Writing Career Maintenance for the New Year! (To Write and Have Written)

Let’s talk about backups, passwords, to-do lists, and oh yeah, goals (but actionable ones!).


LastPass | Authy | Dropbox | Onedrive | MS Sculpt ergonomic keyboard |
cheap vertical mouse | Trello

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='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information.</p>


Business of the New Year! Set yourself up for success with writing career and productivity hygiene. – powered by Happy Scribe

Good evening, everyone.

It is Tuesday, the first Tuesdayin 2021, so Happy New Year.

Welcome to To Write And Have Written.

Hi ShyRedFox.

I’m glad you’re here.

Thanks for coming in.

All right.

So we areit’s like the obligatory New Year theme,

but I’m going to try to do itin a slightly less hackneyed way tonight.

I want to talk about housekeepingand goals, because for all that

for all that we, you know,

make big deals about New Year’sresolutions and all of that sort of thing.

And there’s a whole lot of sociological

and psychological and all kinds of thingsthat, you know, just there’s a there’s

a truckload of baggage and cargoand everything goes with that.

But there really is a psychological

and behavioral benefit to setting astart date for new behavior.

And thank you, Bridger.

I love these earrings, too.

They’re so much fun.

I’m sorry.

So I read last fall, I read

the book When by Daniel Pink,which I highly recommend.

It’s just really fascinating information.

It was all about chronobiology and

you know, the the not only when you aremost productive, most creative and you

know the individual cycles that willhappen for you personally.

You know, I might be mostcreative in the day.

I might be most organized at night or

whatever, but also, you know,the behavioral and psychological aspects

of setting goals, setting, you know,deadlines, restarting goals.

Yeah, yeah.It is really good.

I do recommend it.

I listen to the audio book becausethat’s how I do most of my nonfiction.

But apparently there’s a lot more graphsand charts and things in the, in the

tactile book? What do I want to say,paperback? That you’ll find.


Anyway, where was I going with that?I have no idea.

The point is he had a lot of really good

information on, you know, ifsomething’s getting away from you.

You know, this project’s not going well.

You can say, well, it’s the first,you know, Tuesday on a full moon.

That’s the fresh date that westart this new segment of time.

And you can actually get back on trackby having a arbitrary restart to date.

So, yes.

When by Daniel Pink.

Thank you, Bridger,for throwing that in the chat.

So I do recommend that. We’re not goingto spend a lot of time on that tonight,

but I’m using it as justification for whywe are going to talk about some

of the things we’re goingto talk about, because,

you know, I, I just I found itwas fascinating and I’m a nerd.

What do you want?OK,

so what we’re going to do tonight isfirst we’re going to walk through just

like, OK, we’ve hadan arbitrary new start.

Let’s go ahead and cleanup our business practices.

Let’s clean up our housekeeping and make

sure that our writingcareers are in order.

And then we’re going totalk about some goal setting.


it’s January.

Everybody’s talking about goal setting.

I’m not going to tell you that much that,

you know, you’re not goingto get in twenty other places.

So I’m going to stick to the things that I

think I can tell you that will be usefuland productive because you’re going to get

everything else from fromsomewhere else right now.

And and that’s fine.

We got other things we can be talking

about and and we’ll talk about setting ouractions to reach goals,

because just setting goals doesn’tactually make them happen.

And, you know, yeah,we got a lot of things to go through.

So I got a lot of notes over here

and I’m sorry.Let me get my notification,

please.I thought I had this turned off,

but apparently it’s not becauseit’s running over my notes.

OK, all I’m so organized.Yeah, OK.


So the first thing I wanted to mention was

just reviewing our goodbusiness practices.

So things that I see come up all the time

that let’s just run downthe list and take care of those.

So first of all,

are you using unique passwords for everywebsite and every account that you have?

The answer to this should be yes.

There may be a few things

where you could reuse something,something that really doesn’t matter.

You’ve just like this is my, I’mtrying to pick something that’s dumb.

This is my grocery store list app.

And I don’t really care if it’s super

secure or somebody knowsthat I bought Oreos.

OK, like that could be a thing,but especially for any account

that matters, any account that is linkedto financial personal information, just.

And you know, you’re shopping,

all of that is in there, please makesure that you’re using unique passwords.

This is something that I see people

not to do frequently.

And let me just say that identity theftwill really cut into your writing time.


I highly recommend if you are not

if you don’t have a system to do this orif you don’t have a password manager to do

this, I use and stronglyrecommend LastPass.

I do have links for some of the thingsI’m going to recommend here tonight.

Some of these are affiliate links.

Some are not.This is an affiliate link.

And for those of you who are catching thislater, they will be in the show notes.

So I’ll do that.

I’m just going to throw thisone in the chat here right now.

The advantage you can, you canuse the affiliate links or not.

I don’t care for some of them.

Like if you use Last Pass, you getsome free stuff with that, and I do, too.

