The Sitting Log

productivity

And then this entry here, which doesn’t count.


Creation-ish sitting streaks

  • Day 5 of breathing exercise
  • Day 5 of giant journal writing

Thinking about:

My happy good-middlemen-only state.

Fortunately, I have never been trapped by unnecessary middlemen… almost. The irrefutable exception is Bowker, but that disgrace of a dinosaur is unavoidable in the US. Because, monopoly. So I’ll forgive myself for dealing with it.

Other than that, I am happy to say that I don’t deal with a single middleman that doesn’t do something for me.

This means that other than Bowker, every single entity that either gets a flat fee or a cut from my royalties/income serves a purpose for me.

This includes all the externally-controlled stores (ex: Kobo, Apple, Scribd, library databases, etc).

This also includes the mostly-internally-controlled store (Payhip).

Also, Stripe.

The financial overhead of using these tools is $0. If I don’t make money, they don’t make money. On top of that, other than the upload of the books, the time I spend on these tools is pretty much 0 seconds.

They handle various tasks, such as:

  • file storage
  • file delivery
  • discoverability
  • auto-connection of a file to a reading device
  • chargeback protection
  • tax calculation
  • functioning as backup copies
  • indirect piracy protection (If you’re on retailer sites, it’s likelier that they will spot a pirated copy on their own store.)

I needed to remind myself of this, my blissful good-middlemen-only state, because sometimes there are people who suggest that I get rid of this or that middleman that doesn’t suit their rainbows-and-unicorns view of how a middleman-less world should be according to them.

And I’m like…

What, you’re going to make me give up the services that auto-deliver the files and in some cases, handle the customer service as well? You think you’re going to convince me to spend a minimum of 2 minutes per reader just to deliver the files every time? Into perpetuity? So basically you’re saying, I should want a life for myself where, the more books I sell, the more miserable I will be, because instead of writing, I will be emailing more and more files to readers?

You do realize that my recognizing the insanity of that strategy (if that can be called a strategy at all) does not preclude my valuing my readers, right? In fact, because I value my readers, I would never adopt such a strategy. Even if I had only one reader every month, you’re telling me that I should be on stand-by, ready to deliver the files! And for how long? For forever? Sacrificing my writing time?

Or are you saying that you’re so special that I should create a no-middleman-according-to-you sales route just for you? Do you realize that even if one other moron like you exists, I will be wasting a great amount of time?

Or are you going to deliver the files for me? Do you think I’ll take that as a favor? From you? Are you kidding me? My readers are important to me. Why should I trust you with my reader’s data?

Actually, don’t answer any of that. This is just me expressing my disbelief. I have zero actual interest in your answers, because you’re more of a worthless middleman than any of the above-listed services.

You’re in the way.

None of them are in the way.

Get it? You wasted 5 minutes of my precious time, which is how long I took to read your “suggestion” on how I should run MY business. You think you know better about my business than I do. Clearly you are not a writer who values their writing time as much as life itself. Clearly, you’re also not any kind of business owner, because any business owner would be pissed as fuck that some moron waltzes into their store (tangible or intantible), trying to lecture them on how to run their business.

The services that you dismiss as unnecessary middlemen aren’t unnecessary to me or to my readers. Neither are they unnecessary to other readers, writers, and publishers. In fact, they’re better than not-unnecessary. They are necessary. Even Amazon, which I don’t use right now, is better than you, the literal middleman standing in the way.

All those tools take an agreed-upon monetary cut and do something for me. But how will I earn back the 5 minutes I wasted on the “suggestion” of some cruise-by “I know better than you,” who has a grand total of zero practical experience in writing and publishing? How? NEVER is the answer, okay? NEVER.

I don’t actually say this.

I block them. And then rant here.

Some technologically-savvy people just aren’t savvy overall. They don’t realize that their tiny tech bubble isn’t the broader reading audience.

Some readers need help sideloading EPUB files onto their devices. And because they know they do, they won’t buy an ebook unless it’s through their usual retail store.

