Categories
Inspiration Minimalism Writing

Minimalism and Creativity

In the book Steal Like An Artist, Austin Kleon writes:

” It takes a lot of energy to be creative. You don’t have that energy if you waste it on other stuff.”

“Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon, page 119, para. 1

While I have written about that in the past, about eliminating the unimportant to liberate your time to focus on the important, I have never went into the details about how minimalism truly applies to creativity.

I must confess that the reason I’ve not covered this in depth was because I didn’t understand it myself.

I’ve always used minimalism as a tool to liberate my time and money to focus on things like success and family. Whenever I liberated a chunk of time, I used that time to clean my house, care for my kids, or study subjects that I believed would contribute to my long-term success.

This round I decided to do things a bit differently. When I quit my job I knew I was burned out, completely frustrated, and more than a bit disillusioned. I needed to step away from my normal habits and routines entirely just to recover.

So I gave myself permission to play. I tinkered with the television that the kid gave me. I allowed myself to read novels. Instead of banging my head against a keyboard every evening I made it a habit to play video games and watch a nightly movie. Instead of trying to force myself to write, to read and study and continually improve myself, instead of tinkering with Word or other writing programs to figure out how to format and use the programs to build better books, instead of reading books to improve my writing craft and search for ideas, I stripped it all away.

I literally said “fuck it.” I picked an ancient text editor and focused upon the words instead of the formatting. I allowed myself to write about whatever instead of trying to force myself to focus upon a single subject. I gave myself permission to use my time in ways that I’ve always considered wasteful and allowed my mind to wander.

I didn’t allow myself to think about what I could really write that would be helpful or make money. Aside from my daily goal of writing a single blog post, I allowed myself the freedom to do as little as possible. I used my minimalism, my freedom to spend my time however I like, to do just that for a change.

Which is why I skipped posting yesterday.

I made a pledge to write about the first thing that came to mind each morning, every morning, regardless of subject matter. I didn’t censor myself which is why I’m sure you’ve noticed that my language has changed. Instead of thinking “what can I write for somebody else?” I asked “what is something that I would want to read?”

Yesterday morning I awoke with a story playing in my head. It’s about a grandma who loves her kids, her dog, and her movies. While pursing these passions she discovers what she believes to be the Mother Lode of movies – only to realize that she’s uncovered something evil instead. Now she’s got to decide what she’s going to do about it.

The story was so vivid I could see it from the woman’s eyes. I could feel the things she felt and even smell the things she smelled.

So I started writing.

I didn’t do a single thing on my house yesterday. I didn’t check my email, work on this blog, or even feel the desire to take a break. If not for my kid making me, I doubt I would have taken the time to eat.

All that existed was the story, and I felt driven to get it out of my head. I went to sleep thinking about that story and was awakened with the same passion.

That story would have never came to me if I hadn’t allowed myself to eliminate the things that I had previously considered essential. If I hadn’t allowed myself to “slack,” if I hadn’t allowed myself to read novels, watch movies, and play video games, if I hadn’t allowed myself to “goof off” instead of work, I wouldn’t have given my mind the freedom it needed to imagine.

Sometimes we need to cut ourselves some slack. We need to stop worrying about what we “should” be doing and allow ourselves to relax and have fun instead. And at its core, this is what minimalism is about. By eliminating as much stuff and as much tasks and as many obligations as we can, we allow ourselves to get bored. We give our minds the freedom to wander.

And when we do that, amazing things can happen.

I don’t know what is going to happen with that story. All I know is that I’ve written over 3,000 words this morning alone. I feel a passion, an aliveness that I haven’t felt since I was a child when I would fill notebooks with stories and doodles instead of doing my homework. And I am going to embrace that sensation.

We have become so wrapped up in duty, we have become so sucked in to chatting with friends and updating our timelines that we’ve forgotten who we are.

And minimalism can help us regain that.

Turn off your computer. Cancel your appointments. Change your routines. Eliminate everything you can eliminate. Allow yourself to become bored.

Because that is when the magic happens.

Have you ever allowed yourself to completely mix up your routine, to eliminate everything that you can eliminate in order to truly experience boredom? What happened? Please share your stories in the comments below.

And if I miss another post, you will know what I’m doing. I’m busy getting this story out of my head.

~#~

If you happen to find this post helpful, would you consider sharing it with a friend or on social media?  Thanks!


I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Categories
Books Writing

Do Authors Make Money from Secondhand Books?

