First Month Progress Toward 2015 Goals

January shortfall
a pain
in my side

My January has been one of both achievement and falling short. Forgiving myself for some transgressions, I’ve done okay given my goals for the month. I haven’t abandoned my resolutions. I feel quite committed to them, and have made some progress toward both the goal for January and the goal for March.

Goal for January – Learn Enough About Book Publishing To Proceed
I’ve done a fair amount of reading about book publishing. From what I have learned, I’ve decided to focus on self-publishing as that gives me the greatest chance of actually getting the book published, and in order to learn all that I can about self publishing of books so that I can finally submit Insight Sales for publishing in e-book and paperback forms. This month I’ve learned about the major formatting issues for both paperback and e-book publishing.

I have actually formatted my draft of the Insight Problem Solving book so that I could learn how to format for CreateSpace print-on-demand services. I’m having problems getting my jpg graphics to show properly in the CreateSpace format using their template and have to work that out to meet my February goal. I have also done a bit of formatting of the Insight Sales Book for publishing in the ebook format.  I have more to do but that is my goal in February. I’ve been holding back because I have been waiting for feedback from Bernie Spak on the actual contents of the book.

I’ve learned enough about publishing audio books to know that I can’t afford to do so at this time. I’ve decided that I will publish digital books for the Kindle through Amazon and for other formats through Smashwords or Book Baby, with the former being the likely choice.

I’ve read material on self-marketing of books and I don’t know how well I can do this. I’m not one that participates on social media and everyone highly recommends doing so. I don’t have the financial resources to arrange book tours.  I do not have a large e-mail list of people that might share an interest in professional selling.  I think that if the book on selling is to sell then I, and others, will have to sell sales training. As unique as the approach taken in the book is, as pragmatic as we’ve tried to make it, and as skill oriented as it is,  I don’t think enough people would find it on their own and give it the rich endorsements that would be required to generate word of mouth promotion.
Goal for March – Complete Already Started First Draft of Book on S.P.I.C.E3 Problem-Solving
Although it is not yet March, I picked up the first draft on Problem Solving and continued to write. I did this because I was getting bored reading the material on publishing - too much repetition and too many outdated opinions in the material I found. As a result, I read some and wrote some, then tried to apply what I had been learning in my reading to see if I understood. Consequently, I have about 130 pages in a book on problem solving written in the 6”x9” format in Word in a CreateSpace template, and a version of Insight Sales in an e-book format.

Lifestyle Goals:

Physical Wellness
For the majority of the 31 days  in January, but certainly not all of them, I have walked 45 to 55 minutes, taking the route with some hills.

Approximately half the nights of this month I was able to say no to eating anything at all after 7:00 and I was able to eat smaller than normal portions for the first two weeks of the month. In one quarter of the month I ate something after 7:00 p.m. but  controlled my eating to just a few sweets, or just a few crackers. In the remaining quarter of the month, I was out of control, trolling the cupboards first for sweets, then for something crunchy and salty, and then… In the middle of the month, after my best period of honoring my goals, I had discarded 8 pounds.  At the end of the month I am at 218, which is only 2 lbs down from my starting weight. Its time to get and stay serious about this goal.

I visited my doctor for a full physical exam. We discussed whether or not I should have a colonoscopy because my last one was in 2009. I asked for an ultra sound to check my gall bladder and he ordered an abdominal ultrasound but no colonoscopy. Following the ultrasound, I was advised that no gallstones were observed but that I have a cyst on a kidney. This was reported to me as something relatively normal and not needing treatment.  I haven’t heard from him about the results of the others tests which is usually good news. I did get Alberta Health Services report on my results for the FIT test and they found no blood in my stool so there is no need for a colonoscopy according to their policies.

However, I still experience frequent abdominal discomfort so will visit with my doctor again and clarify the results of the ultrasound and other blood and urine tests.  I want to determine what to do about the pain I experience. At that time, I will also ask him about the need to see an ear/nose/and throat specialist based on a comment made by a previous doctor about some bone growth in my ear canals.

There you have it. I’m a healthier specimen than I thought I was but still have issues.

Quynn was quite sick during this month and I/we looked after her for four days in that week. It was a good time together even though she felt crappy through much of it.

We had Quynn, Gweneth, my mother and Dianne’s mother out to the lake during one weekend this month. My mother was out on her own earlier in the month.

I’ve joined a Linked-in writers group and have participated in a few discussions. In one, I posed a question and received helpful advise about software to use to create the book formats for e-books.

I met with Kathy for lunch once during the month and at her request, I acted as judge at a meeting of the Crossroads photo club which was held at her place. I went early and helped her get ready and she prepared me dinner in exchange.

My communication with Ray has been exclusively via e-mail. He has been actively communicating via that medium and I have really appreciated his including me in his mail. I’ve made every effort to respond as quickly and fully as I can. I have been passing him articles on self-publishing as he has his own intentions.

I wrote five haibun in January and they are posted on my website. I don’t do a very good job of re-writing them so I don’t submit for publication. I miss the Haibun Writers Workgroup as a source of feedback. I have given feedback to one former member of that group on about five of her haibun in that month. I enjoy doing this for her and she seems to keep coming back for more.

During January I’ve read about fifteen fiction books, revisiting McGarrity, Robert B. Parker, Daniel Silva, Michael Conneally, Lisa Scottoline. I’ve also read some short novellas by an author new to me,  Spencer Quinn. I also read APE: Author Publisher, Entrepreneur by Guy Kawasaki and many other shorter digital books on self and e-book publishing in the month. It has been a good month for reading.

Throughout this month I have been aware of my goals and mostly disciplining myself with them in mind, while at the same time not getting too cross with myself when I slip from that progress. I’m doing okay and will appreciate completing my twelve monthly projects. I find it easier to have one major goal for each month and the general yearlong minor goals. It keeps me focused. 

I have decided to add one goal for the year. Starting in February, I intend to shoot photographic pictures at least once per week for the remainder of the year, totaling forty-eight photo shoots. These images will be processed and posted on my website monthly. I’m doing this because I virtually did no photography during January.  Because I was unable to update my website before February 4th because I was in danger of exceeding the data limit on my internet plan, I have included the results of the first shoot in this edition of my website. Lots of snow meant lots of snow images.

new snow
everything looks
so much cleaner