11:23 pm and too few words again today

I’ve managed only 2 of my 12 sessions today (20 minutes each). Part of the blame goes to my panic at realizing I had ruined the opening of my book by overworking it. I had to pull up backup copy 9 to get the old opening back. I’m currently at backup copy 20, and backup copy 9 was made on 6/11 (today is 6/24).

This all came to my attention last night when I sent my document to my Fire and read through what I’d written. My first thought was uh oh. So I pulled up the old version that I just happened to have sent to my Fire a while back and read the opening of it.

The old version was much better than the new. Miles better. Leagues better.

I was not happy to realize this.

I got up this morning knowing I’d have to fix it.  I’ve obsessed over things I didn’t need to obsess over today in an effort to avoid thinking about this.

I did a “compare documents” in Word to see just how bad it was. It was bad. More red than black, and ouch, I didn’t really need to see that.

It’s 11:59 pm and I should really go to bed, but I think I’m going to try to do a few more sessions so I don’t have this hanging over my head tomorrow. Then again… it’s late and I just want to put this day behind me, so maybe I won’t.

As for tomorrow, I think I’m going to forbid the internet until I’ve done at least half my minimum sessions. That’s only 6 and at 20 minutes each, comes to only 2 hours. I can surely hold out that long!

Now, time to get out of my own way and write this damn book without agonizing over every word. :D

DAILY ACCOUNTABILITY

Session 1 (20 min): -25 words (meaning I deleted more than I wrote)
Session 2 (20 min): 8 words

Poor little kitty

A stray, starving cat showed up in my back yard yesterday.

She looks much better than she feels, because what she feels like is a half-pound bag of bones. (If she’s even a half-pound. I’ve had blocks of cheese that feel heavier than her.)

Anyway, I fed her, a little, and then a little more, and a little more. I was most worried that she would make herself sick eating too much too fast, and I was right. Mostly I succeeded, but she did get a tiny bit sick by the time evening came. Today she’s doing well, and I think she’ll probably hang around a while. She’s a friendly little cat. As long as she stays, I’ll feed her. But indoor animals are not for me, so she’s definitely staying outside. I’ve put a bed out for her and a box on its side up on my deck where she’ll be safest from the predators lurking in the woods. She seems to like it. :)

I’ll add a picture later.

I hope she improves–I’d love to see her fatten up a bit. I can feel what feels like every bone in her little body when I pet her.

On vacation!

Not that I’ve gone anywhere, but today I decided what I was going to call this unexpected break of mine—something without negative connotations, a name that’ll help me fight off the guilt I don’t need to feel for taking some time for myself without stressing over what I “should” be doing.

What I decided was that I was on vacation. :) I don’t take vacations often enough as it is, so instead of feeling guilty about not feeling like writing, I’m counting this time as vacation time.

Now, back to Midsomer Murders and the “Days of Misrule.” ;) As an introverted homebody, this is the best kind of vacation.

New theme, new theme!

Can you tell I’m excited? I’m so happy to have a new theme for the site. It’s the basic Twenty Seventeen theme, but I really like it. I mean, it’s my favorite of the default WordPress themes to date.

I tried my picture in the header, but it was just too big. I can’t get past the desire to have text above the fold. For some reason, landing on a page that’s just an image really throws me, and I just don’t like it. So no header image, still.

On the other hand, the Visual editor window is so much nicer! I hated Merriweather (the font from Twenty Sixteen). I mean, it was nice to read, but it took up way too much space in the back end when I was trying to compose a post. I’d defaulted to doing all my composing in the Text editor. Now I can use the Visual editor more often again. I love that.

Now, off to put this theme on numerous other websites, because I like it just that much. :D

(Oh my goodness. I just realized I’ve spent 7 hours on this stuff, including a few blogs posts on one of the sites where I updated the theme. It’s 11:25 PM. So there went my plans for more than a few words of writing tonight. I’d better get to it if I don’t want to ruin my streaks.)

WordPress 4.7 has a bug in the editor window

The WordPress 4.7 update went well, but writing a post just became more difficult, because—bug. Possibly several bugs.

The window jitters and moves when trying to delete a space and just generally doesn’t react well to scrolling and other stuff at random times.

The table issue I complained about previously is still there. I can’t delete most tables in the visual editor. Instead, I have to go the text editor window to delete them.

But the jittery window is new, as is the fact that I was trying to delete an empty line while in the visual editor and it kept not deleting and the editor window and right side menu just kept jumping up and down. I had to go to the text editor to delete the blank line and the text editor said all that was there was a non-breaking space.

