Progress – January 28, 2019

There are some weeks when I am just tired. Last week was one of them.

In trying to reboot my painting, I have several decisions to make. That lead me, of course, to research to find tools that will help me and that, obviously, leads me to testing several different tools to see which one(s) I like.

What frustrates me is that I had a tool I liked. It had years of data in it. I did want to clean it up some, maybe divide the database. But because of changes in technology, the program doesn’t work quite right any more. The company that developed it still has a website that for the last two years has asked for patience while they update their systems — they want to move to a cloud platform. However, I’m not sure they are serious about that any longer. I have exported the artwork data from the program, but it’s not easy to import without a lot of cleanup, mapping fields, and making it fit a new program.

With that experience, I don’t want to start something else that could potentially disappear or become obsolete. Which makes me think about paper files — good until a fire, or flood, etc.

So, it makes me leery to pull the trigger on anything. I don’t want something I will just end up rebuilding in seven to ten years. I realize that technology changes and that we have to have forward movement, but it seems like everything always needs constant updating and when a business no longer wishes to continue, they just close up. No one wants to build for a legacy, only for the current moment (and dollar, though I’ve read that the average lifespan of a solid business is about 30 years). It makes me tired.

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Progress – 2018 official

Last year I gave a report for the 2017. I thought I’d do the same this year, just to wrap things up, even though I feel (as I’m writing this sentence) that it won’t be nearly as impressive as last year’s post. I did a lot in 2017, considering it wasn’t a very good year personally with my dad passing away. I’m sure that bleed into 2018, but maybe as I look back, I will find something to surprise me. So, let’s reflect now on 2018.

I’m running this a bit late so that I could get in all my numbers for the 31st. I wanted the year full and complete. I was going to add that I usually write during the turning of the clock to the new year, because I was told many years ago that you should be doing what you want to come in the new year at the striking of 12. Because of that, there might be a few words that I’ll transition into 2019, but actually I probably should be editing. 2019 needs to be the year of reviewing what I’ve already written. I have a lot of work to do there. So, let’s move on.

Let’s start off by talking about the numbers for the last full week of 2018.

Words written in the last week of December: 6,668 words of both fiction and non-fiction. Sorry, I forgot to write these down the breakdown before I set the sheet up for this week, so that’s all I’ve got.

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,354 words today, because today all I’ve been doing is writing blogs. No fiction for you today!

Writing month to date total:  28,761 words

Drawing/painting last week: I continued working on those dang space paintings which I keep swearing I’m done with. I started playing with some acrylic fluid medium and am really enjoying how it enhances the depth of them. We’ll see how it looks when they dry. I really wanted to finish them in 2018 since that’s when most of the painting was done. I’m hoping I’m there. I also have been repairing the canvas of my lotus painting. It’s almost done. I’m thrilled because I’m not even done and the scar has nearly vanished. Pictures coming; I’ve been documenting the process.

Audio: I spent 6.6 hours last week recording and editing audio and just over 2.6 hours today. I did manage to get Fall’s Confession uploaded, so even though it won’t come out until 2019, it’s a 2018 complete. Check that box off! I have started recording the voices for Manifest the Magic and I’m ready to get started on editing the first couple of chapters.

So how did the year turn out overall?

Let me start by saying that it’s been another not fun year. In fact, I kept trying to hire an assassin to kill 2018 in its infancy. Toward the end of the year I was commenting on how fast it was going and my son replied with a comment akin to, “Well, Mom, you kept saying that you wanted to throw 2018 back and the universe knew that it couldn’t do that, so it just fast-forwarded the year for you.”

Timey-whimy, whibbly-wobbly. That’ll teach mean to wish the years away!

Of course, it certainly didn’t help matters when my websites were hijacked by the hosting provider who refused to give them back. Fortunately I still had access to my dashboard, which allowed me to at least buy new domains and redirect my websites with forwarding. But because I wasn’t sure I’d get my websites back and that my forwards would one day stop working when the websites were taken offline, I had to go back through my books and get everything pointed toward the new websites, which also had to be built on a different platform away from my original host. I had to set up new email accounts and get all my accounts all over the Internet as well as newsletters I wanted to make sure I continued to get. Honestly, I got quite a bit of all that done, but not all. I made phone calls to the registrar of the domain and to ICANN, all who had their hands tied because of the privacy settings on my domains so my name wasn’t associated with them. I wrote letters, sending them certified. I went looking for an attorney to start suing to get my domains back.

