January was a mixed bag. On paper everything looks good. The rent got paid, I kept food on the table, and most of the things I wanted to accomplish got done. It took a lot more effort than it should have, due to the intrinsic complications of having an anxiety disorder coupled with the extrinsic assault on reason, compassion, and general social order. I’ve put together a rundown, not just to brag a bit to bolster my self esteem, but to provide myself with a record of things for future reference. I’d also like any feedback you’re willing to provide to me, because I need to hear other views and not just live in my little echo chamber. So here’s the State of Things: January 2017 in Review.
Total Word Count for the Month: 107358
Total Word Count Year to Date: 107358
Average Word Count per Day: 3463
There are days when I struggle to make my daily minimum word count goal (2500 words), and there are days when I can drop nearly 10k words without blinking. I’ve had a lot of focus issues, mostly stemming from anxiety. It’s been difficult to stay away from social media, what with the world blowing up and all. I wish that I had an office to go into, where I could close the door and shut out the world so I could just get more done. If I could do that, I feel that I could knock out 5000 words per day without a lot of effort. That would certainly help speed some short-term and long-term creative and business goals along.
Books Read Year to Date: 11
One of my goals for the year is to read more novels, specifically literary novels. I’m in the process of reading three, and I’m close to finishing one, but I didn’t finish any in January. Most of what I read were trade paperback collections of comic books. I don’t feel guilty about that, because I needed some lighthearted escapism to maintain my sanity. I read one of Carrie Fisher’s biographies, and a really heavy yet deeply edifying biography of Maimonides, which hopefully balances things out.
Books Published Year to Date: 4
In spite of my productivity being high, sales slowed a bit during the last two weeks of January. I’d like to think that people are donating to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood rather than buying my books. I fear that I’m reaching a saturation point, or getting repetitive, with the current Story Design series. The reality is that many people are getting a grip on their spending because the future feels not only uncertain but unstable. My competition isn’t other creatives, it’s fear.
Podcast Episodes Released: 5
Katie and I have released 87 consecutive episodes, without ever missing a week. After episode 100 we’re considering changing the name, although we’re not sure what the new name will be. Katie doesn’t like that it’s just “Katie in Finland”, because it doesn’t include me. I’m not satisfied with the tagline “A Podcast About American Expats”, because we’re somewhere between expats and immigrants at this point (expats eventually go back to their country of origin; immigrants are in the new country to stay). It’s safe to say that the show has evolved, along with our reasons for doing it and the what we get out of the experience. A reboot, or at least a repilot, is overdue.
Health and Wellness
The worst of the Long Dark is over, and days are getting longer again. Not only are there more hours of daylight, but the quality of the light is much better. There’s actual sunshine, and for the most part the most extreme cold of Finnish winter has passed. This means that I’m able to be outside more, do more walking, and get more exercise. Seasonal affective disorder is on the wane, and I have a lot more energy and enthusiasm.
That said, I’ve been fighting a cold for two weeks. I’ve had a mild, nagging cough that is just annoying and keeps me from getting decent sleep a lot of night. Stress and anxiety have taken their toll on my digestion, and for a while I thought I might be developing an ulcer (and I know from ulcers, dating to my time in the corporate world). Fortunately I’m getting better, and am once more able to muster more energy and enthusiasm.
Looking Forward: February 2017 and Beyond
Writing, publishing, reading, podcasting, and self care remain priorities. Additional, interconnected items on my plate are growing the business and preparing to renew our residence. I need to do our taxes. I’m working on expanding from digital-only to print books. There’s a very aggressive release schedule on my cork board that I’m determined to stay on track with.
I’m not sure if I’ll be able to register as a Finnish business before our residence renewal. It would mean being here as a self-employed person (me) and spouse (Katie) rather than student (Katie) and spouse (me). The reason that’s significant is that student residence makes us expats, self-employed residence makes us immigrants, and moves us closer to gaining permanent residence and eventual citizenship. If we can renew for another year that will give me the opportunity to continue growing the business, and time for Katie to get accepted into the Ph.D. program where she will possibly draw a stipend and increase our income a bit.
How You Can Help
Give me honest yet constructive feedback. Buy my books. Point out my blind spots, and suggest things I might not have thought of. Buy my books. Listen to the podcast and tell other people about it. Buy my books. Subscribe to this blog and tell other people about it. Buy my books. Tell other people about my books. Buy my books.