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Oops – Missed This Week’s #WriteTuesday

Oops, I was busy with some training for work over the last few days; I thought I had posted yesterday, but it looks like I forgot!  Sorry! 😦

Last week I made my first Friday post on Sustainably North!  I chose to post a quote from David Suzuki and Ian Hanington’s book Just Cool It! The Climate Crisis and What We Can Do About It. I had a bit of a hard choosing a background for the quote.  I originally wanted to use a picture I have of skunk cabbage, because looking for skunk cabbage is such a spring activity.  But the background was too busy to put text in front of it, and I ended up going with this lake scenic instead.  I was originally going to change the background picture up monthly, but now I think I’ll probably use that background for the remainder of the spring, then maybe choose something else for the summer.  I’m not quite sure if I should write more of a post accompanying the quote (like explaining why I chose the quote), or just kind of leave them like this – what do you think (or what do you do if you post quotes on your blog)?

After that, I got a few more posts for Sustainably North finished/polished/scheduled, including Monday’s post on Thunder Bay’s bike lanes.  Once that was done, I went through Sustainably North’s categories and fixed them up.  When I first started the blog, I made categories all willy-nilly; now that the blog is a year old, I have a better idea of the kinds of categories I want it to have.  I paired them down to ten, leaving a few as-is and combining a few others.  I’m hoping the categories I chose are more relevant than the ones I had before.  I’m planning on reevaluating them in the future to see if they’re working or not.

Reorganizing Sustainably North’s blog categories also made me think about maybe doing the same for An Acquaintance with Letters.  I have so many categories here and a lot of them probably don’t need to exist (like all the sub-categories for different writing and game projects).

Since this weekend is a long weekend, I’m actually planning on working on the story for the Make Your Way Anthology!  I’m rather excited to take a break from Sustainably North (with the hope of actually finishing a first draft!)  I’ll let you know how that goes next week. What are your plans for the coming week?  Also, I hope you have a Happy Easter! 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – April Off to a Great Start!

I didn’t do much (other than work my day job) for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  But wow, this weekend was really great!

On Saturday, I worked on drafts for some upcoming Sustainably North blog posts.  One of them is pretty much ready to go; I want to read it over one more time before scheduling it for next Monday.  The other one is mostly written but still needs a conclusion (hence why it’s going to be posted in two Mondays instead).

Then on Sunday, I got yesterday’s Sustainably North intro post written and scheduled.  I didn’t want to do that until I knew for sure what the other posts for the week would be.  Since Sustainably North is now one year old, I decided to go with the topic of “celebrations” for the rest of April.  I’m currently calling these intro posts “editorials” on Sustainably North, but I might change that to something like “notes” or “editor’s notes.” Any suggestions for what else might work?

Then yesterday, I got a good draft of next month’s bUneke column written.  The magazine requests all articles in by the 10th of the month.  Normally I have mine ready to go a week or two before that but I really struggled with this one.  The topic they chose was “clean water initiatives” and I had no idea what to write about.  Part of the problem was that they ask for pictures to go with the articles, and we still had a ton of snow here!  So even though I had ideas for the column (rain gardens, plastic pollution in our lakes and rivers, or rain barrels), I couldn’t get a good picture of anything (no one is going to care about seeing a picture of a rain garden under a few feet of snow).  I ended up going with rain barrels because that seemed to be the easiest for pictures.

frozen rain barrel

It’s not perfect, but at least you can kind of tell this IS a rain barrel.

After this experience, I’m thinking I’m going to go around this summer and take a whole bunch of pictures of things like the rain garden, just so I have them on hand should I ever need them.  I’m thinking I might post them on Pixabay since that’s where I’ve gotten a bunch of pictures for Sustainably North from – it’ll be good to give back to that community. 🙂

So that’s what I’ve been up to.  It’s feeling really good to be kind of on top of these things right now.  This week I really need to get reading the book I want to review on Sustainably North, plus I want to post some pictures and/or quotes there on Fridays; I need to figure out what that’s going to look like (at least for this Friday).   I’d also like to fix up the Sustainably North blog categories (some of them are fine, but others are more appropriate as a tag), but that’s something that can wait until these other priorities are done.

