Mid-Year review of Éric’s 2021 New Year’s Resolutions

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

It’s a good thing that my wife reminded me I made these cause I had completely forgotten. The past sixish months have been a roller coaster of emotion and a study in lack of sleep.

Here are my resolutions for this year.

Let’s get right into this and see how I did.

Writing

1. Write a Monthly Serial Story (Succeeding)

I’m pretty proud of this year’s story and impressed with how easy it is to write. Check out Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist now.

2. Start and write half of SUPER MYSTERY BOOK PROJECT Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. (Success)

Oh my. This went so much better than I could have hoped. We managed 100k words and Jen went a step further and wrote most of a short story collection to go with it. We submitted the book to Renaissance Press in May and are planning on writing the sequel in the Fall.

3. Write Another Hal Story (Failing)

I haven’t written another Sun Speaker universe story, unfortunately. However, I have written over 20,000 words in short stories for the short story collection that follows Assassins. That counts for something right?

JenEric Designs and Coffee

4. Ensure 5+ days of updates (Succeeding)

So far so good. What I’m most struggling with is the movie reviews. Not writing, but watching. We’re watching too much television and not enough movies.

Editing and Marketing

5. Start Editing Dinosaur Road Trip (Fail)

I’m going to call this now. I don’t have the motivation to do this. As much as I love the story, there are other stories to work on.

6. Keep Working on FADDS (Succeeding)

I’ve reworked tables into accessible columns and added a whole new power section to the rules. My playtesters are fantastic and things are going well.

Personal

7. Read 15 Books (Failing)

I was reading at night before bed, but since writing Assassins at that time worked so well, I’ve been doing it for Elizabeth 4 and short stories. That means I’ve barely finished 2 books this year. I doubt I’m making this.

8. Play more games with the kids (Succeeding)

We haven’t done enough board games, but that’s mostly because the 2 year old can’t follow. We bought a Nintendo Switch and both kids play Mario Kart and I’ve been playing Yoshi Craft World with Dragon. I’ve also been playing Link’s Awakening, which both kids love to watch.

9. Be More Patient (Unsure)

I still yell a little too much and I’m a little too stressed. I need to chill. I’m doing a little better but I still need to work on it.

10. Keep pressing my doctor to find out what those attacks were in November (Fail)

In November I had some serious health issues. I had massive cramping in my lower left abdomen, fever, weakness, nausea, and fatigue. It happened twice in November and both times faded away.

So I haven’t pressed on this. I probably won’t. It hasn’t happened again and when I started to feel something similar I made sure to de-stress and relax a little and it helped. I don’t know what happened, but at this point I’ll see if it happens again.


Results

Well it’s not great but it’s not bad either. I’ll call that roughly 50%. I’m not going to add anything to this since I already have my hands full trying to improve this score.

  • 1 Success
  • 4 Succeeding
  • 2 Fail
  • 2 Failing
  • 1 Unsure

What do you think? How are your resolutions going?

Éric

Books, stories, edits, and Emus

Hello Readers,

I’m working on a lot of thinks right now.

  • Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers is being beta-read and sensitivity edited currently.
  • Stories between the ‘Verses is being edited by me and should be going to typesetting soon, to be published by Renaissance Press in the Fall.
  • I’m working on two different projects for clients. Both fantastic authors. I’ll share here when they’re available.
  • Stories! Unexpected Collection 1 (Working title) is shockingly at 15 stories and 3 novellas.
  • Mystery of the Dancing Lights (Elizabeth 4) is at just over 37000 and halfway through the story.
  • The Copper Tarnish (Formerly Paragenesis) has been edited and is at 32000 words which means that it’s 60% done.

I hope you’re having good productive weeks. I’m still not feeling great, but it’s getting better. I should probably get back to some of those now.

Two of my current projects involve sentient alien Emus so here’s a smiling Emu.