So full disclosure, if it’s not somethingthat you’re using or you want to use

something else or you justdon’t want to use it.

Great.OK, we’re good.

Yeah.ShyRedFox says last pass is wonderful.

It really is, I recommend this a lot.

I have set a lot of people up with it

and they’re very good.

I’ll say that too. Along with that, in the same

way, if you are not using two factorauthentication on all your websites

that matter, I strongly recommend youget that setup and do that as well.

If you’re not familiar with Two-Factorauthentication,

that is, you actually need three thingsto log in to something instead of two.

Instead of a username and password,you would also need a code.

Usually it’s a six digit numeric code

that is constantly changing so that ifsomebody does get your password but they

don’t have, say,the smartphone on which you have a third

party app providing you that code, theythey need all three of those to get in.

TFA has saved me a couple of times whenpeople were trying to hack into my stuff.

Generally, my passwordsare pretty, pretty strong.

So they’re they’re not goingto get those easily anyway.

But brute force is a thing.

And, you know, so it’sit is very, very good.

If you’re going to do that.I recommend Authy (A U T H Y).

Actually I have a link for that here too.

I’ll just throw that in the chat.It’s free.

It’s easy to set up, it’s secureand it’s very user friendly.

I like it because I usedto use a different app.

Authy is better because if you,if you lose your smartphone,

if it gets hit by a truck, you dropit into the toilet, who knows what.

You can still access all of those codes

in another way, which is not the casewith all of your TFA apps.

So be aware of that.

So OK,the other thing, next on my list, is are you

backing up your work?Please be backing up your work.

I’m going to say I’m in so many writinggroups online, guys,

and I’m going to say at least once ortwice a month, somebody posts with, “Help!

I dropped my laptop, my computer crashed,my hard drive’s gone, you know, whatever.

How do I get my stuff back?”

Well, in some cases,there’s a way to recover that.

Usually it’s expensive.

In some cases there’s nota way to recover that.

But backups, backups are free and easy,and you can do it at any time.

So good.And finally go.

ShyRedFox says, you’rehitting on my big things.

I got a list and a hammerand we’re going down.

Yes.So, yeah.

Bridger, you’re finally doing I don’t know

if that’s TFA or backing up,but I’m hoping it’s both,

so.Oh, oh, shoot.

After losing a lot of manuscripts,many plural, plural, plural.

Oh gosh.Like that hurts.

That is, that is.

Yeah I, the pain, I feel it.

and yeah anybody who has suffered a back

up suddenly, or a loss, suddenlygets good at backing up.

So please start backingup before that’s you.

So there’s several ways to do this.

Yeah I, I’m not going to getover that really quickly.

I spent, I worked really hard,

got some scenes I was really happywith, and they crashed. And my excuse

for this was I was traveling,I was in an area with no Internet.

All I had was my computer.

I didn’t have any external media to backup on and whatever stuff went bad.

And I only lost what Ihad done there, but.

Oh, it’s it, no, yeah, just no.

But again, I see this come upin writers groups all the time.

So I’m going to stronglyrecommend backups.

And again, there’s multipleways you can do this.

I like to use a cloud backup

backing up on physical mediain your home is also good.

Don’t get me wrong.

But if your house burns down and you lose,I mean, you’re losing a lot anyway,

but also every manuscriptyou’ve ever written and that’s

not good. Or it doesn’t haveto be that dramatic.

You know, a pipe breaks and soaks the desk

where you had your stuff stored,you know, whatever, something happens.

So I like to use online.

Dropbox is a very well-known one.

OneDrive, also very wellknown and pretty stable.

You know, there’s a lot of cloudbackup services out there.

I’m going to throw some links in the chat.

These are affiliate links.

They should get you some freestorage if you use them.

If you don’t want to use them, great.Use something else.

I don’t care.

Just make sure that youare using something.

And then with that, I have Scrivenerset to autosave every two seconds.

Yes, paranoia, but healthy paranoia.OK,

you can do the same with Microsoft Word orpretty much any of your favorite

processors are going to be able.You can set up an autosave that happens

fairly frequently.With the autosave every two seconds,

saving into my local folder, whichautomatically backs up to the cloud.

I am never more than a fewseconds away from a backup.

And so I’m never losing more than

a sentence or two at a timein the worst case scenario.

So pretty, pretty

please back up your work.


the next thing is where are you storing

all of your expenses relatedreceipts and invoices?

So if you were here on December 1st whenwe had Chris Morris on to talk about

accounting for writers anddeductions and all of those great things,

and so that’s a good episode to goback and review if you missed it.

But I have on my computer a folder that

says Taxes, folder inside that says2021.

And it already has invoices in it

from this year’s expenses,even though it’s only the fifth.

I’m already dropping money,

but it’s going to make it my life is going

to be so simplebecause everything’s in one place.

