So Little Time . . .

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My sense of time is skewed.

March through June took an entire year.

July and August have flown by in seconds.

I am back into school/work mode and other things (like blogging) have fallen to the wayside. My schedule has gone completely off the rails, but I am determined to get back on track.

I spent today being productive. (I think younger generations refer to this as ‘adulting’?) I called and rescheduled doctor appointments since our doctor is retiring. (Is that a sign of my age or his? Both?) I called and got issues with online textbook access sorted for my youngest.

I paid bills – and said a silent thank you that we have enough to pay our bills. I set up my budget planner and my personal planner for September. We’re still making progress on our financial goals, albeit slower than either of us would like. On the positive side, my oldest will graduate college in May with no student loan debt.

I’m still painting minis – more pics to come later. I’m almost finished with all the traditional ones, so I can move on to the 3D printed ones. I feel like I’m getting better at it – I can definitely see a difference in quality.

I finished my first square drill full canvas diamond painting and I’m getting ready to start an even larger one.

But first up is all the lesson planning I need to do. These darn mental stumbling blocks are getting old, and I need to get over them so I can get done and move on to other things. And now it feels like I’m running out of time. School starts in less than two weeks.

I’d better get busy!

Resisting Change

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Change is scary for most people. You get used to something, and when it gets changed, it can be frustrating. Take the new switch here at WordPress. Everyone is being moved over to the new Gutenberg block editor.

I tried to like it, I really did.

It does have a lot of features that the classic editor doesn’t. However, it has some stupid changes, imho. For instance, I hate that I now have to click through a menu to see my word count. With the classic editor, it’s right at the bottom as I type.

Even doing routine things has become a chore. My Monday Mandala posts are a weekly thing, and I used to be able to copy the post, insert the new image, and off I’d go. Now it’s become a huge hassle, because a large majority of the time, my images do not show up when I am writing the post. I’ve tried preloading them into my image library.

Nope.

I tried ‘replacing’ the image as the new block editor suggests.

Nope.

Something that used to take me a few minutes has now become an exercise in frustration. And I get it. They want to keep things new and shiny to attract new people. Maybe if you do everything on your phone, this way works. I don’t, and it doesn’t. And now, it keeps prompting me to change all of my old posts into the new block editor.

I don’t want to.

I can just keep using the classic editor – and for many of my posts, I probably will, because it’s easier and faster. After several months of trying the new editor, I have yet to see the appeal. Something that you could do in a couple of clicks with the classic editor, like batch edit old posts, doesn’t work anymore. I have to go searching around for options I want, while wading through all the new ones I don’t.

I’m not giving up yet – I’m going to keep trying to use the new block editor and see if it grows on me.

Like a fungus. :/

Motivating Myself

img_0087-1Ever have one of those days where you just can’t make yourself do anything?

Me, too.

Like today.  (This is past me, so by today, I actually mean yesterday, because you’ll be reading this in the future.)  I have a ton of things I should be doing, but I can’t seem to make myself do any of them.  Everything seems to take more energy than I have.  And not physical energy, but mental energy.

Maybe I just need a nap?  I’m not really tired, though.  Maybe I’m just bored.  Which seems crazy, because I have a LOT of things to do.  None of them have to get done, though, which is the real issue.  The only one putting deadlines on me is me, and though I do my best work under deadlines, it’s clearly not ones I set for myself.  Those deadlines I just ignore.  Because, honestly, what happens if I don’t?

Nothing.  That’s what happens.  Nothing.

Like what I’m doing now.

Although I guess I’m not doing nothing.  I got up today.  Made my bed.  Showered, dressed, did the dishes.  Which probably doesn’t sound like a lot, but some days, I can’t even motivate myself to do those things.  I haven’t gone into work this week, which I think is part of the issue.  Also, my husband is working a big storm right now, so he’s gone, which means I have to cook.

I hate cooking.  I’m not good at it, and I don’t enjoy it.  I mean, I’m not a terrible cook, and I know my way around the kitchen, but I don’t like doing it.  My husband loves to cook, so that’s his job when he’s home.

I’m trying to keep myself occupied, but today has been a struggle.  I’m working on a new project, which I hope to show you in a later post.  Today, though, I think I’m going to call it quits and go snuggle under my weighted blanket.  I love that thing.  Seriously, if you’ve been thinking about it – get one.  Best purchase of the year so far.

Change is Hard

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I have hit a patch of blogger’s block. That doesn’t usually happen to me. I have tons of ideas and generally don’t have trouble creating a post.

For the last week, it’s been a struggle.

