This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission should you buy from these links at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.
This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission should you buy from these links at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.
Title: Behind the Scenes
Author: Joseph J. Allen
Genre: Nonfiction, Business
Publication Date: November 20, 2020
This post contains affiliate links. This means I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you should you choose to purchase something through these link. Thanks for your support!
Working from home is no easy task. I’ve always been used to it though. When I got into college I always preferred taking online classes. There were many reasons for this, of course, but one reason was that I preferred to do everything at my own pace. I preferred to do the work on my own and tell myself what to do.
In some ways I miss being in college because I found great joy in looking up the homework for the entire semester, making a large to-do list, setting aside time each day for school specifically, and just getting it all done on my own terms. Half of the time I’d have my homework completed a couple weeks in advance.
People have always awed at me saying I had a lot of “discipline.” I can certainly agree with that, especially since I took a leap to quick my job and work from home.
There are ups and downs to working from home though. It’s harder to stay healthy and while you have more time to socialize with friends and family, it’s harder to get out there and meet new people. Not to mention the whole money-making thing.
But if there’s one thing that’s super hard about working from home, it’s balancing between work and real life.
People find it hard to believe that I follow a “schedule” because I’m home. I’m my own boss so I can do my work whenever I want to, right?
No, that’s not the case. There’s a lot of things I have to do and I set deadlines for myself. I have to get X, Y, and Z done before I can get things A, B, and C done. This is easy for me to do when I’m home alone, no distractions other than the dog and cat, and I have my priorities straight.
Yet, I do get the occasional phone call from a friend or family member. Someone needs to be picked up from school or someone is having drama in their life and just needs to vent. Normally this isn’t a big deal. I’m here if anyone needs to me.
However, because I’m here, people tend to think I’m available 24/7. I don’t have a boss looming over my head making sure I get my work done. I can text while I get my blogging done. I can talk on the phone while I do the dishes. Even though I can multitask with these things, I don’t get my work done to the best of my ability. Sometimes I’ll stop, give the person my undivided attention, and then I blink and a few hours have gone by.
Before I know it, the morning is gone. I need to go babysit for a few hours. When I get home, it’s dinner and the rest of my family is home from work and it’s harder to get things done then. Doable, but harder.
I’m an entrepreneur. I’m finally saying to everyone, “Here are my work hours.”
I always thought working from home would be easy.
I had assumed my “work hours” were the same as everyone else’s. In the morning, they go off to work and I’m home to get my own stuff done. By the time the afternoon rolls around, I’ll go babysit and then come home and chill for the night. Except, the phrase “work from home” is used differently to others than what it means for me.
So, with a new year comes new responsibilities. I want to accomplish a lot in 2019 and I have a lot of big plans. This requires my undivided attention. I want to make a living doing what I love and this is what I need to do.
I posted new hours on my Contact Me page, which is a general guideline of hours I’m on the computer, checking my emails, and whatnot.
My weekly hours.
As of right now, I’m working Monday through Thursday from nine in the morning to six at night. I get up early, get my writing done, get my workout in, shower, and then begin work at nine. I’ll work either on more writing or blogging or some other projects. I stop for lunch around one in the afternoon and then I need to go babysit. So, it’s kind of like an extended break, but when I get home I’ll do some last minute things for about an hour or two and then be done for the night.
I decided to add hours for Sunday because, even though we have a lot of family events on Sundays, I collab with my sister a lot on things. Sundays are the main days we can work together. I have church in the morning and then, when I get home, I’ll be working on blogging and things I need to do for my church.
I chose to give myself Friday and Saturday off. I do sometimes work on these two days, but I want it known that I won’t be checking emails or anything like that. I’ve been pretty good about keeping Friday clear. I get some chores done around the house, read a book, play video games, and just chill generally.
I still technically work on Saturdays. Kris and I still go to Barnes & Noble to get some writing done or even brainstorm for our blogging. Sometimes we’ll come home and get some more work done together or we’ll chill for the afternoon or hang out with some friends.
I have to be honest, getting work done over the weekend is easier than during the week. You’d think that, since everyone else is at work, I’d be able to get my stuff done no problem. For some reason, that’s not the case.
How I get my work done during the week now.
