Tree Dreaming

Cleaning Vs. Organizing

[lj-angst intro]

So I've been thinking about the times in my life where I was CONSTANTLY posting to LJ or FB or various forms of social media, and mostly they were times when I was avoiding doing something else.

Like school, or work, or projects, or cleaning, etc.

I think I've just developed new forms of avoidance, lol. I don't know if that's good or bad.

What I DO know is I'm not going to stress too much about keeping up with LJ, and post when I think about it, which will maybe be once a week or so.

[/end lj-angst intro] [begin actual post]

CURRENT LIFE GOALS: Getting my house organized.

So dudes, I'm a 32 year old woman, theoretically an adult.

Do you know what I only just learned in the past six months?

That cleaning and organizing are two entirely different things.

I discovered this when I started looking for house cleaners, because I decided it would be worth the money to get rid of the insane amount of stress having a ridiculously messy house and being powerless against it causes me on a daily basis.

But it turns out a lot of house cleaners won't clean up around clutter and you're supposed to pick that shit up before they get there. Also they don't do dishes.


But apparently the CLUTTER issue comes from a lack of ORGANIZATION, which I learned from reading "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up".

So after reading that book, visiting the home of a friend who actually has a well-organized home, and watching a bunch of this chick's videos (and being hypnotized by her jawline), I'm all like, I CAN DO THIS.

I can get rid of stuff I don't need. I'm good at that.

I can figure out things that go together in the same category and store them in baskets and shit. (SERIOUSLY YOU GUYS, HOW DID I MAKE IT TO 32 WITHOUT REALIZING I CAN STORE SIMILAR THINGS TOGETHER AND MAYBE THAT MIGHT BE EASIER.)

So anyway, that's the plan. I feel like if I can get my house together, I can get my life together. And maybe start wearing fashionable pants.


Okay. That's my post for the day. What aspect of adulting do you struggle with the most?
Tree Dreaming

Where did the week go? Up time's ass.

Why is it I used to not be able to stop making LJ posts ten years ago, and now I sit down in front of the thing and I'm like - I don't even know what the fuck to say?

Is it because nothing interesting is happening?

Is this post just going to be more ANGST??? I DON'T WANT TO FILL THIS JOURNAL WITH ANGST.



I just got home from working 5 hours of "overtime" on my day off. It's not really overtime because we technically only work 35 hours a week and take an hour for lunch every day we work, so working an additional 5 hours puts me at 40 hours for the week, which isn't overtime. Hence the quotes.

I did the same thing last week. So these past few weeks have felt like they just slipped by without my really noticing.

I've been spending my spare time working on my video for the week (which isn't going to be finished in time for me to post this week, so I filmed a filler video that just needs a little editing to take its place), and filling my dang hoop orders. I'm really over making hoops, trying to store all the materials takes up so much friggen' space, and taking up spare time making them when I'd rather be working on videos (or, I don't know, doing something without feeling guilty about not working on hoops) is a pain in the ass.

But the extra money is nice.


This post sure was about something, I guess.

What did you eat today?
Tree Dreaming

What's Your Writing Process?

So after making my last post, it looks like a lot of people currently active on LJ and reading these words are other writers.

I'm extremely interested in writer's processes. I think everyone has a different writing process, despite the actual process of writing being less discussed than the technical aspects of writing.

Why do you write? How often do you write? What do you do to help you write? Do you prefer drafting or revising? Description or dialogue? Etc.?

For me, I write because I love books and I feel this drive to create things I love consuming, more than any specific love of writing. I like initiating. I like attempting to write something I would actually enjoy reading.

The writing process for me is exceedingly difficult. I often won't sit down to write unless it's inside of some sort of challenge, either external or internal (NaNoWriMo, LJ Idol, or giving myself a specific deadline with people who are holding me accountable to hitting it).

I prefer writing dialogue and I loathe description. A lot of my drafts take place in nebulous worlds with poorly described characters talking and doing things, but not really interacting with their environment.

I like to sit down and bang out a lot of words without thinking. For example, the two drafts of the book I'm currently working on were written in a two months, a week, and another month of furious quick writing.

