Digital Brains for Writers (To Write and Have Written)

Sorry, guys — had some tech issues this time, but there is info in here still. In this episode we’ll talk about SPREADSHEETS and MIND MAPS, two tools — linear and organic — for getting information out of your head and into an organized format for easy reference.

Video (from Twitch and YouTube):

To Write and Have Written: A Writer's Guide To The Business Side
To Write and Have Written: A Writer's Guide To The Business Side
Laura VanArendonk Baugh

<p>Writing is only part of a writing career -- no one warned us that we would need business acumen and entrepreneurship to be an author. Whether you're traditionally published or an independent self-publisher, it's good to have a leg up on accounting, marketing, time management, and other key skills.</p><br><p>These recordings of live discussion on craft and development, on business best practices, on explorations of fascinating and inspiring real life cool stuff, and more will help you along your writing journey and career development. Join Laura VanArendonk Baugh as she shares what she's learned and what she's learning. (Or join the weekly live discussion with your own questions!)</p><br /><hr><p style='color:grey; font-size:0.75em;'> See <a style='color:grey;' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href=''></a> for privacy and opt-out information.</p>


OK, let’s try this. Hey, everybody, I am so sorry for taking the stream, like we’re going live! Oh, sorry we’re not, because I accidentally clicked an update for the webcam, so I just had to kind of shut down, let that finish. But we’re back. So thanks for being patient. Really appreciate it. Welcome, WorkApprorpriateGoth, which is a fantastic name. I think that’s awesome. OK, so tonight I have with me — let me see if I can get my… Oh no. Nope. I broke all the things. Hold on. I’m going to try to get a…

It shows me a little green light.

A little green light is not helpful. I would like a face. But I have had so many issues trying to get the webcam up for you today. So yes. ShyRedFox oh updates, the blessing and a curse. Yeah. So I did a lot of shifting things to make room for Seeker to sit on the other side of my desk tonight and OBS pretty much said, I’m sorry, did you touch a cable? That cable no longer exists. Yes, so, wow, Jon, you’re just not here tonight.

I don’t exist. That’s fine.

You don’t exist.

I have a black box, so.

Huh, I got nothing. OK, I’ll work on that, but what we are actually going to do tonight is talk about, we’ve talked about spreadsheets before and how they are useful for writers. But a great percentage of writers are — they were frightened by spreadsheets as a child and they’ve never recovered. And it’s really difficult sometimes to convince creative type people that a math tool can be good for them. So, yeah, yeah, we hear Jon’s voice, which is good, because the last time I had Jon on to talk about spreadsheets, I actually screwed up his sound. So now we get his voice. But less Jon. So, yeah, it’s OK, we’re going to, I’m going to mess with this, but we’re actually going to bring up a spreadsheet to to talk about the demos with let’s see what we got going on here. So I want to say first, I just want to show an example of where I use it just for really, really easy list list tracking. Here we go, Jon. Can you see everything?

I see everything just fine.

Awesome. We just can’t see Jon. He’s the spreadsheet guru from the sky.

This is me making hand gestures and it doesn’t matter.

Thanks, it’s really helpful. So, yeah, sorry guys. “Stealth mode: expert,” Bridger says.

Thank you.

So here’s how this is going to work tonight. We’re going to talk through spreadsheets, then we’re going to talk through mind maps. I really, really would like this to be interactive. So we’re going to do to talk about this little demo here for a second and then we’re going to do a work along. And please, please, please throw your questions into the chat and we will make Jon deal with them because he doesn’t have to worry about being on camera so he can deal with all of the questions.

Oh, no, we’re getting an echo on Jon. You know what? I’ll bet you that is Jon on his own headset, but then also still being picked up by my mic.

That’s probably because I’m loud.

Because yeah, probably because he’s loud. So we’ll see if we can tone Jon down. We’ll see if that works or not. So. OK. So. All right. Yeah, sorry, so we are interactive, that’s where we’re going with. So first off, and I talked with Mary, who I don’t know if she made it to that made it to the show tonight, to the chat today. But we were talking this week about using spreadsheets as a submission log just because they are so much faster and easier to track things very quickly.

