It’s Mega List Time

For those of you new to the show, a Mega List is a list of my own making. It started sometime in my 20s, but essentially, it is an on-going list of goals and desires.

But, this is no ordinary list of tasks, goals, dreams. No, no. This list is revisited almost daily. I make smaller lists based on this big list, so that I can actually achieve some of the items. Once a goal is met–Joy, of joys–I get to mark that goal off my list, and celebrate by adding more freaking goals to the list! It never ever ends.

This year, I am so proud to share that I got to mark one of the big ones off my list. In 2019, I wrote and published a (not children’s) book!

This year, I plan to mark another big item off my Mega List: Scuba Diving.

Here’s the deal, I can swim enough to save my life, but that’s it. In order for me to mark scuba diving off my list, I need to do the following things:

  • Take swimming lessons
  • Get certified as a lifeguard
  • Take a beginners scuba course
  • Become certified as a scuba instructor

Now, this might look excessive. Yes, I could just get certified to scuba, but what’s the fun in that!

By taking swim lessons, I will become more skilled and confident in the water. Getting certified as a lifeguard means I am not dead weight to any scuba party I may with traveling and swimming with. I become an asset instead of simply a participant.

Obviously, I have to get a scuba diving certification, because that’s how one learns. Becoming a certified scuba instructor does a couple of things for me:

  • It gives me a way to pay myself back for the swim lessons, lifeguard certification, and scuba instruction.
  • It also gives me a way to travel for scuba without going broke.

So, this is my biggest task to tackle this year: Scuba diving. Let’s see what happens!

A Study in Scarlet Women

I thought I’d hate this book, but I absolutely loved it! I am already onto the next in the series!

Firstly, this is my first completed read of 2020! Woo hoo!

Secondly, I love Sherlock Holmes, but I am snobby about portrayals of the character and the original tales. Immediately, when I was told about a Sherlock Holmes tell wherein the main character (Sherlock) is a woman, I said, “No, thank you.”

Geez, Barbara! Why so sexist?

Not sexist. Just a kind of purist about certain Sherlockian things, but no more! I’m a believer in Charlotte Holmes.

Read this book. Do it. Do it now.

My First Actions of 2020

  • Woke at 6:30a
  • Put River out to enjoy the 30-degree morning
  • Made coffee
  • Cleaned the bathroom
  • Made River’s breakfast
  • Ran around the yard chasing River whilst wearing thin, yoga leggings and a protest sweatshirt shouting, “Come here! I just want to feed you!”
  • Took first Daily Mug photo of 2020

The first day of the year is off to a roaring start.

2020 – Welcome

white and brown abstract painting
Photo by Evie Shaffer on Pexels.com

Hello, Friends. It is a new year and time for a new featured post to welcome in all the new readers, writers, and strangers who’ve wandered in off the street.

So, welcome to HELLOTHISISBARBARA.com, the personal blog of me, Barbara. I’m Barbara. I’m a writer, entrepreneur, (No, really. I have a couple of businesses. Small, but businesses nonetheless.), and perpetual doer of projects.

You can see a list of those projects on the About page which I will link here: https://www.hellothisisbarbara.com/about

On this blog, you will find an assortment of posts. They may be photos, announcements, reviews, observation, or even recipes! Who knows!

I do what I want, because this is a personal blog.

I hope you enjoy your time here, and I highly recommend you start a blog that has little or nothing to do with your business(es) or one specific hobby, because it’s awesome.

Quick Links

Read The About Page, Because It Helps.

Instagram is the only social platform I spend anytime on.

PSA – WRITER. NOT EDITOR. I DO NOT GET PICKY ABOUT MY GRAMMAR, EDITING OR SPELLING HERE. You have been warned.

3 Pieces of Writing Advice

I like to finish projects. In order to get the rush of finishing something, everything I do needs to be efficient. It also means that I need to be okay with minimum viable products (MVP) while I am finding a system or process to do the thing I am setting out to do.

I am, among other things, a children’s book author. Children’s books are roughly 32 pages long and can have any number of words. Typically, they are mostly images, right? So, why, dear friends, did it take me nine months to write my first one?

I’ll tell you — overthinking.

I poured over my favorite children’s books from my childhood. I read new children’s books that were nothing like the books from my childhood. I asked everyone there opinion on using what I call “Scrabble words” in books for younger audiences. I asked people’s opinion on my book before I had even written it!

Do you see what I am getting at?

Here’s from friendly, generally writing advice:

1) No one in your inner circle is going to be your number one fan for your writing. Let them buy your book to support you, but don’t ask them to elaborate on their love of your work. Just say thank you, because they most likely didn’t read it. They are proud of you though, so let them be proud. Again — Just say thank you.