Then it takes me a long time to pull the things I actually like out of that nonsense and shaping it into something traditionally resembling a story. In total, that process of this current book has taken me eleven years.

I like to sit down with a timer and write as much as I can without looking back. I like limitations - challenges to include certain words or concepts to drive creativity, as I don't feel like I'm particularly creative on my own.

For me, my process feels a lot like throwing words at a screen until they come together in a way that's compelling. A lot of what I write is total crap, and sometimes it's just me literally typing "I am typing until the timer goes off. I have no idea what happens next or what my characters should be doing. I just have five minutes left on the timer."

Plotting really stresses me out and makes me uncomfortable, but I have dabbled in it.

Okay, that's enough of me. What's your process like?
Tree Dreaming

On Goals, But Not Really Probably

So people like to say that successful people set goals and review them and work toward them every day but WHAT IF YOUR GOALS GET BORING, is the thing.

That's what I've noticed happens to me and I think is one of the problems I have in setting goals, the fear of it getting boring.

It took five years of having a YouTube channel and posting to it when I felt like it to finally commit to the goal of making a video once a week. I still haven't set a goal about what KIND of videos to make. Or what DAY of the week to post. Just making one video a week is good enough. I figure if I do it enough, patterns will emerge, and I can cobble a channel out of that maybe?

And then there's my novel. I can't tell you how many times I've written down the goal of "Finish my novel THIS YEAR!" Like three or four years, I think, that's how many. See, I can't tell you, because I'm too lazy to look it up.

What I CAN tell you is I've been plugging away at Holly Lisle's How To Revise Your Novel course for however many years, determined to finish the fucker, and then I'll just randomly lose interest. Months will pass, usually three to six months, then it will start knocking on my head again, like, "Hey, come back, finish me you asshat."

It's started to do it again. And every time I work on it, I get these wild ideas like writing is supposed to be my Capital "P" Profession. And then I find something else shiny, lose interest in the novel and writing in general again, and run off into the sunset with the new whatever-it-is.

I rotate around things and keep coming back to them, just never with any reliability or consistency.

Though I really do feel this is the year I'll finish the god damn novel, considering I'm at the re-writing stage now, and I've got pretty rock solid notes on what needs to happen. The biggest hindrance is that Holly insists on hand-writing the re-write, then going back and typing it all in, and I'm normally a "type-like-the-wind-and-accept-whatever-fuckery-flies-from-my-fingers" sort of writer. Handwriting is painfully slow, especially when the sentence is in my head and I forget how it ends by the time I've written the beginning, where at a keyboard I could just bang it out as I think it. Also my penmanship isn't that great when I'm really chugging along, and then there's the fact that my hand eczema likes to flare up sometimes and make writing legitimately painful.

BUT, I'm stubborn and determined to work through the course at least one time as per Holly's specifications, because I like following directions and trusting processes. And I've re-written by hand three or four scenes already, and they were actually kind of fun to do by hand, so we'll see. WE'LL SEE. It's mostly the overwhelm of starting, knowing I've got so much book to do, my handwriting is so slow, and I will have to dive back into the story and figure out what's going on and re-read all my notes and all that shit. But I do it every time I pick the thing back up, so that's what I get for my process being so jacked up, I guess.

I kind of want to dig it out right now, but I have to make hoops. I HAVE to, I have some that are due to ship out today and I've been so bad at getting them out on time. I really wish I could afford to close the shop, but it earns me just enough money to not want to lose those sales. I'm hoping eventually YouTube will earn me what the shop earns me (in my lazy state of not promoting and just getting one to three sales a week, which I can't even keep up with having a real job and a desire to do anything else instead).

Anyway. Now I'm just babbling and bitching. What was this post about? I don't know.

I'm hoping if I keep posting to LJ, posts will eventually come easily again. They used to just fall out of me without any trouble at all, now it's like, "What should I talk to LJ about today?" And I don't know if that's due to losing interest in things or just doing more writing in my personal journals, WHO KNOWS, BRAINS ARE WEIRD, I WISH I STILL LOVED THINGS THE WAY I DID WHEN I WAS TWENTY.