How about you?  What have you been up to?  What are your plans for the week?

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#WriteTuesday – Blog Planning!

I know I cut it a bit close, but over the weekend (the last weekend of March), I actually did sit down and make a plan for Sustainably North for the next few months.  I used the blog planner I picked up from Tickled Think last week as a starting point for my blog plan.  I’m keeping the basic plan I came up with earlier in March, at least for the next few months (I can reassess at that time and see if it’s working).  I’m going to start posting a smaller post on Fridays, too; that’s going to be more fun things like quotes or pictures (plus I can write the monthly post about bUneke for a Friday, too).  I’ve got an idea of topics for the next three months, and I’ve decided on the actual Monday essay posts for the rest of April (as well as a book to review).  So now I have to get going and actually write/read everything!

Over the weekend I sat down with the productivity planner I got from Tickled Think, too.  I was able to come up with goals for roughly the next year.  In terms of Sustainably North, those goals involve growing the blog.  In terms of other projects, those goals involve finishing them.  I don’t have definitive time tables for anything, just roughly what I want to accomplish in the next month, three-six months, and year.  I wasn’t able to come up with any goals at this time beyond the year mark because I want to see where I’m at.

So with that being said, for April I want to get the next 2 months of Sustainably North written and scheduled, as well as get a 1st draft of the Make Your Way story done. I know I’ve been saying that for the last few months, but I want it finished so I can move onto other things.  Beyond that, I need to get my next article written for bUneke Magazine before the 10th, so that’ll be happening too.

Thinking of bUneke, I did manage to get a few more book reviews from Sustainably North cut down to the length they wanted and submitted yesterday.  So that’s pretty exciting.  Unfortunately I’m almost out of books I’ve reviewed on Sustainably North, so I guess I need to get reading, too!

All in all, this was a good week of planning.  And now I’m going to have a busy April.  Wish me luck – I’ll let you know how things are going next week! 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Weekend Recharging

I don’t know what it was, but last week was a good but long week.  So by the time Friday rolled around, I was exhausted.  I decided to take it easy on Saturday, and power through a whole bunch of emails that I had stockpiled (mostly newsletters) while alternately checking on my cat outside (Merlin spent most of the afternoon in the backyard).  So that was a really good day.  And I’m now feeling ready to tackle the new week!

Then a friend of mine contacted me over the weekend asking if I was willing to critique (and possibly edit) a book he is working on.  He asked what my professional rate is.  I’ve never been asked to provide a professional critique before and had no idea what to charge. Thankfully I have a copy of an older Writer’s Market (2015), which has their handy “What Should I Charge” chart.  Using that as a guideline, I was able to come up with a price we both agreed was fair.

Oh, and I also came across some printables from Tickled Think.  I picked up their blog planning one and their dream plan act productivity planner; I’m hoping those will help me out with Sustainably North (and just planning for the future in general; I kind of feel like I’m drifting at the moment without a clear plan).  I’m hoping to work on those this coming week. 🙂

So how’s your week been?  Have you ever struggled with pricing for your writing (and how have you settled on a price)?

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#WriteTuesday – March Goal

Good news everyone: my Sustainably North‘s Pinterest account was reactivated!  😀

So I realized yesterday that I haven’t officially set a goal for March.  As I mentioned at the end of February, April is the one year anniversary of Sustainably North.  I want to have a solid plan for the blog as of April, so I’m dedicating March to working on the blog.  I had come up with a plan last summer, but that ended up falling by the wayside incredibly quickly and I’ve been just winging it ever since.

So over the last few weeks, I started thinking a bit more about what I’ve enjoyed writing and what I’d like the blog to look like.  A post that I really enjoyed writing was the one on bUneke Issue 9.  Normally I wrote a post just saying I had written an article in bUneke Magazine and just giving a vague overview of why I chose the topic I did.  For this post, I used the topic as a starting point and went into more detail (and in a slightly different direction) from the bUneke article.  With that in mind, I think I’m going to try to write more essay-style posts, both factual and opinion-based around particular monthly themes.  My current plan is to have two essays per month, plus a post introducing the topic (so I guess that ends up being three essays per month).

