State of Things: April 2017 in Review

April was a rough month. A lot of thing are still unresolved. The Easter holiday and the need to travel cut deeply into my productivity. We haven’t received the spring that we were promised. Overall it’s been a very unsatisfying experience of a month. Here’s my April 2017 in review.

Risks

The Finnish immigration service started 2017 with around 7,000 unprocessed applications. This is because of the transition away from the police assisting with the process and migri doing everything in-house. Just before Easter that’s gotten that backlog down to 2,000. There are also about 2,000 new applications that have come in since the beginning of the year, however, including ours. Their goal is to be caught up by the end of June. This means we’re in a sort of limbo, legal and not-legal at the same time, because our old permit has not expired but our new permit hasn’t been approved. They’re not holding that against us, though, because we turned everything in on time, and the backlog is their problem, not ours. They’ve been very gracious, as usual. I just want the renewal to be official.

After months of problems with Bluehost, we’ve finally changed servers. Thus blogging and website development for the business can resume. The new hosting company, Namecheap, migrated everything over to their servers for free and kept me informed of what was happening at every step. The nameservers now point at the new host, everything has been deleted from Bluehost, and I’ve informed them I’m cancelled my contract with them. Of course support can’t process a refund, and they gave me the same email address that was told to complain to during the long downtimes, which no one has ever responded to. I expect nothing from them, so Bluehost was just money down a hole. Be warned.

Katie’s advisors have requested that she do some additional research and conduct another round of interviews, so the thesis submission has been pushed back to autumn. Because her doctoral research proposal builds on her Master’s thesis, this will strengthen her application to the Ph.D. program. It’s all good, and her advisors will be working with her over most of the summer to make her submissions bulletproof.

Total Word Count for the Month: 116,478

Total Word Count Year to Date: 432,388

Average Word Count per Day: 3,603

In spite of taking time off for Easter, to deal with immigration, and because of illness, I managed to keep up with my word count goals. I’ve changed my productivity routine, and will be writing about that in the near future. It’s actually helped me to manage getting my daily word count done while also dealing with other tasks, bringing more balance to my work flow.

Books Published Year to Date: Who Knows?

At the moment I’m too busy looking forward to go back and count. I know that I only released a couple of small things in April. For the rest of the year there will only be one or two releases per month, but they’ll be big books, full roleplaying games or campaign sourcebooks. The self-help guides for writers and roleplayers have run their course for a while.

Print books are coming, and I want to get those out as quickly as possible. I’m fairly confident that I’ve gotten the hang of doing layout for print, and I’ll order a proof of the first book in the next couple of weeks. When that comes in I’ll inspect it, and if it looks good it will be available for sale immediately. Then I’ll order the next book, and the next, and so on.

Podcast Episodes Released: All of Them

Again, however many Mondays there have been so far this year are however many episodes we have released. We did a soft reboot of the podcast with a new titles and a shift in focus, and somehow we still have listeners and haven’t lost subscribers. The show is now YouTube-only, because that’s where the majority of the audience is. We get very little demand for the MP3 downloads, and hosting large files costs money. During the web host switch, we did away with the MP3s. I still need to circle back and fix the blog posts, but again, the demand for MP3s is low so I don’t think anyone will even notice.
Today we released the 4th episode as Proof of Life, and the 100th episode overall counting the original Katie in Finland title.

Health and Self-Care

We have warmer temperatures and much more sunlight, so I’ve been outside and walking more. I’ve gone back to making two trips to the grocery store per week, on foot, rather than one large trip on the bus. These things are good for my physical and mental health. The bad news is that it’s the end of the semester, so our neighbors are doing less studying and more partying. This has not been good for my anxiety or my sleep habits. Loud music until midnight on a Saturday is annoying but I can deal with it; randomly blasting your personal empowerment anthem at 3 in the afternoon on a Tuesday is just rude and uncalled for. Some people are still working and writing papers and living lives.

Books Read Year to Date: 78

Once again, most of what I read this month were comic book trade paperbacks, books on writing, and business books. My goal to read more novels continues to elude me, and 2017 is already four months gone. Reading in the evening hasn’t been working, because I’m too fried. I’m going to try sticking an hour a day into the middle of the day to read, breaking up my writing and business routine. Consuming good fiction is, technically, work-related, and since I work incredibly long days anyway I don’t think reading a novel during office hours counts as laziness.

At the top of my to-read list: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon, The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, Declare by Tim Powers, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, and Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Looking Forward: May 2017 and Beyond

We probably won’t hear about our residence permit extension until sometime in June, so that’s going to dangle unresolved throughout the month of May. At least Katie’s thesis defense and doctoral proposal have been rescheduled for the autumn, so while she continues to write and do research there’s no immediate anxiety about those.

On the heels of the podcast, this month I’m doing a soft relaunch of this blog. It’s something that I’ve been planning since January, but have held off on because of the merry mayhem that Bluehost has been wracking with the egregious amount of downtime.

I’m going to pick one topic per month, related somehow to the site’s overall theme of Simplify – Create – Thrive, and write about it. At the end of the month, I’ll gather it up into an ebook and sell it, as a way to help support this site and some of my other creative efforts. This month’s topics is 31 Reasons Why I Write, with a new post scheduled every day, 7 days a week.

There will also be a soft relaunch of Light Reading: The Dancing Lights Press Newsletter this coming weekend. It will be back on a regular weekly schedule now. If you’re not already a subscriber, sign up now!

The electronic files for the first print book will have been sent off by the end of the month, as noted above. Barring unforeseen circumstances, there should be two large, new roleplaying releases by the end of the month as well, at least in digital formats with print to follow.

Getting a Finnish tax number and registering as a business is deferred until after we get a residence decision. If things go according to plan, that will probably happen in September or October.

I will continue to work at breakneck pace, because I have a dream of taking a week off (maybe two) in July. Even if we don’t go anywhere, I have visions of going down to the lake, dipping my feet in the water, and reading novels all day. If I’m adequately caught up on work and we can afford it, it will happen. I need to work now to insure that it will happen.

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.