And we’ve talked before about, you know,using spreadsheets to track things,

having, you know,everything neatly organized.

So you’re not desperately at the end of,you know, under the deadline for tax

season, scrambling around, trying to findways to take deductions off your work.


Oh, and Quickbooks, but we try to lookat Quickbooks as infrequently as possible.

Yeah, I used to use Quickbooks and I,I got out of it because it just made me

angry and I’ve got enough angryin my life that I don’t need

adding to it.

But but yeah, I just again havewhatever system works for you is great.

Just have a systemso go ahead and keep those

invoices and thosereceipts as you go.

So next one’s a little bit different.

Oh, I’m sorry, it need.

OK, yes, so jump back into the chat,ShyRedFox is saying she’s going

to improve, but yeah, there’s lots ofthere’s again, so many options.

I don’t care which one you choose.

If it works for you, it’s working for you.Great.

Just have somethingthat does work for you.

So the next one’s a little bit different.

But let’s talk about ergonomics

for a minute,because writing is traditionally a very

sedentary occupation and itis also a long game.

You know, nobody writes,you know, nobody is going to sit down,

write their first best selling novel ina week and then never do it again, like

it’s probably just notstatistically likely.

So most of us in the writing linetend to sit for a long time.

We have keyboards, we have monitors.

We have, you know, we’re using a mouse,

you know, all these things that we knowwill take a toll on us physically.

So my recommendation is to plan now tosave time, money and pain in the future.

So think about, you know,I have and I’ve talked about this.

I think I’vetalked about this before.

I’ve definitely done it on the blog.

I don’t remember if I’ve done it here,but I have an adjustable desk

and a treadmill that I walk on,which is fantastic.

That was really good.

And yeah.

And then I flip the desk and come over

here to sit for, you know,all my video work.

So that’s that’s one thing Irecommend whether or not you

have a standing desk or a sitting desk ora treadmill desk or, you know, whatever,

you can have an ergonomic keyboard,you can have an ergonomic mouse,

you could use dictation, make sure youhave a chair that’s actually supportive.

My absolute guilty pleasure is I willsit in my bed wrapped up in warm blankets

with a Doberman draped overmy legs and my laptop.

And I love to work that way.

And it’s really not that great for me.

I have a lapdesk now, which helps.

But I spent yearshurting because of that.

So I’m trying to be better now.

I’m trying to have better habits.

This summer I bought, actually Iwill show you, see it up here.

This is the Microsoft Sculptergonomic keyboard.

I did a lot of research on keyboards.

This one got pretty good marks on it.

You will feel super awkward tryingto use this for the first time.

In fact, just today in one

of my writers group, somebody postedsaying, “help, I got this keyboard.

I can’t type on it.”

Like, hang in there.It’ll be OK.

You’ll getfluency back, I promise.

But so I quite liked that one.

And then Kate, who’s frequently in our

chat as well, I don’tsee her here tonight.

KT Ivanrest,she put me on to a vertical mouse.

And this one’s a relatively cheapversion of that.


and so that what that does is insteadof having your wrist like this,

it’s in a more natural position for youto be using your fingers a lot.

And so I recommend both of those.

I will throw those in the chat as well

just because, yeah, it is a nicekeyboard and you will totally feel



when youstart with the keyboard.

That’s just, that’s fine.

It’s going to be OK.Yeah.

My husband had to borrowmy computer for something.

He’s like, I hate your keyboard.

And I’m like, yeah, it’s different.

But honestly it’s a coupleof days you’ll be fine.

Exercise bike, bike desk.That is great.

That’s another one.Yeah.

So that that again,anything that’s just moving what we know

is it being that sedentary for that longis not that great for you.

So again, just kind of

think of ways to again make good choicesnow to save know pain, time, money later.

So one of the things that I want to get

into, I toyed with, but I haven’t committedto getting good at, is dictation.

And so I need to, I need to get better

at that so I can again ease up on…Before I got this new

keyboard, I was starting to feelsome pain in my fingers.

And I was like, oh, it’s not great.

I mean, I’ve had wrist issues before.I have tiny wrists.

I have the I literally havethe wrists of a five year old.

I had a commission, some leatherwork

from a guy who made me leatherbracers and he mailed me back.

And he’s like, are these measurements

really accurate? Like did you reallydo careful measurements?

And I said, Yeah, those arethose are my wrists.

And he said, OK, I’m just going to finishthese pieces on my five year old daughter.

But yeah, I have abnormally small wrists,so.

Oh, oh.

So Bridges mentioning that,you know, she tried a treadmill desk and,

you know, it was careening off sideways.Guys, one of the things that I mention

and you’ve got something that’sworking for you, fantastic.

One of the questions I get frequently whenI talk about my treadmill desk is,

you know, people are talking about tryingto use it and how fast you have to use it.

No, no, not the point of a treadmilldesk is just you’re standing and moving.