It’s likely because I know I need to make some changes and I’m resisting. Which is crazy, because the only person who has a say is me. 😛 When I started this blog, it was with the idea that I would use it to further my online business. As I started writing, though, it became more of a place for me to just write about things that interest me. Which is fine, except now I find myself wanting/needing to make a pivot, because I do want my online business to be successful.

I purposely branded everything using the Introverted Hermit – my Etsy shop, this website, my social media sites. I could start all over, but I don’t want to. I’ve already bought the domain, have everything set up, etc. So the other option is to pivot and start using this site for business rather than the more personal blogging I’ve done up to this point.

I’d like to find a way to balance the two – to still have some personal content but mixed in with more business content. I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. There’s also the fear that making changes will hurt the progress I’ve made attracting readers.

Change is hard, y’all.

I spent some time today looking up editorial calendar templates because I need to get more organized with my writing – maybe that will help me focus and create the blend of business/personal I’m looking for. I found a few, but I got annoyed at the number of sites that wanted an email address before I could download the ‘free’ template. So I made a mental note that if something on my site is labeled ‘free,’ it is actually free – won’t even cost you an email address. 😛

Abandoning Amaziograph

Amaziograph 3I’ve had a lot of fun playing around with the Amaziograph app – especially since it’s made for making mandalas.  It has a lot more options than Procreate in its radial symmetry, but I just can’t get over the shakiness of the lines.

That’s not Amaziograph’s fault – it’s mine, because I have shaky hands.  And, unfortunately, the older I get, the worse the tremors get.  With Procreate, I can adjust the line smoothing to account for that – with Amaziograph, I can’t.

So for making my mandalas, I’m going to stick with Procreate.  I’ll still use Amaziograph now and then, but it won’t be the go-to tool that I thought it would be when I got it.

I do have my eye on another program I discovered the other day, called iOrnament.  I haven’t purchased it yet, but I will in the next week or so.  After I’ve had a chance to play around in it, I’ll post something here.  It looks a lot like Amaziograph, with the options to do tessellations and such.

I saw a coloring book at the grocery store today titled ‘Kaleidoscope Coloring.’  It was a bunch of animals with zentangle doodles for coloring.  Guess I’ll add ‘kaleidoscope’ to my Etsy tags, lol.

Back to the Drawing Board

I’ve been working for the past week on figuring out how to sell items here on my WordPress site.  I upgraded to Premium for the Simple Payments options and started to slog through the process.

It’s been a long week.

man showing distress
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

You and me both, stock photo man.  :/

Things I’ve realized as I worked:

  • I didn’t need to upgrade to Premium – Simple Payments doesn’t let me provide automatic emails/links for downloading the digital products.
  • Inserting my own PayPal buttons on my site was waaaay more complicated than it should be.
  • iOS doesn’t play nice with anyone.
  • I do not like coding.  I can grasp the basics, but any more than that is just frustrating.
  • I still need to track buyer’s addresses for sales tax, in case I would go over any given state’s transaction limit for remote sellers.
  • No wonder people use Etsy, Amazon, Ebay, and the like – it’s sooo much easier.

So, after working diligently for a week and having little to show for it, I need to take a step back and rethink what I’m doing.

I’m going to give myself a mental break this weekend and have a good long think about how best to achieve what I want.  What advice would I give someone else in this situation?  And am I brave enough to take it?

Here’s hoping.

Money for Nothing

FailYesterday was frustrating.  Very frustrating.

I upgraded my site to premium so that I could use the simple payments option – something WordPress has been lauding as a way to use your site to make money.  Great! That was my eventual goal here – to start selling my mandalas and stickers, but on my own site, so that I wasn’t paying Amazon and Etsy lots of money in fees.

I’ve read so many people who say that they drive their own traffic to Etsy – so if I’m gonna do all that work, I might as well drive people to my own site, right?  Then I’m making the money off my hard work, instead of Etsy.

After upgrading to the Premium plan, I started researching how to use the Simple Payments buttons to sell my digital coloring mandalas.  Turns out, the Simple Payments just lets you collect payments for your products – there is no way to add a link or anything to the payment button.

So, essentially, a person would pay, then have to wait for me to receive the notification from PayPal that I’d been paid, and then wait for me to send an email with the link or file for what they purchased.  Which isn’t horrible, but isn’t at all what I was led to believe I could do with the simple payments.

After more research, I discovered a way to use Google Docs and PayPal to add things to my site for sale.  That was an experience in itself, because what I wanted was for buyers to be taken directly to a download link for the item after they paid.  Making a download link from a Google doc required even more research, because of course it’s not an option in Drive.

