Stop Setting Goals

Weeks before Christmas I started getting emails about setting goals for 2019. The authors were saying they used systems for setting goals like the SMART method. There were braggarts saying things like last year was a good year but next year their goal is to make seven figures. There are people like Joanna Penn who said her goal was not to do any speaking in 2019, so she could write more.

She’s set a tough goal, speaking brings in more readers, get you exposure and a chance to travel on someone else’s money. Let’s see if she can do it. She is one tough writer.

I guess the straw that broke the camels back was Chris Fox’s email/video that he sent out today (12-28-2018) link:
In the video he said that in his recent book release the ninety nine cent book or free book as a loss leader to attract new readers wasn’t working. He did not say that this was do to the recent changes in Amazon advertising. He did say that he was going to write six books this year. This is slowing down for him.

I can barely get a book out a year. So what I’m going to do is get two books out this year. To hedge my effort I have one book at an editor. I’m afraid this book will require a major rewrite and another trip or two through the editor before it’s ready to be published. I have the second book outlined and am working on editing the first draft. Unfortunately, it can take me a year to edit a book (and you think your first draft is junk).

Even with this head start it may not be enough. I’m busy. I have a fifty five foot radio antenna tower in my back yard that needs to be put up. I have a forty foot antenna tower that I need to find a new home for, along with doing something with the light duty 55 foot tower that I will take down to put the heavy duty 55 foot tower up in its place. For sale; cheap, two towers. Contact me at professor at professorvoltage dot com. I will deliver short distances.

It’s rained here so the garden is full of weeds and I have to do something about them now or they will over run everything.

The living room is so full of stuff I can barely get to the front door.

And I get distracted by any bright shiny thing that comes along.

Also I have to do these blog post every week and I put a lot of thinking into them, even if it doesn’t look like it. I got to get my web page updated and soon. I need a new author bio for Kindle and a better book description. The list goes on and on, and I haven’t finished working on the Christmas lights. Got to get them working before I put them away.

So don’t set goals. Work on your books. Build a process, set a time to write, and then write. Trade time watching TV for time to write. Buy that voice recording app for you cell phone that you’ve been meaning to buy and use it to write your next book. Read more book in your genre.

If things come up, go for it. Do it. Life is short. Do as much as you can. When you look back on the year you may feel sad that you didn’t get enough writing done. But you can look back and feel good about the friends that you helped when they really needed your help. You have no way of planning that they would need your help. You have no way to plan that you will make new friends. You have to get out and meet people. You can’t do that while you’re writing in a closet or even in a coffee shop with your don’t brother me expression/mode on. Roll with the punches, but carry a big stick. And above all, enjoy the good things.

Stay strong, write on.
Professor Hyram Voltage

Secret of Changing Description or other Information on Your Amazon Kindle Book Page

Need to change something on the Kindle page that displays your book? Try this.

Point one, Amazon calls the web page your book is on in Kindle a “Amazon Product Page”.

Use Amazon Product Page when talking to Amazon Help.

To change something on the book’s page.

  1. Go to
  2. Sign in.
  3. Click on the “(your name here) Account” tab, in the bar with the gray background at the top of the web page.
  4. On the “(Your Name) Account” page go to the top bar (with the white background) and click on the Bookshelf tab. It’s to the right of “kindle | direct publishing”.
  5. On the bookshelf page go to the book/icon/thumbnail that you want to edit information on. Across from the thumbnail is a block with two rows of information. The top row is for the eBook. The bottom row is for your paperback book. To update information (example eBook), on the top row go all the way to the right, past the “Kindle Ebook Actions” column to the little box with the ellipses in it. Hover over the ellipses.
  6. In the popup window click on Edit eBook details if you want to change the book description on the book product page, or change other things like the keywords, the book’s categories, or the author’s name. Click Edit eBook Content if you want to update or revise the eBook.
  7. I recommend, do not press Unpublish. I believe it will erase all the book’s reviews. Even if you republish the book. Contact me if it does not and I will correct this post.
  8. After you have updated the information go to the bottom of the page and click the yellow save and continue button. Keep going down to the bottom of the following pages and clicking the save and continue button.
  9. This did not remove the reviews for the book when I updated information about my book.

Guru’s call Amazon a search engine. To Amazon everything is a product. To them your book is the same as a bag of steer manure. A steer is a bull with vital things missing. Manure is aged bull dropping. They sell a lot of manure, so your book may not be as important as manure to them.

