Change is Hard

Photo by Alexas Fotos on Pexels.com

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.

Late to the Block Party

Ok, I admit, parties aren’t really my thing.  (Introvert, remember?)  A few days ago, when I was upgrading my WP account, I discovered that I am not using the ‘block editor’.

Huh?

I’m a WP user from waaaay back, and I remember when the editor looked like this:

Old WP Editor

So, since my new editor looks like this:

Interim WP Editor

I thought I was using the new block editor.

Nope.

Apparently, that’s the ‘Classic editor.’

The NEW block editor looks like this:

New Block Editor

I tried writing this post in the actual NEW block editor, and it made me want to pull my hair out.  Now, I’m all for learning new things, but it’s always scary to do this on your blog/website.  Because you never know what it will do to your old content.  Maybe nothing?  Or maybe it will break everything?

I mean, unless I’m updating old posts for some reason, after switching to the the new editor, it shouldn’t change anything, right?

The new editor does look like it has some cool features, but it also was frustrating trying to search around and find things, since everything seems to be moved around.

I’m also debating getting a new theme (now that I upgraded and have access to more), but I have the same fear – that changing the theme will somehow break some of the old content.  What to do, what to do.

Are you using the new block editor? Any tips/tricks/horror stories you’d like to share?

Facing My Fears

fear-2019930_1920
Credit: Pixabay

It’s a strange time in the world right now.  However, it’s reminded me of something I forgot – your time on this earth is limited.  And no matter how much money you have, how many things you own – you can’t take it with you. I learned that lesson the hard way 10 years ago.

Since then, my focus has been on family and experiences.  Family and precious memories will keep you warmer and happier than any amounts of wealth ever will.  That’s not to say that money isn’t important – of course it is.  We all have physical needs – food, shelter, clothing.  But no amount of money can give you a hug when you’re feeling down, or make you laugh when you feel like crying.

Right now, we’re finding out just how much we as humans need that social interaction – even those of us who are introverts. 😀  I haven’t seen my sister in over a month – we talk almost every day, but we haven’t seen each other in that amount of time.  It’s crazy.

I’ve had a lot of time to think lately (probably too much), but I realized I lost sight of what is important to me.  We get so caught up in being ‘busy’ that we don’t realize we aren’t really getting anywhere or doing anything important.  We all have dreams and aspirations, but those get put on hold while life gets in the way.

I want to open my own business, but I’ve been letting my own fears hold me back.  What if it fails?  Am I crazy to launch a business in the middle of a global pandemic?  Should I save all our money instead of spending it on something that might not work?  Can I learn how to manage an online store and all the tech that goes along with it?

We want to move to Canada – our original goal was to retire there, but with my husband’s folks getting older, it seems prudent to move sooner rather than later.  That entails figuring out what my children want to do – do they want to move with us? What does that mean for their college education?  Can we all move together?  Will Canada even let us in?

Lots of questions, lots of fears, not a lot of answers.  But you shouldn’t let your fears hold you back from something you really want.  Will it be easy?  Probably not.  Does that mean it won’t be worth it?  Absolutely not.

So I am going to try and push through my own fears.  I’m going to work on getting that position I want at my current job.  I’m going to work on opening my online store.  And I’m going to work on figuring out how we can all move to Canada together.  There may be stepping stones along the way, and obstacles we have to face, but we can do it.

Busier Than Usual

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Credit: Pixabay

You’d think that since I’m spending all this time at home these days, I’d be caught up with my work – perhaps even ahead of schedule!

You’d be wrong.

For some reason, since my children are at home, I am now in charge of making sure EVERYONE gets all their stuff done.  So even though I usually finish each day feeling like I’ve been productive, some days it isn’t MY stuff that I’m getting done.

Argh.

Also, there is a new position opening up at my job in August that I want (hopefully I’m back to work then).  So I’m updating my resume, doing some work creating curriculum, and planning out lessons.  Spreadsheets make my brain hurt. 😦

While all that is good, it means I haven’t been keeping up here like I should.  I’ve been drawing, but I haven’t been doing much writing lately (besides lessons).  I’ve actively been avoiding social media, because it’s too stressful right now.

Rather than sleep all day (which is an appealing thought many days), I’ve pulled out some projects for me to work on to keep me sane.

I love puzzles, so I gathered all the ones I had and I’m slowly working my through them.  (I have pictures of my progress, but I haven’t gotten them off the camera card yet.)

I’m also working on a challenge that Ann over at Ann’s Immaterium posted – to ‘paint the crap you already own.’  I have a lot of D&D minis that have been languishing in drawers for almost a year, so I’m going to try and power through painting them.  So far I have some washed and mold lines removed, some base coated, and some done except for bases.  Again, I have pics, but I haven’t taken them off the camera card.  I’ll try to post them here soon.  I’m not a fantastic painter, but just getting them done and off my plate will be nice. 😀

I have another online class starting tomorrow, so I guess I’d better get busy!