The number one thing I’ve been doing during the mornings has been blocking time. I’ll work for about two hours or so and then take a quick break. I’ll check on the animals, make myself a snack, do the dishes or something.
This is also the only time I’ll check my phone. I still keep it on and next to me in case there’s a true emergency, but if I get a text or a phone call from certain people, I’ll make them wait.
My phone has been the biggest distraction lately because I am able to text while I’m working and because I’m home, people know they can call me all the time. I honestly have never gotten so many phone calls in the my life, it’s crazy.
I know work isn’t the number one most important thing. There are times where I’ll give in and answer a phone call from a friend or browse the Internet a bit. We all need little distractions from time to time. However, it’s been getting a bit out of hand with people telling me, “You’re home all day. Just get it done later.”
If I got things done later, then my book would never be published. My new projects for this blog would never get done.
So, we’ll see how this new schedule works out. I have designated working times now and have put myself in a distraction-free environment with my to do list prioritized. I think 2019 is going to be the best year yet… for my work, anyway.
Do you give yourself set hours to work on your writing? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.
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I bought it through Amazon.
Do you want to successfully self-publish?
There are thousands of new books being published every day, but many self-published books quickly sink to the bottom of the pile.
Many authors are frustrated because there are so many options for self-publishing, and they don’t know which one to choose or what will be best for their book.
Others spend thousands of dollars to publish and end up broken-hearted with the result.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
I’ve spent the last seven years self-publishing bestselling fiction and non-fiction books and in 2011, I left my day job to become a full-time author entrepreneur. I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way, but through the process of self-publishing 17 books, I’ve learned the most effective way to publish and market your books. In this book, I’ll share everything with you.
I like the cover. I think it’s simple and conveys the message of the book pretty well. I don’t know about you, but when I open a book, amazing things come out.
If you’ve been following my journey for a while, I’m sure you know I’m preparing myself for self-publishing. Joanna Penn is highly recommended by a lot of people all over the internet. I thought I’d give her books a try.
When it comes to business and writing, especially self-publishing and indie publishing, there’s a lot to learn. The pressure is on and researching this can be overwhelming. This book breaks all that down for you.
It lays everything out from before publishing, during publishing, after publishing, and more. There’s a lot of helpful links to editors and book cover designers. It defines a lot of business-type vocabulary as well as touch upon the financial side of publishing – before and after.
The end of the book also dabbles in marketing your book as well, though there’s a separate book written by Penn all about marketing.
This is a great, quick read at just under 100 pages and it’s jam-packed with information. This is written in her point of view and this is all information she learned using trial and error with her own books, but it’s great to get ideas when jumping on the publishing wagon yourself.
I’m happy I picked this book up. I’ll most likely read it a couple more times to let it all sink in. I’ll definitely reference to it when I finally decide to hit that publish button. If you’re thinking of self-publishing, this is a good place to start.
Successful Self-Publishing by Joanna Penn gets…
5 out of 5 cups
Buy the book:
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!
Title: American Dream: Interviews with Industry Leading Professionals
Author: Jason Navallo
How I got the book: I got a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Summary (modified from Goodreads):
Let’s face it: Nobody becomes successful on his or her own. If you want to maximize your career potential, you have to find ways to stay inspired and motivated.
This book includes six in-depth interviews with leading professionals, Peter Mallouk, Ben Caballero, B.J. Armstrong, Shelly Sun, Scott Gerber, and Liz Elting, from a variety of industries to provide you with the advice, inspiration, and motivation you need to achieve your goals.
Whether you are looking to climb the corporate ladder, become a record-breaking professional athlete, or grow your own business from the ground up, you will find the inspiration you need within the pages of this book.
American Dream is a book filled with six interviews of successful leading professionals. Take this review with a grain of salt as this isn’t something I typically read. However, the author came to me with a request and I thought this book sounded like a wonderful idea so I decided to give it a shot.
The book is a quick read at 79 pages so I was able to get through it in one sitting.
The book was filled with great information. However, if you have no business background and don’t understand it (like me), most of the information will go right over your head. So there were definitely some parts that I didn’t get, but there were certain questions like “What does success mean to you?” and “What does it take to be a good leader?” were easy enough to understand.
