Taking Time

The calendar provides us with all sorts of baked-in milestone moments, and though we don’t require such moments (holidays, birthdays, etc) to pause, assess, try new things, and make changes to how we live our lives (based on those assessments and experiments), it certainly doesn’t hurt to have these latent, potential-laden periods sprinkled throughout the year, ready to be leveraged for whatever purposes we choose.

I’m personally trying something new in these final, waning days of 2023: I’m taking a whole week off, intending to spend that time in calm, quiet reflection, and to work on the new book I’m writing.

(Which in practice means I’ll probably manage a little calmness and some amount of writing, but will mostly accomplish a bunch of other things that pop-up and demand my attention, instead.)

This “taking time off” thing isn’t easy for me, and I haven’t taken a full week off in…maybe ever?

I’ve taken a few days here and there in recent years, but even those days have usually been planned for periods in which I don’t have any significant work to do, anyway, and in most cases I just front-loaded the work so that I performed all the same labor, I just redistributed it so that I was overworked leading up to a brief period of being underworked.

So we’ll see how this goes; I’ve moved a few things around to account for this shift, but I’m trying to defy my tendency to just chronologically redistribute my labor instead of taking real-deal time for myself, and hoping against hope that folks on the receiving end of my work aren’t too annoyed or put-off by this effort.

In other news, I’ve soft-launched a little online store that I’m planning to build-out and evolve in the coming year.

The goal is to make this my central, online hub for the many things I currently make, while also serving as fresh soil for new, weird, pop-up projects I can then display on the same e-shelves.

My books will continue to be available everywhere, but this home base has the advantage of costing me less to operate: there’s a relatively small payment processing fee on every sale, but I won’t have to pay the additional platform fees (10%+) most other online stores charge.

The downside of this approach is that the platform I’m using (a new-ish Shopify competitor that gave me a deal because of that new-ness) is still pretty green, kind of ugly, and has required (and will probably continue to necessitate) a fair bit of effort to whip into suitable shape.

The upside is that it seems to do all the things I need it to do and should allow me to offer physical goods as well as digital ones (alongside those aforementioned “not bleeding me dry, monetarily” benefits).

(Speaking of which: if I were to make signed paperback copies of my books available on this little shop of mine, would you be interested? That’s one of the initial, next-step categories of things I’m considering popping up there, alongside possibly some artwork, zines, and similarly out-there (but fun for me) goods.)

So that effort, alongside some other (grinding, tedious, not-fun) platform-consolidation and recalibration reshuffling I’ve been doing in the background, should help me do more of the work I’d like to be doing this upcoming year, in terms of making and sharing things—which lines up with my philosophy of optimizing for more options whenever possible.

That may or may not be how things turn out, but sometimes all you can do is till the soil, plant the seeds, and hope for the best.

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