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Create Journal Simplify

Simple Living Minimalism as a Writer

How do I implement simple living minimalism as a writer? For me, it covers everything from having an uncluttered work space, to my work flows, to the types of projects I choose to work on.

Physical Workspace

My desk is a basic Ikea LINNMON/ADILS (not sponsored) in white. It doesn’t give me a lot of room, an intentional choice because there’s no space for clutter to accrue. I’ve got a lamp, my laptop, a pencil case, and my bullet journal. My plush unicorn Vito sits to my left, and my  elephant Fred sits to my right. The stuffed animals are there to add color and humanize my workspace, but they also occupy otherwise empty space where stuff could start to pile up.

The pencil case has the bare minimum: two black pens; three more pens in red, green, and blue for color-coding; a mechanical pencil; an eraser; a spool of correction tape; and short ruler I use as a straight edge.

There is small two-shelf bookcase to my left, the top of which I do use as additional space. This is where my coffee sits. My bullet journal lives there when I’m not writing in it, so it’s out of the way. There are to rolls of Washi tape for color coding, a pad of sticky notes, and tissues.

Digital Workspace

It’s imperative that I keep my Windows desktop as organized as possible. That means keeping things filed in the correct folders, and maintaining as few icons as possible. Because I work in series or product lines, each active line as a folder. There is a shortcut to the 3 projects with the nearest deadlines, so I’m only a click away from opening those. I have a folder for completed projects, basically an archive. There’s a folder for ideas, and one for upcoming projects that I don’t need to be working on yet.

All of that is in the center of the desktop. To the left, separated by a couple of rows of blank space, are the “utility” icons. This is where the trash can, cloud access, the download folder, and so on are located. On the right side of the screen, also separated by a couple of rows, are folders for personal things. This includes shortcuts to books I’m currently reading, a folder full of downloaded podcasts, music, financial information, business contracts, and so on.

Project Selection

When I’m deciding what projects to work on, I look at my options through the filter of simple living. How complicated and stressful is this going to be? Is it going to be disruptive, and if so, is it worth it to reach my goals? Will there be a lot of time-consuming research or fact-checking required, and again, will the outcomes I want be worth that effort? Who will I have to work with, and are they potentially disruptive to my process and my overall peace of mind?

I always consider opportunity cost. What will I have to give up if I tackle this project? What will I not be able to do if I choose to do this?  Simple living minimalism as a writer also means looking at my overall life, from the day-to-day flows to personal relationships to my professional reputation. The more complicated a project is, the greater the likelihood it will have a ripple effect and impact more facets of my life. That’s why I strive to keep things simple.

Simple Living Minimalism as a Writer

This is the latest in a series of posts on Simple Living Minimalism. If you enjoy my posts you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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Create Journal Thrive

If You Have Time to Doomscroll, You Have Time to Read

At the moment I only have a business presence on Twitter, and no personal account. I find it moderately beneficial to see what’s going on in my publishing niche. Even though I’m bad at it for various reasons, I attempt to contribute to and participate in the community. Still, I’ve just uninstalled it from my phone and replaced it with an eReader app. If you have time to doomscroll, you have time to read.

I know someone’s going to say that’s judgmental toward people that don’t read. It’s not about them, it’s about me. Reading is far more productive for me. A few minutes taking in a chapter of a marketing book, or a volume on improving my copywriting skills, will get me further in life than seeing peoples’ reactions to the latest bout of fascist douchebaggering or incredulous science denial. Even if I read a few pages of a novel, that has a positive effect on my mental health. Reading what the trolls and bots are spreading, not so much.

When I do want to engage on Twitter, I do so from my laptop. That means I’m at my desk, in my workspace. It goes a long way toward separating work-time from not work-time.

If You Have Time to Doomscroll…

If you enjoy my posts (maybe not this one, because, you know), you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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Create Journal Thrive

The Joy of Going Analog

I will say this again: one of my greatest regrets in life is getting rid of my Alphasmart. It was lightweight, indestructable, ran forever on 3 AA batteries, and the only thing I could do on it was write. Not internet, no distractions. It was the closest I have ever come to going analog with my writing.