The questions for each professional were varied so the interviews didn’t get monotonous after a while. Certain questions, such as the one I just stated, were great seeing for every interview. It was interesting to see the varied answers.
Each interview was inspirational as they each started from a different point in their lives and became who they are today.
One of my problems with the book was that there was no conclusion. There was an introduction at the beginning of the interviews, and there was a quick biography of each professional before their interview, which was good. But after the sixth interview was over, that was it. The book just ended abruptly.
Overall, the interviews were informative and interesting to read. Though some of the information was missed as I didn’t understand it and I thought that I, as a reader and a learner of this book, should have gotten some sort of conclusion.
American Dream: Interviews with Industry Leading Professionals by Jason Navallo gets 3 out of 5 stars.
“You have to enjoy life along the way. You can’t just be focused on the destination.” –Jason Navallo, American Dream
Author’s Bio (from Goodreads):
Jason Navallo is a career advisor, executive recruiter, and author. He has a B.B.A. in Finance from Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business and lives in New York City.
I Need A Bigger Foot….
I’m trying to buckle down and actually get my teeny tiny foot in the door of the publishing world. And when I say tiny, I mean tiny. I used to be a size 4 in kids, but when I bought shoes and sneakers a couple weeks ago, my feet shrunk to a size 2 in kids. Yeah.
Anyway, I was thinking of finally publishing something just to get my foot in the door. I think I’m going to publish just a short story or two (if the first one turns out well) instead of a full novel. I know you can set the price for something or free. Whenever I do this, I’m thinking of posting my first short story on there for free. Just so I can get the hang of things. I know nothing about business or marketing or advertising or money or…science, does that category count? See, I know nothing. Accounting! Accounting counts, right? Or would that count as money…? I’m getting off topic…
The whole point of this post is to ask for your help. I’ve looked at the Smashwords website. I’ve Googled it. The thing is, I’m not sure if half of the things I hear on Google are worthy enough to take in.
I’ve seen some blogs around WordPress talking about Smashwords and some people have some things published on there. If anyone has any information on it, any advice, please mention something on the Contact Me page of my blog. Or you could just post a comment on here if that’s easier.
Let me know your honest opinion: do you think Smashwords is good or bad? Do you have any advice for me? Do you have anything published on there? I’ve also looked into CreateSpace…if you know anything about that, that would be great, too. Which would you prefer?
I trust you guys more than Google, so any help is appreciated. Thank you in advance!
I’m Productive…Sort Of….
Yesterday, June 19, I actually got a good amount of writing done. Kris and I went to Barnes and Noble to be productive! She wrote a story that she started a while ago and I edited some more of Hunter. I got two and half chapters done…then our friend coincidentally ran into us again. Last time it was no coincidence, but this time it was. So the last hour or so of us being there was spent mingling with an old friend…and drinking half of his Starbucks java chip. 🙂 He wasn’t too happy about that, but I was.
So I got some editing done. Because I have three stories that need to be edited, I don’t want to start anything new. The only exception I’ll make to that Camp NaNo, which is next month. In which case I will have four novels to be edited. I decided that I am not going to start anything new until all (or at least two) of the novels are completely edited and ready to be published! Only while I’m looking for publishers I’ll start something new to pass the time. While I edit, if I get an itch to write, I’ll write FanFiction.
Speaking of FanFiction, that’s the other thing I wrote yesterday. Last night I hand-wrote the prologue and first chapter to my Pokemon parody Yellow. Then I typed it up because I was curious how long it was going to be. I hand-wrote 2,019 words. I was impressed with myself. The reason I’m hand-writing it is because when I go on vacation in July, I’m not going to be able to bring my laptop. I’ll be editing, but I also want to be able to write somethings, too.
As I stated, I edited some more of Hunter yesterday. I always write when I start the novel, when I finish, when I start editing, and when I finish editing. Then I record the number of pages, chapters, and words. Sadly enough, I haven’t kept up with that with all of my novels. I’m going to start keeping up with it again though when I start Camp NaNo next month. Anyway, I started that novel back in August 2011. Old, right? Unfortunately, I never recorded when I finished it. I’m sure it was at least six months later that I finished it or something.