During the first test, I got to the document, but it didn’t appear that the file was downloading correctly.  (My husband was testing for me on his iPad.)  After getting the direct download link issue sorted, then I realized that for some reason (I’m assuming because he’s using his iPad and iOS never plays well with others), he isn’t being taken directly to the page with the download link from PayPal.  He has to ‘return to merchant’ inside PayPal and then he gets taken to the correct place for the download.

Soooo frustrating.  This is probably why so many people would rather just use Etsy or Amazon for this.  In fact, I’m debating if this is all worth it myself, particularly since I apparently upgraded my WordPress plan for nothing.  I could have inserted the PayPal buttons and configured it as it without upgrading, because all the payments take place on PayPal anyway.  I guess I could upgrade to the next tier on WordPress, where there are some actual e-commerce options, but after feeling like I’ve already spent some money for nothing, that doesn’t seem appealing.

Aaaaarrrrggghhh.  😦

Still Learning

You’re never too old to learn.

That seems to be a lesson the universe keeps sending me lately.

I need to learn new things so that I can be better at the new job I hope to get.  That’s good, and I’m working on it.  I’ve already taken three classes and have at least three more I’d like to take over the summer.

I need to learn new things so I can be better at blogging.  This one is a bit harder – I’m trying to figure out how to set up the Google Analytics for the blog, and I’m struggling.  I need an Analytics ID, but to get that I have to set up a Google Property (whatever that is?) and when I follow the links they show, I get stuck.

The directions says to go to the admin section, but I don’t seem to have one.  😦  I’m sure I’m just missing a step somewhere, but after several failed attempts, I’m going to leave it for another day when I have more patience.

This weekend I also learned that I am forgetful.  I was so happy about all the progress I made with my mini painting (see here and here) and thought I had only 5 or 6 left besides my CR KS minis.

Until I went downstairs to put away the minis I had finished, and discovered this:

28mm miniatures dungeons and dragons

A whole tray of unpainted minis.  These are mostly minis we bought to use for our PCs, and then promptly forgot about.  Gah!  This isn’t even all of them, as I pulled some of them out of the tray.  I cleaned off mold lines and flashing and then washed them.

Cleaned 28mm miniatures

My initial reaction was just to ignore them, but then I thought I could use them for painting experience/experiments, if nothing else.  More learning!  And, since I will need to take photos of them as I go, even more learning!

I’m starting to finally consider myself on summer vacation, even though I’ve been off work since mid-March.  So, I will continue painting, photographing, and learning. I’m even trying my hand this year at gardening, so we’ll see how that goes.  😛

Busy Is Not Better

One of the things I’ve noticed with everyone at home is that people seem to feel guilty if they are not ‘busy.’  It apparently has become a cultural expectation that you are ‘busy’ all the time.  The busier you are, the more successful you must be.

The internet is filled these days with things you can do/learn/bake/read/create/draw/make/paint/etc. to make sure that you’re staying busy. You’re made to feel guilty if you aren’t using this ‘time off’ (hah) to somehow improve yourself – whether it’s by learning a new skill, working on your fitness, or whatever.

I find this strange on several levels.

If you look at people who are very wealthy, they’re not generally very busy.  Some are, of course, but most aren’t.  “Deals get made on the golf course,” you’ll hear.  As if the deal they are supposedly working on somehow cancels out the fact that they are golfing, not working. 

I think we can all agree that meetings are some of the least productive things you can do with your time.  But again, wealthy people (like CEOs) expect you to believe that they are busy (and thus important) because their days are filled with meetings.

Also, busy does not equal productive.  You can be very busy and accomplish nothing.  You can be less busy and still be productive.  Here’s a little secret:

It’s okay if you aren’t busy every minute of every day.

The world won’t end.  It just means that you need to slow down sometimes and recharge.  Vacations are a thing for a reason.

Although, now that I think about it, most people are encouraged NOT to take vacations (at least in my experience).  You need to be busy, busy, busy and putting your time and effort in at your job.  (This may not be true everywhere – I happen to live the US, and that is very much the culture here.)  In fact, most people only get two weeks of vacation a year, and that’s if you have a very good job.  In today’s gig economy, most jobs don’t offer benefits like vacation.  You can take a vacation, but then you don’t get paid – something a lot of people can’t afford.

I have made a conscious effort to keep myself occupied, because depression can sneak up on me if I don’t.  But it’s okay if some days you just want to lay on the couch and read.  Or lay on the couch and do nothing.  All the things on your to-do list will still be there later.  It’s okay to not be busy.