Y’all have doubtless noticed I haven’t released anything in a while. There are reasons for that. A lot of them are political. I, like a lot of other creatives, have been having a bitch of a time trying to muster the will to work on anything since the 2016 election.
But honesty dictates that I note for the record that that isn’t all of it. I have come to realize over the past few years that one of my character flaws is that I get paralyzed if I have too many things I have to organize at once. I wind up looking at all the things I keep meaning to do, and keep never frigging doing them. That, coupled with the world being generally on fire (politically, but if you happen to live on the West Coast, in a lot of cases also literally), has dropped me into a many-months-long bout of “fuck it, I have just enough brain to handle dealing with my day job so I can keep the bills paid and the food bought, and I’ll spend the rest of my waking hours playing Dungeon Boss and Gummy Drop”.
At the end of the day, though, this doesn’t get books written. Or released. And Orycon is coming up. I’ve promised to work a table again with Madison Keller, since they and I make good table partners. But I’ve also run flat out of print copies of Faerie Blood. And Third Place Press is no longer going to have the espresso book machine available–which means I need a new way to produce print copies of Faerie Blood, Bone Walker, and anything else I decide to release.
I’ve also been (grumpily) thinking for some time that it’s stupid that the print copies of my books aren’t available on Amazon. So I’ve been intending for a while to get my print editions up on Amazon for purchase that way. It should help with my discoverability, as well as just making it easier for people to buy books from me without having to track me down in person, or even contact me online.
All of which are good intentions. But y’all know what the road to hell is paved with. See previous commentary re: being paralyzed by too many things I haven’t finished yet. Here is a list of some of those things:
- New print edition of Faerie Blood
- Finish Walk the Wards
- Restart work on Warder Soul
- Finish the edit pass on Queen of Ghosts (the book formerly known as Queen of Souls)
- Restart the Bilingual Lord of the Rings Reread
- Restart the Trilingual Harry Potter Reread
- Finish the posts I never finished about the trip to Quebec last summer and Camp Violon Trad 2017
- Finish reviewing all my old Livejournal posts so I can finally delete my Livejournal
- Pull a lot of my old mail off my Gmail account and onto the murkworks.net mail server
- Finish porting a lot of old content onto my personal/fannish site, annathepiper.org
And that’s just a partial list of all the projects. There are more. And I got tired of never actually making any progress on them due to my tendency to paralysis.
So I thought about this a bit and realized that at the day job, we tackle big projects via a very loose Agile-ish methodology. Roughly speaking, this means we split big projects down into component tasks, ballpark how long it’ll take to do those tasks, and then plan to do tasks X, Y, Z, etc., in however many two-week sprints it takes to get the project done.
And I thought, “well hell, wouldn’t it be nice if I had some sort of way to do this with personal projects too?”
I’ve never been content with Apple’s Reminders app in macOS and iOS. It’s not really conducive to planning out larger projects. So I researched around to see what other options were out there, and I finally came across a program called Things. It’s available on both macOS AND iOS. And what made me decide to throw money at it was its ability to organize tasks by not only giving each task a date, but also by assigning them to larger projects.
So here’s what the “Third Edition of Faerie Blood” project currently looks like:
And here’s what I’ve done already:
I’m not going to say this thing has changed my life yet. But I will say that I really like the design of it, and it’s very galvanizing to have a nice list of tasks to check off every day. The Faerie Blood project isn’t the only one I’m working on, either. I’ve got active work going on the deletion of old Livejournal posts, as well as the review and archiving of old email.
Here’s what today’s task list looks like so far:
Just being able to have a visual thing to point at, as evidence that I have in fact accomplished things today, makes me feel like I might actually manage to chip away at the mountain of entropy that’s been slamming me down for some time now.
And in summary, if you’re a macOS/iOS person? Things. I recommend it.