So and my submission log is probably over overbuilt. Most people don’t need. You know what? I actually had this set up earlier before I had to do that quick reboot, give me a second and make this easier for everyone to see. So as you can see here, this is my I’ve just got the name of the story that where I’m sending it, what date it goes out, what day I got the response. I track personal rejections and form rejection separately, because if you’ve heard me talk about rejections before, personal rejections are a form of win. So go ahead and track those. And, you know, there’s a lot of stuff here that probably not everybody needs to needs to keep track of. But one thing I do is I’ll mark when exclusivity expires. So I know that’s when I can resell that story as a reprint or I can do something with it myself or whatever. So, yeah, spreadsheet submissions managers make everything easier because what you don’t want–

I’m gonna tell you about a story, a story about a friend of mine who sent a story to an editor and the editor wrote back with a nice thank you but no, you know, it’s a nice story. It’s not for me. And then, like two months later, that friend of mine sent that story to an editor who wrote back and said, looks kind of like it did two months ago. Still a nice story. Still not for me. That was like really embarrassing for my friend. So I don’t ever want to be that person just saying so.

Yeah. Oh, good. ShyRedFox has started a spreadsheet for book launch. Oh my gosh. Yeah.

Launch arcs or ARCs and reviews, like just have anything that you need to keep track of and check off like this has been done. I’ve got this many back from this many people, whatever. That’s what spreadsheets are fantastic for. So let’s hop over to a different spreadsheet. And I have built us. A dummy sheet to play with here so we can get into all the nitty gritty. So is this showing properly? Yes, it is. All right, so this is a copy with some dummy data of a spreadsheet that I use to track my advertising.

This is all my Amazon ads, which I am trying to get better at. Taking a course. I’m making progress. Eventually I’ll be good at them. But I you know, I want to know what I’m spending on ads. I want to know what I’m making on those ads so I know whether to put more money into it or to bail out because this is a terrible, terrible campaign or any number of things. And I see people do this with writing things down individually and they’ll they’ll have a calculator open and they’ll have a word doc open and they’ll have notepad open and they’re doing everything back and forth.

And then they have to check their math. You know, they’re doing the same calculation for every title, every month, every ad, and then they have to check their math every time or you know, or they if you make a mistake, they can throw off everything. And then you spend a bunch of money that you weren’t supposed to spend, you know, whatever.

And so so this is where I was like, hey, I know what I need. And I went to Jon and I said, hey, help me build this.

So let’s walk through what this is. Jon. You can feel free to jump in at this point because now this is where I’m going to start.

We can start talking about what we did.

So some of these are numbers that I’m just going to enter in like this particular month.

Oh, can you guys see my can you go see my cursor? If I’m doing stuff on the I’m doing the spreadsheet or. No, no.

But if you look a field it will have a little box around where you are.

Do you have a little box here? I’m in C thirty eight.

Hmm, doesn’t that doesn’t really show up. So tell you what, let’s do this, let’s just make it bold when you click on something. And that way, just Control B. Sorry, it was I was floating on the wrong menu. OK, so, OK, OK, Bridger says yes, WorkAppropriateGoth says that it’s floating in and out. OK. OK. And part of it is that I’m jumping back and forth between Excel and OBS. So poor little computers try to figure out what to do. You know what you’re doing. It doesn’t. All right.

So so this here, title F, that 74 42, that would be the amount that I’m actually pulling out of my Amazon ads dashboard when it tells me what I spent this month. And as you can see on the left hand column, I’m doing this on the first day of every month so I can have a consistent way to track things. The next to that is the royalties. That’s actually what I sold in that month. In this case, this is a February 1st date, so that would be a January sales.

Then we start getting into the things that I don’t want to have to do math for and. So can I see it, you can see it. OK, up at the very, very top, if you look at you know what, I’m going to enlarge this just a little bit for people. If you look up at the top where my unicorn’s stuff is trampling. You can see, oh, no, it’s it’s it’s not enlarging it’s not enlarging it at the formula bar.

But you can see where, you know, we had a number, the 74 42, and then when I click over on average cost per click up at the very top, it has that equal sign, if error, et cetera, et cetera. This is the point where I want to stop doing math. This is going to I’m going to make everything else do the heavy lifting for me. So Jon do you wanna explain what we did there.

Sure. So this percentage concept is pretty straightforward, right? C and K, C being her ad spend and K, which is not on the screen right now, being her total ad clicks per month.

She wants to know, you know, OK, if I spent this much, you know, what am I spending per click? So that’s pretty straightforward.

