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Create Journal Thrive

Being a Spoonie as a Lo-Fi Writer

Today I want to talk about being a spoonie as a lo-fi writer, and what that intersection looks like. To briefly recap, a lo-fi writer is a dignified term for “hack”, a person that turns out a large volume of content at great speed. It doesn’t mean bad writer, necessarily, although there is a stigma. A spoonie is a person with a chronic condition that leaves them with limited amounts of energy to get things done. They need to make choices and prioritize activities so they can get through the day without wearing themselves out.

I am both a lo-fi writer and a spoonie. My condition influences my decisions about what projects to take on. Honestly, short turn-around times aren’t ideal. There’s little flexibility in terms of deadline, so if I can’t function it’s easy to blow it. That’s a stressful situation to be in, which only makes things worse.

Long-term projects with more comfortable deadline are obviously better. There’s more room to absorb bad days, and the need to replenish my spoons. The downside is that it means longer spaces between paydays. No one dives into being a lo-fi writer because they’re financially well-off; we do it for a constant supply of quick cash.

My solution to this has been to work hard and build a healthy back catalog of work. I have enough things out in the world for sale that if I don’t release something new, the long tail is still bringing in some money. This has increasingly allowed me to taking on larger projects with less urgent due dates. I live for the day that I have some bona fide hit that makes a lot of money. It would be fantastic to not have to be a lo-fi writer, and to take as much time as I need to create each piece of writing until I’m 100% satisfied with it.

Being a Spoonie as a Lo-Fi Writer

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About Simplify – Create – Thrive

This blog is dedicated to one basic principle: if you can simplify your life and dedicate time to create things, you will be able to thrive and find the health and happiness you seek.

About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, simple living minimalist, and spoonie. By day he works as the 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 Simplify

Writing Blog Posts Off-Line

After leaning into the calendar feature in WordPress for over a year, I’ve gone back to writing blog posts off-line. It’s been great to see the big picture at a glance. The calendar allows me to see what’s scheduled. I know what’s a draft I need to complete. I can see what days don’t have anything set up. It requires being online, though, and I’m trying to get away from constant connectivity.

I’m going back to the way I used to do things. That’s a Scrivener file, dedicated to the blog. When I’ve written a week’s worth of posts I can open up WordPress, cut, paste, format, schedule, and get back off the internet. I don’t have to write with a web browser open, and the looming temptation to open other tabs and fall prey to the web’s many distractions.

Having things in Scrivener also makes it easier to collect posts into a zine, or even a book. It’s something I’ve done before, with moderate success. I’m still considering doing a monthly ezine that collects all of the prior month’s posts into a convenient epub or Kindle format. If I do that, it will be a freebie design to maybe drive some more traffic here to the blog. I may experiment with it for October, November, and December, and based on the results decide whether or not to keep going into 2021.

Writing Blog Posts Off-Line

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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

Falling Behind to Get Ahead

The hardest thing for me to do this month was to throw my hands in the air and give up. Between the (it’s not COVID) respiratory infection and the world being on fire, I have not had the energy to get as much done as I’ve wanted to. The notion of intentionally falling behind to get ahead is rational, but still alien to me. The best thing for long-term productivity and results was for me to just stop, rest, and regroup.

A hard truth to face is that I’m still carrying around the 40-hour work week mentality that was drilled into me for decades. If you don’t work, you don’t eat. There’s something to be said for having a strong work ethic, but not if it isn’t rationale. I’m tired of operating in hack/grind mode. It’s tiring to crank out someone, launch it into the world, and immediately get to work on the next thing.

I have a substantial back catalogue and a long tail that generates royalties even when I’m not releasing new material. What’s going to grow my business going forward are incremental changes. Another pass at editing a manuscript. An additional day spend on marketing a new release, or brainstorming way to push older titles. A couple of extra hours of sleep now and again.

My brain tells me that I should be running as fast as I can for the rest of the year, if I’m going to survive 2020. But other parts of me, my heart and my spirit, are urging me to trust the more time spent planning, working smarter rather than harder, will pay off better in the long run.

Falling Behind to Get Ahead

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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 Simplify Thrive

Thinking in Terms of Weeks

Lately I’ve been thinking in terms of weeks, rather than days or months. A while back I gave up using monthly spreads in my bullet journal in favor of weekly logs, but for a number of reasons I’m slowly switching back. I’m still planning things in weekly segments, though, and I’ll get to why in a moment.

One of the many, many differences between the United States and Finland is that numbered weeks are used more commonly here. For example, the week that I am writing this, ending 27 September 2020 , is week 39. There are 53 weeks in 2020, simply because of how the dates fall. In the US I only ever saw it in business, particularly on things that required ISO-8601 standards.

Here in Finland I see it used in ads to let you know how long a sale runs, or how long a coupon is good for. Restaurants advertise their specials based on the week number. And of course, businesses, schools, sports team, and club use the week number.

Weekly Thinking as a Minimalist Spoonie Writer

Here’s where it’s working for me so far:

As a writer, I’ve stopped thinking of a deadline as being firmly fixed on Tuesday of Week 42. Now I think of Week 41 being the final week that I have to work on a particular manuscript, so plan accordingly. Not only does it allow me to better adjust my workload, it lessens the stress. I feel as if I have more time to get caught up and do the million things that always pop up when you’re in the home stretch.

As a minimalist, it means I only have 52 or 53 time units to worry about, not 365. It’s a lot easier to hold that concept in your head. That smaller number to work forces me to realize that my time is finite. It prevents me from over-booking myself. I need to prioritize better, and only spend my time on the things that matter the most to me or will have the greatest impact.

As a spoonie, thinking in weeks rather than days gives me space to breathe. If I’m not feeling well or can’t be especially productive one day, I don’t feel as guilty about it. There are few things in my life that absolutely, positively need to be done on a specific day. A week is still short enough for me to have a sense of urgency, so that I don’t put things off. But it’s a large enough space that if I have to take a moment it’s not going to completely wreck my workflows.

Thinking in Terms of Weeks

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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

October Will Be Better

At the end of August I had some ambitious plans. This being 2020, I should have known better that to expect anything to go well. So here, on 21 September I am officially giving up on everything I wanted to get done this month. I will start again next month. October will be better. Beside that you can write appointments, reminders, events, anything you want to remember.

This means that series I had planned will be pushed back. I’ve been spending the past several days catching my breath and planning. That includes making contingencies for when 2020 decides to keep being all 2020 about things. I have to keep pushing forward somehow, though.

So the rest of this month I’ll be making some ad-hoc posts about winging thing, catching up, and how I’m trying to prepare for 2021. It’s all kind of terrifying, and I’ll explain more about that in a future post. What I need to do is trust my own processes, and have faith that taking a beat to readjust and reset some things is going to pay off both financially and creatively than just trying to push through with a plan that’s already be thrown entirely off kilter.

October Will Be Better

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.