Friday, September 17, 2021

First steps / Happenings In The Outhouse 17-Sept-2021

A 1000-mile journey begins with the first mile.

A 4-year journey of completing your college degree begins with the first class/semester.

Whatever you're doing, starting can be the most difficult hurdle to overcome.  Taking the first steps is essential to starting your journey, no matter what it is.

If you have a huge task, the best thing you can do is just start.  Baby steps if you have to.  I know first hand that writing a novel is a daunting task.  But as each page, paragraph, and sentence is written, the closer I am to completing it.

Start today.

Start small if you have to.

What you may find is that once you start, continuing the journey and completing it is easier than you think.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Distractions / Happenings In The Outhouse 10-Sept-2021

Someone recently asked if they were distracting me from my work--my writing, that is, not my day job.

It is good to know what distracts you, what holds you back from achieving your dreams, and what doesn't.  Each person is different.  For some, it has to be absolutely quiet in order for them to concentrate on their project.  Or they have to be sitting in a certain place.  Or they need to be drinking their favorite beverage.  Maybe a fair amount of ambient noise is necessary.

Knowing what causes you to procrastinate will lead your further down the path of success.  If social media alerts distract you, remove all notifications while working on your dreams.  If the sound of classical music or country music or heavy metal helps spark the imagination, then by all means let it play.

I have been blessed to be able to shift in and out of what others would see as distractions.  When I used to work in an actual office, I'd bring my laptop or notebook or printed stories to work on while on lunches and breaks.  The noise around me didn't bother me.  Neither does the TV when I'm at home, sitting at the table, pouring my heart and soul into the latest creation.

What does distract me is more internal.  Sometimes I can control it.  Other times, not so much.

So when it was asked if they were distracting me . . . my answer was clearly no.

But that's me knowing me.

Know thyself . . . and the truth will set you free.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Buying Barriers (make it easy to do business/buy your wares) / Happenings In The Outhouse 03-Sept-2021

One of my daughters is at her first week in college and I wanted to send her something as a surprise.  The college had sent me info a few weeks ago on how I can order a care package for her, so obviously I'm all over that.  But when I start the process, there's a few problems.

I need the dorm where she's staying.  And her room number.  And a few other items, which made purchasing the care package a pain in the behind.

At the time, she didn't know any of the necessary info.

How many times have you just wanted go to some place, tell them what you want, hand over your money, and it's done?  All the time, right?

I hate buying vehicles.  Yes, you heard right.  Hate.  Not dislike or oh buying cars is a pain.  No, I hate it with so much passion that I'd rather drink the urine of a dead cow.  Why?  Because whenever I have bought cars, it's not easy.  Most of it did have to do with our financial situation, but still.  It could have been easier.  If the money portion was difficult, I would rather they say, nope we can't do it than the hours of waiting and waiting and waiting.

Amazon, for one, makes buying so damn easy.  Ebooks?  One click and done.  Merchandise.  Just a few clicks and done.

Almost two months ago, I went to a few hardware stores looking for yard maintenance equipment.  The two stores I frequented made it easy to buy.  I told them what I needed, and here you go, there it all is.  So easy.

The buying experience can either easy or not so much.  Put yourself in the customer's shoes.

One thing that irritates me is when authors offer incentives, but you need to download them in a different way than what you are used to.  I love my Kindle and I want to just read it on that.  Yes, there are ways of side loading items onto the Kindle, but that's too much hassle.

Make it easy to buy.

And people will buy more.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Part One Complete / Happenings In The Outhouse 27-Aug-2021

On August 19th, I was officially one-fourth of the way through my current work-in-progress.  Part one is done.

Word count is a little over 32,000 words, which is a health amount so far.  Then, if you multiply it by four . . . that brings it close to the one hundred and thirty thousand word mark.  That's one heck of a big book when I hit the publish.  The longest books I've published so far are around 60-70 thousand words.