Many people, in general, will not send money directly to someone they met online. And they don’t customize their computers and buy burritos in bitcoin or whatever. A lot of readers don’t care about privacy either. They care about convenience. And some of them still don’t believe that there are people who make money online.

That’s just reality.

What isn’t realistic, and instead simply the unicorns-and-rainbows worldview of some so-called tech-savvy people, is that they can go around demanding of other people a payment route that suits their preferences but 99% of the world doesn’t use or care about.


BTW I’m not mad about just ASKING about whether you can pay in crypto or not. I have nothing against crypto. (My faith in traditional banks is pretty much nonexistent, so.) I wish I could add a crypto option more easily to all the stores.

But no. It is not possible at this time. And I’m not going to monitor a separate income stream that can’t be left on auto-pilot, crypto or otherwise. I won’t deal with the hassle of taxes. And oh, please, don’t start a lecture on how I can avoid the hassle of taxes. If I need tax advice, I’ll hire someone.

I guess I’m tired of the fake “helpfulness” of some of these so-called tech-savvy people. No offense, tech-savvy people in general, if you identify as such, but some tech-savvy people are just… WOW. They think because they can code, they know the world.

The fuck they do.

They really should get a life.

Anyway, my blissful good-middlemen-only state doesn’t only apply to incorporated entities. I shall remove the people middlemen, too, fiercely, from my life.

No middleman shall stand in the way between me and my writing time.

Or middlewoman. Middlepeople. Middlebeing. Whatever the latest PC term.

Ah, why do I even try to please the PC people. They are the ultimate middlefolks.

#daily #rant #productivity #writing #2022archiveQ3


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  • The Fortune of the Palms (done!!!): 120 mins
  • When the Closet Worked Its Magic (almost done): 100 mins

And then this entry here, which doesn’t count.


Creation-ish sitting streaks

  • Day 3 of breathing exercise
  • Day 3 of giant journal writing

Thinking about:

Re-reading stuff.

Re-reading stuff I wrote a year ago because I didn’t bother to finalize the metadata back then is the most painful exercise. This is the case, even though I mostly don’t remember the stories I wrote back then. I mean, between then and now, I wrote hundreds of thousands of new words, fiction and nonfiction, so of course I don’t remember the details. It would be like remembering what color skirt I wore on June 4 of 2019, after having lived hundreds of days thereafter. Or what I ate on April 17 of 2021, after having lived more than a year thereafter.

The pain doesn’t come from story-level repetition. It comes from the awareness of the fundamental futility of having to spend time on something that I already spent plenty of time on spending time. 😭 This is time I could be using on new words or sleep or whatever else, anything but spending time on stuff I’ve already spent time on. Argh.

Add to that the awareness that this is 100% my fault, and the pain multiplies. Seriously, I don’t know what I was thinking. At first I thought I’d misplaced the metadata somehow, but then I didn’t remember ever having written it. At all.

Never again. In the next few weeks, I will mostly concentrate on podcast scripts and finalizing ALL metadata of all the unpublished stuff. That way, going forward, I never have to look at stuff I’ve written in the past.

This is why Heinlein said rules #4 and #5. After more than a million words, the weight of the past adds up. Imagine the weight of two million words, three million words.

There is no way one can keep looking back at past stories. Moving forward is the only way to be writing for 40, 50, hey, maybe even 70+ years, and still be actually writing instead of having written.

#daily #productivity #2022archiveQ3


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And then this entry here, which doesn’t count.


Creation-ish sitting streaks

  • Day 9 of breathing exercise
  • Day 2 of giant journal writing

Today, I tried doing important stuff first, before doing urgent stuff. It was an ideal day to try this, because it was a Sunday. (Meaning, no work for the Monday-Friday folks. No one and nothing to disturb me.)

It felt good. I got more done. In fact, I also got all of the not-important-but-urgent items on my to-do list done.

I knew this would be the case. And yet, I don’t always spend the day in this order, going from important to less important.

It’s interesting that most things I consider important in my life don’t feel urgent enough, while unimportant things feel urgent.

