Working & Training

There’s been a lot of things going on lately, and my brain doesn’t deal well with the distractions like it used to. I used to be very good at compartmentalizing things, but my focus is definitely lacking, which makes sticking to goals and routines difficult. Not impossible, but much harder than it used to be, and I find myself struggling to do the things I want to do now, even if I carve out the time specifically for them.

But, it’s spring, and spring is a time of renewal and motivation for me. The weather’s usually mild which motivates me to work in the yard (though this year even that is heavily fluctuating – we’re supposed to hit the high 90’s later in the week, and it’s barely June…very, very odd). And I generally renew my business license, which motivates me not only to write, but to get my oft-neglected business affairs in order. Things like bookkeeping and sales and new covers/blurbs.

So when I paid my business license fee last week, I got that jolt of motivation, and during Friday night’s “business hours”, I started downloading sales reports. I wanted to import them into TrackerBox, which is the program I’d been using to aggregate sales data, but alas, it hasn’t been updated for the new Amazon spreadsheets yet (which are very difficult to come by, unfortunately). I thought maybe it was time to upgrade programs, so I went looking at what was available for writers, and…nothing out there does what I want it to, which is to upload sales reports from all the venues I sell through.

So naturally, at two in the morning, I decided the only thing to do would be to build my own database. After all, that’s what I do for the day job, and I have plenty of knowledge/expertise in that area. A lot of authors use spreadsheets, but I hate spreadsheets, and I don’t want to do all that entry manually. I downloaded the database platform I’m most familiar with (SQL Server), and started building the database I want Saturday night. I may switch it to something more portable if I ever decide to create a pretty front end for it, but for now, this should suit my purposes nicely. Once I finish it, that is.

I also signed up for Holly Lisle’s Summer of Writing, which starts June 1st (today!), and includes a free Flash Fiction class I think I’m going to enjoy. I have a bunch of Flash I want to get written, so that should serve my purposes nicely, and hopefully I can get back in the habit of daily writing with homework to complete. I also have several Teachable classes already paid for that I need to take. Much to learn and I need to get writing again.

My spring motivation tends to wane fairly quickly…so it’s a “strike while the iron is hot” sort of situation. But if I can create some new habits early in, and stick to them, I have a much better chance of success. Fingers crossed!

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On Love, Learning, & Motley Crue…

Quick admin note: Variety News for January goes out this morning, and should be delivered depending on your time zone (which was a gadgety feature I couldn’t ignore). As a reminder, if you want serial fiction from me this year, that’s the only way to get it, but you can catch up anytime you sign up with a handy-dandy PDF file. So…if you’re not on the list, sign up here. This is *not* the same list as the blog subscription. 

Saturday late-nights are manicure nights for me. After the hubby’s in bed and the dogs have been out and in just one more time, my writing booth becomes a manicure table, and while I’m doing my nails, I either watch old TV series (streaming or DVD), or I catch up on the most recent episodes of my favorite CW shows online (ArrowThe Flash & The 100). The CW shows were back this past week, which made me crazy happy, but I got both seasons of Dark Angel for Christmas, so while those shows were on hiatus, I was happy as a clam re-watching Max and Logan (Michael Weatherly…good grief, that man is yummy in any role, and his voice, those eyes…*swoon*).

ANYways…without giving up spoilers, this past week’s episode of The 100 explored the theme that “love is weakness”. And if you’ve seen Dark Angel, you know that’s a central theme of that entire show as well…though it’s wider than love there…more like “connection/community” is weakness. I was thinking about that last night, about love specifically and whether it really was a weakness or not. An argument could be made for both sides, I think…love makes us dumb more often than not, and we’re willing to take all sorts of risks we normally wouldn’t when it’s either to support or protect someone we love. It’s also the ultimate distraction – when you love someone, they’re always on your mind in some capacity, and they tend to come to mind at the most inopportune times.

At the same time, just being around someone we love can make us calmer, and give us pleasant feelings even if we’re in a bad mood (brain chemistry is an amazing thing, isn’t it?). Sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps us going in extreme circumstances…whether we’re protecting the ones we love, trying to get back to them or just trying to recover from a personal tragedy of some sort. Often it’s the reason we fight instead of stand down.

In The 100 and Dark Angel, the heroines struggling with whether love is a weakness or not make different choices (or they have so far). And I predict that the final consequences will actually be quite similar for them both, but with something like this, it’s not really about how it ends. It’s about how life is lived in the moment that matters. Or moment to moment, rather. Personally, I think choosing love over solitude requires/develops the stronger fortitude, even if it does turn out to be the ultimate weakness in the end.

In other news, I got the edits and editorial comments back for Flame & Stone (formerly Under His Wing) this weekend, and I have to say, my editor’s comments just really turned on that proverbial lightbulb over my head this time. Total “duh” moment, but she saw what I couldn’t (that is what she’s there for), and apparently I asked exactly the right questions to cue her to give me exactly what I needed. I love it when that happens! It was really enlightening as far as my writing as a whole goes, and while I’m not excited to actually do the edits (because that’s work), I am really excited as to how it’s going to affect my work going forward (I hope).

Pair that with a few tough realizations I had while re-visiting my writing & business week for The Writer’s Desk, and man…it’s been a pretty mentally challenging week, but in a good way. I’ll never learn all I need to know about…anything, but sometimes just figuring out what to focus on learning first is the hardest part. It’s kind of a relief to have something concrete to focus on for awhile.

What does Motley Crue have to do with all of this? Absolutely nothing…except I’m pretty disappointed that I underestimated the demand for tickets to their final concert tour with Alice Cooper (also a favorite) this coming July. There are no good seats left, so hubby and I are out of luck, dang it. Not that we don’t have plenty of other ways to blow a couple hundred bucks, but still. It’s gonna be a great concert… *sigh*

In any case, we all need a little kickstart on a Monday, right? Motley Crue to the rescue!

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