Then again, my first two novels I ever wrote were a 1000-page behemoths (my current work-in-progress was the second one) and if my word count is somewhat accurate on the amount of words per page on my word processor, 130,000 words is a bit light when compared to the original first draft, which brought the total over 200,000.

I'm still shooting for publication by the end of the year.  With school starting soon, my middle child heading off to college, and an exciting development in my personal life, the Peterson household will certainly be different.

Different, but good.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Setbacks As A Learning Tool / Happenings In The Outhouse 20-Aug-2021

I read an article last week where it addressed the notion of not speaking out on any career setbacks as it may come across in a negative light.  Although I typically don't talk about my day job nor broadcast who my employer is, the article spoke to me as I use my setbacks as a training tool for folks not as far along in their career.

Early on where I work, I applied for a variety of leadership roles.  I always secured an interview with the powers that be, but advancing into leadership didn't seem to be in the cards.  No one could offer any feedback as to why.  I'm not blaming anyone for this.  With our litigious environment in society, messages back to me were vague and offered no direction.

Yes, your typical HR response, in cases.  Again, it was just the nature of the beast as they didn't have a mechanism for feedback.

After receiving the news on someone else being offered the job instead of me, I decided to take a step back and work on improving myself.  I held off on applying again until I learned as much as I could, working hard to better myself and my skills.

Then, a number of years later, a leadership opening in my department prompted me to apply again.  I chatted with the manager and director as I sat down for the interview.  After the first question, which led a fair bit of discussion, they advised me that the current leadership role I was applying for may not be a suitable for me and my talent/skills, but one they were creating had me written all over it and would be thrilled for me to lead in that position.

I accepted.

Don't use the lack of feedback as an excuse not to improve yourself.  Reflect on your current skills as well as the skills needed for what you want to do.  If you want to be better at woodworking, not only throw yourself into experimenting with it but also study those who do woodworking very well.  If you want to be a better painter, same thing.  Auto mechanics or public speaking, also the same.

I do the same with writing.  I've received feedback on what I do well, but I also experiment and study skills I'm lacking.

Strive to learn.

Strive to improve.

And best of all, have fun doing it.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Fueling Your Creations / Happenings In The Outhouse 13-Aug-2021

Happy Friday the 13th!

I was recently asked, if I had all the money I needed in order to live and didn't need to work where I currently am, what would I do?

The answer was an easy one: writing.

For anyone who knows me, I love to write.  It's been in my blood since as far back as I can remember.  Stashed away in an old box somewhere could be a few worn and tattered tablets, possibly with Snoopy on the front, where I wrote many of my ideas and story starts.  How far back you may ask?  Thinking second grade, perhaps.  Now, these ideas are undoubtedly childlike and not very good, but for a budding writer they were my playground.

Since I have neither won the lottery (I don't play anyway) nor been granted a huge inheritance from a long lost relative, I use my current employment as a means to fuel my creations.  I can create what I want, when I want.  I still push myself to always do as much as I can, but without the added stress of a steady paycheck and health insurance.

I know a fair amount of writers who have jobs to fuel their creative side.  It isn't anything to be ashamed about.  In fact, it could be used as story fodder.  Let's say you're a trauma nurse.  There has to be stories there!  Or a corrections officer.  Bingo!  A convenience store clerk?  Of course!  Speak from experience and use that as an authority to speak about it, or to add color to your story.

If your goal is to have your creations fuel your finances by itself, learn all you can about the business side and work toward that as your goal.  Yes, I'd love it if I had millions in the bank and could do what I want.  But until that day comes, I have to be patient and keep creating.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Slow but onward / Happenings In The Outhouse 06-Aug-2021

Although I have not been hitting the 1,000 word a day goal I had set roughly a month ago, I am still making some progress.

And some progress is better than none.

As of this date, I have surpassed the 28,000 word count on my work-in-progress.  I only have a few chapters left of part one, and there are four parts to the novel.  To be more realistic, I may set a goal of finishing by the end of the year.

There are a number of factors at play here with my delay, much of it personal.  Don't worry, I'm doing fine.  In fact, in some ways, I have been better than I have in a long time.