Stay strong, write on.

Professor Hyram Voltage

Untold Secret to Installing Windows 10 on a M.2 SSD

I just built a new computer using a MSI motherboard (370 series) with a M.2 Solid State Drive. This secret applies other motherboards. I wanted Windows 10 to boot off the M.2 drive, it’s boots much faster that way.

I purchased a copy of Windows 10 on a USB thumb drive from Fry’s Electronics to put on the M.2 drive. The thumb drive was from Microsoft, what could go wrong?

I could not get the computer to boot from the USB drive. I could see the USB drive in Windows file explorer. Many videos on YouTube said not to have another hard drive in the computer when installing Windows 10 onto the M.2 SSD.

I ended up bumming some information from a computer guru that works for a friend. Off the top of his head the guru said to disable fast boot to get the computer to boot off a USB thumb drive. None of the YouTube videos talked about this.

It took some poking around to find the place to turn off the fast boot option. You have to press the del key a bunch of times when the computer starts to boot up to get into the BIOS. Then go to the advanced menu in BIOS. Look for the Boot tab, click it, and in the Boot window scroll down till you find Fast Boot and click it off. The motherboard should come out of the box with fast boot on.

Then you have to go back to the main menu and set the boot order to try and get it to boot off the USB drive first.

I did a lot of google searching and never found anything about fast drive interfering with booting from a USB drive. This is something only those who work a lot with windows know about.

Stay strong, write on.

Professor Hyram Voltage.

Don’t drive unless you have to

The mid-point of my morning walk around the park is across the street from a liquor store.

Today is the day after Christmas and you would have had to squeeze pass two pallets loads of what looked like cases of beer and six foot high stacks of boxes of liquor and various boxes sitting on the ground to get into the store. There was a semi-truck sitting next to the store unloading even more boxes.

That reminded me of the stories my uncle use to tell about the liquor store he owned back in the 1970s. He would tell of selling three to four hundred cases of beer on Christmas eve. That’s like two cases for everyone in town. The only time he sold more was before new years day.

This was in a town of one hundred people max. The place only had two gas stations and has never had a chain fast food place and it’s on an interstate highway.

Most people would have to drive to both liquor stores. And beer is not the only thing they would be buying, and they may be going to the store because they ran out at home.

You can drive as carefully as you can, but a drunk can hit you.

Have a safe and happy new year and have the Urber driver pick up what you need from the liquor store.

Stay strong, write on.

Professor Hyram Voltage

Twas the day after Christmas

Twas the day after Christmas
and things weren’t going right
my Christmas displays
just wouldn’t light

I needed them to shine
just one more time
Then into the box they go
ready for next Christmastime

I tinkered and pried
wiggled and poked
In frustration I gave it a kick
my neighbors must think it’s a joke

It so cold and windy
my nose almost froze
I should be inside
toasting up some Smores

If you’re wondering
why this post is late
It’s almost new years
putting it away can’t wait

I sit here with sniffs
and about to sneeze
wondering if my toes
will ever unfreeze

After sitting for hours
wrapped in blankets tight
till my fingers unfroze
so now I can type

tomorrow I’ll go out there
in the cold freezing wind
I’ll battle lights and electronic
with little hope that I’ll win

If you come by
you’ll see me shiver and shake
just bring me hot chocolate
and help me un-decorate

Happy holidays

Stay strong, write on.

Professor Hyram Voltage

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas says it all.

Merry Christmas to the mail carriers that have to work Christmas eve.

Merry Christmas to those that have lost friends and loved ones this year. I have lost several good friends this year.

Merry Christmas to those that have to work Christmas eve and Christmas. And thanks. There’s nothing like being shoved into an ambulance late the night of new years eve, thank you paramedics.

Merry Christmas to all of you, like me, that didn’t get the book finished. I’m so close.

Merry Christmas to all of you that let me take your picture. Smile.

Merry Christmas to all that helped me this year. May I be able to pay you back or pay it forward.

Merry Christmas.

Stay strong and write on.

Professor Hyram Voltage

A Story of Christmas Lights

When I graduated from college I lived in apartments, then later I rented a condo. During Christmas I couldn’t put up Christmas lights. The Condo association wouldn’t even let me put lights on the insides of my windows.

