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):



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.