I also like writing book reviews, but I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to (or be interested in) write one every month.  So for now I’m thinking I’m going to have either a book review or recipe for that fourth monthly post.  Then for the fifth post, when there is one in a month, it’s kind of going to be whatever works for the topic (be it another book review, another recipe, an article, or something else).

I’m going to pick a few topics for the next few months and give this plan a try, then reassess and see if it’s working.  If it isn’t, I’ll tweak it or come up with a new plan at that time.

Now the one thing I’ve been struggling with is trying to figure out how to bring in talking about whatever I write for bUneke Magazine, too.  I’m planning on choosing my own topics for Sustainably North, not following the bUneke topics, so it doesn’t make sense to me to factor in talking about my articles as part of my blog’s editorial plan.  So after a lot of thought, I think I’m going to be starting to post on Sustainably North on another day of the week.  I’m not entirely sure what the second weekly posts will look like overall, but right now I’m kind of thinking it’ll overall be a fun post/shorter post, like maybe a quote, or a picture or something like that (I don’t think I’ve got it in me right now to do a second longer post every week).  I can then use one of those posts to talk about whatever I wrote in bUneke that month, too.

So that’s the current plan for Sustainably North.  Do you think it’ll work?  Do you have any other suggestions for things I can try (especially when it comes to continuing to add in a monthly post about bUneke Magazine)?

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#WriteTuesday – Pinterest and Editing

So yesterday afternoon, I decided I was going to make it through all of my other blog’s Pinterest emails .  Pinterest sends so many emails that I have a hard time keeping up with them sometimes, and I’d managed to accumulate a whole bunch.  When I was down to about 15 (less than half left!) I decided to start reorganizing my boards.  I’ve reorganized them once before, but I still thought they were far too vague.  Over the course of the afternoon, I split a few and reorganized them into sections. I really liked how everything was shaping up and was almost done when my browser really started to lag.  Suddenly I was logged out of Pinterest, and when I tried to log back in, I was told my account was suspended!

I’m not entirely sure what happened.  I’ve contacted Pinterest’s help centre and hope to have it resolved soon (maybe the Pinterest bots thought my reorganizing was spammy?  I didn’t think it was because pretty much everything I was working with at the time was already pinned).

After that happened I was pretty bummed out and didn’t work on anything else.  But earlier in the day I started coming up with a vague plan for that blog moving forward.  I’ll give a better update on that once I have a more solid plan in place. 🙂

Oh, I’ve also done some editing for a few friends over the weekend.  The first bit of editing was at work last Thursday and Friday; I’m working with a radio-style script for a big project (sorry, I’m keeping details rather vague on that, but it’s a project I’m quite excited for!)  I’ve helped come up with the story, but my coworker did the actual writing of the script.  I did a read-through of it with another coworker (which was super fun) and we determined that the script was too long (it was interesting, at 18 pages it took us 27 minutes to read, plus we were told we were reading it too fast).  So I’ve been trying to shorten it.  So far I’ve brought it down to 15.5 pages (I was hoping to take it down to about 14, so there’s still a bit to go).  But I’ve taken a lot of the repetition out of the script and just tightened up the dialogue.  At this point I’d kind of like to do another read-through before attempting to shorten it any more (because maybe shortening the dialogue was good enough?)  We’ll see.

Then on Saturday I edited another friend’s story.  He’s been working on it for awhile and has asked me for editing suggestions. Finally, on Sunday, I started playtesting yet another friend’s game that they made with RPG Maker VX Ace; I need to finish playing through that still to let him know what I think (so far it’s been great!)

Wow, I didn’t think I had done much, but this last week was actually really busy!  I’m hoping that this week I’ll be able to turn a bit more attention back to my own writing though. 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – YouTube and A Whole Lot of Thinking

About a week ago, I saw some ads for Viral Academy 2.0.  Specifically they were offering some free videos about how to make a profitable channel on YouTube and I was curious.  I’ve considered starting a YouTube channel for Sustainably North (although I admit that I have no idea about what sorts of videos I’d actually make for my blog), so I signed myself up to get the videos (knowing they were probably part of some sort of pitch for something, kind of like how a free exercise course I signed myself up for was pitching a longer course that you pay for).