My point is that it was almost two years ago that I started the novel. I was 17 at the time, but turned 18 less than a month later. I started the novel August 2 and my birthday is September 1. I don’t know if it was the age or I didn’t have my cup of coffee that day, or maybe I had just written a lot that day and was getting tired. But when I edited yesterday, I was on page 129 in the middle of chapter eleven, and I read this line:
“I know that that would James pleased.”
I have to say that I completely died laughing when I read that. I have no idea what I was thinking–well, I clearly wasn’t thinking at all. That line is 100% messed up! I’m pretty sure I meant:
“I know that James would be pleased.”
So I changed it to that. I just thought I would share. Hopefully this gave you all a good belly laugh as it did for me.
Back to business: Anyone who is doing Camp NaNo next month, the cabins are being assigned starting today! I just checked and I am already in a cabin. I have to admit that I am pretty shocked with my cabin. I have always been in a cabin with four other people. So, including myself, the total amount of writers in a cabin was five. Sometimes there were only four of us all together. Four or five total, never three or anything like that. Guess how many people now? Including me, there are eight of us. How crazy is that? I wonder why they assigned so many people to one cabin…I’m not complaining, but I just think that it’s a little weird. I didn’t know they put that many people in one cabin together.
I think I said everything I wanted to say. I’m focusing on editing, only to write FanFiction when I get bit by the writing bug. The only exception is Camp NaNo. I can’t wait for Camp! 🙂
Back In Business…
So I am back for now! I have to admit that it was little tough not writing for a few days while I was away, but I had a lot of fun. My boyfriend and I were more than happy to have some alone time for a little while. It’s sometimes hard because his house is usually quiet, but I live with six other people so it’s a little difficult for privacy even just for myself.
Anyway, we got back Monday night and I did nothing but play the board game Clue with my mom and two sisters. We had a lot of fun. However, this morning I had to wake up and go back to school. I wrote an even 2,000 words for Seeing Things while at school today. I wanted to write Take Over, but I never saved it onto my flash drive or e-mailed it to myself. It’s on my laptop and Dropbox, but I can’t access those from the school computers, obviously. But it worked out because I came up with a couple of ideas for Seeing Things. I really want to finish Take Over by the end of the month, though.
I have a math project due next week, a science project due in two weeks, and another science project due in three weeks. This is the reason as to why I never wrote more than 2,000 words. I had planned on it, but it’s the end of the semester which means all the professors are freaking out that we haven’t learned everything we were supposed to get through. So they throw everything at us all at once. But I have a little over 10,000 more words to write for Camp NaNo (my count is 39,305 at the moment). Once I hit that 50k mark, I’ll do my homework, then shoot for 75k. I still have about half of the month left, so let’s see how much I can get done.
In other news, the lovely Briana from When I Became An Author wanted to include me in on an author interview program that she is doing. I was more than happy to participate. She e-mailed me some questions, I answered them, and bam! I am on her blog. You can read the post here, titled Author Interview Program #9. Thank you again, Briana!
Anyway, that’s all the news I have for right now. I plan on getting a good amount of writing done tomorrow! It’s still April vacation for me which means that I don’t have work this week. Yay!
2013: 121,084/350,000 Words Written
2013: 1,749/18,250 Pages Read
We Got This….
Needless to say I did not write too much today. I wrote a little at school and then I wrote a tiny bit when I got home, but my grand total for the day is 1,138 words. It’s not even enough for one whole day because we’re supposed to be writing 1,667 words a day. However, I’m not too concerned because my total for the whole story is 14,557 words.
Why was I making this face? Well, I realized that I was getting to drawn into the characters for Saving Each Other. Let me tell you a little bit about them:
Sierra: A petite 18-year-old who has no money, has no job, has no place to stay, and has no parents. Her grandfather, who lives very far away, sends her money so that she can put herself through college. She is currently an undecided major and she gets bullied a lot mainly because one of her eyes is blue and the other is a milky white. No, she is not blind although people tend to assume that. Don’t let her fool you; you mess with her in any way, she will kick you to the curb and never look back.
Blake: A bum 20-year-old who lives in a small apartment with his girlfriend, Jenna. Jenna goes to school in the early morning as well as online for an accounting degree. She works at a bank in the afternoon. What does Blake do all day? He watches TV and eats. However, Jenna has had enough of his laziness and forced him to get a job. She can no longer pay for the bills and rent on her one lousy paycheck. Blake is now working part-time at a preschool with no education and experience to back him up. However, his inner child allows him to get along great with the kids.