Photo From flicker showing an emu that seems to be smiling.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Éric’s 2021 New Year’s Resolutions

Welcome 2021! (I’m watching you…)

Today marks the first day of a whole new year. A made up, arbitrary, unimportant date that nonetheless feels like a renewal and rebirth. The human mind and spirit is a fascinating and messed up thing.

Last year was all over the place. I was on paternity leave, we went to Disney World, and then PANDEMIC. I’m ridiculously privileged that I got to work from home and we didn’t lose much income (Jen’s travel booking did suffer). I got to spend so much more time with my son than I would have and that’s a blessing.

It was a terrible year for my New Year’s Resolutions, however. This year I’m going to take it easier… I think.

https://theawkwardyeti.com/

Writing

1. Write a Monthly Serial Story

This will be the 8th year for the serial story. Voting Ended yesterday and I’ll have the first installment by the end of the month. I’ll be writing 1 installment every month of 800-1000 words.

2. Start and write half of SUPER MYSTERY BOOK PROJECT

This year will see the start, and hopefully the finish, of a new book. I’m really excited about this one. The goal is to get to at least 40,000 words this year.

3. Write Another Hal Story

There are 5 stories in the Sun Speaker universe and I’ve been wanting to add another. Hopefully I can write something around 3000-6000 words.

JenEric Designs and Coffee

4. Ensure 5+ days of updates

Our schedule and lineup will be changing, but that’s another post. I’m going to hopefully keep up the streak of having at least 5 posts per week.

Editing and Marketing

5. Start Editing Dinosaur Road Trip

I wrote this novel in 2017 and my weditor edited it. I need to go through it and make the recommended changes and edits. Maybe even pass it to the next beta reader… It’s just such a personal book that it’s hard to revisit.

6. Keep Working on FADDS

The system isn’t perfect, but it’s getting better every playtest. I want to keep playtesting and adding on to the powers. Maybe rethink the advanced classes and powers.

Personal

7. Read 15 Books

Like writing, I need to carve out time to read. It’s important to both my mental energy and health.

8. Play more games with the kids

I need to play more board games and video games now that the kids are getting older. It’ll be a fun activity.

9. Be More Patient

This is a hard one. I yell a little too much and it’s not good for me or the kids. I need more patience with them, work, and life in general.

10. Keep pressing my doctor to find out what those attacks were in November

In November I had some serious health issues. I had massive cramping in my lower left abdomen, fever, weakness, nausea, and fatigue. It happened twice in November and both times faded away.

It also happened last year and I went to the emergency room, but they couldn’t find anything wrong.

In mid-December, I called and asked the receptionist to get a referral to a specialist. I think this is related to my IBS and other issues, but I’m not a doctor.

I’ll keep pushing.


Those are my resolutions for 2021. Ambitious, but less so than in the past.

May your 2021 be gentle and you be strong!

Éric

Busy, pumpkins, and tired

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Work is starting to ramp up for the return of parliament (I do layouts for government reports, a lot of them are tabled in parliament). So I’m really busy. Especially with work, the preparations for the JenEric Advent Calendar, and Dragon going to school.

Pegasus is really into stacking things. Here he’s stacked 2 blue cylinders on my shoulder.

I’m also really tired from the last hurrah of this season’s seasonal allergies (apparently that means I have different allergies each season) and Pegasus having issues sleeping (more teeth and growing pains). All that to say that I haven’t had as much time to dedicate to writing or blogging. Sorry about that.

In other news, pie pumpkins are in stores here which means I’ll be going all out on pumpkin stuff. I’ve already roasted two of them and eaten the seeds. This weekend I’ll attempt Pumpkin & Spice Doughnuts if I have the time and energy.

Hope you’re all doing well.

Stay Safe and Be Kind!

Éric

Why no extra content on JenEric Designs?

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

Some of my favourite creators are doing extra stories, readings, podcasts, and all kinds of awesome stuff. S. M. Carrière is doing live streams of her guitar playing (seriously cool). She’s also reading her works over on youtube.

Seeing as I tend to express my emotions and work thoughts through my writing, you’d expect that I’d be doing something extra… or possible “extra” as the kids say.

