Building the desk, hearing from critics and being well out of my depth. Welcome to May 2023 where you can’t please everyone but talking about things certainly help.
May 2023 – The quick bits
WHAT I WATCHED – Silo (awesome), Wayward Pines on Disney+ (I forgot how good this is!) and Doctor Who on ABC iView.
WHAT I READ – Proofreading too much of my own stuff, I, Strahd – memoirs of a vampire.
WHAT I PLAYED – Fallout 4 (still love it), Rollercoaster Tycoon 3
WHERE I WENT – Up a very cold mountain..
May 2023 – PSA, Reach out if you need to
So for personal and privacy reasons, I won’t go into full detail here but a situation within the family came up across the month and having no idea the right way to deal with things, on the advice of a good friend I reached out for help. Through work I was able to access to a counselling service and the guy they attached me too was a brilliant help. Talking through the situation with a professional helped put a better perspective on things but not only that, he provided plenty of resources in how to not only understand what was going on but more importantly, how to emphasise with it and be as supportive as possible.
This is the second time in my adult life when I’ve hit a situation like this and both times I’ve realised that I was completely out of my depth and needed help in righting the ship so to speak. It’s not weak to speak, it certainly isn’t to admit that you’re lost in a particular situation and sometimes just a chat with a professional can really turn your world around. So if you too need help, please seek help and don’t think you need to carry the load all by yourself – there are people and services out there ready to help you, just make the call.
You’ll be glad you did – I certainly was.
May 2023 – Website update. Numbers go up!
Every time I log into the back end of the place, I look to have a little gander through the stats and see if anything has changed (visitor numbers, what’s blowing up, what needs to be fixed.) What was quite this surprise this month was jumping up 8 more keywords literally overnight. It’s like Google suddenly went ‘Okay, there’s a bit more stuff than ranks now’ and pushed a few pages further up the list increasing total impressions along the way . It hasn’t had a noticeable effect on visitor numbers yet but the growth is enjoyable to see as the months go on.
Hilariously, one of the keywords is now word domination plans so a big shout out if that got you here, I hope you dominate your world as much as I’m attempting right now.(About a week later it jumped up a few more keywords, this time focused around Steel anniversaries. So when in doubt if your SEO is working, keep writing – you never know what you might be trending for next!)
I also changed the site from ‘eye-blindingly white’ to ‘CSS gradient’ just for something different. Now the more you score, the more the background changes. Nifty hey?
While I’m at it, a shout to the Rank Math plugin – I’ve been going back over my older articles and using this plug in to make them a little more SEO friendly because the more people that find the place, the happier I’ll be. This plugin gives you a score as you go and it doesn’t take much to get closer to 100 (the best score) and into the green zone to make your articles stand out. So that’s been an ongoing process too.
May 2023 – Writing update. ‘He’s not speaking from experience’
While the desk has slowly morphed around me, this month I spent a bit more time than usual working on the next book. And in saying that it still wasn’t much as I liked, but more ‘I forced myself to sit down and get s–t done’ which means the next book ‘Last Thief Running’ is almost done for the first draft and should hopefully be out into the world in the next month or two! Joy!
Meanwhile my Trilogy set met it’s first critic – one of ten selected for the LibraryThing Early Reviewers, this gentleman wrote a rather comprehensive review pointing out the lack of professional editing as well as wondering about my military experience:
Almost as though the author did not have actual military experience, but has watched movies and read books, and maybe talked with military people who gave him the most active stories they could – maybe exaggerated stories.-I don’t think he liked the book much
Cards on the table, I do not have any military experience whatsoever and I had no idea that it was a pre-requisite to writing novels set in a dystopian Cyberpunk world. Obviously in this world where suspending disbelief simply isn’t a thing, all writers simply must be knowledgeable in everything they write.
Which means if you’re writing Cyberpunk like I do, you must go out and replace all of your limbs with something cybernetic so you can be true to the experience and all gun battles must be written from memory, not creativity.
(Under this logic does this mean that everyone who pens a murder mystery should be behind bars? Also how much fun would writing romance be if even half those steamy things happened?)
Once upon a time I might have ranted and raved, possible even throw something at the wall and get cranky like Toto Wolfe (pictured above) did at Michael Massi for a decision he made once on Drive to Survive: ‘Michael this is so unfair!’ But I get it. You just can’t please everyone (something that took a very long time to come round to understand) and I understand what I write simply isn’t everyone’s cup of stim infused tea. Especially when you look at this critics other recent reviews for books such as ‘Understanding your horse’ and how much they loved that. Going from that to what I put together is one hell of a leap in genres and styles.
(Interestingly another reader keen to read my book recently gave one of the Harry Potter books only three stars. What they give me then will really be an eye opener I feel..)
May 2023 – The Finances – Pay me by the month!
We’ve had mothers day, we’ve had a trip to the almost snow and I’ve been buying PVC like it’s been going out of style but on top of all that I’m still working hard on reducing debt and increasing savings. Both have been happening across the month – sometimes in small amounts, sometimes more when there’s pay to spare. The thing is, it’s still happening and even though the process seems slow at times, it’s happening.
I never thought I’d have a small share portfolio going on either but that’s been a fun ride learning about growth vs dividend shares and looking at options that give you returns every month. Right now my meagre haul is coughing up about a $1 a month in returns, not life changing money by any stretch of the imagination but it’s a start. Especially when I have more in shares now than I did in any year before (yeah I probably should have stuck with investing a while back but life got in the way – better late than never!)
Of course once the car sells, the debt level will increase on account of a car loan to buy something newer and far more reliable – but until I get to that point, things are tracking along very nicely!
May 2023 – The Fitness – Consult the log
Sometimes you feel like you haven’t done enough in a month but then you go back and check and wait, it turns out you did just as much as you did last month. And once again I’m thankful for keeping an exercise log for this exact purpose, reminding myself that yes I have been busy in the backyard in amongst all the social occasions and family affairs. (This morning I really didn’t need to be reminded it was kettle bells day yesterday but there was my core today, feeling very sore just in case I forgot..)
Across the month of May 2023 I crossed the halfway point of my fitness goal too, a good month early. Yep, I’ve squatted and push pressed my way to the downhill slide and that’s definitely a good feeling. Unfortunately I also ate way too much for the month (both good and bad things) because I don’t like seeing food in the house go wasted. But if I can just resist the temptation of cleaning every plate come dinner time, well these barbell, dumbbell and kettlebell sessions might actually pay off..
And in other news this month
-I’m learning with every email that not everyone (actually most people) don’t read ads in full. I’ve had people interested in my car not read where I am and then learning I’m 600kms away or that it has head gasket issues ‘Anything wrong with it mate?’ Read. The. Ad. All of it please, it’ll save us both oodles of time.
-Speaking of ads, I’m advertising my Hack Trilogy collection on Amazon again. My history with effective advertising in this way has never worked before but this time I’m trying auto ads and seeing what search terms Amazon thinks my book is pulling in, rather than me guessing. Wish me luck!
-We saw David Strassman at the Cube Wodonga and he was just as good as expected.