The other day an old friend contacted me. She’d stumbled upon a secondhand copy of The Shoestring Girl selling for an amazingly high price. You can see the listing here if you are interested.

My friend wanted to know just how much money I would personally receive should that copy sell. While I was responding to her questions, I shared the link on my Facebook page so that everyone could have a chuckle.

I have been responding to private messages and emails from people asking the exact same question ever since. I have decided to share this here to help future readers understand the situation.

When an author or other media creator produces an item like a book, a song, a video, or whatever, they receive a small royalty payment from their distributor whenever a new copy of their item sells. In the event of streaming media like music or unlimited reading services, the content creator will also receive a small royalty payment whenever someone accesses their content.

This changes for physical items like books, CDs, and DVD videos after that initial sale. If you purchased one of my books new for five dollars, I would do a little happy dance because your support has provided me with a bit of money to continue paying my bills. If you sold that book to your neighbor for a hundred dollars, however, you would be the one dancing.

You would not have to contact me and pay me a single penny from your profit. You purchased my book fair and square so that money is all yours. It doesn’t matter if you bought it new or found it in a dumpster. After that initial sale I receive nothing.

If you stumble upon one of my books at a library and read it, I receive nothing aside from the tiny allotment I receive when a library decides to stock one of my books. If you stumble upon one of my books on a torrent site, I receive nothing as well.

This same rule applies if you are a small author like myself or one of the greats like Stephen King. It applies if you are a small-time musician or a famous celebrity like the Beatles.

After that initial sale, we receive nothing.

Similarly, when one of us decides to publish a blog post or share something on social media, we receive nothing in exchange except for your comments. That is the reason why so many websites are overran with advertising. They stick it there and pray that you click so that they can afford to keep the lights on.

I have a serious moral issue with the sheer amount of advertising we are accosted with on a daily basis. I detest when a website tries to bully me into signing up for their mailing list with their stupid popups, because it means that I will receive even more advertising from them in the future. That is the reason why I refuse to start a mailing list. It is also the reason why I don’t have popups on my website or run a bunch of ads.

I do my best to practice what I preach. I occasionally offer the random affiliate link when I’ve discovered something interesting but I strive to do that as little as possible. I do this because it does help me to pay the bills. I might receive $20 a year from those little links but $20 is a lot when you live the way I do.

To be honest, I feel guilty whenever I receive even that small amount. I worry that I am being a hypocrite every single time I post one of those links.

But here’s the truth: I spend a lot of time writing the posts you see on this website. The only thing I receive in exchange are comments or the few pennies tossed my way if you do happen to click. I don’t mind that, but just like you, I need to have some money coming in if I want to pay the bills.

Content creators of all types have limited time with which they can use to create things. We can only write so many books and blog posts. We can only create a certain amount of music, movies or whatever it is we create.

And most of us don’t make a lot of money doing it. To be very honest, if I didn’t live as simply as I choose to live, I couldn’t afford to do this for very long but this is a labor of love and so I keep on writing.

I honestly believe that most of us creators feel the exact same way. We just feel blessed that you love us enough to toss us a comment or a few pennies now and again.

If you love your local writer or content creator enough (and have something to spare), please reach out to them and offer a small donation. The majority of us would be delighted to have that bit of extra with which to pay our bills.

And if you happen to be the lucky person who sifts one of my books out of a dumpster and sells it for triple digits or higher, know that you have my blessing. I am delighted to know that I have helped you in some small way.

Thank you. Thank you for just being there. Your presence is the reason I keep writing. I hope that this answers your questions.

Love,
Annie

For the curious:

If you happen to be interested in learning what the average author earns when you purchase a book, check out Mark Coker’s presentation on the subject here. I am personally at the very end of this extremely long tail, a tail that Mark illustrates in slide 16 of his presentation. I’ve clipped it just in case you’re in a hurry:


It is hypocritical to run a website about buying and living on less while begging your readers to buy your crap so I refuse to do it. That said, I live on the money I receive from book sales, so if you can find it in your heart to pitch in I would be immensely grateful.

I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Categories
Productivity Writing

When Older is Better – An Apology to the Creator of Vim

I first encountered the text editor Vim back in the late 1990s. I needed to edit some configuration settings in my first Linux install ever and the tutorials I found all told me to use Vim.

I cussed that program until the ears of the guy who created it had to burn. I hated that text editing program with a purple passion so I abandoned it with glee as soon as I completed my task.