Fortunately for me and my little family, I’m an essential worker (from home) with the federal government. That means I’m pretty much working 8:30 to 4:30. Trying to do work with a baby and a child isn’t always easy, but it is doable. Some of the reports and documents I work on are legislated and must come out even this tiny-pocalypse. That means I’ve actually done overtime this week.

Unfortunately for you, that doesn’t give me much time to create or write. Honestly, I’m struggling to get everything I’m doing done, but I’ll get used to it and production will go up. But there won’t be extra awesome content.

However, there are plenty of amazing people doing great things. Those small businesses and creators that are doing these things need your support. Help them out by buying stuff, becoming a patron, buying them a coffee, or donating to their art. They need the money and more than that, it’ll let them know that someone cares enough about their products and art to give them money for it.

Stay home, wash your hands, and support artists;

Éric

Covid-19 and Me

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ve been pretty silent about the state of the world the past few weeks. Part of that was being overwhelmed and part of that was being busy.

Ottawa called for people to start self-isolating and working from home starting March 16th. My first day of work after just over eight months of parental leave was the 18th of March. I work for the government in a communications area so I’m considered essential.

I’ve been dealing with going back to work (although I do enjoy working from home), a baby that is teething (AKA not sleeping well), the pandemic, and everything that entails.

My family is in a good place. We have a house, I have a job that will continue to pay me (barring some sort of pheonix crap), and we’re all pretty used to being at home. Our house is filled with movies, games, books, and comfy furniture.

The kids are still too young for school and like I said, I just finished ~8 months of parental leave so we’re all kind of used to being at home. I do miss having people over for D&D, movies, and to chat. I miss going to the cinema, and going for walks with the kids to Walmart or the park. My daughter and wife miss church and we all miss our conventions.

Those are minor inconveniences and I know we are extremely lucky.

My wife asked me to cut her hair. This was right before.

It’s still been hard. I’ve felt like I was on high alert for the past three weeks. I’ve felt terrified while shopping and I’m scared for my friends and family.

I’m starting to calm down but I’m still teary and worried.

This will become normal and when things get better we’ll have hopefully spared much death and heartache.

The implications of what this will change in our world are staggering and a little scary. But that’s another post all together.

Stay home and wash your hands!

Éric

Shark Mode

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Last year I wrote about burning out. While paying attention to my habits and how I handled things, I noticed that I would get into a grove of always doing something and that if I stopped, all my pain and fatigue would catch up to me.

Some sharks have to keep swimming or they die.

When I’m in Shark Mode, I know I’m tired and in pain and I can ignore it as long as I just keep swimming. It’s extremely useful for short bursts of needing to get things done, but extremely unhealthy in the long term.

The other major downside to Shark Mode is how much you feel you’re accomplishing. This, combined with any sort of stress or anxiety, means the more you use it, the more you feel you should.

I remember sitting on my chair, barely able to move and with extreme pain, but feeling like I had to do something or I’d explode. Not a fun feeling.

If you have a version of Shark Mode, make sure not to overuse it.

Stay healthy,

Éric

Top 5 Things I Never Thought I’d say – Public Servant Edition

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I received my certificate for being in the public service for 10 years (only 20 more to go. Woo!)

I have seen a lot and said a lot in that time. Countless amounts of, “Huh?” and “Why?” but some things have really blindsided me.

 

5. Do we still have pens/highlighters?

A few years ago the government released a directive to lower the amount of paper we use. I never liked printing things anyway and most of my work is digital but every once in a while I need a pen and can’t find it.

There’s a little area that has some, but nothing compared to the stationary closets of the past.

4. Template, form, mock-up, or style?

Surprisingly depending on people’s background, all these things can mean the same product. It can be:

  • an example file used to recreate the same look
  • a fillable document meant to collect information
  • a technical product that has all the styles and look built into it for easy formatting
  • a list of detailed instructions or examples that show how something should be done.

It’s not always obvious what people want and trying to navigate that without sounding condescending is a pain.

