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Journal Thrive

Forget GoDaddy: Take Your Scam and Shove It

Moments ago I received an email from GoDaddy, the domain registrar and web host. The subject line was “Alert: berinkinsman.com is available”. I have not used GoDaddy for anything in years, because their service was terrible and, well, pick from a long list of other reasons. “The CEO is an elephant murderer” is at the top of my personal reasons. Forget GoDaddy.

I also know that my domain is not up for renewal. First, my current domain registrar and webhost, NameCheap (not sponsored), has done a good job of keeping me informed of these sorts of things without getting spammy and intrusive. Second, I was literally on the NameCheap site a week ago renewing a different domain. While I was there I noted when all of my sites are due for renewal this year, and noted them in the future log of my bullet journal.

Forget GoDaddy

Clickbait tactics side, this scummy email campaign is nothing less than predatory. I have an anxiety disorder. Even though I knew better, of course I immediately began to worry that I’d accidentally allowed my domain to lapse, and all of the hassle and expense I’d have to go through to either reclaim it. Forget GoDaddy for putting me through that for no reason other than to trick me into visiting their site.

I also have executive dysfunction disorder, fancy-talk for “I forget things because I have an anxiety disorder”. I spend a great deal of time worrying that I’ve neglected something important, which will bring dire consequences crashing down on my head. Which is exactly why I fill put all of this type of information into my bullet journal. Forget GoDaddy for putting me through all of this.

To remedy this I marked the email as spam and blocked them within Gmail. Hopefully this will slow them down, if no stop them. I rarely use the “unsubscribe” option with dirtbag companies like GoDaddy. I expect they’ll just take it as validation that it’s a good address, and continue to send me garbage emails in the future.

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Create Journal Simplify Thrive

Going Full Recluse

The new desk, as a matter of necessity, had prompted a cleaning spree. I’d purchased some bins and containers to better organize things, and in the sorting process a lot of things were flagged to later disposal. A key element was simply starting the new desk with only the few things I knew I’d need. My laptop and bullet journal made the cut, of course, along with the map and my favorite pen. Space for my coffee cup was reserved, so that it was within reach but not where I’d knock it over accidentally. That was about it. Everything else could safely sit in the bookshelf, with more frequently-used items on top and the rest stowed away below.

This was, quite unconsciously, a re-commitment to minimalism. To invert Marie Kondo, the items I retained weren’t what sparked joy but the absence of clutter. The point of the desk was to improve my physical work flows. This started me on a tear to re-appraise the value of other things. Which naturally led me to my contact with the outside world in general, and social media in particular. I am, once again, quite close to going full recluse.

There’s more to it, of course, but a great deal has to do with the state of the world, my own mental health, and the achievement of my goals. You can fill in your own blanks, I’m sure. In examining what I need, and what I don’t, it was the basic realization that I’m tired of being depressed and angry that defined the problem. Twitter does not spark joy, therefore, Twitter goes into the bin. Certain commitments carry a cost, in time or spoons, that outweigh the benefit.

Going Full Recluse

In the end, really, who cares? I have a quiet and comfortable space to write, as free from distractions as I can make it. Being able to focus on what I’m doing makes me happy. Other peoples’ drama, well beyond my sphere of influence, is not my concern. As I publish things, I will tell people about them, so that I can pay the rent and continue to write. That’s all there is to it.

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Journal Thrive

What is the Best Thing That Happened This Year?

Hands down the best thing that happened this year was getting our Finnish residence extended. I love Finland, and I’d like to stay here forever. My reason for naming this the best thing, though, is even more basic than that. Our lives aren’t going to be disrupted, at least for another several months when we have to re-apply. We don’t have to abandon the things we have going — Katie’s education, her art career, my writing career — to relocate to another continent and start everything over (again).

The world right now is in such a state that I’m less happy about things that happened than I am over things that didn’t. All I crave right now is stability, something I’m constantly working toward. Just to be able to live life without having to periodically justify my existence. Finnish immigration is seriously a pleasure to work with, they’re nice people and have always been incredibly kind and helpful, but the process is still stressful.

All of this comes down to money. Shifting away from my current publishing niche, learning new skills, and doing better at marketing my work feeds into that. Stepping up my game means earning more, which in turn means less stress over whether my immigration status will be renewed. The best thing that happened this year is that I get to continue pursuing my goals into next year.

What is the Best Thing That Happened This Year?

How would you answer this question, reader?

Do you have questions you’d like to ask me? Leave them in the comments below, and I might answer them in a future post! Thanks for participating!

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Journal Thrive

On Being an Overly-Analytical Writer

Hi, my name’s Berin and I overthink things. Part of this comes from being a project manager. Some of it stems from living with an anxiety disorder. Another chunk comes from having executive dysfunction. It all comes down to need for well-organized information and processes in order to function and feel like I have some semblance of control. Today I’d like to acknowledge that I’m an overly-analytical writer, and talk about that a bit.

When I decided to write a novel, I didn’t start by creating an outline. I didn’t even begin with a project plan, you you might expect. The first thing I did was to develop a SMART goal (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). My project plan and the dedicated bullet journal came after that. Be grateful that my initial posts didn’t go into great gory details on those topics; I really wanted to write a 12-part series on laying out a bullet journal for novel writing.

(I still might, later, but it’s a whole other project on top of the novel and the blog.)