Luke: An independent 23-year-old who has no idea where he is going in life. He has a master’s degree in business, yet he is working at a preschool. He, unfortunately for him, accidentally got Blake that extra shift at the preschool. Luke’s father was a wealthy business man who owned a lot of big companies. Luke worked for him and hoped to be just like him one day. When his father passed away, his will stated that the company should go to Luke’s eldest brother. His brother ran it into the ground, thus Luke was laid-off. Luke dreams of opening his own business, but he had no money due to the mortgage on his house among other bills. Luke knows that the preschool isn’t going to be enough for him to start his own business, but it was the only thing that was available at the time.
Do you see how thought-out those background stories are? I’m 26 pages into the novel and the reader already knows absolutely everything there needs to know about the three main characters. Oh, but I left something out, didn’t I…? Oh, yeah! They all (except Sierra) have some sort of power.
That’s what that face is saying: “How did I forget about that part? It’s the whole point of the story!”
Anyway, I introduced the powers and had Luke and Blake discover that they’re messed up and then I stopped in the middle of it because…I don’t really know why.
And that was all she wrote.
2013: 96,336/365,000 Words Written
2013: 1,749/18,250 Pages Read
I Have Important Things To Say….
I have no idea where to start! I have a lot to say and I don’t know if I’m going to remember it all. I had Starbucks today and I am extremely wired! Seriously, ask my sister…and my mother…I was bothering them both. Singing, dancing, making weird noises, walking funny, yelling, laughing, falling on the floor, being loud…true story.
ANYWAY, I have three things to talk about…at least that’s all I can remember that I had to talk about…
First, Spilled Ink is back up for business. About two years ago, my sister and I started a writing website. Life got in the way and we kind of let it die. However, we wanted to get back into it so we made a new website for it. We came up with some new ideas for it, kept some old ideas and scrapped the rest of the old ideas. We hope the website grows a lot and is very successful.
Let me tell you a little about it: There are prompts, tips, writing races, co-authoring, and a role-playing section. There’s a place where members can review and discuss books they have read. Also, each member has their own board where they can post their own stories and other people can review the stories. You know, give feedback and critique. The link is on the Come Find Me page of this blog, but here it is again: Spilled Ink. Please go check it out and if you like, go ahead and join. We’d love to have you. 🙂
Next, I was thinking of adding more to this blog. My sister gave me this idea a while ago and I have been thinking of doing it ever since. I just never got the chance to actually do it. I was thinking about it more today and I think I’m going to really do it. However, I want to get your opinions anyway. So, if you don’t mind, please comment on whether you would enjoy this and want me to do this: once a month, I was thinking of doing a volg (video blog, for those of you who don’t know). So, once a month instead of posting words, you’d get to hear it straight from my loud mouth. Wouldn’t that be awesome? I don’t know when I would actually start doing this, but I thought I would throw it out there and see if you guys would like that or not. Of course, if the majority of you say no I may do it anyway. 😀
Third, I guess I should update about my actual writing, huh? I have been writing bit by bit each day since my last post. Since my last post I have written 7,659 words on Take Over. I plan on writing a little more tonight, but I probably won’t get the chance to update this later tonight and tell you all how wonderful I have been doing with my writing! I’ve been a good girl lately. 😀
I guess I do have more to talk about…fourth, my sister and I went to Barnes and Noble today (hence the Starbucks). We were looking at writing books when we were supposed to be writing. I have been thinking a lot about my future lately and I decided that it’s time that I really start looking for publishers. I have two children’s books written and ready to leave the nest. So I found one of those books that lists publishing companies, agencies, magazines, etc. I wrote down a few publishing companies that represent picture books. So, while I finish Take Over, edit Hunter and Diary of a Lover, and write Saving Each Other for Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ll be sending my two picture books off to publishers.
