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Musing: Changing My Mind
Once I’ve made a decision, I stick to it. No wavering. No doubts. No possibility of deviating from my path.
Unless, of course, I change my mind.
In the last week, I’ve had four separate reminders that maybe I’m not as resolute as I thought, particularly when I’ve been public about my determination not to do something. Each reminded me of how adamant I was about what I would never do. Absolutely not. No way. Nope.
And then I did.
As much as I gripe about Facebook, I love the reminders of posts from years past. Some make me laugh. Some induce an eyeroll. And I cringe at some.
On January 25, 2016, I posted a lengthy diatribe about the insanity of paying for an annual subscription to Microsoft office. My old version of Microsoft Office 2008 was no longer supported, and I was being urged to upgrade to Microsoft 365—for an annual subscription.
I mused, who needs Microsoft Word? In my haughtiness, I said, “Word has become my IBM Selectric—I only pull it out when I need to print an envelope.” And, frankly, as a Mac user, I had Apple’s Pages for that. Or I could also go to Google Docs.
Most of my writing, though, was done in Scrivener. To this day, I continue to think it is a superior tool for long-form writing. My research is conveniently stored in the same place, easily accessible, along with outlining and the simple management of scenes and chapters.
So what changed? Getting my first novel published.
My editing team worked in Microsoft Word. Call it old-fashioned (and I know some people do), but the file is to be a docx in 12 point Times New Roman double-spaced with track changes on.
I know there are editors who will work in other tools. I get it. But my editors are great. They’re outstanding. I could either change tools or change them.
(By the way, they don’t edit my musings. Any mistakes here are good examples of the things they have to fix.)
And, yes, I know I can open a docx file with other tools. But why do that and risk any errors? And so my business required Microsoft Word.
But who needs Excel, right? In fact, in that same rant, I said, “Excel is a far superior product to Numbers if you need that power—which is probably less than 10%—heck, 5%—of all people out there.”
Sure, I spent over 25 years in finance and used Excel extensively. I knew many of the amazing things it could do. And, yet, once I made the move to being an author, why did I need that fancy calculating power?
Then I started receiving royalty statements attached to emails. Each source came in a different format, so getting a common answer grew increasingly difficult.
More importantly, I needed to track marketing tactics and identify which sales were driven by which efforts. Not as hard as developing scenarios for mergers and acquisitions, but also not something I wanted to spend a lot of time analyzing. I wanted to be writing, not calculating.
If only there was a tool that could do that. You know, like Power Query. Inside Microsoft Excel.
So, yes, once a month, I now upload royalty statements and advertising / marketing reports into Microsoft Excel and let Power Query do its magic. Takes about 15 minutes to add a month of data. The analytical reports flow straight out.
So I’ve returned to Microsoft Word and Excel. What about PowerPoint? That’s the one part of my rant I got right:
“Here’s the fun thing—outside of the corporate world, no one spends hours putting together silly graphics to explain basic concepts to other people. You just tell them. They get it or not. You don’t really care.”
I hate to estimate how many hundreds of PowerPoint presentations I created in my corporate career. They were a source of constant frustration. I still remember an executive working with me on a multi-million dollar proposal. He agonized over font sizes in PowerPoint.
That’s another thing that hasn’t changed—my opinion about him.
My second reminder came as a renewal notice for my videos on Vimeo. I canceled the account because I had returned to YouTube despite my previous vow never to do that.
Back in January 2018, YouTube announced some dramatic changes to their monetization rules. Their reasons were varied, but the impact harmed small producers like me. Hurt and angry, I loudly announced in not one, but two posts that I was leaving YouTube and moving all of my videos to Vimeo.
I was creating a video a week, an exercise that took several hours to produce. It was fun. Never a business.
To be clear, Vimeo is everything it promises to be—an advertisement-free host for high-quality videos. Creators pay a subscription fee based on the volume of uploading they do,
If you haven’t, spend some time viewing some of the superb creations done on the site. I have utmost respect for the platform.
What they are not, however, is a suitable host for mediocre videos (ahem, mine). Nor do they have an enormous fan base that can drive traffic to your website. YouTube is fairly lousy at that, but they drive a little traffic.
About a year after my move, I published my first novel. I was hard at work on my second, and then third, and now fourth novel, which left little time to spend editing and producing videos.
So, I wasn’t adding any new content, wasn’t driving traffic from my existing videos, and was paying for the pleasure.
Meekly, I’ve moved all my videos back to YouTube.
For years, my friends bragged about their “free” shipping from Amazon. Oh, please, I said, you’re paying an annual fee for free shipping. That means it isn’t free.
I bragged about how I bundled my orders until I had enough for free shipping. Sure, then I still had to wait a week or two for the extra slow freight, but at least I wasn’t paying for it. I would never pay for it.
And then they hooked me. I don’t even remember the offer but some sort of discounted enticement that offered all their benefits. What did I have to lose by trying? Watch something on Amazon TV. Listen to some music. Read a few books.
I was only going to keep it until the renewal and then cancel. In March. Of 2020. At the start of the Zombie Apocalypse.
Yeah, I kept it for another year. And then another. Just got my renewal notice last week. Not even a debate. Another year here we come.
I had actually started writing this musing when the email landed in my inbox. Look at all the new things Evernote does now.
Oh, yeah, that program. The bee’s knees. The best tool ever. Can’t imagine my life without it. I remember saying all that—a few years ago.
Haven’t opened the program in ages. I use Notion for storing extensive lists because of its database capabilities. Amazing Marvin is my project management / to do tool. And Nebo handles all my note taking.
Buried in my life are all the other things I’ve changed over the years despite my loud proclamations against them.
In my corporate life, I made fun of the marketing people using Macs. Why don’t they use real computers? Let’s ignore that the draft of this musing was written on an iPad and edited on an iMac.
And, of course, we will soon celebrate our first year in our house back in Asheville. Two years before that, we left the mountains for the joys of coastal living in Murrells Inlet. It didn’t take long to return to the mountains.
And I’ll always drive a Jeep Wrangler, my favorite car ever. Except I don’t anymore.
And, yes, I still love my DSLR cameras, but half the photos I post on the web now are made with my phone.
So it makes me wonder. What do I swear I will never change but will someday?
I haven’t played Wordle yet. And I refuse to use TikTok.
Wonder how long I will last.
What about you?
Interesting Links: Logical Fallacies
Spending even a few moments on social media will bring you face-to-face with the scourge of illogical arguments of one sort of another. The top of this website has a quick reference list to some of the most common examples of logical fallacies. It won’t help you win a social media argument, but at least you can be amused. Maybe we should make Bingo cards out of the symbols and play a daily game of spotting them.
Vocabulary Word Of The Week: Opsimath
My musing about changing my mind probably makes you think I am a slow learner. I did, after all, work in the corporate world for two-and-a-half decades before I wisely left and started writing. Just more proof I am an opsimath—a late learner.
The word derives from Greek. Opsi means late and manthanein is the verb to learn, so it’s a near literal translation to late learning.
Don’t worry if you didn’t know the word before. It just makes you an opsimath.
Gratuitous Dog Picture
I’m not sure anything says Monday more than an impatient Typhoon waiting on me to finish writing so we can go for a walk. This is the penultimate expression from His Royal Highness Little Prince Typhoon Phooey.
Background title image is courtesy Vladislav Babienko
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