How are you today?
Tree Dreaming

Hello New Friends and The Death of My Car

I think I have added everyone back who has added me thus far from 2017revival, so we are all on a TRIAL RUN FRIENDSHIP BASIS THING. I think there were too many words there but whatever.

Some further intro-y things, since I'm on my good keyboard this time and not the iPad: I try to read my flist but I'm very bad at it, because I type faster than I read and I get distracted by everything and also being an adult means I feel intense guilt staying up until 2 AM on LJ, a dramatic difference from when I was eighteen and would do that as a matter of course.

Also (and unrelated), I still have LJ skinned to display the Dystopia theme, which looks like this:

LJ Layout

AKA exactly how it looked in 2001 when I first got my journal (confirmed) because CHANGE IS HARD AND I WILL GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP. And I would like to add I'm extremely grateful to LJ for letting me keep my old school layout because basically no other website does that, so THANKS LJ, FOR SOMETHING I GUESS. Actually thanks for a lot. I'm glad I've thrown money at you.

Also thanks to fidgety for telling me about the revival thing and then making an epic post about being awake for surgery, you are my hero.

Anyway. Here's the real post part of the post!

Eleven and a half years ago, I got a new car.

I know, because I made an LJ post about it. (Sadly the picture I took is no longer embedded in the memory of the internet.)

Earlier this week, she died forever.

About three years ago, she needed a repair I couldn't afford at the time. So she sat in my driveway while I attempted to scrape the money together. Life kept happening and the money never did, so she sat.

Then around summer of '16, a friend offered to help, I found out she'd still run, I took her to some places who got her functioning again.

I drove her to and from work, happily, blissfully, reunited with my baby.

Then the radiator cracked and it'll cost more to fix her than it will to just get a new car.

When she died, I managed to get her off the highway, where I called Green, who came by and waited with me for a tow truck (which ended up being a $120 tow to take her to her final resting place). I was assisted by the panhandler at the corner who helped me push her into the parking lot of Peach Tree Food Beer Wine Groceries Chicken Cigarettes.

I did not give that man any money because it felt weird? He didn't seem to be asking or implying that I should? But then later when we were waiting for the tow truck, another fellow, extremely flamboyant (so I loved him immediately), strolled up and told us he had some boots he was trying to sell.

I'm familiar with this tactic - when I was working at Subway, there were some homeless gentlemen who would come in from time to time, and we'd give them meatballs to eat despite our managers constantly telling us not to give them meatballs. One of them liked to raid the lost and found at the various hotels he'd stay in when he had the money, and he'd take nice looking shoes and try to sell them. Many times, he would try to offer me shoes to say thanks for the meatballs. I never wanted the shoes, but I appreciated the sentiment.

Anyway, the boots were super cute, black and furry, something I'd never wear. He wanted $10 for them. I told him to keep the boots but I'd give him $5 anyway because he was so adorable.

When I handed him the money, he was like, "Watch what I do with this," and he slid it under his shirt as if sticking it in a bra strap and basically he's the best.

So anyway the point is, Mia's* radiator has a crack in it, it'll cost $700 to fix and there's only a 50/50 chance that'll solve the problem. If it doesn't, I'm looking at another $1,500 to replace the engine.


Mia was born on LJ, and here I will lay her sweet memory to rest.

Well, I mean, I still need to go get my stuff out of her. But yeah. She did a good job. I did bond with her eventually. She took me all across the country, to Colorado, to North Carolina, to California, and back to Texas from all those places. I covered her with stickers with no regard to how that would look after sitting in the sun for seven years. (Spoiler alert - not great.)

She put up with my shit. Any car that can do that deserves a god damn award.

Anyway. I guess that's it for now. I hope you're having a lovely day.

*The car.
Tree Dreaming

Jobs and Time and YouTube

Oh, hello, LJ. You're looking well. Glad to see you still exist.

If you're looking for the riveting follow up to my post however long ago about that Terry Pratchett book - I didn't buy it.


I told myself I have to get my car legal first, and that's turned into a longer and more expensive process than I'd thought.

Anyway. I've been having some job feels again, and you're always so calm and patient with my neurotic inability to happily hold down any sort of gainful employment no matter how firm a grasp I feel I've gotten on this whole "being an adult" thing.