On Being an Overly-Analytical Writer

It’s okay to laugh, but it’s how my brain works. Honestly, getting the “heart of an accountant” stuff out of the way means that I can try to lean into the “soul of a poet” part as I write. It establishes a quiet, distraction-free space in my mind so I’m able create.

The SMART goal can be summed up as follows:

  • Specific: I am writing a 50,000 word first draft of a Gothic-inspired literary novel.
  • Measurable: I will write 600 words per day and chart my progress.
  • Achievable: It fits with my lifestyle, my other work, and my capabilities.
  • Relevant: This goal fits with my other goals and the life I want.
  • Time-Bound: The deadline for completing the first draft in February 29, 2020.

These are not ridiculous things to have clarity around before taking on a major endeavor like writing a novel. What I’m glossing over are the days of mental chaos that I had to tame in order to get to this concise summary of my objectives. I have to be overly-analytical about everything so that I can prioritize what’s important and chuck out the things that are so much noise and clutter.


Progress Report: Day 4

  • Today is day 4 of 90 on my journey to write the first draft of a novel.
  • Yesterday I wrote 630 words, bringing the total to 3,784.
  • That puts me 1,984 words ahead of my target goal, based on writing 600 words per day.
  • I’m currently working out of chronological order, writing the introduction scenes for each of the major characters.

Notes

  • Today is Katie’s birthday. As is traditional, I am making meat loaf and roasted Brussels sprouts at her request. She’s asked for pineapple upside down cake instead of a traditional birthday cake, so I will be making that from scratch.
  • To fit in with the subject of this post, I have to clean the kitchen before I cook. There can’t be so much as a coffee cup sitting in the sink. Ingredients and all necessary implements have to be staged. It just makes things easier.

Thanks for Visiting

Comments? I want to hear them! Questions? I want to answer them! Leave a message below and let’s chat about writing!

Come along on this journey with me, as I fumble around and figure out what I’m doing. Go to the bottom of the page and subscribe to the site, if you haven’t already! Never miss a new post!

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Journal Thrive

Why I Identify as a Spoonie

People have seen that I identify as a spoonie, but don’t know what that means. I reference it in posts about self-care. My tweets sometimes have related hashtags. I want to clarify what that term is, how it applies to me, and why I think having it as part of the public conversation on chronic illness is important.

Spoon Theory was first described by Christine Miserandino in 2003. For a full explanation you should go read her original post, but I’ll sum things up here. When you’re living with a chronic illness, you have finite resources to get through the day. It could be energy, or a threshold of tolerance for pain, or the emotional fortitude to be around people. That resource is represented by spoons, because Miserandino was in a restaurant when she was explaining this to a friend. You only get so many spoons at a time. Nearly everything you do costs spoons. Based on your exact illness, some things cost more spoons than others. When you’re out of spoons, you’re done. You can’t do any more.

The people who live with this reality call themselves spoonies.

Why I Identify as a Spoonie

This metaphor has become important, because it’s a way to explain “invisible illness” to people who don’t understand. We hear “but you don’t look sick”, or get called out for having a job and a social life. Because we appear to be as functional as anyone else there’s an assumption that we’re faking, or seeking attention, or looking for pity. You’re seeing us when we’re spending our spoons. We’ve budgeted to use our resources on those activities. What you don’t see is that we then go home and collapse. We spend the weekend recovering so we’re able to go to work on Monday. Even getting out of bed in the morning can have a cost.

I’ve suffered from chronic pain since high school, when I was involved in an accident. It never goes away, although the intensity waxes and wanes. Over the years I’ve learned to ignore it and work around it. Most of the time it’s background noise. As I’ve aged that’s become harder to do. Along the way I’ve also picked up arthritis and a battery of anxiety disorders. More recently, I’ve added executive function disorder to the mix. Yay.

Throughout my life I have had success in a variety of jobs. I’m a productive person, an entrepreneur, and manage to get the bills paid, keep the house in order, and stay on top of things. I’m not bedridden or housebound. But things have a cost. I know how many spoons certain things take, so I need to plan. It’s another reason why I’m a bullet journal enthusiast, as well as a pragmatic minimalist.

How the Term “Spoonie” Helped Me

Having a simple metaphor I can use to explain my issues to other people is handy. People seem to get it, where other attempts to describe it have failed. They understand that it’s a zero-sum game, that it requires choices. Yes, I can do this, but if I do then I can’t do that. The more people understand, the easier life become for spoonies everywhere.

The term has helped me to better understand my own limitations. Since embracing the term I’ve become more productive because I plan my activities more realistically. I have a better awareness of how much I can reasonably get done in a day, and how far I can push myself. It’s helped me to gain awareness of how long it takes me to recover when I overdo it. That means that I have fewer ups and downs, and more continuity. There’s less guilt over things left undone because I ran out of spoons. I feel better and have more energy, because I’m not trying to be superhuman.

Probably the most impactful result of having a term to use is finding community. Knowing that other people are going through the same thing, that there are people who can relate, helps in ways I can’t begin to describe. It doesn’t matter that their illness isn’t my illness. They understand being exhausted and overwhelmed. They’ve heard the same hurtful remarks. We can share tips and tricks, coping mechanisms, and just generally offer one another moral support. I identify as a spoonie because the term makes me feel like I’m not going through this alone. I share this for the benefit of other spoonies, so you know that you’re not alone, either.