So I wasn’t surprised when Video 4 ended up being a pitch for Viral Academy 2.0.  After watching Video 4, you had about a week to decide on whether or not to sign up for Viral Academy 2.0 before enrollment closed.  Every day I was sent an email about the virtues of signing up for Viral Academy 2.0.  I read them all and considered them deeply.  One particular email hit me pretty hard: it talked about how society conditions us to spend lots of money on the newest consumer gadget, but not so much on our own development.

I ended up sitting and contemplating whether or not I wanted to sign up for Viral Academy 2.0 right down to the last 30 minutes (I was sitting and playing a video game at the time, which was kind of just a mindless exercise while I debated whether or not I wanted to sign myself up).  And in the end I chose not to.  The more I considered it, the more I thought that starting a YouTube channel right now would just be a distraction from the writing I really want to do (both Sustainably North and short stories/games).  Plus when it got right down to it, I don’t really want to be making videos.  I want to write!

So I emailed them back, thanking them for getting me to think long and hard about what I want to be doing right now.  🙂

When all of that was done, I then started to think a lot more about Sustainably North.  Last summer I sat down and came up with an editorial calendar, which I then proceeded to ignore.  I know that starting to write for bUneke Magazine kind of threw me for a loop (I was so not expecting this awesome opportunity!) so I now need to actually come up with a solid plan for what I want the blog to be.  That will mean a lot less flying by the seat of my pants, so to speak (which is how I’ve pretty much been operating for the last while).

April is also the official first anniversary for Sustainably North. So most likely I’m going to keep winging it through March so that I have a solid plan come April.  I also bought a book on blogging on my Kindle some time ago, and I’m going to make a point of actually reading it before April as well!

To finish off my week, I also submitted another book review and article to bUneke Magazine.  Those will be appearing in the April issue. 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Not a Whole Lot of Writing :/

Well, like the title says, I didn’t do a whole lot of writing over the last week. :/

Friday was my biggest writing day.  I worked on a few posts for Sustainably North – I wrote one about the Ukrainian Christmas celebration my family and I have (and how this year we all made gifts instead of buying them, which was fantastic), then a few of me taste testing some milk alternatives (an introduction post and a post about soy milk).  So that was good because I’m a bit ahead with the blog again.

Then after that, I spent a bunch of time just generally getting caught up on things.  I went through a whole bunch of emails on Sunday.  I finally took down most of my Christmas decorations.  I repotted one of my violets, which was actually a double plant; I split them apart and put them in new soil together, so I’ll have to wait and see how they do (they haven’t been doing well in the pot they were in, so I’m hoping this will help!)  Then I tried to clean up my lucky bamboo, which for reasons unknown has been turning yellow.  So far it’s just been the leaves that have been turning; at a friend’s advice, I got a water filter and gave it filtered water instead of tap water.  Hopefully it will like that better!

my lucky bamboo with yellowing leaves and my lucky bamboo after I cut them off

Here’s a before and after picture of my Lucky Bamboo.

 

Then yesterday, I tried sitting down to write but it just wasn’t happening.  So after reading a book for a while, and watching some Youtube, I decided to start scanning some old documents and notebooks.  I’ve been meaning to do this for quite awhile.  So even though I didn’t get anything written, I at least felt somewhat productive. Plus that made some room for a few books that have been piling up around my place (they were mostly gifts from Christmas that I just hadn’t found a place for yet).

So even though I didn’t get any writing done, I hope that decluttering all of these papers will help give me the mental space I needed to write more this week. 🙂

My cat Merlin helping me sort papers

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The First #WriteTuesday of 2019!