A few years later I found myself with an ancient Windows 95 laptop that was far too old to even think about using Windows so I installed Damn Small Linux (DSL Linux for the polite) on the machine to restore functionality. My goal was to do a bit of surfing and to write my journal entries on that old beast. I was far too broke and entirely too stubborn to discard a laptop that was perfectly functional, if old and slow.

I hated the graphical text editor that came with DSL. I can’t remember why I didn’t like it, only that I did. When I eventually discovered that the battery on that ancient laptop lasted a lot longer when I used a shell (think really old school – no pictures), I cringed and tried to use Vim once again.

It wasn’t pleasant but I figured out how to operate the program enough to do what I needed. I used Vim on that laptop daily until that old computer died.

I forgot about Vim after that but after spending this last decade trying to find a blessed program that was comfortable to write in, a program that didn’t randomly delete chunks of my file or whatever, and didn’t cost a small fortune I became so annoyed that I decided to try again. I installed Vim on my writing computer and told myself that I would learn that program or die trying.

I spent the first few days searching up how-to pages but managed to knock out a few paragraphs. There was a bit of cursing involved but with this hillbilly, that’s par for the course.

But when I decided to move a chunk of text around, things changed. I looked up a tutorial and discovered that two teeny-tiny commands would allow me to rip a chunk of whatever size from one place and either delete it, create another file with it, or move it wherever in the document I desired.

Oh. My. God.

Anyone who has used a standard word processor like Word or even a basic graphical text editor knows what a nightmare that can be. You’ve got to fight with the mouse to highlight the chunk (the bigger the chunk the greater the pain), then scroll to where you want to stick it, and pray that it pastes it properly. It took what used to be an event I dreaded and made it amazingly simple.

Then I discovered that when you add another command to the process called folding, the task gets infinitely easier. You can fold up chunks of a document so that you only see the headings so that you can actually SEE the spot where you want to go. You can arrange those folds however you like in a way that is only seen in a Wordsmith’s wet dream.

I wasted 20 years of my life and thousands of dollars searching for a program that would allow me to write and edit my words easily. And I am more than embarrassed at the fact that I possessed the perfect program the whole time. Even more embarrassing, that program is FREE.

Bram Moolenaar, I owe you an apology. I have cussed you and your program for more years than I care to admit. But I am mature enough to admit when I’m wrong so that is what I am going to do.

I was wrong to dismiss the ancient text editing program Vim. You have created the best damn program for writing books, blogs, journal entries, and anything else a writer wants to write. I’ve just sent you a small donation and I intend to send more as money allows.

Thank you, Bram Moolenaar. Thank you from the bottom of this old woman’s heart.

If you happen to be a writer, you need to use Vim. You will curse that program until you’re hoarse the first few days because the way it works and the commands you use will be utterly unfamiliar to you. Keep a browser tab open and search for whatever it is you want to do. Make some notes as you go along, and don’t hesitate to look for tutorials to learn how to do stuff you think is completely impossible. Chances are there’s a command in Vim that will let you do whatever it is by punching a couple of letters.

I won’t go into the details about basic Vim commands here. There are pages enough about that subject so there’s no point. I am just going to tell you that Vim has changed my entire writing life for the better.

I cannot thank Bram enough.

We have all been programmed to believe that newer is better. Newer models, newer features must always be better than the old and tried and true. For writers, that means that we spend small fortunes on programs or subscriptions to programs that are supposed to make writing easier. Yet I have discovered that a 30-year old program, a 30-year old FREE program trumps them all.

Don’t dismiss the old stuff, folks. You may find yourself eating your hat like I have with Vim.

Do you have something old in your life that you’ve found more useful than the modern stuff? Please share your stories in the comments below.


It is hypocritical to run a website about buying and living on less while begging your readers to buy your crap so I refuse to do it. That said, I live on the money I receive from book sales, so if you can find it in your heart to pitch in I would be immensely grateful.

I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Categories
Personal Writing

Journaling is a Waste of Time if You Don’t Keep Your Journals

Last night as I sorted through my files to prepare them for long-term archival, I stumbled upon some journal entries I had written between 10 and 20 years ago. I had tossed them into a random folder at some point when trying to recover data from a dying system and had forgotten about them.

Unable to resist, I took a walk down Memory Lane as I perused those old files. Some of them were from the very first Windows computer I had ever owned, stored in plain text because I didn’t own a word processing program at the time.

