I think I’ve finally found the magic to writing. Organization! That’s right. I seem to work so much better when I have a schedule – a list – a tangible target.
A few months back, I created the Shit List. I was online, looking for a daily to-do list that I could print out and keep in plain sight of my desk. I found a few that “sort of” fit the bill, but none were perfect. So, I decided to create my own. I found some humor in the fact that I call it my Shit List, so in turn, I added that to my personalized daily task list.
After several weeks of using it at work, I became much more productive. So much in fact, that I started using it at home, on my writing cave. I now use this sheet for each of my writing projects. Instead of filling in the date, I simply enter the story title, and utilize it to keep my story on track. I might modify it at some point, to be more “writing” specific, but for now – it works!
Feel free to download a PDF of the Shit List for yourself. You can thank me later. Get The File HERE!
I’ve been in the field of architecture for many many years. I have owned my own firm, and I have worked as an employee. There are vast differences in each respect. As an employee, the employer pays you a wage, and then compensates you with benefits and takes care of paying taxes. Naturally, your hourly rate is adjusted downward because of those extras that the employer does. If you work contract, the worker is responsible for all of those, and then some. Suppose the contract person has to buy his own PC and drafting software – where do the funds come from? What about general overhead? Electricity and phone/data isn’t free.
So, today, I came across an ad on craigslist, advertising for an architectural draftsman. I’ll post the ad here:
Drafts person needed for small Denver Firm / Collaborative, specialized in residential urban infill, addition, remodel (Pop Tops), we also do some commercial work (%20). Candidate must be proficient in AutoCAD, with good communication skills, organized, with an eye for attention to detail, honest, grounded, and ideally able to work for periods of time unsupervised or from home part of the time and in my office part time. Familiarity with Denver Zoning and Building Codes will distinguish you, though not required. Contract position, at least for immediate future. Compensation commensurate with experience. Please send a brief introduction with attached resume and 1 example of Construction Documents of (residential) work, PFD’s please: showing your understanding construction details (sections), clean and readable Plans and Elevations. Please include your professional goals, short term and long term, and your availability: approximate start date, desired number of hours per week, i.e. what are you hoping or needing to earn, other commitments, are you currently freelancing?
Ok, first off, what is a PFD? good thing I have “attention to detail” because that is the first thing I noticed. I am most certain that he/she meant PDF, but one should never assume… Then the rate aspect – $18 to $25/hour? The last time I worded for such a low wage was back near my exit from college, AND my taxes and benefits were paid. Plus, I didn’t have to buy my own PC/software/power/data. AND that was 20 plus years ago. I know the economy has changed some. but to expect all that and pay low blows my mind. So, I did what any smart ass guy would have done – I replied from a fictitious email account. Why not my own? Well, you never know who is running an ad on craigslist these days. Anyway, here’s my reply. I sent it unsigned.
I thought about sending my resume and portfolio for your open “contract” position, but a few things told me not to.
First off, you are offering way too low a rate for a contract person. That is due to the assumption that the contract person will use his/her own AutoCAD and computer, as well as pay for their own taxes/insurance/overhead. I’ve been in the field for many years (contract for a large part), and the last time I charged that low of a rate was near exiting college before I realized that I was being taken advantage of. Fast forward 18 plus years, and that rate is verging on insulting.
Secondly, if you want someone to apply that has attention to detail, you might want to practice what you preach, and proofread your ad. PFD’s do not exist, but PDF’s do!
I’d go on to my third reason for not applying, but I think the first two cover it well enough.
However much I would love to fill my days with writing fiction or any other of the 100+ hobbies I have, I do work. My latest project has been one that does not come by very often. It is a 11,000+ s.f. single family home. I know, a little small, huh?
Anyway, I started the project back around the middle of December and have been mixing my days on this project as well as a few other non-Revit projects. I SO much prefer this project because of Revit alone. Not to mention the enormous size. As a comparison for size, My entire 3 floors would fit in the same space as their 2nd floor, their smallest floor…
So, this is it. I have another 3 weeks packed to finish this puppy up. It will certainly be close, but I think I can do it.
Now that’s it’s been almost a month since my infatuation with the spendy drafting table from Pottery Barn, I have news!
Being the creative wood worker type, I designed a table to ‘mimic’ the one from my last entry. I was able to find a surplus of hardwood lumber (African Mahogany) on craigslist for a steal and had a fabricator in line to make the two half round table supports. Then I found my new table.
Yes, I bought a table instead of making my own. Sure, I had the wood bought for $25 bucks. Sure, I had the fabrication inline for $27 bucks. Sure, I wanted to make it myself. BUT… I had no time. Plus, it’s freakin’ cold outside now, and I would most certainly have to wait until April to get it built. I still have a stack of Mahogany that will surely be put to other uses, and I learned a lot about the variable quotes for steel fabrication. The low, which was from a local steel supplier at $13.00 for each side. to a high of $275 complete! And honestly, I am a bit disappointed with all the self employed guys responding to my post. Every one of them wanted to basically rape me in price. Once I called the supplier, at the recommendation of one very nice responder, I quickly realized that their are a bunch of crooks out there.
When all was said and done, the Table I bought was from World Market. It was listed at $279 regular price. Even at regular price, it was way less than half of the Pottery Barn table. Then, the day after Christmas, all their furniture went on sale. It dropped down to $224! Then, add the fact that I am an Explorer member at WM, and they JUST so happen to send me a one day only coupon for an additional 15% off my purchase, I ended up getting the table home for less than $200! Now, it looks awesome, and sure, it’s not made by me, but I have it now, and it was WAY less than it would have cost to buy it elsewhere, or worth my time to build it.
Yes, a new drafting table is in my future. I am looking to build one though, as the cost of buying this beast is a bit spendy. I figure I can get something very similar for around $200 in materials. We’ll see though.
Well, It’s been about a week since I so firmly boasted that I would be writing in NaNoWriMo again this year. I made it just a few days before I pooped out. I know. I suck.
It’s honestly ok. I am ok with it. I am just starting a new job, and i really need to focus on that. I found myself disregarding work thoughts in lieu for writing/story thoughts. Unfortunately, I NEED to focus on work right now. If I had started the new job a month ago, and not on October 29th, I certainly could do both. But as I am so new to this office, I do not want to let them down. And lord knows I NEED to focus on writing/story if I want to actually write 50,000 words in 30 days. I may still in-fact continue writing on my story throughout the month, but I will know set an unobtainable goal just the same.
I am going to finally get rolling with my UrbanCastle blog though. I had full intentions of getting it started on September 1st, and then again on October 1st and November 1st. I have a lot of the leg work done, and I just need to focus through on a few “hour” sessions getting content out. I know, you ask how can I go ahead and write in a blog, and skip out on NaNo. It’s because the blog is written in 350 to 500 word chunks, and they do not necessarily need to be contiguous. A novel sort of has to flow, an I need to really keep all those sub-plots in order. My blog will work itself out without a whole lot of lost work time. So there!