Happy 2019 everyone! Welcome back to another #WriteTuesday – the first one for the year! 🙂

Unfortunately this weekend I ended up getting sick.  So I stayed home, drank a lot of tea, ate a lot of soup, and just generally tried to get better.  It’s been slow going though – my throat has been sore and just hasn’t gotten better. :/

But in other news, over the weekend I heard back from Martian Migraine Press about “A Friend from the Deep.”  Unfortunately it was rejected (which I was kind of expecting).  So I looked through my list of saved markets on Duotrope and found a potential match for the piece in Zooscape.  I sent “A Friend from the Deep” off to them and shall now resume waiting.  I found myself obsessively checking my email that day to see if it got rejected by them, so I had to distract myself by going through some other emails, like the weekly ones Duotrope sends out; I found a few more markets that sound interesting, so once I get the story for the Make Your Way anthology done I’ll start working on stuff for them.

Yesterday afternoon I spent a lot of time reading the newest issue of bUneke Magazine (and scheduling tweets about it for @SustaintheNorth).  This month’s magazine is full of some great articles about environmental issues plaguing our planet.  It’s also got the first book review I wrote for them (I adapted one of the ones on Sustainably North) as well as my usual monthly column (which also happens to be a blog post adapted from Sustainably North).  I actually sent the next two month’s articles for bUneke Magazine to the editor on the 2nd, so I’m now a little bit ahead for that! 😀

In the early evening I worked on next Monday’s post for Sustainably North.  I decided to write about bUneke Magazine because I’m excited about the book review, plus Mary, the editor of bUneke Magazine, sent me pictures of that and my column.  With that done, I’m going to turn away from bUneke stuff for the next few weeks, particularly on Sustainably North; I feel like the blog and its Twitter feed has gotten really caught up with the magazine, and I’d like to just focus on the blog alone for a little bit.

After that, I went through some emails for a bit.  But by that point I felt like I had been at the computer for way too long, so I went to go and read.  So that’s been my week: relatively productive despite being sick.  How has yours been? 🙂

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Hello 2019!

Happy New Year’s!  It’s that time of year again – time to look at the goals I set for myself last year and set new goals for this year.  Last year, my goals were:

  1. Read 25 novels.  Success! I read over 50 novel-length books this year!  I didn’t read many long ones, but that’s okay. Having no pressure to read made it much more enjoyable over 2018.
  2. Write two polished short stories.  Failure.  I wrote one, but didn’t finish the second one. 😦
  3. Finish a bloody RPG! Failure. I didn’t really work on anything at all. 😦

For 2018 I was hoping to work towards freelancing more.  Even though I wasn’t really successful with my goals, I think I was somewhat successful thanks to starting my other blog, Sustainably North. Thanks to Sustainably North, I was asked by bUneke Magazine to write a monthly column, which has been a lot of fun and tremendous experience.  For my day job I also wrote 9 articles, 7 book reviews, and interviewed 12 authors for TBPL Off the Shelf, so that’s pretty good, too.  Oh and I almost forgot that 2018 saw my first published short story, “A Harmony of Soil and Sand,” which was published in Menagerie de Mythique Anthology back in May.  So while I didn’t exactly meet all of my goals, I still think 2018 was a pretty good year of writing for me! 🙂

Oh yeah, and I participated in my very first game jam back in January!  That was fun, too! 🙂

For 2019 I’d like to do things a little differently, particularly in regards to my writing goals.  This year I’d like to set smaller goals every month rather than big overarching goals.  My thought is that way I can use the end of the month as a deadline, plus I’ll have more flexibility in case other unexpected projects come my way (like when that big freelance project came my way back in 2017).  Plus if something takes longer than planned (like how the story I’m working on for the Make Your Way anthology got bogged down in worldbuilding), I can adjust my scheduled goals accordingly.  So here are my goals for 2019 so far:

  1. Read 25 novel-length books. 25 books worked really well for me last year and I’d like to keep the same goal.  Like I said, this took the pressure off of me and made reading more fun.  This goal is the only one I’m naming that’s for the whole year.
  2. Finish the story for the Make Your Way anthology by January 31st. I think that’s a reasonable amount of time to get this story written (and hopefully submitted!)

I’m not going to talk about Sustainably North goals on here right now.  At this point I’m kind of just carrying on, trying to get a weekly blog post written plus an article for bUneke Magazine.  If that changes, I’ll let you know. 😉

This will be an interesting year – I really hope that setting smaller monthly goals (with deadlines) will work better for me!

So what about you? Have you set any goals for the upcoming year? 🙂

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