A few years later I bought a house. I could put up all the lights I wanted. At first all I could afford were a string of lights from the thrift store. Over the next couple of Christmases I purchased more lights from the thrift store. Hey, my home loan at thirteen percent.

Then one year I was getting the lights ready for another Christmas. I had the lights strung on the floor for testing and repair. They ran across the living room and down the hall. These were old incandescent T5 lights. I had to wiggle and replace lights as I went along the string. There were 140 lights in a string and I had five strings. This routine was getting old. If one light went out then they all went out. I got fed up and went out and bought my first set of new red incandescent T5 lights.

The next year I got a set of green lights. I would alternate between the red and the green lights for years. Of course I would add an additional sets of red or green lights as the years went by.

Then the red lights started to give me trouble. So I went out and purchased a set of LED lights. They were great. The string of lights had red, green, and blue LEDs and they blinked.

Blinking Christmas lights are a big thing. When I was very little (Late 1950s) we had a couple of strings of blinking lights for the Christmas tree. Each bulb blinked independently. When a bulb blinked it would mess up the TV reception and the AM radio. With several dozen lights like this blinking watching TV or listening to the radio while the Christmas lights were on was impossible. We didn’t have cable, satellite, or FM radio, out in the desert, in those days.

The number of blinking LED lights strings quickly multiplied and I threw away the wore out incandescent lights.

LED lights run much cooler and don’t mess up the TV or the radio when they blink. They also blink in sequence like marching ants.

This year one of the strings of the LED lights went out. Wiggling the LED bulbs and changing some bulbs did not fix the string of lights. It’s time to replace the whole string of lights.

I went down to the hardware store to get some new lights. They don’t make lights like that any more. I could not find any lights that would march.

So I did what any obsessive decorator would do. I went to every store in the county looking for lights that I could modify to get what I wanted. They were all out of LED lights of any kind. There’s 125,000 people in this area and I could not finds LED lights anywhere.

My display did not look good with a string out. It was two weeks before Christmas so ordering some lights from on line would be iffy. If I ordered them would they arrive in time.

Every year just before Christmas I go down (it’s below sea level and it gives new meaning to the term down home) to my old home town to visit friends and relatives. At a long time friends house I helped him tear out the kitchen floor and replace the flooring. Our idea of fun things may differ from what you think of as fun, but we enjoy working with our hands. It was us against the old floor, and we’re still here and the old floor is not. The old floor was done 60 years ago by a good carpenter. Solid construction with lots of nails. It took way too much work to get the old flooring out.

In the middle of it all we had to drive to the big box hardware store that’s two towns away to get some plywood to replace the wood we tore out. At the hardware store they had LED lights, and they were half off at five dollars a box for string of LED lights with one hundred lights on it. I bought twenty boxes. The strings were single color per string, but I got strings of red, green and blue.

To get these new lights to march I will have to cut the strings up and add six inches of wire between the lights. Its going to take months to rebuild do so many light strings. Still when I got home I was able to get the string that wore out replaced quickly.

Next year I will have a bigger display. It will not be one of those 35,000 light displays that you see in Christmas display contests on TV, but all the lights will blink.

To get the new lights I’m making to blink I will have to get a couple of more Light-O-Rama controllers.

Luckily the new lights are LED. I will not need to replace/upgrade the circuit breaker panel to power the Christmas lights with the added lights.

Stay strong, write on and remember the best Christmas lights blink.

Professor Hyram Voltage

Building a Computer and Writing

I got lazy and haven’t built a computer in years. I would buy an off the shelf computer. When I do that I don’t have to hassle with loading windows and all the other software just to get the computer to run. I’m a computer user, not a software bozo.

The price differences between a pre-built off the shelf computer and a do-it-yourself computer is very small, except for what you get. Lately I have found that a pre-built computer is the slowest cheapest components they can slap together. Bottom of the line CUP slow memory, etc. The manufactures make it hard to find out what’s in the computer. The CPUs have so many designations, it’s hard to find out how fast a CPU is.

So I bit the bullet and started to upgrade the old tower computer. This is a work horse computer that I use for down streaming off the internet. At times it runs day and night, except for a reboot every eight hours. I read that Mr. Gates turns off his computer every night so the programmers at Microsoft only have to make sure that Windows will hold together for eight hours.

What does this have to do with writing? It’s trying something new. If you don’t try something new with your writing you will get stale, you will lose long time readers. You will sell less books.