It’s not about loggingexcessive miles or speed.

This is not a treadmill like you’retrying to do your marathon training on.

I tell most people start at half a mile

an hour or you’re barely moving yourfeet one in front of the other.

And it’s you know,that that’s all you need to do.

I work faster than that now,

but I don’t have to.

I just prefer to

because I was sneaking in some exercisewhile I was while I was working.

But, you know, in no way is that required

to get the the benefits of the treadmilldesk is that you were standing and moving.

It’s not that you’relogging speed or distance.

So Bridger says she was doing slow.

She just sucks at walking.

OK, also, you know,match to what you’re good at.

You know that legitimately, though,

I’m glad that you mentioned that,because that is a question that usually I

try to mention that when Iwhen I talk about the treadmill desk,

because that is the number one thing I getis people are like, well, you know,

how can you get work donewhile you’re walking quick?

Because you’re not really you know,

you’re not, if you’re bouncing around,you’re doing it wrong,

like start at half a mile an hour,you know, like you’re good, you’re fine.

OK, what are we doing?

Oh, let’s actually talk about goals.

Let’s get around to finallytalking about goals.

Excuse me.And again,

I’m not going to spend a lot of time herebecause it’s January and you can’t go

on the Internet with somebody tryingto sell you a goal setting course or,

you know, giving you a newgoal plan or whatever.

And you’re dodging it like you’re

dodging, you know,”Last Christmas” a month ago.

So so I’m not going to do so much of that,


My day job is behavior,

as you’ve heard me say, I like gettingbehavioral change, it’s what I do.

And so this is why I get frustratedwith a lot of the goal setting talk

that does happen around this time becauseit’s scientifically very poorly done.

So one thing that we know is,you know, my goal is to

be able to, think, a freethrow or slam dunk.

I don’t know, I’m gonna spikea volleyball, whatever.

You know, the goal there isnot to jump higher.

I need to talk about why I need to bendmy legs and my knees so I can get deeper

so I can get more launch out of thosesame, or more muscle movement.

And, you know, so I need to talk about how

that’s going to happen, not jump higher,because if I could jump higher,

it would already be happening and Iwouldn’t need to make it a goal.

Right.So so, yeah.

And, you know, just pointing out,

this is the most ambitious monthof the year and it is also the most

failure-ridden month of the year becausewe set these goals in so much, you know,

so much ambition and then we set ourselvesup for failure by doing it poorly.

So let’s talk about how to do it better.

How am I going to achieve this is,

I think, the most important part,possibly even more important than what you

are going to achieve,because it doesn’t matter what

my ambitions are, if I set them upin a way that I can’t get to them.

So there we go.

So effects or results are not good goals.

And where we see this in, say,the writing career

is, you know, I’m going to be the numberone best seller in my category.

I’m going to sell this book to this dream

agent or this dream publisherpublishing house or whatever.

And those are great.Don’t get me wrong.

I have those thoughts, too.

Those are fine.

But those are not good goals becauseI have no control over them.

And it’s, “Well, Laura,of course you have control.”

No, actually I don’t.

So I want to be the number onebest seller in this category.

There’s a lot of stuff I cando to try to make that happen.

But I don’t have anycontrol over other authors.

I don’t have any control over the readers.

I don’t have control over world events

that might shift, you know,tastes or, you know,

something big could happen.

And everybody stops thinking aboutbooks in the week that I release.

I mean, these things, and I’ve had this

happen on a on a, you know, non pandemickind of scale, you know, big before.

But, you know, this stuff happens.

And I felt so bad for, I had friends

releasing books last March and Aprilduring the first wave of, you know,

lockdowns and Americans finally realizingthat the pandemic was happening.

And, you know, all that kind of stuff.

And, you know, you know what?

If they had set all of their goals on “this

is going to happen during launch week,”they don’t have control.

They can’t achieve those.


you know, if I really want to sell this

book to this particular dream agent orthis particular dream publisher — hey,

you need to get on the chair and noton my lap while I’m working.

Thank you.Good dog.

So hold on.

Let me turn on the dog camnow that we have my co-pilot here.

Oh, see, there is.There she is.

There she is.That’s a good girl.

All right.Let’s get back to work.

So one thing that happens a lot and youknow, this is where you can do everything

right and it still doesn’t work is, youknow, let’s say you’re shopping a

South Asian historical fantasy,just picking something.

And it’s really, really good.

And you send it to this agent orto this publisher and they like it.

But they just picked up a South Asian

historical fantasy two weeks agoand they’re not going to have two of you

or two books that closein the same quarter or whatever.

So that’s the kind of thing that can

(sorry, I’m getting a treatfor my co-pilot here.)

That’s the kind of thing that cancompletely throw off your ability to meet

those goals because you didn’t actuallyhave control of the situation.

So I beat me to it.Yep.

Yeah.Dog was coming,

so. OK, where was I going?