Also, Writer’s Digest sent me a thing in the mail about their annual writing contest. I’ve done it before (and lost, obviously), but that was two or three years ago. I think I’m going to try to do it again this year. I think I’m going to send in a poem. I don’t write poems often, although I would like to. I wasn’t going to bother with the contest again this year, but the other day, in math class of all places, I thought of a poem idea. I think that was my inner muse saying, “Do the Writer’s Digest contest!” Because seriously, when do I come up with poem ideas?
Anyway, that’s that. Send my picture books to publishers, polish off my young adult novels, prepare for Camp NaNo, finish Take Over, do the contest…I have a lot on my plate right now. But I like it. I have wanted to be an author since I was ten and I finally want to get started on it. Meanwhile, I’m going to promote myself as much as possible. So follow me on here, on Twitter (the link is also on the Come Find Me page), and on my other Spilled Ink website. Then sit back and watch me succeed. Because I’m going to make it no matter what. 🙂
2013: 72,855/365,000 Words Written
2013: 1,749/18,250 Pages Read
Getting Down To Business…
So…yesterday was my birthday. And as I sat there on my birthday, I began to realize something serious. And I must talk about it.
I started this blog for an important reason. I didn’t start it because I’m in love with the Internet and is constantly on the computer whenever I have free time. I started this because I wanted to journal about my writing. I wanted to share my ups and downs of the process…the writing, the editing, the getting published…I wanted to share what I know about the process and things that I am just learning. I wanted an online journal to share with the world and others who are in the same position as me. I want to learn from other blogs, I want others to learn from mine. I may have been writing for 9 years now, but just because it’s been nearly a decade, doesn’t mean I’m an expert. I still have no idea what I’m doing.
I read others blogs about writing and I do learn a lot. Some people say one thing while others think differently, but then I have to choose which option I think is best for me. Which one I agree with. I read writing blogs and a lot of them say the same things, “I write this many pages every day; I write for a minimum of an hour a day; I just finished editing my novel; I’m getting self-published/published!” Well, of course that is great news for those people. But as I read that I think to myself, “I want to write that much a day and be in a routine; I want to have a novel completely finished; I want to be published.” See the difference? I want. They do.
I remember last New Year’s, 2011. I was at my friend’s house and as we waited for the ball to drop, I asked myself, “Is this the year? Is 2012 going to be the time when I at least fully write and edit a novel to send out places? Or maybe I will have a book in the process of being published by the end of the year?” Now that it’s been almost a year, I realize that I am in the exact same spot I started in. I haven’t gotten any farther.
Now, it’s not like I haven’t been doing anything the past year. I have been busy with homework and with work and babysitting and family issues as well as friends…I have done a lot in 2012 and I still have a few more months to go. But considering how much writing I have done, it makes me question my future.
My goal in life is to be a full-time author. I don’t want to have a day job as well as a writing job on the side as though it’s extra money. I want to sell as many books as I can and be able to call myself a full-fledged writer. I may not be the next J.K Rowling, but I sure hope that I make a name for myself. I have so many ideas to share with the world. I have to share them.
But sometimes I get worried and have to ask myself questions that no one will ever know the answers to. I write because I love to write. However, will I be good enough? When will I be good enough? I’m in school learning about education in case writing doesn’t work out…so am I doing the right thing or is school wasting too much time that could potentially be the next great best seller? Will I become a writer…or will I be teaching the rest of my life? If I become a teacher, is that because my books didn’t sell enough to give me the income I needed to use that as my only job or is it because writing just didn’t work out at all for me? If writing works, am I just going to leave my teaching past behind? And the big question…is writing in my future at all?
I wish I had a big crystal ball, but the reality is that I don’t. I don’t have any answers to any of those questions and I’m not going to until I start really trying. I need to try writing three pages a day…I need to work at editing a novel. I know the process is long and hard…but who knows, maybe if I work really hard the end of this year, 2013 will be my year. But we just don’t know…
My oldest sister and I are Sunday school teachers at our church. We went to the director’s house to get our curriculum books for the year and she informed us that she is stepping down. My sister and I are the new directors together. That’s one more thing I have on my plate this year. School, work, Sunday school, babysitting, homework, family, friends…but I will fit in a time for writing. Even if it’s five minutes a day. I have to. No more “I want.” It’s all going to be “I do” or “I did.”
So…here’s to another year older. Maybe not another year wiser. But hey–we’ll give it a shot. 😉 Cheers.