The arthritis in my hands preclude writing longhand on yellow legal pads. I’d be in screaming pain within minutes. There’s also my strong aversion to doing double-work, and since I’d need to retype it anyway longhand always felt like a waste of time. I also know that there are other dedicated word processing devices, but they are expensive. Even getting a refurbished Alphasmart would cost a fortune to ship to Finland. So I need to accept airplane mode as the alternative.

Minimizing My Phone

Normally I take notes in my phone, using Google Keep. This week I purchased a pack of tiny 5 cm x 7.6 cm (2″ x 3″) notebooks to serve the same purpose. I carry one in my pocket, and jot down ideas and tasks as they come to me. It keeps me from looking at my phone, where the temptation to answer an email or look at puppies on Instagram could become a distraction. I’ve taken to putting my phone in my bag, rather than my pocket, when I go out. I also keep it across the room when I’m working.

Wall Calendars are Happiness

This week I also purchased a 2021 calendar. I have finally gotten rid of the last vestiges of Google Calendar. “Oh, but it syncs with everything!” Well that’s the problem, isn’t it? I’ve come to use my bullet journal for anything I found useful about GCal. I remember things better when I have to write them in the bujo and the wall calendar. Using a family calendar, I can use the spaces intended for different family members to track different projects. It’s easier to see, and so much more satisfying to update, than a phone app.

I need to keep looking for more ways of going analog.

The Joy of Going Analog

If you enjoy my posts (maybe not this one, because, you know), you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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Create Journal Thrive

Why Upcoming Posts May Seem Disconnected

As I am writing this it is 11 am Eastern European Summer time on the first of September 2020. Yesterday was physically and emotionally exhausting, and I am punchy. I am not just exhausted, I have transcended to become Exhaustion, the Demigod of Lassitude and Collapse. So, uh, yeah, I just wanted to let you know that upcoming posts may seem a bit disconnected from day-to-day reality.

I’m going to spend more time away from the internet this month. Somehow I need to finish four 96-page books in the next three weeks (all written, need editing, layout, and sales copy) so I have time for neither tragedy nor nonsense. It will require all of my spoons, so the firehose of hate, despair, and ignorance needs to be turned off.

Earlier this morning I had to experience the cognitive dissonance of everything from:

  1.  ideological-driven justifications for cold-blooded murder, to
  2. the presentation of ridiculous and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories as a sound basis for public policy, to
  3. a new round of people claiming that it’s not a copyright violation if you don’t charge money for the intellectual property you don’t own but feel entitled to give away.

This bullshit is very jarring to see, for those of use that live in objective, fact-based reality.

Anyway…

Expect that most posts are going to be written in advance. I’m trying to set aside one day a week to knock out a week’s worth of posts at at time. This means they won’t be related to anything going on in the world, not just because they were scheduled in advance, but because I’m unplugged from the current hellscape zeitgeist.

 

Why Upcoming Posts May Seem Disconnected

If you enjoy my posts (maybe not this one, because, you know), you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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Create Journal Thrive

Please Leave a Message After the Beep

We’re inside one of those bubbles where the past few posts were written several days ago. This post was as well. I’m taking some time away from the internet to deal with real-life stuff, my overall health, and some deadlines. I’m not here right now. Please leave a message after the beep.

As you’re reading this, there are any number of things I could be doing. I might be checking all of the paperwork I need to take to immigration tomorrow for the 853rd time, paranoid that I’ve forgotten something. It could be that I’m madly cleaning the apartment, because we have a plumbing issue and I want the place to look nice when the workmen come. Yes, I’m your grandma, shut up. In all likelihood, I’m grinding to finish a book so that it can be released this coming Friday.

Tuesday I will be back in the office. By then I will be able to make an informed decision about taking time off. I direly need to just have a couple of days to sleep in, order a pizza so I don’t have to cook, and read a stack of books. I’ve been working at a breakneck pace, and I suspect that I’ll need to continue doing so for the rest of the year. A couple of days doesn’t seem like a huge ask.

Please Leave a Message After the Beep

If you enjoy my posts (maybe not this one, because, you know), you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.