So what we want to do is, we want to set

goals that have to do with things that Ican achieve, things that I can do.

And if I pick up that otherstuff along the way, fantastic.

But I’m not going to fail becauseof something that I had no control over.

OK, so there’s my, there’s a thing with goals.

So goals that are good.

I’m going to say action goals.

I don’t really have a good word for it.

So I will submiteight short stories to traditional

magazines or two anthologiesin the next six months.

Picking numbers at random.

Adjust to your personal situation.

I will query six agents,and then I will compile

the responses and revise,

according to their feedback,I will write 30,000 words this month.

OK, all of those arethings that you can do.

They’re not reliant on somebody else’s

participation in reaching,you know, your goal.

So now what I like about those too is,

those are things that are greatways to pick up the other things.

If I say I’m going to query six agentsin the next six, you know,

in the next two months, I’m going to querysix agents, again numbers totally random.

If I get to agent number three and they

write back and say, I want to pick this upso that I don’t get to query six agents.

That is the kind of failurethat I can tolerate.

Okay, that is fine.

That’s a good way to fail your goal.


you know, if the agents are like, oh, man,we just picked up a South Asian historical

fantasy, you know, go,go try another castle.

Then I still achieved my goal regardless

of the situations that weregoing on around me.

Bridger’s like, “oh, no,anything but success.

That would be the worst.”

Yeah, I can, totally I’m fine withfailing my goal by failing into success.

That’s good.So OK,

so think about what do you need to do.

You know, take your take your big

“Wouldn’t it be nice if”

that is the, “wouldn’t it be nice ifI was number one in this category?

Wouldn’t it be nice if Igot picked up by this agent?

Wouldn’t it be nice if I got my, you know,

Netflix, Amazon Prime videoadaptation, whatever?”

Yeah, those are great.

But what do I need to do to get there?

That’s what you’re going to break down.

That’s what you’re goingto turn into goals.

So what words do I needto write to make this happen?

Do I need to outline or doI need to be writing prose?

These are relatively simple

decisions that sometimes we skip like,oh, I really want this to happen.

I should start a book.Are you ready to start the book?

Are you a person who needs to outlinebefore you start the book?

How do I collect agentsor markets information?

You know, if I say I’m going to send this

out to six literary magazines or sixagents, do you have six literary magazines

or six agents that area good match for your story?

If not, how are you goingto get that information?

Because just Googling literary agents

and sending it off and hoping isnot a way get a great match.

And also some, there’s a lot of scammers

out there that are literary agent websitesand so nothing against actual agents.

But please avoid the scammers.

And so you want to, you know,

collect your information so that youcan send out those six queries.

What do you need to do to arrange yourschedule so that writing happens?

What do you need to do to arrange yourenvironment so that writing happens?

Both of those are important.

You know, I definitely, definitely writebetter in some environments than others.


so that is that’s where I’m going to justtake your goals,

make sure that there’s somethingthat in your control they don’t rely

on anybody else’s contributionsto to make happen.


you know, if they do rely

on somebody else doingsomething, change them.

That’s not a great goal for you.

That’s that sounds like a great “wouldn’tit be nice if” but that’s not a great goal

and you can do betterand be fair to yourself.

So then take those goals and break them

down into what do you need to doto make those goals happen?

It is also completely fine.

Sorry, I’ve got to adjustthe dog cam here.

There we go.

It is completely fine to adjustyour goals as you go along.

You maybe you’re finding.Oh man.

You know, I thought I was going to sendthis to these literary magazines,

but I’m figuring out this isactually a better fit for…

OK, great.Adjust your goal.

It’s your goal.You can do that.

OK, all right.

So my personal example,I wanted to not just lecture.

I wanted to tell you whereI was working on this.

I want to increasediscovery of my books.

I’m getting really good reviews,really good feedback,

but I want more readers.Yeah.

So I want to increase discovery.

And specifically I’m goingto do that through advertising.

So I’m looking at, OK,

the auction ads model is somethingthat I should look into.

So I’m going to look at AMS ads.

Those are the ads on Amazon.

And then I’ve also decided Ineed to look into BookBub ads.

So.All right, those are complicated beasts.

You can, excuse me.

You can certainly get in thereand just start throwing things around.

But they’re not going to be

effective and it’s not going to bethe best use of your money either.

So things I need to do to makethis happen, I need education.

So I’m taking an ads course.Of course I need to practice.

You know, we’ve all takencourses and then not applied it.

So I need to actually practice making ads.

So I have, I’m doing that right now weekly.

I may change that to daily.

So I’ve got a task that’sgoing to happen there.

I need to set aside a budgetfor training myself to use ads.

Not only did the course cost me money,but, you know, making ads costs money,

so I need to know how much canI afford to spend on learning?

Because your beginning ads, you know,it’s like your first book.

They’re not going to break out right away.

Bestsellers. So.