So. I am currently working at a used bookstore. I absolutely love the work and the people and the environment. The customers are great and very rarely are they pains in the asses. If I were the sort of person who could go to work, come home, keep house, cook dinner and go to bed with the satisfaction of a job well done, I'd be the happiest of campers.

But the problem is, I want to do so many other things. SO MANY. And this job, no matter how perfect, takes 35 hours a week (plus an hour each way for travel) away from my time to do those other things. And keep house (A JOKE). And cook dinner (WHO HAS THE TIME??). And still hang out with the friends I really care about.

I know, I know, there's never enough time.

But as someone who spent three years working from home, I can tell you it's a hell of a lot easier to make plans with your friends when one of you has a fairly open schedule.

Not to mention I still have that side business, making hoops, on top of the irl job, which takes even more time away from the things I really want to do.

Which right now mainly consists of making videos for YouTube and growing my channel.

Listen, LJ. I'm not complaining, not really. I am grateful to have a job I actually like, and not having to stress about finances is pretty blissful most of the time.

But I think when I told myself in the beginning that I could see myself working here until I retire from working forever, I think I was fooling myself.

But I'd like to work here as long as I can, while hopefully building up a nice income from YouTube. And maybe - one day being in the position where spending all that time at work is causing me to lose potential YouTube money.

Look, I know YouTube is a long shot. But I didn't know if I could get myself organized and motivated enough to build a sustainable Etsy shop, and I did that. It took several false starts, but once I decided to commit, I did it.

I have already had my several false YouTube starts. My attempts and failures have garnered me nearly 3,000 subscribers, which is more than a lot of would-be YouTubers have.

And now I've got the commitment behind it. I've committed to a video a week for a year, and I'm fifteen weeks in. I thought committing would be scary, but mostly I just find I'm wishing I had enough time to do two or three videos a week and grow faster.

My content is still pretty all over the map and disorganized, but I know if I keep doing it, I can make it a thing. I can make it not just a dream. I have already earned one $100 payout (which I got in 2015) and I'm less than $20 adsense dollars away from my second.

I am earning real money from it. Granted, it's drops in the bucket chump change compared to how much work I put in, but it's real money. And the work is fun. And I know if I keep at it, it will grow to be larger and larger amounts of money.

So here is my current plan: Get to where I'm earning enough money through YouTube that I can quit making hoops, thus freeing up a bit more time for videos. Then just keep growing the channel. Perhaps strategically schedule vacation days to have more time for making videos. And maybe, one day, quit in a blaze of YouTube glory.


With gratitude.

Because I really fucking love my coworkers.

It's not a super elegant plan and it's not going to happen anytime soon probably, but just getting it out of my head and in the LJ archives helps it feel more real.

Follow your dreams, kids.

Even if they change every five god damn minutes.
Tree Dreaming

I Need Advice, Livejournal.

Terry Pratchett is one of my favorite authors and probably the person I most aim to emulate (or draw inspiration from, etc.) when I write myself.

He wrote his first published novel when he was 17. When he got more popular, he re-wrote and re-released it in his 40s. This revised version is very easy to get a copy of for very cheap.

For years, I've really wanted to have a full rough draft of one of my favorite author's published works, just to see the differences between that initial inspiration and what finally stayed on the page, and how they differ, what was dropped, added, etc. I'm very interested in examples of the revision process - while there's tons of examples of "finished" writing, there's not a lot of examples of "in-progress" writing.

So basically, having a copy of the original version seems as close to a "rough draft" I'm likely to find from an author I admire, and comparing it to the re-written thirty years later version seems like a fantastic example of "in-progress" writing.

HERE IS THE PROBLEM: Copies of the original unrevised 1971 version are out of print and only available in Britain, for the most part. And run $700 - $1000 on Amazon.

I did some digging and found a few copies available in the $220 - $300 range on another site.


Since I'm interested in having the two stories to compare more than "owning a first edition zomg", I'm thinking of buying one of the "cheaper" $200ish editions, copying it surreptitiously at Kinko's (perhaps in several trips so they don't get suspicious), then reselling it for the $700 price point.

