The courage posts are back.
The courage posts are back.
I put The Willow Branch back on Kindle Select as an experiment. I read somewhere that around 4-5 books, you can leverage single free days to sell more books. Now that Objects in View is on pre-order, I thought I would give it a try.
From time to time over the next two months, The Willow Branch will be free for a single day. It’s first free day was Monday. I gave away 24 books, but I sold one. I found that kind of interesting. The free day must have propelled the book into a ranking where it got some attention.
I didn’t advertise because I got busy and forgot about it, but I’ll set up some auto ads for coming free days.
I intend to track what happens and see if it is worth it.
Most indie writers don’t have a lot of time to write. We have to work other jobs to pay the bills, after all. Even when I was a stay-at-home mother, I had this other job that required I change her dirty diapers and feed her.There is never enough time to practice your art. You are forever battling against the many demands life puts on the precious hours in your day,
Ray Bradbury reported that he enjoyed writing amid the chaos of his family and, frankly, I agree with Mr. Bradbury. For a while, my writing cave was a spare bedroom away from the family and, frankly, I didn’t like it. I write in snippets and have a high tolerance for noise, so the living room or the master bedroom where the kids were yelling outside in the hall worked fine for me … and still does.
I honestly don’t know what I would do with 24/7 time to write. I suspect I would waste a great deal of it in other activities. And I would lose connections with the world that I value greatly. My jobs have been a great source of inspiration and research for me over the years.
Someone at the local writer’s guild asked me how I get into the zone for writing when I have distractions that she, being a non-working empty nester whose husband is gone on military deployment does not have. I stared at her, dumbfounded. She’s reading my fantasy series and marveling that I can get into the headspace some writers call “flow”. I’m glad I didn’t really have any answer for her, because I think what I’m about to say now may sound a litlte arrogant to other writers.
Certainly I carve out time where I can surrender all of my attention to the creative task for hours at a time, but more often than not, I am surrendering my attention for minutes. To surrender myself totally to the creative process requires a deliberate throwing of a switch inside my brain, but it is a switch that I have been aware of since high school. It allows me to slip into a state where I am not so much working on my art, but breathing my art. For me, it’s really not that tough to create instantaneous headspace in the midst of a busy day. I pre-write a lot of scenes while doing mundane tasks like reconciling credit card charges for my office. I don’t wait around for a muse to inspire me. The muse is almost always there, taking in my head and it is in that headspace where beautiful things happen. When I put my fingers to the keyboard, I am often just transcribing the story that has already played out in my head.
How do you create headspace? Well, I find it just comes to me when I’m thinking about something else, but I’ve had friends tell me that they think about nothing. That wouldn’t work for me, I don’t think. My brain would distract itself with all the wonderful things there are to think about, so it’s better that I’m thinking about something that doesn’t require a lot of thought. I give myself permission to step outside of my life — to unfocus just slightful from whatever tedious task I have chosen for myself. I allow myself to think someone else’s thoughts, to become someone else.
There is nothing wrong with setting aside time for this if you can manage it, but my life has never arranged itself thusly, so I don’t allow it to dictate my creativity. I take frequent breaks. I switch between stories. I go hiking. There is a natural ebb and flow to creativity. You can’t run the well dry, but you can sap its energy if you push too hard and too long on one particular story. That leads to burn out and I suspect is the source of the writer’s block I’ve never experienced. When I get stuck, feeling uninspired, I switch to another story and work on that for a while. I give myself a break, a momentary step back from my primary project and purposefully go do anything else.
When I get into rewrite, I do set aside time to actually get into deep concentration on the project, to envision scenery and action sequences. Sometimes that feels awkward, so I have to go through the motions, writing one word after another after another, until the creativity starts to flow.
The one thing I never do is allow myself to be freaked out when I feel less than inspired. The characters inside my head will almost always speak to me again in the future — if I’m patient and filing documents, because that is how my writer’s brain works.
This week I am interviewing someone I stalked. I heard about his books on another website and thought “I want to interview this fellow” and so I reached out and asked him to answer my questions. Tomorrow, you’ll find out who.
Has anyone noticed that Obamacare appears to be failing?
I know! Absolutely no one could have seen that coming and so nobody predicted it. Right?