2) Since you aren’t worried about your friends and family reading what you’re writing, don’t worry about the language or ideas contained within your work. Use the language that is right for the piece, not the people. Your story will find its audience when it is finished, and you can help to shape that audience by adding language warnings, selecting demographics to advertise to, or publishing in specific categories.

3) Reading is a great idea, but I personally cannot read anything while I’m writing. It slows me down. So, yes, of course, read much as you like, but just read. Don’t compare yourself.

Read as a reader. Write as a writer.

My First $100 for My Small Press

Diaries of a Small Press, Part One

On November 3, 2019, I started a small business. To be very specific, I started a small, entertainment business selling evergreen digital products.

Plainly stated: Books. I launched a small press to publish and sell books.

Currently, my small press, Pilgrim Fowl Press, has one product: A Christmas Rideshare by Lily Dae.

Since releasing this book in November, it has earned $99.38. Mere inches from its first $100!

What Does This Mean For Me?

This first nearly $100 is proof of concept for me. I’ve been studying publishing and watching it change for the last ten years. I’ve been in publishing as an author and publisher before (independent), so the hours I put in have not been wasted.

Most importantly, it means the book I produced found its audience and made people happy! Not everyone who read it loved it I’m sure, but those who have loved it have reached out. That’s much more than I ever expected!

Businesswise — money is the motivation to publish more and often as the business appears to be viable.

Personally — knowing people were entertained and were joyful while reading a book that I put out in the world is the motivation to publish more and often.

What Does This Mean For You?

It means you can start a business with only one product or service to provide.

It means whatever you’ve been spending your time learning over the years may be something you should share with the world.

Will it make you millions? Not at first, but you don’t need to make millions out of the gate.

If my book earned nothing, I would still write, I would still publish, and I would still pursue publishing. I love it. Why would stop?

Knowing other people like and love what I am doing just fuels the fire.

So, what is your writing? What is your publishing?

Try putting something out there. Who knows; I might be reading your blog post about how you started your small business and made $100 in your first month or two soon!

New Year’s Resolutions – Writer’s Style

As we move into the new decade, we writers need to come to terms with what worked for over the last ten years versus what didn’t work for us so well. That means telling ourselves some hard truths about our habits and fears.

No More Half Written Novels

Stop calling your short stories, novelettes, novellas, whatever “half-written.” It’s rude. It hurts their feelings.

There is nothing wrong with writing short. If you’ve said all there is to say about Tom and Jacob’s tricycle gang that sold abandoned souls on the black market in 3500 words or less, then cool! Leave them to live their lives in those 3500 words.

Move on with your life. Stop using them as an excuse not to write that other story that you’ve been telling your friends you’ll “get to after your first book is done.”

MVP. Minimum viable products will get you through this.

The Book in Your Head Finally On Paper

You do not get a reward for thinking about writing a book just like no one gets brain surgery by me because I thought about becoming a brain surgeon.

Write it down. Type it. Speak it into a recorder or dictation device. Do something to free your characters from your mind.

You are their only hope of having their story told, so what, my darling, are you waiting for?

Read Less. Write More.

2017 was the last year I read 100 books in a year. Last year, I read 76 books. This year, I’ve read a little over 20.

In the last two years, I’ve written one novelette (and published it) and one soft sci-fi novel.

Additionally, I’ve begun teaching writing to fellow writers.

Reading is wonderful, but writing makes you a writer. Do both in as balanced a fashion as possible.

Write Daily, But Don’t Be A Jerk About It

Keeping that balance means writing daily, but be kind to yourself. I am not a fan of setting daily word count goals. I get credit every time I write anything toward my end goal. If I am not working on a book, then journaling and blogging count.

Penning poems and short pieces of fiction without planning are all forms of writing and count toward your daily writing goal because they use your creative writing muscles.

Emails and newsletters shouldn’t count toward that goal, because those items are admin related.

Set these resolutions for yourself. Keep them for at least three months to see if they work for you. If they do, let me know when you’ve posted or published something. I’m rooting for you.

Writing in Public: Observations

The music is absurdly loud. The handful of people who do not have headphones are talking loudly so as to be heard over the music which means that we with our headphones in have to have the volume on our devices almost maxed out to avoid the inappropriate discussions being hand by the young women that are currently positioned to my right.

A man with the newest iPhone is scrolling through his phone, pausing and then holding up a magnifying glass to his screen. I want to show him the zoom feature, but something tells me that he already knows how to do that trick and prefers the magnifying glass.