So you have some ads that I’m going

to spend time on and howmuch money can afford it.

Can I.

And so I have to sit downto do do some math there.

So those are you know,where I’m going is OK.

My goal is discovery.

I you know, wouldn’t it be nice if I

picked up another 5000 peoplein my newsletter or, you know, whatever,

but what are the things that Ican do to make that happen?

Those are my actual goals.

Those are my actual tasks.


and I’m just going to evangelizefor a moment on the power of lists.

Lists are great to do.

Lists are fantastic and run my life.

So.Oh, my gosh.

What are you doing?Get off the treadmill.

So sorry if you’re hearing that.

To-do lists are fantastic.To-do lists run my life.

I use Todoist, which is an app, ithas a free and premium version.

I use that on my computerand on my smartphone.

I also use Trello or any other varietyof a Kanban board would be

great for this. Those can be digital,those can be physical, you know,

a whiteboard on your wall,you know, Post-it notes in your notebook.

There’s so many different ways to do this.

Again, find the one that works for you.

If it works for you, it’s working for you.

So great.

If it’s not working for you,find something that does work for you.

But what I’m going to say is any time

that — the lists are amazing, they work,though only if any time you think

of something you immediatelyadd it to the list.

“I need to remember to add that to my listlater” is another thing you have

to remember, is another thingthat you could potentially forget.

And it’s a thing that’s takingup bandwidth in your brain.

So you’re not thinkingabout something else.

This is why I really,

really personally am into the digitalversions because I have my phone with me.

So no matter where I am, I canimmediately add that to my to do list.

Excuse me.

If you’re a pen and paper person and youuse a bullet journal or whatever,

and you have that with you to always addto it, great, that works for you, too.

If you tend to use a paper calendarthat does not travel around with you,

find another way to make surestuff you think of gets onto it.

So whatever, whatever your system is thatworks, if it’s working, it’s working.

If it’s not working, fix it.

But, you know, I can be like, oh man, Ididn’t set up any beta readers for this.

Oh, I need to get ARCs out.

Oh, I need to get peopleto read my ARCs.

Oh, I did.

I did a paperback, I did an ebook cover,but I forgot my audio cover.

I need to make surean audio cover gets done.

Did I make images for marketingto drop into social media?

Did I submit to thisparticular review site?

I don’t remember.

All of that stuff goesinto your to do list.

So I have

my life has a huge To-Do liston my to do list every day.

What I like about Todoist, you

can check boxes to make it go

away or on the mobile app you can do thisvery satisfying swipe and make it go.

And yeah, I’m sorry,I know Bridger gets this.

I know she understands this, because wetalked about to do lists at one point

and you know you have to have the rightfeedback for “I murdered this task.”

Yeah.That’s the thing.


you know, being able to addthat in the moment, being able to get rid

of it and then I have, you know, my dailylife tasks, they go on to do list.

And then for big projects like I’m

launching this novel that’s going to havea long run up and and I’m going to launch

paperback and ebook at the same time,

maybe paperback, e-book,audiobook, or whatever,

that kind of thing goes into Trello oragain, any Kanban board that,

you know, that whateverformat you particularly like.

I guess Kanban’s the format,

but whatever platform you like,digital, paper, whatever, whiteboard.

And because there’s so many moving parts

to that and the Kanban board,I can look at a glance and immediately see

what is on my list that needs to be done,what’s in process and what’s done.

And I can see that all in one look, so.

OK, yeah, Bridger’s suggesting to do list

systems, yeah, I actually have some blogposts on productivity and things that I

explored that work for me,but I can easily

bring that over into the show and wecan talk about that back and forth.

Yeah, because that’s that’s something that


I’ve definitely improved on.

I’m proud of improving on it.So.

OK,where was it.

Because my dog just movedmy notes with her big head.

Oh my gosh.OK.

Oh so one thing that I like that Iuse on Todoist is repeating tasks.

So when I entered

the task the first time, I say,OK, this happens every Monday.

So for right now, that’s,

you know, if I’m testing my ads,I said I was doing that once a week.

So I’ve got a repeating taskonce a week to do some ad work

when I was doing World Ember in December,which is the world building

roughly like NaNoWriMo,

but for world building and it’shosted by World Anvil.

And we’ll talk about that later.

But in December,I actually set up a repeating task

that every day reminded me to do the World Emberprompt because they had daily

prompts that I wanted to do aswell as the other world building.

So you can set that up, you know,

and it could be the first of the month,first of the month.

Every day I have a reminder to give

the dogs their heartworm pills, you know,so you can do all of that kind of thing.

Yeah, so, yeah, OK, exactly,so ShyRedFox is in the chat saying,

you know, she gets overwhelmed the numberof tasks and separating them from ideas.

Yeah, yeah.That’s actually a really,

really good point, is that you have ideasand then breaking them down into tasks is

a separate skill and has to bedone separately because.