I have copied an entire 500+ page textbook before once so I know it's possible and that I have the stamina for it.

I have $600 set aside to cover anything I might owe in taxes, so technically, I "have" the money. If I were able to resell the book - even for exactly what I paid for it - by February, it wouldn't make a dent financially. If I could sell it for $400 - $700, I'll have made a profit, possibly a hefty one. Condition doesn't seem to make a difference on what people charge for these since they're so rare and sought after.

The major variable is how long it would take to resell and how much I could resell it for, but I feel like overall it's not a TERRIBLE idea, just kind of a SCARY idea because it's a pretty big initial investment without a 100% GUARANTEE not to fail.

Is this worth doing? For the sake of learning to be a better writer maybe? I mean, I paid $200 for the revision course I'm taking my book through, this is only a little more than that AND I will (ideally) get the money back. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
Tree Dreaming

Jobs, and My Thoughts Thereupon

I think if this journal had a title, it'd be, "Jess's Complex, Ever-Evolving and Often Obnoxious Thoughts About Jobs".

THEY ARE A THING I THINK ABOUT ALL THE DAMN TIME. Especially now since I have a "real" one again.


I'm pretty sure I've figured out why that is. More than almost every other job I've had save for one, PJ's is really well organized. Well organized training, well organized management, really clear and easy-to-follow guidelines on how to get into those management positions and beyond. Also they pay really well for promotions (considering other jobs of a similar caliber).

From the start, they are like, "Hey, you could spend the rest of your life here and we'll show you exactly how and you have to do next to no THINKING" and it's pretty great, I'm not gonna lie, it's pretty great.

If you're a teenager and you've never had a job before and you dove right into this environment, it'd be SUPER EASY to be like, "Yes, this is where I belong, THEY GET ME, PIZZA 4 LYFE."

I'm going through management training right now to become a shift lead, because why not. I can do the job, there's lots of support for managers here, and it's a few extra bucks an hour. I just got my first paycheck at my new pay level and like....dudes....bills are paid. Things are cool for this week, at least.

For a long time I have said I prefer freedom over money. But after spending three years with as much free TIME as I can throw a stick at, worrying about where money was coming from took up a huge chunk of it.

Now, I've got this job, and I know as long as I just go in when I'm scheduled and nothing horrible happens, I will have enough money to pay for the things that need paying for and maybe a little extra.

And I can spend my free time not fretting so hardcore about money, but like, doing things for fun. Hobbies and shit. I haven't really had any hobbies for a while.

Past me would be like, "HOW DARE YOU SUCCUMB TO THE MAN, HOW HORRIBLE, BLAHHHH," but I feel a lot more relaxed and HAPPIER being allowed some time to focus on shit that isn't hustling for that dollar.

Having a job is a lot easier than trying to be an entrepreneur.

Not that that's going to stop me.

But instead of stressing over NEEDING to come up with something other people will want so I can pay my bills, I can focus instead on stuff I enjoy and see if I can mold that into something to make some extra cash.

I've been doing a bit of daily vlogging on my YouTube channel, and I had an idea for a direction my channel could go in - away from hoops but still potentially income-earning.

And I'm working on my novel again. I've busted out the tarot cards and I'm doing readings on all my main characters to really dig into who they are, and it's taking the book into a more focused direction I'm really excited about. I still have to force myself to work on that when I'm otherwise just lying around browsing Pinterest, but at least I don't have to feel guilty I'm working on it and not shit for Etsy.

(Green has taken over most of the Etsy stuff as well, taking another burden off my back while not eliminating a source of valid income.)

For now, this job is good enough. In her book Refuse to Choose, Barbara Sher talks about how having a "good enough" job is a great way to support your hobbies. A job you don't take home with you, pays the bills, and doesn't make you crazy.

I used to rage against that idea. "NO JOB IS GOOD ENOUGH, ALL JOBS SUCK YOUR SOUL AWAY!!! AUUUUGH!!!"

But right now, I get it. Right now, this job isn't driving me crazy. I actually enjoy it sometimes. I work with great people, and if I wanted to, I could continue taking steps up to keep challenging myself at work, hopefully not get bored, and earn more money so I can set stuff aside for when I'm old and not physically able to work at a breakneck restaurant pace.