3. Free food? I’ll pass.

I love free food, like a starving college/university student loves free food.

There are a lot of events that are held where they give free food. I’m still learning which ones are worth it and which are, “standing in line for an hour in the hot sun wishing I was dead”.

Some of these events are just not worth the burger and bag of chips that’s offered.

2. My Agency has an Instagram strategy…

It was bound to happen. I’m so old and out of touch with social media and tech that my agency is outpacing me. They are looking into Instagram as a way to spread the accomplishments of the public service.

That means that it’s possible that my workplace will have an Instagram account before me.

It both makes me want to sign up and not want to… yikes.

1. You’ve reached a government phone… stop calling me

Three years ago my office got rid of landlines in favour of cellphones. That, unfortunately, meant the death of extensions and government specific numbers. Which meant the rise of spam calls.

Since I don’t deal with clients directly I get very few, real, calls.

The fake CRA scam, duct cleaning, credit card scam, Chinese Embassy, and people looking for Genevieve call me on a regular basis.

My favourite thing to do is answer the phone with my name, position, and agency and then repeat it twice. Most of them hang up or laugh and then threaten me.

 

What odd things have you said in your day job?

Éric

Éric’s Top 5 Workplace Pet Peeves

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Every work place is different. That being said, there are certain things that you shouldn’t do and that annoy me like crazy.

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5. Talking while I’m working

Feel free to have a conversation, but not next to me. Yes, I may work near a hall or kitchen etc, but that doesn’t mean my work area is a meeting room. You and Wealhtheow may think you’re being quiet, but my area isn’t a meeting zone.

If you’re within 6 feet of my cubicle and you plan on having a meeting that is longer than 30 seconds… GO AWAY!

4. Being in the way

I understand you haven’t seen Hrothgar in a long time and you just need to chat. Don’t do it at the entrance or exit of something. Especially don’t have your heated discussions in a narrow hall. That’s super awkward.

GET A ROOM!

3. Popcorn

All kinds of food smell strongly, but nothing sticks in the air like popcorn. That smell will hover around for hours. Now Aeschere, I know you need your snack, but either make enough for the entire floor or CHOOSE ANOTHER SNACK!

2. Policing my work

I realize it’s important that we all do our best and work hard to ensure our work-stuff is done and done well. How, when, where, and with whom I do it is none of your business. (Yeah I’m talking to you Unferth!)

I work best when I’m not dying of boredom and since my job can get tedious I tend to watch videos while I work. It helps me stay focused and I work faster.

My work is my business and my manager’s.

STOP BEING A BUSYBODY!

1. Scents

The smell of certain perfumes can make me physically sick. I’m not alone in this, many people have issues. If I have a strong floral scent around me, I will start to sneeze, get a migraine, and if it lasts long enough, become nauseated. I have had to leave work because of this in the past.

As much as you like that scented hand sanitizer Sigemund, remember that not everyone around you can handle it. The same goes for hand cream, lip balm, perfume, air fresheners, and anything that is aerosolised.

This applies to smokers; if you smell like smoke, it will affect those around you.

DON’T STINK!

 

What are your workplace Pet Peeves?

Éric

 

Back to Work

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Today is my second day back at work after a wonderful eight and a half months on parental leave.

I expected it to be weird (like visiting your old high school or a previous job) but it wasn’t, it was depressingly familiar. It almost felt like I hadn’t left.

Some things had changed but mostly it was the same old job. That’s both a good and a bad thing. I mean I’m glad I don’t have to learn an entire new job but I was hoping something would have changed a little.

Thanks to my freelance work, I haven’t slowed down or lost much of my ability, which is really nice considering I was thrown into a project right away.

from meme.com
from meme.com

The hardest part is being away from Dragon and Jen. I really enjoyed doing my freelance work and taking breaks to snuggle, change diapers, or play. It’s going to be really hard not seeing them all day.

Not being there for first words or first steps will really hurt but until I win the lottery or sell the movie rights to my books, I’m stuck here.

Back to work,

Éric