The problem that we’ve run into is that if you divide by zero, then things get weird. So if she has no clicks and she tries to divide her, that’s been by zero. Bad things happen. But fortunately, spreadsheets, they have this thing called if error.

If error is a function that says, well, if there was a problem, let’s not throw all kinds of weird stuff all over your screen.

Let’s just, we’ll tell you I’ll tell you what I want you to do. And as this case has changed my screen, I mean. But that’s OK. Oh, did it not?

That’s in this case, what was said is just use the default for this kind of field, which, you know, is typically going to either blank or zero.

So in this particular case, we said, hey, look, you know, this this is a number of fields. Just use the default. So what it would end up doing is, it would give us a zero. Now Laura doesn’t have one of those, but if we were to go ahead and down that road that you’re on, go ahead and remove your 249 for just a second.

Over in row K. Just delete it. You can see what’s happened is just blanked it out, isn’t it? We don’t have the data. I got nothing. Put a zero there. Still nothing, but if she puts her 249 back formula no longer goes into that if error conditions. And so we actually get a structure that actually works. So that’s cool, that did what we wanted to do. Now, that was sort of the first thing that we did.

There was just, hey, look, we’ll use this. If anything.

The other thing that you can do with this and I’m going to use this as an example, is let’s say that that formula is just something weird was going on. We weren’t sure what was happening. And I just it’s coming up with a number that doesn’t make any sense. And I’ll try to be quieter to reduce the echo.

Go ahead. I just muted my mic over here.

OK. If you go to the formulas tab where the formulas live, right. Where there’s all those formulas that make no sense. But you go to the formulas tab and Laura’s driving or I guess I’m driving. Cool. Um, in here there’s something called evaluate formula. It’s in the formula auditing area and you can evaluate the formula. And what it will do is it will actually allow you to walk through piece by piece and see the values turn into their number. So you can now see if they’re 740. Seventy four.

Seventy two. And you can see when I hit evaluate that key thirty eight will become the two forty nine which will turn into the math, which is hey look, everything worked. And so there was our answer. And for this one that’s not that big a deal because it’s, you know, it’s two field, it’s one divided by the other. But as we get into bigger and more complex things that in shape or heaven help us if we have formula stacked on formula, stacked on formula, that can become very helpful because it allows you to walk through and see what’s going on.

The other fun thing, although this may be difficult to visually see, is if I actually click up here in the bar, you can see color boxes around the pieces that are involved in my formula. So I can now see a color bar a little this little blue box. I can see this little red box and I can see that they’re on my row. If for some reason I really didn’t want to be using everything on my same row, I could actually come over here and I could say, you know, this is wrong.

I want to click and drag my color box. If I look at it, and as you can see, it actually changes the formula. So that now it will reduce the hours as my box is for doing that calculation, so now it would calculate using this C 33 divided by K thirty eight instead of C, thirty eight, divided by K thirty eight. Now obviously I don’t want to leave it that way because that’s broken. But that’s another way where if I’ve clicked on the formula, I can actually see the boxes that are involved.

Now again, if it’s a real complex, that doesn’t work as well, especially if you reference the same box several times. But it’s a nice visual way. And if you do have a formula that’s just a little off, you can do this. Look at the fields and then fix them if you need to. So those a couple sort of quick things on just using this average cost click to say, hey, look, here’s some things I can look at and manipulate that are actually not that bad.

And I am an appropriate gothe, formulas on formulas. Not my worst nightmare.

I have far worse ones, but that’s another conversation for another day.

I like shutter’s and data analysis. All right. So I’m going to jump in and interrupt for just a second, because you just frightened me. And this is my own spreadsheet. So when when we are looking at.

There are, I guess, let me back up, because there are two there are there are two kinds of people who might be watching this, people who are going, oh yeah, formulas, formulas on formulas, formulas and formulas and formulas.

And then there are people who are who are like, oh, there are numbers in boxes. And so it’s not a terribly specific categorization there, but I think you probably know where I’m going.

What specifically I wanted this spreadsheet to do was, as you can see, this is quite a lot of. This is quite a lot of math going on, and it’s a quite a lot of math that is going on every month. And again, this is my dummy sheet, but I’m my real one’s pretty comparable to this.