I’ve turned off the “Enable full-height editor and distraction-free functionality” and things feel a little more stable, but the fact is, the WordPress 4.7 editor has problems.

:D

Word count post for Nov. 19–21, 2016

Nov. 19: 218
Nov. 20: 393
Nov. 21: 3,325

Daily average since 9/19 (as of Nov. 21): 1,032 words

Yesterday was good. I also reached 6 hours of writing time.

Today has not been good. I haven’t even reached 0 minutes of writing time. I have time to recover, although probably not to reach yesterday’s successful word count, so I’m going to give it a shot. Either that, or fall asleep on the couch. Haven’t decided yet. :o

(PS. I am sick. I have definitely caught a cold from one of my kids and I have the stuffy nose and sore throat to prove it. Maybe I’ll just blame today’s lack of progress on that.)

Another WordPress bug to bug me: I can no longer delete tables in the visual editor

And today I discovered that no matter what I do, I can no longer delete tables in the visual editor of WordPress. This matters because tables that look quite small and should be able to be deleted with a simple highlight and delete are often a pain in the butt to delete in the text editor because the code for tables can be quite long on the page.

I certainly hope this one doesn’t hang around a long time. I absolutely hate having to switch to the text editor every time I need to delete a table. I paste tables into WordPress a lot and I’m grateful that at least I got that functionality back after it disappeared in one the previous WordPress updates. But still…

It’s not the end of the world, by far, but it’s definitely not my favorite thing. :(

Day 2 of the new schedule

Scheduled 9:00-10:30 1:00-2:30 7:30-9:00 Words
Day 1 10:15-11:57 4:29-5:22 .75 hrs  771
Day 2 none  none  none  0

All sessions are 1.5 hours of writing time regardless of length unless I say otherwise.

Day 2

As you can see, I’ve written nothing today. I wasn’t sick, despite being sick yesterday. I just didn’t get started. Instead, I spent lots of time with my daughter and the stray puppy my daughter recently adopted. My daughter left this evening for a week, and the puppy isn’t feeling great after having been spayed yesterday, and I guess I’ll just have to try extra hard to make tomorrow a really good writing day.

Puppy is cute though, huh?

Puppy

Turns out she’s about 6 months old. She’s a very sweet puppy. I wish I liked animals more, but I really don’t. Luckily, my daughter does, so the puppy has someone to play with her.

The puppy makes me pet her every time I go to the door, and she licks my toes. It’s yucky, but I put up with it because I can’t stand the thought of being mean to her. :o

The vet says she’s a mix of a mix, possibly with some Labrador and German Shepherd in her. Whatever she is, she listens better than most, and she’s one of the friendliest dogs I’ve known.

When she arrived, she was clean and well-behaved and looked like she’d been eating well. I also had one of the weirdest incidents I’ve ever had here a night or two after she showed up, and it has me convinced that the puppy showing up on my doorstep wasn’t by chance.

Someone dumped that poor little dog in my yard on purpose.

At about 8:30 the night after she arrived, the neighbor across the street called to let me know someone had stopped in my driveway and then left quickly. Thinking it was strange, and that maybe they’d been messing with my mailbox, I took a flashlight and walked down the drive.

There, right in the middle of my driveway, someone had left an aluminum pie plate piled high with dog food and another full of water.

Someone obviously wanted to make sure the puppy thought my home was her new home.

Like I said, weird. Who the hell stops in someone else’s driveway and leaves food and water for a dog?

Also, what an asshole thing to do. I really didn’t need or want a pet, but I couldn’t very well let the puppy starve. I tried to find her a home, but I couldn’t find anyone interested, and by then, my daughter had really taken to her.

So now we have another dog. Blackie’s getting old so he wasn’t that thrilled to find himself sharing attention, but he’s adapting. I’m not sure I am. I don’t want to care about another dog, but it’s hard to stay hard hearted when they look at you like they do.

I miss Evernote, but I miss it less after installing Pocket

I’m pretty happy with my switch from Evernote to OneNote in most respects, except one. I used Evernote as my to-read list and regularly clipped articles I wanted to read later to a “To Read” notebook. If I liked the article I moved it to my Clipped notebook, where I kept random articles and clippings from the web to revisit later if I wanted.

I don’t organize these articles, because it’s not some massive amorphous list of things I’d like to read someday/maybe. These are articles I absolutely want to read as soon as I have time and I get through them quickly. No one article usually sticks around longer than a week, and if I keep passing it over, I usually just delete it.

I still have those notebooks in OneNote, but OneNote doesn’t quite work like Evernote did and I find it more difficult to read articles I’ve saved.

