Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday Plans… 2013

If you've read my blog awhile, you may know I don't celebrate Christmas. (Short version: There's no command in Scripture to celebrate Christ's birth, and the holiday's often treated as a celebration of materialism. I don't have any problem with it being celebrated; I just choose not to, myself.)

That said, I did take Christmas Eve and Christmas off work. Personally, I would've rather worked then and taken some days off next week, but my parents would've pitched a fit, though they don't celebrate Christmas, either. But even with taking those two days off, I got a scolding for "not taking the holiday off," with "holiday" left undefined (despite my inquiry), so I'm thinking this coming year, I'll just schedule whatever days off I prefer, since I'll evidently get a lecture either way.

I'd planned to go finally see Catching Fire Christmas Eve or Christmas, but that plan fell through…because I was in the middle of some things that were just about done. (All* my things are at the new apartment, now! Finally. Everything's a jungle of boxes, but at least I have a little stepstool now and can reach more shelves to put things away.)

*Essentially all. There are a handful of things lingering about my parents' house, but I'll likely get those this weekend.

Granted, part of why the movie plan probably fell through is that I don't care for going to the cinema by myself. If I'm going to see it alone, I might as well wait until it's at RedBox or something. My brother and I may go to the cinema later this week to see The Hobbit part II, but he doesn't want to see Catching Fire until it comes out on Netflix or something.

Note: If you want to join my newsletter, this season's drawing ends 12/31. If you're on the newsletter and in the drawing, great! If not and you want to be, sign up now or you'll have another 3 months to wait. Next Thursday will bring the announcement of who won the drawing.

Writing has felt like pulling teeth, lately, for all the projects I've been trying to get written. (Doesn't help that, in my move, I misplaced/lost my notes for two things that are due to publishers.) Even this post has been written in short spurts, because instead of getting on a roll, I'm getting out a few sentences, then freezing up. I go do something else, open this back up, and add some more.

It'll pass—it always does, because I work at it until it passes—but in the meantime, I'm endeavoring to keep in mind what is getting done instead of what isn't.

In any event, the next several days will be busy-busy-busy…and I just realized my to-do list isn't where I thought it was…but at least it's all doable. Just have to remember not to get overwhelmed. (…And I just found my to-do list, which for some reason was with my set of keys.)

Also on the bright side, I found out why my e-mail was acting up, eating incoming and outgoing e-mails: A system update had added a glitch. I got the patch perhaps a month later. (So if you've sent me e-mail and I've not responded, my apologies. I might not have gotten it, or the glitches ate my response. Please resend.)

So the plans are to wrap up things, redo the lost material to get that sent, and start the new year with as much of the "littles" done as possible. Lord willing, I'll have Katariina and another Misty White short story done, too. I have about 3 hours left on that short story (including edits), but Katariina is looking as if it'll be double the length of the prequel, so there are probably about 8–10 hours left on that.

And then I'm planning to do an extra-long update for AFo??? on Wattpad tomorrow. I know the point I want to reach, at minimum. Just have to get there. And get everything else done. (Two things off my to-do list already, yay!)

On an outside-of-work update, the weather has improved enough over the past week or so that I've started meeting more of my neighbors, which has been pleasant. My health's also improving so I should be able to start exercising in the next few months, because my body's starting to respond properly to exercise. Not quite there yet, but I don't feel ill immediately after exercising, which is a huge improvement.

What are you up to for New Year's?


Thursday, December 19, 2013


The saying "You have to spend money to make money" is true, because "Time is money." To make money, you have to first spend time and/or money, whether you're making that money at a day job, a hobby, or via a website where everything's set up to deliver automatically.

But what a lot of would-be entrepreneurs miss, from what I've seen, is that you have to spend your time and money wisely.

I've been around the self-publishing arena these past few years, and one thing I've consistently seen are unrealistic expectations on how many sales a particular ad campaign should garner. "If only 10% buy my book, it'll be worth it."

Problem with that math is that much advertising gets click-through of 1% or less, and then buy-through might be that 10% of people who clicked the ad.