And it’s a lot of the same numbers that I’ve just repeated in here.

And so I want something where I can see at a glance how my projects are doing and make decisions without having to do math every time. I want to take the error of math way, way down, it’s still possible I could still enter something completely wrong. But it’s going to be an entry error, not a I did my math wrong error and I want it to automatically propagate for me and do do all that, all those decisions for me. So.

These formulas look terrifying, but they’re really, really not. So let’s take something that is let’s go let’s go way down to introductory level here for a moment. Jon, can you talk us through this formula? I’m in G thirty eight. I see. Yeah.

OK, so at its core, what we wanted to know was she wanted to say, OK, what theoretically I got royalties. But how much did I have to spend in ads to get them? And so what she did or what we did hear was I said, OK, we know that the columns we want are C and D, there’s my royalties. Here’s my ad spend, and so what we did is we said, OK, well then let’s just do our basic algebra game.

I say equal sign. And then then I came over here and I said, OK, and we’re going to just click the field that we want to be our royalty’s. Minus, and then I’m like, look, the field that is my husband and I got my math is just down and it record it for me and I could then I had it once and. I’m just going to have some fun here for a second, once I had it once, I could copy it just just as you always do, you know, come in here and I could copy.

And once I had copied it, I could paste it. And I’m using the pretty, pretty pictures on the top. And the formula, as you can see, if you look in that formula more, you’ll see it was thirty eight and it’s thirty nine and said so as I pasted it, it just spreadsheet says I am smart enough to think and sometimes it’s wrong and I am smart enough to think that whatever you did last time, since this is a copy paste and not a move, that whatever you did, it’s a formula, I will repeat it, but I will adjust it to my record.

And so I could do that and I could copy. And I’m just using the keyboard and paste over and over. Or I could have. Said, hey, look, you know, I really like this formula and I want to take this old and now that’s a plus, I want to just drag that formula down and it would do the same kind of thing. Or for those people who are keyboard monsters and like keyboards or can’t remember that little X, because that’s hard.

I could say, hey, look, I’m just going to select the fields I want. And up here in the home page, there is a fill bar way over on the right in edit or way on the right in editing I could say I want to fill down and that would put that same formula. And so once Laura got the formula right the first time, she didn’t have to keep doing the formula over and over and over and over. She could take the formula she got it right once. She could just fill it down and make it go. OK, sorry, I got to remember that myself now, so I’m trying to reduce echoing you, I don’t know if you guys were able to see as Jon was doing that in column M, things were magically disappearing and appearing as he completed that column G formula. So this is the great thing again, once once you build your once you build your initial formula, you can just connect everything to it.

And that’s that much more math that I don’t have to do anything that results in me. Doing less math is probably great. OK.

And so a default settings for Excel and I believe for Google Sheets as well, is to do this thing where they’re showing negatives and red and positives and black. But you can set that up to however you want.

So we’re going to start a project now.

Group project, group project, please open Excel if you have it, or go to Google Sheets, which I think is just sheets, dot Google dot com. If you do not have it, if you do not have Excel and what we’re going to do is going to work fine in either of those. And we’re going to build one of these four years for you guys and doesn’t have to be for ads.

It can be for absolutely anything that we’re going to track as far as marketing or selling, and we’re going to do a little bit of playing with it live so that if you run into questions, we can address them right now. So you know what we could also do as snapshots sheet? I think we talked about that way back last fall, but I don’t know that we’ve ever worked on one. I just said it was a good idea to have one so we can definitely do some of these.

So I’m going to hop over where I can see the chat. This is this is an awkward kind of thing where it is harder for me to to to see two things at once. So I apologize for that. And it says I’m having some trouble with my bitrate. How’s it going, guys? You see, if I can. See if I can try to fix some things there. Sorry if the stream was getting. I don’t want that to be going on.

It’d be really nice if I could have a Jon visible, but that’s not going to happen. So sorry. Does everyone have a spreadsheet, are you sitting comfortably? OK. And let’s go ahead and. Let’s make a. New. And we’re just going to title, you know, what we’re going to do month title. Sales, royalties. Orcharding. Free. No, no, that just, uh. So I’m trying to. I should have I should have planned my assignments better.

Let’s do this. I would call that good and then we’ll to marketing costs. OK. I can check check every. So a silly question, so we’re going to we’re going to plunge ahead. OK, so Jon what we want here is a very, very basic tracking sheet.