Then one late night in October, I decided to do another Google search on the company and found a post from a guy who was experiencing exactly the same thing with the hosting company, but he reported that he’s called the registrar and after about 10 minutes on the phone, got his domains back under his control. Needless to say, the very next morning, I call the registrar, found out they were authorized to return the domains to those who could provide the invoice for the domain purchase, and, well, it wasn’t 10 minutes but maybe more like half an hour, I had my domains back.

I swear that was the first thing in 2018 that went right. That same week other things started falling into place. I think I had finally turned around the series of unfortunate events that had started in 2017.

Lesson: DON’T EVER LET SOMEONE ELSE CONTROL YOUR DNS RECORDS!

Now I fully understand why I had to become an indie author/publisher. I had to have control of my copyright — the publishing industry is rampant with intellectual property thieves. Whether it’s your domain name or your copyright, it’s your intellectual property and it can be taken from you if you don’t keep control of it. Don’t ever think a contract is going to keep you safe, especially if you go with the one that is offered; it’s not written for your benefit. I learned that when I was fighting for my domains and really dug into the contracts I had with the hosting company. I had literally tied my own hands. Only because of the hosting company’s non-response did I have any leg to stand on. Literary agent and publishing contracts are not for your benefit; they are for the agent or publishing house. Let that be your final warning.

Because of this whole fiasco, I initially bought 4 extra domains, not including the .net versions of my domains so that could move everything over. Three of those domains are something I had been thinking about for a couple of years, but I hadn’t taken action. I still didn’t get to do anything with them because of the time needed for rebuilding and relinking everything. But I hope that in the next year, I can do something with them.

I currently have 10 domains. My previous webhost lost out.

And the DNS records are under my control!

Sorry, that was kind of long winded, but it took a lot of my time and energy, which meant things didn’t get done. When I’m writing and sending emails or certified letters (for which I don’t get to take the word count on!), rebuilding websites on a new platform so I could establish redirect links, or I’m having to update the web addresses in my books and republish, new words aren’t getting written and the words that have been written aren’t getting reviewed.

I knew it was having an impact on my writing and art, but until I wrote these words, I don’t think I had really considered how damaging that loss of time was. No wonder I lost my daily word counts for a while and why I couldn’t even manage to get the weekly counts in. In looking back at the data of my spreadsheet, I see that my days started to fail when I first discovered that my websites were having issues and I wrote my initial demand for the sites to be unlocked and transferred. Then, things really crashed as I scrambled to build new sites. My word counts once again pick up once I had the websites and redirects in place.

Seeing the devastation in the numbers, it’s amazing I managed to hit my yearly word goal. And it’s little wonder that my drawing and painting took a side seat.

That reflection was probably good for me. It tells me that I can get back on track all around.

Let’s see what happened.

Writing year to date total: 338,586 words. This is pretty close to what I achieved last year. So even though I had lowered my daily word count, I still hit over my 300,000 goal. I have more on this below in my reflection and goal area.

My best month was January at 36,294 words. My most productive days were Sundays, followed by Saturday. Third most productive days were Wednesday.

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Progress – January 8, 2018

Well, we survived the first week of 2018. Personally (and honestly), I’m ready to throw this year back into the river and hope we catch a better one.

Yet, I trust that there is balance in all things, so I know some good will come for the sh’tuff I had to deal with last week.

It felt really hard to get back in my groove. The dust irritation which gave me a cold left me hardly able to do any audio editing because I knew I wasn’t hearing everything correctly. I also forced myself to admit to myself (yes, some of my self talk goes just like that) that I needed to get some sleep and that pushing myself, especially when I wasn’t feeling 100%, was really not healthy physically or mentally. So, I let myself sleep in for a couple days. Yep, that threw off my morning groove. As a result, I didn’t get much audio work or illustration work done. Oh well, healing is important too.