Well, no, that’s not exactly right. It’s more like… the important items do feel urgent, but I am so used to feeling the urgency, I am nearly numb to it. And thus I am more likely to react to the “fresher” urgency of the unimportant tasks. Those tasks cannot help but feel fresher. If they were important, they would already be on my list. This could be a to-do list, a One Day I Will list, or whatever other kind of mental list.

Only by being unimportant can a task enter my mental list as a new item and provide that initial “surprise kick” of freshness. So it’s almost like, a task’s freshness is proof of its unimportance in my life…

…generally speaking. I guess theoretically, something important might also provide urgent freshness—say, if you were to fall in love at first sight. Who knows? Maybe you just met your future spouse with whom you’ll spend the next half century.

But such cases seem to be rare. More likely are cases like this: getting addicted to social media. One doesn’t expect that notification bell to ring. (One never knows when it will go ding! That’s part of the reason for the addiction.) Because the stimuli of the ding ding ding feel so fresh, an addict might keep turning on the phone, keep scrolling, pressing a bunch of buttons, responding to comments…

…knowing full well that more important things (which might also be more truly urgent things) are being left undone.

Thankfully, a phone has notification settings and I always keep them at Do Not Disturb, at all times.

But work emails? A different matter. I can’t ignore them completely.

Thus, I must train myself. Ignore the notifications for the earliest portion of the day. Do this every day, not just Sundays.

Prioritize what’s important—what I have already determined to be valuable to my life. I want to do stuff. The thought of having done (but not doing anymore) and might have done (but never having done) scares the shit out of me.

Must remember this fear. Fear is an excellent motivator.

Luckily, most stuff I wanna do involves sitting down and making stuff up, so that part is nice. Once I actually sit down, all is well—mostly.

#daily #productivity #2022archiveQ3


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...when it comes to Youtube channels, podcasts, etc?

All the marketing gurus (and many others who have the decency not to claim that they’re gurus) seem to say so.

The two biggest arguments I’ve heard are:

  • If there is no schedule, people won’t trust you (the creator)
  • If there is no schedule, you (the creator) won’t be motivated

This is interesting.

I, as the creator, don’t need a schedule to be motivated. Either I’m motivated or not.

And I, as the consumer, don’t trust a random stranger simply because they say they have a schedule.

I will, however, check if they have back episodes, back uploads, a backlist, all the back stuff. Those things, to me, mean more than the proclamation of a schedule. People who have a track record of creating a lot of stuff—either with a regular schedule or without—tend to always come back to creating something. That’s what I count on.


Monthly luck schedule

The only time I cared about regular updates on Youtube was for a Tarot reading channel. I don’t believe in Tarot readings (or palm readings or other kinds of readings), but this person had such a calming voice and talked SO WELL. I got the sense that she could conjure up an explanation for anything and everything. It was fascinating to listen to her talk.

One of her should-have-been regular contents was the “monthly” remote reading. (Apparently, it’s a thing on Youtube.) The problem was that she updated them late, all the time. Like, the “May” reading was uploaded on May 7th instead of May 1st or several days before the start of May. Sometimes she skipped months too.

Even though I didn’t rely on her uploads to determine my monthly schedule (I don’t know, maybe some people pick their lucky day to go on a first date), I thought, “But it doesn’t make sense! ¼ of May is already gone! How is this supposed to be useful to anybody who actually believes in this?”

And so I stopped watching anything from that channel anymore. It didn’t matter how beautifully she talked and how soothing her voice was.


Evergreen

But other than that?

If someone had a vlog channel? A podcast about cat worshipping?

Then I don’t think I’d care if the vlogs are updated every Monday. I mean, not everyone must think that their every week is vlog-worthy, all the time. Maybe the person just had an uneventful week, and sometimes, uneventful weeks are nice to have. (Boredom is a luxury, although it often doesn’t seem that way.)

And I’d understand that cat worshipping doesn’t just happen on a schedule. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.

Evergreen content is evergreen for a reason. It can be uploaded today, tomorrow, or three months later. It doesn’t really matter…

…unless the host/channel owner said that they’re gonna have a schedule. Then I might care about regular updates.