So a simplified version of what the one we’ve done before where we can enter in each of these columns and then end up with an actual picture of how we’re doing. Sure. So after the data, you received the start there. I’ve got something in January, ABC. Now, I’m not sure if your sales line is one or multiple. Yep, that’s a great title. I love the second book to. It’s a standard problem, some serious. All right, um, yeah, go ahead, plug in your numbers.

That’s fine, since this is a demo, we’re just plugging in any numbers. All numbers are good numbers. It’s the hard part, taking and figuring out the numbers you want to type. And so now let’s put in your marketing costs. Sounds great now, my only question I have for you is your sales, are those generic sales, is that the what the sales mean to you in this case? What does Amazon mean to you in this case?

Column C is the number of copies that I’m selling for this book, and then D and F are royalties. And these numbers are super fake.

So, so so what you’re trying to say then, what we want to do is we can we can add two columns at the end of this just for fun. We’ll start with Jan for now. So the first thing we can do is we can find out what our cost or our marketing sales cost is per book. And then since we have royalties across three different things, we can figure out our our marketing costs for those books.

You know, we can sort of say, yeah, but this is how much I made or lost.

Those are royalties. So so first, the first thing to do is to say, OK, what was my marketing cost per book? That lower cost per sale, so the easiest way to do this is, again, back to the high school algebra. So we’re going to do an equal sign. And they’re going to click on our marketing cost field for this role. So just click on the feel. Divided by. The number of sales hit the.

So it cost me 20 dollars per I’m assuming these are all in dollars and we can change that here in a second, cost me twenty dollars per cell for my fantastic book. Now click on my stuff. Fantastic book.

Let’s stop for just a second. This is the kind of information I would definitely, definitely want to know. I cannot maintain a career if I’m paying 20 dollars to sell one book. And again, these numbers are super, super fake.

But if you talk to people or if you’ve perhaps been a person who has put a lot of money refrozen, frozen, what we appear to be, we appear to be frozen.

We appear to be free. Oh, no. Oh, hang on, just pause for a moment. Yeah, we’re here showing the you’re not showing your sheep, we are showing the old shit, huh? OK, hold on, excelsis outsmarted us and is not showing us the new course, there is the new cool.

Hey, I can I can force it to to join us. I am so sorry, guys.

So here’s our new little sheet, let’s go ahead and redo that, go to the sale piece for me, real quick to delete it. Good bye by what we did was we were in here and we said, hey, look equals sign, we clicked on marketing costs, we divide it by. And then we click on sales and then we hit the enter key, and that’s a helpful hint. If you do write it like that, where it’s Cosper Sale, the Per is basically unified symbol.

So if you’re going I don’t remember which one should be on top and which one should be on the bottom. Oh my goodness, my brain hurts. Cost per sale. Cost divided by sale. Now, got it in one field, we’ve got four rows, so let’s go ahead and we can copy paste and we can track down using that little either or choice. And we replicated and so what we see is that for the first book, we spend 20, 20 bucks and the other two, well, we didn’t spend anything so cool.

And then the last one, hey, look, you know, we only spent 85 cents a copy. That’s that’s not terrible. Now, it’s not a pretty number. So let’s go ahead and go to home. And right, right in the middle where it says, no, let’s just click on the dollar sign. That will format it in a more normal format for us go. And the other thing you wanted to do was to say, well, what’s my total sales, right?

So this is a couple of ways we can do this in total sales. We’ll just start with the old fashioned way. We’re going straight to Profita, OK? Well, what did you mean by. I was just going to talk to you at 18 percent plus F. OK, but I’m sorry, DNF are my royalty’s, those are not number of copies. Yes, but those are three different royalty groups in three different places. OK, total royalty’s not to.

OK, I gotcha. Yes, sorry, little royalties now. Now, you could do the same thing where you did equal A plus B plus C, or you can do an equal sum open parentheses. Uh, Achuar. Open Pairvyn. Got a bonus in there, that’s fine, and then click and drag across all three across D and F. And now you can, uh, you selected them individually. You could have just dragged it would be a much happier place for you.