Pocket has become the solution to that problem—an excellent solution, in fact, because it’s compatible with every device I own and I can read on any of them, much the way I was able to read my Evernote notes on any device, even my 5 year old Droid X.

Although OneNote is compatible with almost all my devices, it won’t run on the old Droid (which I still use as a reading device) or my second generation Kindle Fire. Believe it or not, these are my two favorite reading devices and I choose them over my newer options almost every time, unless I need OneNote. Now I can read on my preferred devices, despite their age.

If I want to save an article, I can visit the original article from Pocket and clip it to OneNote. (I tried it and it works just that easy.) This seems like it’d be extra trouble compared to just moving a clipped article from one notebook to another, but this really isn’t a big deal for me, because I don’t save that many articles. Mostly I read and delete.

And if in the future Pocket goes the way of Evernote and starts limiting device usage, I’ll just go back to reading on OneNote.

Some days, I still miss Evernote. I used it for years and was quite happy with it, so it’s only natural. But now I don’t miss it quite so much. :)

I need a plan for tomorrow

I feel so completely out of sorts because I haven’t been writing. I don’t feel like I’m going to get out of this funk without a plan of some kind. My mind is so far from my stories that it feels impossible to move forward.

I asked my son what kind of plan I should make and he said: “Work. Your plan needs to be to work.”

I think he might be right. :o

 

Evernote is changing, but so am I: switching from Evernote to OneNote

Evernote has been my go-to software app for notes for many years. I’ve loved it for a long time, but the time has come to make the switch to OneNote. The thing is, I have an Office 365 subscription that I’m very happy with, despite the fact that I don’t actually use the new versions of Excel and Word.* I tried OneNote soon after installing Office 365, and although I didn’t hate it, I didn’t see a big need to switch.

One reason was because my phone is getting old, I mean really old (it’s an original Droid X), and it’s starting to have trouble running newer applications. My little Droid X is still on Android 2.3.4. But goodness, I love that phone, and it still does what I need it to do: check my email, send texts and messages, play music, make calls, take photos, and run my 6 e-reading apps.

On the other hand, Aldiko has recently started crashing on me, and the Kindle app has started to load really slowly, so it’s definitely going downhill. And my phone won’t run OneNote, while it still runs Evernote without a hitch. So I decided at the time not to make the switch.

But last night I got the following email.

Evernote Basic is changing

At Evernote, we are committed not only to making you as productive as you can be, but also to running our business in as transparent a way as possible. We’re making a change to our Basic service, and it’s important that you know about it.

In the coming weeks, Evernote Basic accounts will be limited to two devices, such as a computer and phone, two computers, or a phone and a tablet. You are currently over this limit, but will have at least 30 days to adjust. Plus and Premium accounts will continue to support access from an unlimited number of devices.

Look for additional communication from us explaining how your account is changing and outlining your options. For more information about why we are making this change, see our blog post.

The problem with this is that I use Evernote everywhere: phone, Kindle fire, Fire tablet, laptop, desktop… You get the picture. But out of the 60 MB of data transfer Evernote allows a free account, I use less than one MB most months. Right now, I’m at 259 KB for the month. There’s just no reason for me to pay for a subscription for this service. And now I won’t be able to access Evernote on all my devices.

To put it bluntly, Evernote has suddenly become much less useful to me.

So, last night, I used the OneNote importer to copy my Evernote notes to OneNote. And I quite like it. It’s going to take a little getting used to, but I think I’ll manage.

I have to say, I’m sorry for Evernote, but I think their recent changes are going to be the end of them. Not because I think it matters that I switched, because I was probably never going to be a paid user anyway. I don’t worship the ideal of a paperless life, by far, and I don’t like digital clutter either. But instead of making changes that will make Evernote indispensable to users, they’re limiting it in a way that makes it less likely the software can ever become indispensable to those who might go on to become paid users.

*I still use my Office 2007 versions, although there are features in the 2016 editions that I like, such as how Word remembers where you last were in the document when you reopen it. The switch to OneNote made me feel like I should try again, because I really like the OneNote interface. I just… really hate that green all over Excel. The blue from 2007 was so much more soothing a color. I loved those colors. It’s made it really hard to get over my other issues with 2016 and commit to the newer versions.

Moving on from Chrome

Several years ago, I bailed on Firefox when it started running a bit slow on my computers (actually my much older laptop), and switched to Chrome. I liked Chrome’s clean interface, so I stuck with it. But lately I’ve not been so happy with Chrome, and today I decided to make the switch back to Firefox (yes, I was procrastinating).