Ideas, right.

This paranormal mystery.Tasks.

There’s a lot that goes into that.

OK, so so those are yeah.OK, yeah.

So OK.Bridger says she’s here,

in this moment,by the grace of a repeating task in

Tick Tick.Yeah.


I’m not going to lie, like having a digital

To-Do list is huge in allowingme to stay on top of things.

I’m not even going to pretendto be embarrassed by that.

I have a system, it’s workingfor me, we’re good.

So, yeah, it’s it’s all about splitting.

So here’s the other thingthat I love about.

And again, find the systemthat works. For me,

digital to do lists are more efficient.

I have friends who liveout of a bullet journal.

If it’s working for you,it’s working for you.

But I love being able to set tasks way

in advance, so, I’m goingto need a cover for this book.

I put that out in advance to make sure

that Italk to a cover designer. That would

be good. Setting or cancelingpromotional pricing.

You know, I can sign up for a promotion

and two months later,the prices change on this day.

Do not try to remember that two months

later, I’m not going to rememberI signed up for a promotion.

I’m not going to remember

I wrote that book, like that’sthat’s how my brain works.

So I set up the that task, you know,

to to change the priceand to change the price back.

That’s all scheduled way in advance.Yeah.

Tsunami of tasks.

I’ve got too many things to thinkabout to try to remember, to change

my to try to remember, to changemy pricing on a particular day.

It’s not going to happen.

Here’s the other thingthat lists are fantastic for.

Not only do I remember what I have to do,

I don’t have to rememberwhat I have to do.

I also don’t have to rememberwhat I’ve already done.

And this sounds so simplistic,but honestly, it’s a big thing.

Like when you go, “oh,shoot, I really need to…”

And then you go into your to do listand you find out you already did it.

OK, but I’m not losing,

you know, mental bandwidth and energy,trying to remember to do it,

trying to remember that I’ve done it,worrying over whether or not it got done.

No, no.It’s all recorded for me.

So great.

OK, I’m sorry, I’m laughing at Bridgerbecause this is my life right here.

“I love the aesthetics of paper planners.I love buying them.

I love setting them up.

I love watching YouTube videosof other people decorating them.

Can’t do it for more than three dayswithout getting wildly off track.

Yeah, my planner heart is analog,but my brain is digital.”

I have friends who have the most

beautiful bullet journalsand it’s just never going to happen.

I understand.

I look at it and I’m like,that is a work of art.

Go, you.

I’ve got Todoist. Like, you know,OK, but again, find what works for you.

What I did find, what works for me

with paper, is an idea notebook like,oh, this is interesting.

I should write down this premise.I could explore this.

What about…

What about, you know, would this be a series?

Here’s an interesting factoid.

OK, I can do all that on paper,

but if you want me to be organizedand on time with tasks,

digital works much better. Findthe system that works for you.

And we might talk about all those systemoptions in the future because it sounds

like I’m not the only personwho has needed to explore that.

All right.

So if I have

let’s say one of my goals is to getregular about sending a newsletter.

So that is a goal.That is an actionable item that I can do.

What that frequently turns into for a lotof people is I’m supposed to send

a newsletter, I will sit downand I will stare at the screen.

Nothing, absolutely nothing.OK,

so what you could do instead is just keepa running file in your idea

notebook, your digital whatever,however it works for you, of writing down

funny things, interestingthings, exciting things.

Oh, I should really, I can’t tell you how

many times I have actually writtena newsletter and then like two hours after

sending it saying, “oh, I shouldhave mentioned this promotion.

Oh, I should have mentioned.”OK.

Stuff that actually would have beenrelevant to my newsletter subscribers.

And I just didn’t include it becauseI didn’t have a list for that task.

So keeping you know,if you collect those things for a month,

then when you sit down to write yournewsletter,

you’ve got something more than a blankpage to go on and you’re not going

to forget the things that youreally need to include in that.

So that would be a good, you know,category to to track things with.

That’s definitely more of a do as I say,not as I do, because, as I said,

I’m still in the case of finding oh,I probably should have mentioned

and I’m trying to get better at that.

So I have a list for this show. I have inEvernote, which positively runs my life.

I’m going to do a whole showon Evernote at some point,

but I have a collection of topic ideas.

I have a collection of resourcesto use for those topics.

When I did the

rewards versus reinforcements and Kate

sent me an article and said,can you OK, can you talk about this?

And so I had that in Evernote so I couldmake notes and I had the original article

to refer to and, you know,that kind of thing.

So, oh, gosh, I love Evernote so much.

I like absolutely runs my life.

I’m going to do a whole showon Evernote at some point.

Yeah.Thanks, ShyRedFox.

She says she’s lookingforward to the Evernote one.

Yeah, it’s

I will totally be the Evernote evangelist.Yeah.

So there we go.