What you did will work, but that worked for great for three, but if this was 20, it would be annoying and drag. You get that and now you can close Perin it. Emi, and now you have your total royalties for all three. And now you wanted to say you wanted to know what your profit, so you know, your marketing costs and you know your total royalty. So total royalties minus profit or total royalties, minus costs, your your, uh, marketing costs.

Oh, hit the enter key, oh, no, it’s negative.

Now, now, let’s say I went to I need to be, uh, I need to be alerted when this happens so that I know to immediately stop this book by the ad or whatever it is I’ve got going that is this this much money going down the hole.

So how can we make this a glaring neon cell that says, help, it’s negative. Stop, stop. Yeah. So click on the Cell.

And this is where this is called conditional formatting. There are other ways to do this, but we’re going to use conditional formatting in this case. It is on the home tab in Excel. It’s right there in the middle. Conditional formatting is also exist in Google Sheets.

It’s a little more clunky, but not terrible on the down arrow or click click conditional formatting. And let’s go down. And you see there’s a variety of options here.

Highlight cells. I’m not sure menus actually show up on the just through. Let me check here. Yeah, I’m not seeing it go through on. All right.

Things so we’re going to be very so we’ll just have conditional formatting. And because of what we’re doing, let’s do the easiest thing, which is highlight cell rule at the very top. And we want something if it is less than. If it is less than zero. So let’s put that to a zero at the. So if that number is less than zero, it’s going to turn red. You’ll have to scroll a little to the right because they can’t see it or Minamoto or shrink your size.

Or, you know, the other thing we could do is we could just shrink the column width, but that’ll work. And so what we will have now is if now, again, we did it for the one for that one field as opposed to the whole column so we could do it to the column. But if we did it to the column. We would find ourselves with an entire pretty picture of Yepp network. And now you can see and so we need we still need to get our royalties in for all the columns.

And there you go. And then what I could do is if I had. A different month in February. If I had, you know, better numbers or whatever. That you could use that conditional formatting to see instantly what things had been improved and by how much, and let me see if I can get this back on OBS because it doesn’t like it when I change Excel sheets. That’s what happened before. Yeah. So here we go.

If you look at these numbers here on the right where it says ROI and I just haven’t set to any time, that’s over a thousand percent to give me that lovely green box that just makes me feel better about my life to see those green boxes showing up. And and then of course, I’ve got some negatives here, too. But as long as I’ve got more green boxes than I do negatives, that I can deal with that for a month or two.

But that gives me information where I don’t have to stop and actually do the math every time to see a trend or to see which way is going. I can just at a glance by looking at the colors. No, if I’m on the right track and then I can get into the nitty gritty and get actual, you know, to the fifth decimal point or anything that I want. But that at a glance, knowing is really helpful. If I’m trying to decide, OK, do I need to drop everything and focus on this today to try to fix stuff, or am I good and leave it for a week?

So. All right, so sorry, guys, I know that that ended up being a little bit clunky with display, so please feel free to say in the chat we we got none of that.

Please fix it. Or that made sense or that made sense. But I have this other question or wherever that needs to be.

So all we’re waiting for the jet lag. That’s because I think there is some the key thing is, you know, again, as a concept of what, but what if things go wrong? What if things go horribly wrong? The great thing is it’s a spreadsheet. If it goes horribly wrong, you can just change it. Try again. It’s OK. It’s not going to jump out. It’s not going to stack up and. If it doesn’t quite work the way you want or doesn’t show you what you’re expecting, um, you know, there are a lot of tutorials out there or, you know, reach out to Laura and say, hey, look, you know, we talked about this once and I have a question.

We can also, you know, potentially even answer questions in the chat while a different conversation is going on so that, you know, you don’t feel like you’re causing a, you know, a a large concern or if you have a large concern, it’s OK. And I’m just checking the chat real quick, and I’m seeing that ShyRedFox is having ramen, and so now I’m angry because I don’t have ramen.

So that’s good fun fact, though. In two weeks, we’re going to be talking about ramen here on the screen here on the screen, on the stream. Some more on that later. So, OK. So. Let’s shift gears then. And to our other piece of homework for tonight. This is where. Here we go. OK, yeah, that lovely green box is great because it is definitely a happy thing and I’m like, hey, oh, good, it’s working.

So OK. The next thing we’re going to talk about is mind maps, which is the other way of taking all the things out of your ram and being able to be free to process things with your brain without trying to do math or can’t keep track of all the items and all the things. So to your homework for this one. Sorry, guys, this is what you actually have to go grab a piece of software because you probably don’t have this one handy.