I’m glad I did. Firefox is running faster than Chrome, and I like how the fonts look. There’ve always been some annoyances I’ve lived with in Chrome, too, like the fact that video always auto plays for me, and I wasn’t a fan of the bookmark manager. I like organized bookmarks. It was totally possible to organize them in Chrome, but it wasn’t super simple. Also, history: in Firefox, it’s very easy to search for history items and mass delete (which I need to do a lot of when I’m trying to avoid writer distractions and don’t want forums and blogs cluttering up my most visited lists), but in Chrome? I had to select little check boxes and delete them that way—talk about a pain in ASS.

But you know what’s really sold me on the switch?

I really like blue. :D

Screenshot 2016-06-25 19.32.59
Firefox has a blue bar at the top, while Chrome is an unrelenting gray.

I realize that seems kind of like a silly reason to be happy about the switch, but I’m just going to say it again, I really like blue. :) The blue bar at the top of the browser is much more pleasing to my eyes than the Chrome gray. I know I could use themes, but why add bloat? Nope, no themes for me.

So there you have it. I’ve abandoned Chrome for Firefox and I’m quite pleased I’ve done it. :)

Now, no more excuses! I need to write!

Losing my patience waiting for that A/C repair

It’s 6:32 am. The forecast high for today is 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the air quality alert for my area, I’m sitting with my windows open letting the house cool down. It’s made it to about 68 degrees. I’ll close them very shortly, before it warms up and hope it doesn’t get too hot in here today. I’ve been doing the same for days, and it’s been working much better to do that than to leave the windows open all day. I cool the house, close the windows and blinds, then ride out the hot temperatures, then open the windows again when it becomes cooler outside than in, usually near dark.

I am, however, going to call the repair shop again today and ask them again what the hell is taking so long. 4 weeks is 2 weeks too long to wait for a part, IMO. After looking at my calendar and realizing just how long it’s been, I’m finding I’ve lost my patience.

There’s still time

I have a plan for today, although it’s not the plan I started with this morning.

From 2:30 to 3:30 pm and 6:30 to 8:30 pm, I’m going to work on my new book. The goal would normally be to write 3,233 words (which would be really difficult for me to do in 3 hours of writing time but not impossible), but today, it’s much more about reading through the chapters I’ve already written, fixing boo-boos, and getting back into the story than it is about new words.

My original schedule today would have allowed me 4 hours for this, but if I don’t get caught in the perfectionism trap, I might get everything I want done today in the 3 hours I’m setting aside. The story sits at 27,804 words, and 3 hours seems like just enough time to get through it if I block out interruptions.

Accountability check-in: I had coffee today

I’m not supposed to be drinking coffee. It’s something I gave up—again—after finally admitting just how negatively caffeine affects me.

But today I gave in to the urge and had two cups of coffee right after lunch. I’m very awake right now and I do regret giving in to the urge, but impulsive behavior isn’t that new to me—I’m not exactly shocked that I gave in.

I knew better than to assume I had finally kicked the coffee habit for good. And knowing that, I had a backup plan that kicked in the moment I gave in!

The backup rule? If I have caffeine, for whatever reason, I can never have it more than once a week. Meaning I might have given in today, but the backup rule will keep me from giving in tomorrow or the next day or the next, keeping my safe from any future caffeine addiction.

Impulsivity strikes again

I came close to deleting every post on this site this morning. I did delete most of the tags (not the first time I’ve done this) and deleted and renamed some categories.

The fact is, I have no idea how to categorize most of the posts on this blog, but I would like to group things together in a more useful way. Most of what I write is just about my writing woes of the moment, and I often don’t realize I’m revisiting a particular line of thought until I can’t remember when (or in what post) I mentioned it before.

So, today I’m organizing this blog. (Yes, it’s also procrastination. I should be working on my latest book.)

I am procrastinating, but I used the opportunity to make a decision

I’ve been looking for a good case for using sentence case instead of title case for my post titles, and I’ve finally found one.

I found Are you Team Title Case or Team sentence case? today, and although I should totally have been able to say to myself, “Self, it’s okay to use whatever case you want to use,” I haven’t found it to be as easy as all that. I have continued to waffle on the issue, as a look through my archives could prove. (This is a pattern in my life in so many ways, I tell you.)

My favorite reason from the post?

4. Sentence case mirrors human-to-human communication style

Human beings don’t send each other texts, social updates and emails written in title case – that’s the mark of a corporate voice, someone trying to sell us something or make an official proclamation to a mass audience.

It’s sentence case for my titles from now on.