I went and bought a new mother board for the old computer. It wont fit in the old case. It’s just a hair off in size.

This is like taking a course form a famous author and trying out what the instructor teaches in the course. The critique group, the beta readers, even your regular readers tell you they don’t like what you did. They say it’s just too much different from what they like about the old way you wrote. That’s a failure, but you learned something. You go back and change things, find out what to keep in what you wrote and you write on, using some of the old and some of the new.

So I go and get a new computer case. Install the new mother board. It is a tight fit. Start to plug the old power supply in and the connector isn’t the same. Back to the computer store and I get a new power supply.

The power supply of a novel is the plot and tension. You shift from the Hero’s Journey to the Story Circle method of plotting and it’s a lot of hassle. That’s another learning experience. You have to decide if it’s worth it to learn new method or chicken out and go back to what you know. If you persevere, you find there are good points to the new method. That’s like finding out later that I could have used the old power supply by making a slight modification (with a sharp knife, it’s called surgery in tech lingo) to the power plug. The lesson form all this; Research the new method thoroughly.

I plug the new mother board in and the fans come on the LEDs light up but I don’t get a motherboard splash screen on the monitor. I don’t get nothing on the monitor. The experts at the computer store say that’s not right.

I plug in the old hard drive and the new computer lights off. The instructions on YouTube say that to get Windows off the Microsoft USB drive onto the M.2 solid state drive you have to remove the old mechanical hard drive. The computer will not work without the hard drive plugged in. The BIOS will not let the computer boot off the Microsoft USB thumb drive.

What’s that got to do with writing Steam Punk? The expects are wrong, at least for your case. You are unique and you are going to have to blaze your own trail. It sucks, I know.

The only thing I have left from the old computer that I was going to slap a new mother board in is the mechanical hard drive. With the new motherboard I had to get new memory. The old motherboard was so old that it used DDR3 and the new one used DDR4. That’s like going from two spaces after a period to one space. Some upgrade. The new computer is ten times faster than a store bought computer and I can upgrade it much easier next time.

Go make changes to your writing process. Make failures. In the end you will have a novel that’s ten times better than the last one. It will not be without work, sweat, and heart ache. At least you won’t have to blame the programmers.

Stay strong, write on, and remember the experts will be wrong.

Professor Hyram Voltage

Thinking About Taking a Writing Course

I was watching a Jonna Penn VLOG and she mentioned that she was taking a masterclass developed by Dan Brown. She is a big fan of Dan.

That got me thinking. Dan Brown sells a lot of books. My brother really likes them. My concern is can he teach me how to write a better book? Teaching writing is hard. The alternative is to get a writing coach. That’s very expensive.

So I’m going to contact Ms. Penn and ask her what she thinks about the masterclass. I might lay down my money. I don’t sell many books.

Ms. Penn is a fan of Dan Brown so her opinion my be biased.

What’s your advice?

Stay strong, write on.

Professor Hyram Voltage

I’m Late, but its the Programmers Fault

I fire up the computer and I get a notice the VPN program needs updating.

I forget rule number 1. If you have important work to do don’t update anything.

Sure enough the updated VPN program get nailed (blocked) by Norton anti virus. Norton complains that only five Norton users use the program. Do they make it easy for a user to over ride the block. No. I paid a lot of money for this program and have used it with Norton for years with no problems. After I do everything the FAQ in Norton say to do to unblock the program my VPN still doesn’t works. Then I call Norton up. So begins a two hour process. Wait and wait to get a human on the chat. The chat person clicks and clicks. It doesn’t do any good. Reboot and up comes a Norton error message. The chat person goes in to a bunch of hidden menus and excludes a bunch of things.

Reboot again. It sort of works. To use my VPN program I have to turn on computer and reboot it twice or more.

Then I find I have a new credit card in the mail to replace the non-functioning one. Hey I spent all morning trying to get the VPN working. I sign into the bank to get the card working. The bank can’t find my login credentials. Call the bank up and get the card going. Then I try the old folks thing of hitting zero on the phone over and over till I get a human at the bank. The human says that I have no sign in credentials.

I try to create an account and after finding out the instructions are wrong I get to the last step and the web site says I it can’t get to the last step and I have to log out. Of course when I come back because I haven’t finished I will have to start over.

And people wonder why I don’t like programmers.

Stay strong, write on.

Professor Hyram Voltage