I realized something important as I read those ancient entries. While I have been journaling from the moment I learned how to write as a child, those are the oldest journals I still possess. All of the other notebooks and other formats I have used over the course of my life have long been lost or discarded.

What is the point in keeping a journal if you don’t hold onto the entries? How can you discover the changes you have made if you can’t hold on to the records?

Absolutely none.

I realized that I wasted countless hours of my life creating journal entries that were eventually discarded. The only exception to this sad reality are the scattered text files I used to create quick journal entries over the years as I sat at the computer.

Computer journaling may not be perfect but for me it seems to be the only method that survives the test of time. I don’t like to keep physical things long-term if I don’t use them and sometimes paranoia has inspired me to burn my old paper journals. I store my deepest, darkest secrets in my journal entries so I have always been more than a bit paranoid about someone discovering them. No one touches my personal computer files, however, and a zipped archive protected with a password has worked wonders for my comfort level.

This discovery has made me realize that the best way for me to preserve my journal entries is to save them on the computer. As much as I love the feel of placing pen to paper, that method is far too transient for my needs.

I intend to take advantage of that discovery with the upcoming decade. From that point forward, all of my journaling endeavors will be written in plain text and filed away. In the event that I feel the urge to use paper and pencil I will scan those documents, convert them to PDF files, and destroy the originals.

Do you journal? If you prefer to hand-write your journal entries, how do you store them? Are you ever worried that someone will discover them? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Categories
Books Financial Freedom

Financial Freedom Update

It is amazing to think that I started my third semester of college last week. It’s even more amazing that despite the challenging assignments, I managed to complete them with time to spare.

I’ve spent most of my downtime recharging when I haven’t been focused on my book. The first draft is completed so I’m giving it a few days to settle before I tackle the rewrites. In the meantime, I’ve done a lot of reading and resting.

It seems my battery was lower than I thought. For several days I did little more than sleep! I guess you never know how much a public job takes out of you until you escape. My body is delighted that I’ve done it again.

But I got to spend some time with my granddaughter! I’ve not gotten to spend much time at all with her due to my obligations with work and college, so this is an entirely new experience for me. I was able to attend her second birthday party this time, something that my public job schedule never allowed.

And I even went with my daughter to her doctor’s appointment a few days later so I could babysit Granddaughter while we waited.

Here she is digging through my purse while we waited. We had to put on lipstick. We had to examine everything I carried with me as she played with the fascinating items. My keys were a big hit.

My Katie has finally started to relax now. While she was worried about our finances at first, she has now realized that I’m actually okay and has volunteered to help with the cover art for my next book. She’s starting a small book cover business online so we intend to help one another. Here is the cover art she crafted for that book.

Cover Art for Book

I haven’t quite worked out a title yet; I’ve decided to break the whole thing down into major steps to make it easier for readers to understand and to hopefully help others avoid the pitfalls that can result when you get too excited and skip a step.

With that in mind, the first book is about finding your path.

You see, it is actually easy to build a business that will allow you to escape your public job. You just find a way to make money and get started.

The problem with just picking any old way to make money, however, is that it may not bring you happiness. It may not take you towards the life you want to lead. I fell into that trap with the first few businesses I started. I made money but I was miserable. It wasn’t until I figured out the life I wanted to lead and worked from there that I embraced any sort of real success and happiness.

It took me years to realize my mistake. I want to help you avoid that should you decide to pursue your own financial freedom.

I’m not certain what to call this book. Part of me wants to name it “How to Find Your Path,” or “How to Find Your Path to Freedom and Happiness” but I haven’t decided.

Do you have any suggestions?

Categories
self-improvement Writing

The Power of Ritual

Every single morning the very first thing I do is look at my clock. I turn on the radio, pad to the kitchen, and start the coffee as I head to the bathroom for my daily constitutional.

I tend to take my journal with me; writing while on the porcelain throne first thing in the morning allows me to flesh out whatever first thoughts my mind deems important.

After that I pour my first cup of coffee, let the dogs go potty, sit down at the computer, and write.

Such is the ritual of my morn.

This routine is empowering. I can spend the first few minutes every day mentally composing my daily blog post before I pour it into the computer. I don’t have to think. I don’t have to struggle. Regardless of the time or my level of sleepiness my mind and body know exactly what to do.

It is beautiful in its simplicity.

When I was young I scoffed at ritual. I laughed at my elders when I noticed their habits. I believed that flexibility was the key to an active, happy life.

