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 Fragrance & Pheromones

Man, the last couple of weeks have been *busy*! Crazy at work, and a bit chaotic at home too. I’ve been trying to figure out new routines for my weekends, easier mornings, and my late-night writing time with little success. And I switched up my vitamins in the middle of all that, which was an incredibly stupid thing to do (although in my defense, I didn’t know all that was going to happen just then).

One new thing I did try that seems to be having a positive effect is to plug in a diffuser with feel-good doggie pheromones for the Murph. These have been around for a long, long time, and several studies have shown them to be moderately to highly effective in a decent percentage of test subjects, so I thought I’d take a chance. The pheromones emitted are like the ones a mother dog would give off around her puppies – calming and comforting. And it does really seem to make him less anxious and less prone to licking his legs…for a surprisingly long period of time. Combined with the CBD oil and flower essences, we might have stumbled on a winning combination for getting his legs to heal. Fingers crossed!

I’ll admit to using pheromones to my own advantage occasionally as well. We all know at least a few people who can make us feel good just by being in the same room with them (closer is better, obviously, but a few feet works fine), without any interaction whatsoever. That would be a pheromone-driven oxytocin “hit” to the brain, and it’s good stuff. When I need a hit, I’ll intentionally seek one of those people out, just for a few seconds of semi-nearness. I have no idea how my own pheromones affects them, but I figure as long as they’re not running away screaming, it’s probably not all bad for them either. LOL

Pheromones are odd things in that we sense and process them through smell, but they’re so subtle that we can’t really label them with a specific fragrance. But man, I tell you what. It’s springtime, and the flowering trees are in full bloom around here, and I have such a bittersweet relationship with them it’s not even funny.

I love the smell of tree blossoms of all types. Our Sand Cherries don’t smell at all during the day, but at night? Oh man. So sweet and thick in the backyard…it’s beautiful wafting through the darkness.

And the ornamental trees that are in more and more places throughout the city, including right in front of my parking spot at work? *sigh* The fragrance walking the two blocks to and from my office is intoxicating. I could sit out there under one of those trees, breathe in that perfume and probably get high if you left me there long enough.

I’m not a fan of flowers indoors, perfumes on people, or fragrances in room sprays and such. All that just plugs me up and makes me sneeze. But I do so love the flowering trees and the delightfully sweet scent they put out. It’s even worth a few sneezes just for the happiness and peace it brings me.

They’re almost, but not quite, as good as a good pheromone hit. 😉

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