With all of that,

I recently learned that there’sa Quitter’s day, and it’s not as exciting

as it sounds, but Strava,which is a fitness app, a company

tracked a bunch of data that people were

recording in their Strava fitness appsand determined that January 19th was

the day that people tended to fall offthe wagon. Like they started strong.

They made it, you know,

almost three weeks into the new yearand then it started coming apart.

So January 19th,it would be Quitter’s Day,

January 19th in 2021 falls on a Tuesday.

We will be having a show on that day.

So what I would like to do is, if you areif you are hearing the sound of my voice,

you know, before January the 19th,

head over to my Facebook page,

which is Facebook.com/LauraVBaugh, which is an odd

it is the odd duck out for my usualLauraVAB name and it is what it is.

I’m sorry about that.Facebook.com/LauraVBaugh.

And you’ll find a post that I very quicklyput up right before we went live here.

And just tell me about yourwriting goals and I want those to be

your action goals, not I wantto be the best seller or not.

I want to sell to this particular

publishing house but what amI doing to make this happen?

Thank you very much, Bridger,for throwing that into the chat.

She’s got the link for us.

And then we’re going to comeback on January 19th.

And this is definitely, sorry, guys,

if you’re catching this on the YouTubereplay or on the podcast or whatever.

Nope.This has to be January 19th.

Live on Twitch, must be present to win.

I’m going to ask you to tell me whatyou’ve done with that action item.

And I will have something for peoplewho made it to Quitter’s Day and beyond.

OK, we are going to we aregoing to make this through.

So head over.

Put your goal in and then

I will see you again on thenineteenth and we will do this.

So yeah.

Meanwhile in the future.Yes.

A party! It’ll be likean achievement party.



So in the future, next week we’re goingto talk about how to use criticism

to revise your writing,

to change what you’re doing,to make your craft better,

to make your story better, to makeyourself more resilient to criticism.

OK, there’s lots of different things.

The criticism is a… Sorry!

I just laughed. I called itan achievement party and Bridger’s like,

“That sounds much betterthan, Oh, boy, a quitter’s party.”

Yeah, it’s going to be an achievement party.

We will we willnot be quitting on that.

We will quit quitting on January 19th.OK, we are.

January 18th, we are quitting, quitting.

Yes, it totally makes sense.

All right,


Criticism next week,we’ll talk about how to use criticism

and I’m going to talk, I think, too,about how to translate criticism because

frequently what is written down isnot what I need to do with that.

So we’ll talk about that as well.

Then the following week,

which I think is January 19th,which is achievement party day,

we will have a specialguest for Learn With Me.

That’s going to be Emilia Blaser,who is going to talk about metal casting

for authors who want to write abouthistorical or fantasy metal work.

And I’ve known her a long time.

She is freaking brilliant, isthe short way to put that.

So please come and check that out,because that’s going to be a lot of fun.

And she’s going to show ussome really cool stuff.

And I’m definitely going to learn thingsthat I don’t know about metal casting

that are going to be relevantin my fantastic worlds.

So, oh, it it’s a hobby youwant to learn more about.


So please, like she’s got so muchinformation and really cool stuff

and then I’m glad ShyRedFox is on here

today becauseshe and I and possibly a third person are

going to do a special bonus episodetalking about World Anvil,

which I am a total noob at, but I amlearning about and it’s pretty cool.

So World Anvil is a platform

specifically to facilitate world building,more complex world building.

So if you’ve got.

You know, I’ve got this

particular religious ritual,what happens in this town on this day,

and I need to keep that straight from,you know, all this other stuff that’s

happening in this town that’s20 miles over, you know,

World Anvil is a great placeto just organize so many things.

Yeah, yeah.I am so looking forward to that.

To it.It will be fun and I will shamelessly take

her knowledge and hopefully bringthe rest of you along with me.

So please keep an eye, wehaven’t confirmed the date.

We’re waiting on the third

third person to confirm the dateand then I will post the date for that.


So just stay tuned.

There will be a special bonus episode all

about World Anvil,and that is what I have for today.

So this was our first of the year,obligatory yay new year new episode thing.

But I’m hoping that,you know, as we’re again,

the big advantage here is to at any point,

you can stop and go,hey, this isn’t working.

I need to change something fresh start.

And that fresh start will be just as goodbecause that’s how the science works,

because you can readin Daniel Pink’s book.

So please do your little housekeeping.

You make sure that youryour digital hygiene is good.

Make sure that you’re taking careof yourself and then set yourself up

for success in your writing goals and thencome back on the 19th and we will share

our achievements with whatwe have managed to do.

So that is what I have.

It is.

Sorry, I just totally almost went back

into that spiel again,and we don’t want to do that.

No, break out of the cycle.That is it.

We are done.

If you guys have questions,you know where to reach me in any

of my social media or throughthe form on my website.

And I will see you guys next week.

We’ll talk about criticism.Thank you.

And have a fantastic day. Bye.

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