I was wrong.

It is the little rituals we embrace that ground us. They center us, channeling our focus so that we can meet life head-on. When we prepare our mind with a moment of peace we allow it to recharge. We allow it to relax for a time as we move through our day.

What rituals have you embraced? Please share your stories in the comments below.


Categories
Productivity Writing

Morning Ritual

Back in the early days of my writing career I began a small morning ritual. I would wake up, snag my cup of coffee, and knock out however many articles I needed to write that day in order to achieve my desired income for the week.

Once I finished writing my daily quota of articles I was free to pursue my day.

That small routine forced me to do the work I needed to do in order to survive. Even better, the habit forced me not to procrastinate.

Times have changed since those very early days. I no longer rely on content producing to pay my bills. Instead, I spend a portion of my time each week at a public job that meets my financial needs. As a result, it has become far too easy to allow my writing to be pushed aside.

That will stop with this new year. Every single morning I intend to write a single blog post as I sit down with my morning cup of Joe.

Just one post.

I can do one post.

A single post, written every day, will result in 365 posts on this website by the end of the year. That will allow me to achieve my writing goal for 2019.

***

What small routine can you incorporate into your life with this new year that will take you closer to achieving your goals? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Personal Writing

A Sunny Solution

Necessity is the mother of invention. It is an act of pure genius when one can use the things they already have available to solve a problem.

One of the major problems I currently face is my inability to tolerate backlit screens for very long periods of time. Even when I dim the screen as low as it can go looking at it becomes painful after a short while. Rather than cry and say that “I can’t” I started looking around for a solution.

I found it in a pair of dark sunglasses. I keep them at my computer and put them on whenever I go to work. It makes it really hard to see my keyboard in dim light, but a carefully positioned lamp takes care of that issue.

I have received a few chuckles from my daughter and friends when they see me working but I don’t care. It works and that is all that matters.

What workarounds do you use in your daily life? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Housing Simplicity Writing

A Quiet Solution

My friend and her family (I mentioned them in an earlier post) have finally moved down from Michigan. Until they find a place they are camped out in my tiny house. As a result, privacy is virtually impossible to come by at home and the quiet time I need in order to write is completely nonexistent.

I could gripe and complain but I see no point. I knew that things would be challenging from the moment my friend expressed an interest in moving back to Kentucky. As a result, I decided to get creative.

On the days I am not working at my day job I load up my two laptops and take a walk to the local library. I fire up my 11 year old XP laptop, work up my posts and other writings, then transfer them to my Linux laptop and upload them when I’m done.

It sounds like a lot of work but it is worth it. I have everything set up on the XP in order for me to write comfortably without distractions and have absolutely no desire to use a more modern computer that will go online.

The librarian looks at me askance when I arrive with my big bag of gear but leaves me alone otherwise. I honestly couldn’t care less if she does think I’m rather strange. I am solving a problem with a minimum of fuss and that is all that matters.

How have you gotten creative to solve a problem recently? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Books Freebies Frugality

Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale

Hello Everyone!

Once again I have joined the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale. To thank you for being such loyal readers, I have listed all of my books at a sizeable discount or for free. You can find a list of my books here.

All you have to do is click on the book you are interested in. When the description page loads, simply choose to purchase it using the sale coupon on the right hand side. While you are there, please check out all of the other books that are on sale as well. You will find a lot of bargains.

Enjoy!

Annie

Categories
Personal Writing

Busy Work…and a new Genre

Hello everyone!

I’ve been keeping busy writing here. I didn’t want to share what I was up to until I had something to show for it however.

I’ve managed to finally get around to publishing my little weight loss book for 99 cents. I’ve got the page up with all of the distributor links here.

And I’ve created a new pen name in order to try out another genre. My first title is a bit of erotica aimed at the geeky crowd. I’ve got it priced at 99 cents as well. I’m curious to see how it does since there’s not a huge amount of competition in the genre.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. I’ve been doing a lot of writing with the goal of entering into another genre so that I can afford to stand fast to my personal beliefs about commercializing this site. While I want to help others and make a little money doing it, I do not want to go overboard and constantly try to persuade you guys to buy stuff. I want it to be there and available if you feel it will help but not charge a fortune for the knowledge either.

What have you been up to lately? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Books

Big Book Sale

Hello everyone!