The prolific award-winning authors Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch have long been saying that the best promotion is a new release. Frankly, I've found that to be true, myself. This week in her series on discoverability, Kris mentioned the acronym WIBBOW?, which she credits to another award-winning author they know, Scott William Carter.

WIBBOW? = Would I Be Better Off Writing?

Non-writers with their own businesses should adjust the question for their own businesses, because you can't sell product you don't have or be paid for work that isn't done. (Okay, technically, you can have a job that pays regardless of whether the work is done, but if you don't get anything done, you'll lose your job.)

So perhaps "Would I Be Better Off Working?" would suit a general audience better.

That's something I consider when I'm opening Netflix or RuneScape or some other entertainment: Would I Be Better Off Working?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no, and sometimes it's something I can do as a break (or while) working. For example, I can listen to old Numb3rs episodes while reading over something, to help me focus. (I have to vary up my concentration aids; otherwise, I get immune to them.)

That's something I have to evaluate, because time spent playing an online game is time I'm not writing or working (usually). Anybody who has a business has to evaluate that.

But a business owner also has to consider leisure time, time with friends, time to relax. Yes, it can take working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week to build a business, but if that's the kind of business you're building… You're doing a number on your health. Some of us focus on businesses with more moderate build-up, like my self-publishing, which is still going slow, but I'm working at it.

Could I have a lot more stories out, if I worked myself to the point of not having any leisure time? Yes. But I'd rather be healthy (or as healthy as I can be). I'd rather be able to take a friend to the airport this morning, so she can spend Christmas with family.

Money isn't everything. You don't want to ignore money—because you have to eat—but you don't want to focus on money to the point that you forget to look at the big picture.

As I said, "Would I Be Better Off Working or Writing?" sometimes gets the answer, "No."

What do you think of the balance between leisure and work?


Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Danger of Self-Awareness

If you don't know that you have a problem—like ADD or dyslexia—it's difficult to figure out the coping mechanisms necessary to mitigate the condition. Self-awareness helps with all sorts of things, from noticing sensitivities that you're developing to realizing that you're about to snap at someone else because you're crabby and blowing things out of proportion.

But like everything else, there's potential danger in practicing self-awareness: it easily leads to pride and assumptions that you actually do know yourself when you only know part of yourself, and that imperfectly.

Jeremiah 17:9 makes that clear. ("The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?" [ASV])

Other people have told me I seem more self-aware than most, but that's not necessarily a good thing. The self-awareness helps a ton in figuring out "Okay, is this a take-caffeine headache, a take-allspice headache, or a get-off-the-computer headache?"

The moment you believe yourself entirely self-aware, you lose your ability to be self-aware at all.

If you already know the entire reason you did something, then you won't be open to realizing or noticing that there are other reasons, or that your reasons have changed over time. If you already know a certain pain is normal, you won't be watching for things that stop it.

For example, a bone-deep ache in the right hip means I'm dehydrated. I've had that since I was 12 or younger, and I was 19 before I figured out what it was. Adults scoffed when I complained about it, insisting I was too young for such aches. (Which was maddening when I was trying to figure out the cause.)

But I was so used to the pain that I didn't even realize it left…until months later, when I didn't have sufficient water for a few days, and my hip started to ache. I tested it a time or two, and now a twinge in my right hip serves as a reminder to get some fluids. But I have to be paying attention to notice when that happens.

Such self-awareness easily lends itself to pride.

And that's the real danger in it.

What do you think of self-awareness and its limitations?


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Oh, THAT'S What Day It Is…

Between working from home in my new apartment and some side effects of accidental stevia exposure (toothpaste, I hate you), I feel as if I'm not firing on all four cylinders, today.

…And my cat's figured out how to open the cabinets and is prying them open on purpose. I might have to get child-safety locks for the cabinets to keep my cat from them.

Anyway, that's something that a lot of people don't necessarily think of when thinking of (or planning to) work from home: How to keep track of what day it is. Even if you set up the most thorough reminder system ever, you'll still sometimes forget. Particularly if you have an irregular sleep schedule.

What do y'all use for reminders of what day it is?


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