And I can come home and relax, work on things that light me up and make me feel like me again, and keep moving forward.

I just wanted to get my thoughts on this out of my head. This shouldn't be epiphany-level shit, but for me, it is.
Tree Dreaming

Being Human

Today was delightful, best day I've had in a while, but now it's ending and I'm feeling stressed out. Stressed that I didn't do enough with a delightful-feeling day (even though all the things I did were exactly what I wanted to be doing). Stressed that I don't know the next time I'll get to have a day like this.

I think the point of vacations is to reinvigorate you to go back to work recharged, but I've never felt that way. To me, vacations always remind me how much I don't want to have a job or responsibilities, and just spend all my time relaxed and doing things I enjoy.

Obviously, that's unsustainable.

And the "real job" I have right now honestly isn't that bad. It's just somewhere I need to be at a specific time for a set number of hours, and those are hours I can't spend doing things I like. At least for the most part I get to spend them with people I enjoy, which helps a lot - great coworkers really amp the work experience.

I've been thinking a lot about the concept of "passion". People seeking self-employment are often told to follow their passion.

I used to think my passions changed all the time, and I couldn't stick to anything, but after reading "Refuse to Choose" and learning I'm a scanner, I know that's not really true. My TRUE passion is something else. Something that connects all those things.

After dwelling on it the past couple of days, I think my true passion is learning how something works and getting really good at it. I REALLY, REALLY enjoy the process of diving into something, picking it apart, learning how to do it, and getting to the point where people who are also good at the thing are like, "Hey, you're really good at this thing. You could do GREAT THINGS with this thing."

It's a combination of all of that. The learning. The getting good. The praise. Man, I wish the praise weren't as huge a part of the thrill for me, but it is. I don't know if that makes me a bad person or just a person person, but there we are.

It happens with jobs, even though I am constantly trying to escape them. I usually love the first three months, or at least the experience of the first three months (if not so much the hours). I enjoy learning the ins and outs, proving I can do a good job, pushing my way to the head of the pack, getting the praise of my supervisors, being promoted or moved to a new position due to my skills...and once that happens, I start to get bored. I've done the fun part. The learn/improve/be praised part.

Then I want to find something new and do it all again.

I'm not entirely sure where the connective tissue is between the things I get obsessed with, though. You'd think, given that general process, I could pick up anything and enjoy the hell out of it. I probably could if I put in the effort. But sometimes I try to learn something and I don't feel enthused by it, so I drop it. And the more things start to look the same, the less interesting they are (IE: The concepts of tatting are not that different from crochet, so I'm less inclined to learn it).

I don't know if there's a good solution to this. I don't know if there's a way to turn a passion for getting just good enough at a thing to receive adulation into a sustainable career.

Right now, I sort of feel like I'm going through this process with building a business. I worry once I reach a point where I feel like I've done it, I've created a successful business, I'll get bored and not want to continue running said successful business.

Blergh. I'm not sure where I'm going with this, it's just something I've been mulling over and wanted to get out.


I hope you all had lovely days as well! Hopefully ones that didn't end in an existential crisis.
Tree Dreaming

LJ Idol Intro

IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN! The time when I actually get back on LJ for an extendedish period, but just to make posts for a contest that only people from that contest actually read! HOORAY!!

I'm Jess, and I have absolutely no clue what my writing style is. LJ Idol is where I prove that, consistently, from week to week. Do I write wacky crackfic? Insightful non-fiction? Wacky non-fiction? Insightful crackfic?


I do know I like capslock. And parenthetical statements. (Though I haven't used any yet this intro.)

(Wait. Fuck. Nevermind.)

I make hula hoops as my day job, and I recently started a second job at a POPULAR CHAIN PIZZA JOINT WHICH SHALL REMAIN NAMELESS to help pay the bills hoops weren't covering. Which means I have EVEN LESS TIME THAN USUAL for Idol shenanigans.

(Can every topic be the intro topic? I feel like it's always my favorite.)

Come with me on a journey through uncertainty, bad decisions, and poorly thought out ideas!

(And if you want to play, too, SIGN UP HERE!)