I’ve enrolled all of my books in the Smashwords Summer/Winter sale. To celebrate not only surviving yet another winter, but to give thanks for just being in one piece I’ve deeply discounted every single book, making many of them FREE.

This sale will only last a few days. Visit my Smashwords profile page to grab your copies while the sale lasts.

While you are there, please check out the other lovely books that are being offered by other Smashwords authors. There are a lot of gems there.

Peace,

Annie

Categories
Personal Writing

Weathering Storms

We have had an interesting time as of late. Not only have Katie and I lost a young friend, now the rough weather has rolled in.

That is the view across our street. The river near our house is currently at 16.44 feet. Flood stage is 20 feet, and it will touch our floor joices at 22.98 feet.

Isn’t life fun?

Fortunately it has a long way to go before I have to get worried. I will have plenty of notice before we have to worry about bugging out.

In the meantime I am working to get back on track. I wanted to let you guys know what was going on so that you would know that we are still alive.

My book royalties are starting to drift in a  positive direction. It isn’t instant but I am delighted with the change.

I’ve completed an author interview on Smashwords. You can find it here: https://www.smashwords.com/interview/annienygma. If you have any other questions you would like for me to answer shoot me an email at annie(at)annienygma.com and I will add them to the list.

Also, Smashwords is having their Summer/Winter Sale starting March 5. I’ve deeply discounted all of my books on the site and made several of them free for the duration of the promotion. You will be able to take advantage of the sale on my profile page here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/annienygma.

That’s all for now. I will send out a reminder when the sale starts so that you can take advantage if you like.

Have a nice day!

Categories
Success Writing

The Stupidity of Self Talk

The past few days I’ve had a sick kid at home. I’ve been chowing down on jalapeño peppers as I hacked my way through writing this novel in hopes of not catching what she has.

Brilliant woman that I am, I stayed up past five in the morning on Wednesday knowing that I had to get up at 8 to take her back to the doctor. I told myself “I’ll just take a nap once we get home and start work.”

Right. Cue Johnny Depp and the strangest dream ever to keep me from getting any sleep at all. The whole dream was nothing more than dear old gorgeous Johnny waking me up every single time I tried to visit La La Land.

So I gave up trying to sleep and made a cup of coffee. I NEEDED to work on my book despite the fact that I felt like crap. I felt so bad that I was ready to just call it a loss for the night and accept a big ugly goose egg on my word count log.

But what did I do? I fired up my ancient writing rig and started talking to myself.

“Okay, Annie, here’s the deal,” I told myself. “You wanna get this book written, right?”

“Right.” (Yup, I even answered myself.)

“Well, you ain’t gonna get it done if you don’t start writing, so sit your happy butt down and knock out a single word.”

So I did.

“Now write another one, you idiot.”

Word by word I ordered myself to write. When one sentence was done I would bully myself until I managed another. By the time I finished I had 1,200 words written for the day.

I met my daily goal and then some.

The thing about having a goal is that you won’t ever achieve it if you don’t do the work; some days you won’t feel like even bothering, just like I didn’t today. When those days come you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to force yourself to get busy. It won’t be fun, but by the time you are finished you will be that much closer to wherever you want to be.

What can you do today?

Categories
Books

Time to Move on

Now that the new Shoestring Girl is making its way through the publishing channels it is time to move on to my next book project.

One thing I plan to do is take the old posts that were salvaged and format them into a book for your reading enjoyment.

Next I plan to work on a novel.

I plan to work on both project simultaneously; that way when I get tired of focusing on one I can switch to the other and maximize my productivity.

What projects are you working on?

Categories
Books Frugality Simplicity

The New Shoestring Girl is now LIVE on Smashwords

Hello everyone!

Guess what? As soon as I started working in a program I remembered well from before I was hurt I managed to get this book properly formatted on the very first try!

It is now live on Smashwords here, and will be coming to Amazon, Apple, and other retailers soon.

I will let you know  just as soon as other retailers begin listing it; you can keep up to date on my Facebook page and the sales page here on Annienygma.

Thank you so much for your support!

Categories
Frugality Writing

My New Writing Setup

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I was dedicating my old XP to writing, so today I figured that I would talk about my setup.

My computer is really old. In the 11 years that I’ve had it the battery has died and the speakers have started failing. It is currently on its third keyboard, and even that is starting to fail. At one point I even had to replace the processor fan when it died. Even with all of that the poor thing is still ticking, though I’ve created a few workarounds.

