the total tally)
- GenealogyPals.com – Breanne and I got 4 articles published. She’s got another handful in various stages of research and prep for me to look at, so that’s exciting. We’re moving forward and it’s fun to see this site taking off. Plus, we’ve applied to be speakers at the all-virtual Roots Tech conference in 2021 – we just attended a webinar for the potential speakers. We should hear back sometime this month if our presentations were accepted or not.
- SleepTrainingKids.com – I wasn’t originally planning to do any articles for this site, but I outlined several at the last minute for the September writing challenge. I finished and published two of them. Woohoo! It’s actually kind of fun to go back to this project.
Now, as far as videos, here’s the breakdown of those.
- Backyard Homestead HQ (YouTube channel) – after getting an unexpected channel review by Channel Makers (the Income School channel), I knew I had to get back to doing that channel. It’s just too much fun. However, in order to better manage time, I knew I’d have to scale way back on editing videos. Like, no editing that can’t be done from my phone for the time being. So that’s been hard, but I did get 3 videos made for that channel. Unfortunately, 1 became corrupted. However, I still counted it because it had published – and then I deleted it due to its being unwatchable.
- Kimberly C. Starr (YouTube channel) – I also decided that I wanted to start a writing YouTube channel. I know that there are so many amazing ones out there – but this one will be a living case study in what it takes to get published. Plus all things reading and writing. I did two videos for this channel – only one of which is public. The other is currently unlisted, though it’s got a planned use in the future.
So even if I didn’t count the corrupted (and subsequently deleted) video, I’d still have been over 63,000 words – which more than qualifies as a successful content warrior challenge!
The story I reported on last month – a retelling of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears – was submitted to a publication and rejected this month. Rejection isn’t ever fun, but it is a good opportunity to reflect, learn, and improve as a writer. Sadly, I didn’t get any specific feedback from the publication’s editorial team. That’s part of writing life. So it’s up to me to dive back into things and see what went wrong.
I did ask a few more friends for technical feedback, although I have yet to receive that.
In any case, I did some deep reflection on the piece and I found several shortcomings that need to be addressed. It’s still a great story (and one of my best to date), but it can always be improved. So I’ll add it back to the pile and get back to work.
I will, however, work on a couple of other things first. It’s always easier to make the hard edits and cuts when there’s been some time to give you enough distance between writing and editing. Plus, I’d like to get feedback from those who offered to give it first. Because, you know – efficiency.
Beyond that, I did a ton of new world-building, outlining, plotting, and handwriting for a new story. That’s right – I actually wrote a good chunk of it down by hand in a notebook. I find that I can’t be at my computer all of the time – but I can carry a notebook. So I’m making notes as I go. This story has gotten me really excited – and I’m getting to work on it next (before I go re-edit the Goldilocks tale).
It’s a deconstruction of several tropes – several tropes that can easily be done in an exhausted, overwrought kind of way. This deconstruction should breathe new life into it – so I’m excited to keep working on it.
Working on my own websites has been a lot of fun. They’re a fun, long-term approach to developing a “passive” income.
Passive gets air quotes because they need a lot of upfront work – but it’s beginning to work. So if you want to get all the steps I’ve used, make sure you check out Project 24 – I highly recommend it.
It’s been the best course I’ve taken. And, to date, it’s the only one that’s on track to pass the 10x ROI rule. Other courses I’ve taken have had wildly differing ROIs – the next best one clocking in at a 2.88X. But none have done this well for me. In any case, I’ll keep you updated – and let you know if/when my Project 24 crosses the 10x threshold.
And as far as stories – it’s back to work writing, improving, practicing, and story-telling. It’s a slow ride – but I’m glad you’re here with me.
Cite this article as: “Monthly Writing Report for September 2020.” Kimberly C. Starr, 2 October 2020, kimberlycstarr.com/monthly-writing-report-for-september-2020/.