But I’ve got a link that I will put in the chat as soon as I. Remember where I left it? Oh, everything got moved when I had to reboot the computer, so I second. OK, so this is X mind, this is a free download. They do have a Mac version, but I’m not sure that the free version is the Mac version, so sorry Mac users.

But if you if there are plenty of other mind map software out software options out there, this is the one that I am familiar with and like a lot that is free.

So this is the one I’m going to show you. But the concept is going to remain regardless of what software you’re going to use.

So. See if I can. Get this to come up, here we go. OK. So. What a mind map does, actually, let me come back here and show it this way first. He probably did these in school, where you start with a, see if I can make this work, start with a topic in the center, and then you draw a line out to another topic and you draw all your connecting topics and then all the topics that come off of those.

And it was a way to start organizing things, sort of build an outline or whatever. So that is. You’ve probably seen these.

Here’s here’s why these are fun to start, but I quickly get frustrated doing these on paper because mine very quickly turn into this kind of mess that’s going on up here.

Sorry, I’m trying to do this backwards in the webcam. Where I have done these two topics and I decide that actually the same topic and they need to come off this one in the middle and then they’re connected and they’re drawing lines from here to here, here and and now instead of feeling like I’ve organized everything I needed to get out of my head and left with this mess, that is actually quite hard to read.

And I don’t feel like I actually made any progress on getting organized.

Now, there are some huge advantages to doing this kind of thing with pen and paper. For a lot of people, doing it with tactile and analog ways is more productive. This thing is more easily and so that can be a good way to get started.

I find most of the time for me it works just as well to do it on digital and I actually get less frustrated with this messy rearrangement bit if I’m doing it digitally because it’s all being done neatly for me.

So let me get back over here. This is a mind map that I did for one of my nonfiction books, and I just started with a concept in the center of socialization and I just started putting everything that I could think of that related to puppy socialization around it and just started building off of it. So I ended up with this very, very clean, neat thing that turned into my outline because it was organized for me as I went. And I’m going to hop over here.

This is one that I’m working on right now, designing an online puppy class. So I’ve got you know, socialization will be a topic. Medical cooperation behaviors will be a topic, teaching household manners. And then I want to teach basic cues. And then what if I decide that actually I’m going to do training all on its own topic and then I’ll have household manners and basic cues will both be a part of the training. So I’m just going to drag this over here.

I’m going to drag this over here. OK, this worked just a moment ago. OK, that’s not even funny, I did this, like, right before we got started. Why are you this? OK, well, this seems to work. Never mind, guys, everything’s a lie. I don’t even know how I did this. OK, well, anyway, I can decide household manners. I’m I don’t know what what setting I accidentally did with this, that I turn that feature off, but you can drag them in and stack them.

But I’m just going to be here in household manners and I can just hit enter to add a new topic from off that main topic, or if I’m here and I hit tab, it starts bringing me off into subtopics so that I could say maybe wait at the door, I could say lie down in the kitchen so that we’re not jumping up on counters.

I could say off furniture on cue. I mean, just whatever I wanted to come up with. But I can I can just throw out these ideas as fast as I can think of them without having to worry about getting them neat and organized. And it will make that neat and organized for me. And I have no idea what I did to turn off that drag and drop feature, but I liked it and now I have to get that back.

So if I come back to. And I’m sorry to double check that that is displaying properly, OK, so if I come back here, all of these were things that I just set down in one session and just started throwing things down as quickly as possible. This was my business of writing book, which has turned into this stream. But this was where I started talking about, OK, what can I do that would be useful to share the business side of things with creative people.

And and this one would have automatically color coding things for me. And there’s a lot of things branching out here. Again, you can just I don’t have to worry.

This would be crazy to try to do in an outline form on my paper, but I can just throw it all down here and let it sort itself out. So both of these are nonfiction, but I’ve done this for fiction as well. I don’t usually do this for novels, but here I was writing a mystery.

So I did do it for the mystery where I just started putting down all the aspects that I wanted to include in the setting, which was a fandom convention. I did a murder mystery at a fandom con, similar to a comic con or something, and I just started drawing connections between things.