I hooked up an external keyboard to solve the typing glitches, added an external mouse because the buttons on my touchpad tend to act up, and then tossed in an old monitor that I’ve had for years. As a result I’ve created a dual monitor desktop system out of this ancient laptop. That allows me to have two files on full screen, which makes working a lot easier.

Here is a picture of my setup:

Even better; I worked this up using stuff I already had. It literally didn’t cost me a penny! I set up an old folding table in my kitchen (my favorite room for writing) so now I even have a dedicated writing spot. I’m hoping that this new setup makes me more productive.

On another note, now that I’ve got my issues fixed I’ve been making steady progress when it comes to formatting the new Shoestring Girl for ebook format. Hopefully it will be finished soon so that I can move on to my next project.

Categories
Personal Writing

An Early Birthday Gift

Kes, who happens to be one of my oldest friends (I’ve known her since the 8th grade), listened to me vent my frustrations about writing with my current limitations. After learning about the workaround I discussed in the previous post, she decided to surprise me with an early birthday present:

A copy of Office 2007.

She found it on eBay for around $20 and is having it shipped to the house. I’m so excited! I was wondering how I would work things out once the free trial ended on my dinosaur.

Once I got the news, I started thinking. My ancient Toshiba runs Windows XP. I bought it in 2006; the very last computer that still had XP that the store stocked. I dual boot it with Ubuntu 16.04 but I kept the XP installation alive to play some old software that no longer works. The XP partition has never been online since it was last wiped. I use SneakerNet (a.k.a. a USB thumb drive) or simple transfers through my Linux install if I need any files from the Internet. This allows me to safely use the older operating system.

Since I don’t really need to go online when I’m writing (the joys of the Internet are rather distracting), I decided to essentially dedicate the XP partition to writing. I plan to install the new copy of Office on it and work to my heart’s content.

In time when my finances straighten up or I manage to repair Katie’s old laptop (it died back when I was completely nonfunctional), I will use it with Linux to go online when I need to but keep this old system as a dedicated writing machine.

So, in short, the Universe worked things out. I have been debating for years about having a computer dedicated to my writing so now I’ve got it. Hopefully it will last for many more years.

Thank you for the gift, Kes!

Categories
Books

Painful Realization

I have made a painful discovery over these past few days: I am not as healed as I would like. I have severe issues when it comes to learning and using software that I wasn’t extremely familiar with before I got hurt.

While I managed to get the new book formatted for print, I have had a nightmare when it comes to formatting this puppy for ebook format. I can get everything to work in LibreOffice, I can even code it so that it works in html, but when it comes to converting those files to the DOC format that I need in order to submit it to my ebook distributors, it messes up every single time.

I’m not talking tiny glitches; I’ve seen everything from hamburger text, missing hyperlinks (to mark the chapters), and NO access to the footnotes. I have nuked this file and started over so many times I am ready to cry.

But I haven’t given up. I’m very familiar with Microsoft Word, fortunately (I took a class on it years ago), so I know how to format everything so it will look nice in that program natively.  My problem is with the conversion process. So I got the bright idea to borrow a computer that had Word installed so that I could use it to get this ebook finished.

That didn’t work out so well. They had games and stuff they wanted to play so I had to give the computer back. Sigh.

But I kept trying. I managed to get the 45-day free trial of Office 2003 to work on my ancient dinosaur. I’m not as familiar with it as I am the newer versions, but it works. As a result I have nuked this file ONCE AGAIN (feels like the 20th time) and started formatting it in THAT program.

Wish me luck that I get it done before the trial is over. I plan to work nonstop, taking breaks only when forced, in order to beat my deadline.

Hopefully when I get some more money coming in I will be able to locate a copy of Office on eBay for cheap, one of the older versions that you don’t have to pay for a subscription to. Wish me luck!

In the meantime, know that I am doing my level best to get this ebook formatted and released so that you guys can have it on your ereader devices.

And please wish me luck. I’m gonna need it.

Categories
Books Frugality Simplicity

The Shoestring Book is now in Print

Amazingly, CreateSpace worked really fast; my book is already available for sale in print!

You can find it on Amazon and CreateSpace.

Katie and I are working as fast as we can on the ebook; I made a newbie mistake when I was creating it that has forced me to completely reformat it so that it will look right. Right now we’re taking turns doing this page by page. As soon as it is published I will let you know. We’ve got over 400 pages to reformat so this is going to take a little while, I’m afraid.