I also had my quarterly publishing business meeting with myself. I write out what I’ve done in the last quarter and what I want to get done in the next quarter so that I can build a picture of where I’m at and where I want to go. Generally I leave these “meetings” feeling optimistic. This time, I just felt overwhelmed. Not because I have so much to do (which I do — I’m not trying to close any gap — I have a lot of projects I want to do and the Universe keeps serving me up with new ones, which I’m glad for because I love starting new stories), but because… well, I’m not really sure. I had hoped writing out the sentence would clue me in, but I still don’t know.

WARNING: authenticity ahead! Tread carefully. The waters will get murky.

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Progress – 2017 official report

I have finally gotten caught up on sleep and my word count for the last two weeks of 2017. As promised, I’m ready to give my official wrap-up of 2017.

Fiction words written in the last week of December: 1,747 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  175 words

Writing month to date total:  18,228 words – this does have some words scattered through the middle of December that I had written but not logged (or those ones I’d referenced that I’d dictated but not transcribed — I went back and placed them on the actual day for a more accurate count.

Drawing/painting last week: I spent 4 hours working on my kids’ book.

Audio: I spent 4 hours recording and editing audio.

So how did the year turn out overall?

Writing year to date total: 373,833 words. I don’t know if I mentioned it anywhere along the way, but my writing goal for 2017 had been to do 500,000 words. I knew that writing half a million words would be a stretch when I started, but I wanted something that would push me. By October, I was hoping to get to 400,000 words at least. I fell short of that too, but I still averaged over 31,000 each month so I think that’s pretty spectacular, especially all considering what happened in 2017. Talk about failing forward. I honestly think that having this huge goal kept me focused and in my habit of writing when my dad died. Without it, I would have stopped writing any probably wouldn’t have gotten back to it yet. It would be the middle of 2018 probably before I thought about writing again.

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Progress – November 6, 2017

Along with recovering from being so tired after an intense writing business masterclass, I spent a lot of time trying to find a solution for my Legendary Hero Comics website. I’ve finally come up with something. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s better than the clunkiness that I have going on right now. The last two weeks, even though I’ve had my pages scheduled to go up, they haven’t. I also couldn’t force them to post. I had to go set up new posts and publish.  Anyway, i have been testing and tinkering with a new site. It’s not live yet, but I do hope I can go live with it soon. Right now I only have 11 pages of Weblinks up and 1 of Rockin’ Life. I’d like to have a bit more done before I release it. And hopefully, publishing to it won’t be such a pain as it is now and I’ll actually enjoy posting.

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Progress – September 11, 2017

I’ll admit it: this week got away from me. It’s been productive, but not in a way that I had originally planned.

I finished Space Ninjas Aren’t Real, sent it out, and got it back. I worked up the cover for the audiobook of Stardust, and got two of the three tracks uploaded. And I had a show in Burley, Idaho, this weekend with my friend, Stacy, where we shared booth space. She does amazing natural stone jewelry and beautiful crochet work — all of which she does herself. My son was there, and her husband and their beautiful puppy, Loki, came over. It was a good time. I’m really glad I did this show.

Now, I only have to get ready for Salt Lake Comic Con. Plus, I want to get some pre-orders done before I go. Just a few things to do.

So, here are the numbers.

Fiction words written last week: 4,437 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,448 words

Writing month to date total:  9,071 words (That’s not even enough for 1 of my weekly goals. I really need to get it together!)

Writing year to date total: 266,154 words

Drawing/painting last week: I didn’t get any painting done, though I did spend time on Thursday varnishing several paintings I had finished and Friday packaging up those paintings for sale. I also wired up a couple of the wrapped canvases I had finished. I completely forgot to record time for this. It’s just something I do, part of the process, and I don’t think about all the time that goes into it.

Audio: I spent 3 hours editing audio. That, of course, doesn’t include the time I spent working on the cover for Stardust or uploading the audio; just the time I spent actually working on the tracks.