I can I can add some labels to the connections between Homestuck, unsealed makeup and costume damage, kind of dating myself here. But, you know, all of those things so that it just got so many different pieces out and then was able to organize those very, very quickly. I’m going to go back and check the chat, so. Oh, ramen won’t fit through the screen, so sad, so. Oh, and thanks for oh my apocalypse.

Mr. Apocalypse.

Sorry he’s trying to trying to work work backwards through the chat there, Mr. Apocalypse. Hey, thanks for thank you. I appreciate that.

So when we get back. So I can do all of these. So then again, now this is something I’m writing a course and this is supposed to be a 21 day online course. So I’m just starting with teaching dogs how to voluntarily accept eyedrops. And so there’s a very specific head position I want. There’s a very specific process that I want to train here. If you want to see this. I was demonstrating this with Undómiel earlier this month, so that’s probably in some videos on here, or I can link to that so you can see this. But I want to get all these pieces down. I’m just going to throw in here.

And then as I’m watching that branch out, that’s going to those branches are going to become my 21 days, because as I put those topics together, you know, things things that go together are going to thread along those lines. And I’m going to end up with 12 to 20 individual pieces and then I can massage that into my exact twenty one days’ worth of content.

So. Is this making sense, you know, this is another thing, this is this is something that people have seen, but I don’t think people always realize that that it can be used in more than one way, so that’s why I wanted to mention those tonight, so. And I know that we’ve got some pretty significant lag going on right now, so I’m sorry, I’m going to give you a minute to be able to get back to me. I apologize for that lag. Get back to. All right, OK, so WorkAppropriateGoth is also a person who finds that brainstorming easier to do digitally just because you can organize it without having to rewrite it entirely.

Yeah, and I have I have friends who are amazing at doing this on on paper with six different colors. And it comes out looking pretty decent the first time. Mine don’t come out looking decent. And then I get frustrated because I’m trying to decode what I have done. So this is a better option for me. Shy says, Making sense. Good, thank you. So. Yes, so where I was going tonight was my ultimate goal. I just did something with with a turned off and somehow I’m sorry guys, whoever that was.

But my my my goal for tonight was to just say, hey, these are tools that you might have heard of. I know. I know spreadsheets are kind of a scary, horrible thing in the writing community.

And I just wanted to, again, touch on those. After the stream tonight, we’re doing my taxes.

And as I mentioned last week, I’m actually feeling pretty good. I’ve got all my paperwork in order this year. Everything’s pretty organized. But if if you don’t, if that doesn’t feel collected for you, you’re probably in the majority of us and go hit that the the episode I did last, I think it December with Chris Morris, the CPA, who specializes in accounting for writers.

And just look at those basics that you need. Get that into a spreadsheet. Take honestly, guys, I do almost all of my accounting pieces. I do in under five minutes at a time, usually under two minutes at a time, because I know myself. And if it is, sit down and do an hour of accounting. That doesn’t happen unless there’s a lot of panic and duress and agitation. And I don’t need that in my life. So.

So I need to set myself up for success by making it really, really easy and something I can do tiny pieces at a time. Yeah, Bridger is pointing out I love the esthetic of paper or anything, but my brain just cannot bullet journals. Oh my gosh. There are amazing bullet journals out there. That’s not how I work, but I am so impressed by people with beautiful journals. More power to you guys. Yeah.

And and then I’m a little bit jealous because they have cool stickers on their planning, which I can’t do on my digital format. But on the other hand, I don’t lose my digital format and I do keep up with my digital format, which I don’t do with that kind of paper thing. So, yeah, OK. All right. So thanks for the. Thanks for the comments, guys. I apologize. It was a little bit chaotic this this week.

It’s not not as smooth as I would normally like, but I also wasn’t planning on losing my cameras and accidentally rebooting and all of the other things right before we came in. So I I’m sorry that that didn’t end up being as clear. Next week is our create-in, so bring a project for that. And then the week after that is 5th, Tuesday in a month. So that is our field trip. And I’m as I mentioned earlier, I’m going to be talking about the history of ramen, which probably sounds super dull, but we’re treating this as a world building exercise and how absolutely nothing is isolated, everything is connected to everything else.

So we’re going to look at ramen as how it relates to history, politics, natural disasters, all of the things. So so come and come. Come along for that, OK? So thank you, guys. That was it, something everything I’ve got for tonight and then I will see you next week.

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