Insurance companies are dropping out of the ACA’s exchanges. Pretty much weekly, Insurers are announcing that they are trimming or eliminating their Obamacare coverage in more and more states. Alaska is one of those. The companies explain that healthy individuals are not buying insurance under Obamacare as expected, thus triggering a corporate death spiral.
If you have a memory, and I do, you remember that John Robert’s opinion for the Supreme Court last year was supposedly meant to save the ACA from a death spiral by ruling that the individual mandate applies in every state, regardless of whether it is for a state exchange or the federal exchange. So what happened?
In the sausage factory that created the ACA, there were a modest number of exemptions allowed, one of which is a huge backdoor.
Fast-forward to today, just a little over one year later. Insurers are announcing on practically a weekly basis that they are trimming or even eliminating their Obamacare coverage in more and more states. They give as the reason that healthy individuals are not buying insurance under Obamacare as expected, thus triggering a death spiral. Wait! What? Didn’t the Supreme Court protect Obamacare against a death spiral by deciding, as the president argued, that the individual mandate applies in every state, regardless of whether it has a state exchange or the federal exchange? What is happening?
In the sausage factory that produced the ACA several categories were exempted from the individual mandate and one category is a huge escape hatch: “any applicable individual who for any month is determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services … to have suffered a hardship with respect to capability to obtain coverage under a qualified health plan.” It’s a “hardship” exemption.
The Obama administration then took it upon themselves to define “hardship” in such expansive language that huge swathes of the population are exempt from the individual mandate. Yup! You can’t make this crap up. After pleading before the Supreme Court to make sure that the individual mandate applies nationwide, arguing that it would prevent a death spiral, the administration has triggered a death spiral by issuing regulations exempting 10s of millions from the individual mandate.
For 2015, the list of exemptions invented by the bureaucrats and said to represent “hardship” relieving the individual from the individual mandate includes:
– eviction within the past six months,
– facing eviction or foreclosure (even if not evicted yet),
– received a shutoff notice from a utility company,
– experienced domestic violence,
– death of a close family member,
– fire or flood or other disaster that caused substantial damage to your property whether natural or man-made,
– filed for bankruptcy within the past six months,
– medical expenses within the last 24 months that you couldn’t afford to pay,
– unexpected increases in expenses due to caring for a family member who was ill, disabled or aging,
– a child has no medical coverage because some other person is responsible (by court order) but has not paid,
– ineligibility for Medicaid because your state did not expand eligibility under Obamacare, or
– your individual insurance plan was cancelled and you believe other marketplace plans are unaffordable.
If … somehow … one of those categories doesn’t cover your particular exemption situation, the regulations allow you to make up your own category. Yeah, that’s right. Any other hardship that prevented someone from obtaining health insurance will be reviewed and accepted as necessary.
The effect of the hardship exemption has been to eliminate any financial pressure on millions of individuals to buy health insurance under the ACA. The Congressional Budget Office issued a report in June of 2014 that said:
30 million non-elderly residents will be uninsured in 2016 but … 23 million uninsured people in 2016 will qualify for one or more of those exemptions. Of the remaining 7 million uninsured people, CBO and JCT estimate that some will be granted exemptions from the penalty because of hardship or other reasons[.] … All told, CBO and JCT estimate that [only] about 4 million people [out of the 30 million uninsured] will pay a penalty because they are uninsured in 2016.
In other words, about 90% of the national’s 30 million uninsured won’t pay a penalty under the Affordable Care Act in 2016 because of a growing number of exemptions to the health-coverage requirements.
So, is Obama and his administration just incompetant or are they master manipulators? They got the decision they wanted from the Supreme Court by conjuring the specter of a death spiral, then directed the issuance of regulations shielding almost all of the uninsured from the individual mandate, thus guaranteeing the very death spiral that they warned against before the Supreme Court. Now, as insurers are announcing their departure from Obamacare due to lack of participation by healthy individuals, Obama is leaving the White House, so it’ll be someone else’s problem.
If it weren’t for the fact that this thing is tangled through the economy like a brain aneurysm, I’d be preparing my cheer outfit for when the time bomb goes off. It doesn’t really matter who is holding it when it goes “boom”. Hillary Clinton richly deserves it and Trump has been a great booster for this disaster too. Maybe Gary Johnson would like to step out of the race now before he gets any of the fecal matter on him.
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