But even then, them missing an episode would have to happen a lot of times before I notice, because I don’t memorize all the various content creators’ schedules. My apps will update the feed or send an alert whenever the content is updated.


Fiction vs. nonfiction

BTW with fiction, the situation is completely different. If there is a story arc that continues over many episodes, I want to know that there is a regular update schedule. Say, if Netflix were to have a series where they don’t know when Episode 2 will come out, I won’t start watching.

But nonfiction? For content that has nothing to do with the calendar? I’ll probably never notice that something is or isn’t updated, until maybe half a year later, when I randomly decide to clean my subscription list. Then I may or may not unsubscribe from a creator who’s been inactive for 6 months.


Not organized enough

Why am I talking about this?

Because I find it interesting that there is this idea that a lot of consumers (listeners/viewers/readers) are keeping track of how often creators create something.

Personally, I’m not organized enough. I try to be organized in my own life, and even in that, I’m failing. So when someone else is missing their deadlines for entertainment content—especially free entertainment content that nobody owes me, and even more especially if that content doesn’t get better simply by forcing it to happen regularly—then I most likely will not notice.

Maybe I’m abnormal.

#productivity #marketing #2022archiveQ3


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Matthew mentioned Kagi in a comment to my earlier post, “Search engine for blocking specific sources” and so I am trying it out.

It’s very cool. Each search result has a crystal ball next to it. When you click on it, there’s a block feature right there, under “Website ranking adjustment for xxx”:

Some sites also have additional info, like this:

Maybe my site doesn’t have this information because 1) it’s too new, 2) it doesn’t get a lot of traffic, or 3) it’s a one-page website.

At any rate, the search results from Kagi look super clean.

It doesn’t shove as many news articles in my face as Google does. Meanwhile, it gives me more information about the actual search results.

Also, I was able to block some sites already. 🥳 All the blocked sites can also be found under the account settings, so, should I change my mind, I can unblock them.

Plus, this:

By default, Listicles are turned ON. I changed the setting to OFF. Maybe I will never have to see another listicle ever again. (Paradise?!)

All this will save me a lot of time in the long run.

So, thank you, Matthew, for the recommendation.


And here’s another thing I learned today.

Search costs a lot.

Kagi has a free plan and a paid plan, and Kagi explains:

Why does Kagi cost $10/month?

Our proposed price is dictated by the fact that search has a non zero cost. With other search engines, advertisers cover this cost. But it costs us about $1 to process 80 searches.

Someone searching 8 times a day would perform about 240 searches a month, costing us $3. An average Kagi beta user is actually searching about 30 times a day. At $10/month, the price does not even cover our cost for average use, and we are basically betting that average use will go down a bit with time because during beta people may be searching more than normal due to testing etc.

Our goal is to find the minimum price at which we can sustain the business. If it turns out that we have more room we will decrease it. But it can also be that we may need to increase it.

The free plan will be limited to 50 searches a month (and this too has to be paid by paying customers which makes the above math even harder).

I shall try the free plan for a while, and then maybe pay the $10/month. Or maybe the free plan will suffice for me. We shall see.

#tools #productivity#2022archiveQ3


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If there is a search engine that allows me to do this, I would like to try it.

I don’t want to see another ancient Writer’s Digest article again, ever, especially when I’m searching anything publishing related. You know, like, digital publishing, in the era of this thing called the internet, where “New to Me” equals “New” and intellectual property doesn’t spoil like friggin’ kale or something. 🥬🥬🥬

#productivity #tools #2022archiveQ3


P.S. I am pleased that kale has its own emoji. 😎

P.S.2 It seems that this blocking thing used to be a feature in 2011 for Google, but it doesn’t exist anymore.

https://searchengineland.com/google-brings-back-blocking-sites-in-search-results-67723

also

https://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/hide-sites-to-find-more-of-what-you.html

P.S.3 Extensions make this possible, sort of.

https://www.onesork.com/how-to-block-website-from-google-search/


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