This Business of Writing: Accounting Methods

Today, Dear Reader, we continue the series on the business of writing and welcome back Brigitte A. Thompson as she shares her professional advice as an accountant and author.

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A business can be operated under one of three methods of accounting; cash, accrual, or hybrid. The IRS will be automatically informed of your choice when you file your first business tax return. If you decide you would like to change your accounting method, you will need to get approval from the IRS using Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method which is available on their web site IRS.govContinue reading This Business of Writing: Accounting Methods

Are We Borg Bound?

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I have, on several occasions, pointed out humanity’s increasing love affair with technology and forecasted that we would one day become essentially the same as the fictional Star Trek characters known as the Borg.  These humanoid beings have embraced technology and integrated it into their very bodies to increase their awareness and effectiveness to the point that they have become something beyond a society.  They have no concept of individuality, but rather they work in concert as cells in a body do.  This is accomplished through a collective consciousness that connects their minds together into a neural net that spans the galaxy, sharing their every thought with every one, knowing every thought of all.

I am often chided for my refusal to become so dependent on a cellphone that I would hyperventilate if I discover I’d left home without it. (I know people who do this!)  In fact I don’t own a cell phone at all.  I refuse to get to the point where, if I were to be cut off from the internet for more than a day or two, I’d curl up in a ball on my bed and whimper. (I don’t know anyone THAT bad, but pretty close!) People don’t believe that we will ever implant cell phones or create a permanent brain to internet connection.  People say these are just conveniences, just gadgets, nothing to worry about!

I came across this yesterday, and all I can say is “See, see, I TOLD you!”  It’s already happening… Continue reading Are We Borg Bound?

Mysteries of the Moon

moon, exploration, baseA while back I posted a brain spill involving a  moon base, just to entertain you a bit – by teasing me about it if nothing else.  A brain spill is a snippet of a story, or potential story.  But reaction was good and I decided to explore developing the story further.  To do that, I needed information about the moon; its composition, its history, and a reason that mankind may want to have a presence there at all; other than setting records for the longest home run hit ever.

Of course I could just make up a bunch of stuff – it IS fiction after all – but I like to stay as close to truth as I can in fiction.  One of the questions I had is, “why does one side of the moon always face the Earth?” I theorized that perhaps the moon is not round, but lopsided, or egg shaped.  The large end of the egg would pull harder toward the Earth’s gravity.  I was pretty darn close!  I’ve turned up a lot of amazing facts.  Here are some of the more interesting study materials on the moon, it’s history and why it is the way it is. Continue reading Mysteries of the Moon

This Business of Writing: Legal Organization

Today, Dear Readers, we begin a series of posts by accounting professional and author Brigitte A. Thompson of Datamaster Accounting Service LLC.  Please make her welcome as she shares her expertise with us all.

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Writers work in all different genres and write for a variety of media outlets.  Some of us are business writers, others create romance novels and many write articles for magazines or copy for web sites.  Putting words into print is our profession, but dealing with the financial aspects of our writing business can be challenging. This series of blog posts can help!

Legal Organization for Writers

There are several forms of legal organization to choose from when establishing your business. The most common form for a writer is a sole proprietorship, but there are other options. You should understand the choices and speak to a lawyer, accountant, or tax preparer to find out which option is the best for you. Continue reading This Business of Writing: Legal Organization

This Business of Writing: Setting Up Accounts

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This is the second in my series of articles on the business side of being a writer.  Originally I planned to use this series as part of a book on this topic, until I discussed the book with a CPA/Registered Investment Counselor/Author.  He thought the book was a needful thing, for many authors seem under-prepared to deal with the financial side of their chosen career, but he suggested that I market the book as a sleep aid.   Bookkeeping just isn’t exciting (unless you’re writing fiction about a bookkeeper who is a sex-addicted, vampire/zombie, who goes around murdering people.   That, people might buy.)  To see if he was right I decided to try out a series of articles here on my blog and judge your reaction to them.

As I was preparing this series I was contacted by Brigitte A. Thompson, President of
Datamaster Accounting Service, LLC and author of Bookkeeping Basics for Freelance Writers.  Brigitte offered me a series of posts on accounting for authors in exchange for the opportunity to promote her book.   Since she is an accounting professional and an author, her advice would be more accurate and
probably more valuable than mine.  So, starting with my regular post on Monday we’ll launch into Brigitte’s series on bookkeeping for authors.  But first, I’m going to slide (most of) the post I had written for Monday in here today because I think it has some things to say that some of you may need to hear and don’t seem to be covered in detail in the upcoming series.  Brigitte’s series starts on Monday. Continue reading This Business of Writing: Setting Up Accounts

A Visit from Toby Neal: 7 Things I’ve Learned About Writing

novel, crime, mystery, Hawaii, toby nealToday, Dear Readers, I have the distinct pleasure of welcoming published author, psych-therapist and island girl Toby Neal.  More about Toby in just a bit, but first she will share with us some important things she has learned about writing from her own journey.

7 Things I’ve Learned About Writing

  1. Notice everything. The world is filled with sounds, smells, textures, and fabulous stories unfolding all around you. Take the time to notice, and keep something handy to jot down new thoughts/ways to describe that sensory input as it comes to you. Sometimes, when I really let myself experience any given moment in time, I’m overwhelmed by all that’s going on. Life is a series of amazing moments. Continue reading A Visit from Toby Neal: 7 Things I’ve Learned About Writing

A Day with a Dingo

doug and a dingoYesterday Marie and I spent, once again, in the company of a Dingo. In case you don’t remember our last encounter, this Dingo is a walk-behind front loader – well, OK, it can be fitted with other attachments to do other things too, but we were using it as an earth mover. And that’s how we spent the day; moving piles of earth from one place to another.

We chose to go with the Dingo rather than the Bobcat this time because the Dingo does less damage to the ground you’re working than the Bobcat. It also costs less, but it carries 1/6 as much as a Bobcat – so that’s a wash. It was the “tearing things up as fast as I smooth them out” thing that was the determining factor.

The first pile didn’t have to move far, just from where it was, next to our septic tank, to the hole above the septic tank – and the ditches running from the new house to the tank, and the ditch from the trailer to the tank. (The only way I could think of to find the tank was to dig up the existing septic line) And that pile was actually several piles or ridges scattered about the site. Quite a mess really, but it looks better now. It’s still just dirt but now it’s mostly level dirt that can be traversed, not piles and ridges that form barriers to travel. And, before I started digging it all out, I laid down a thick layer of dead leaves over the grass under the big pile to make it easier to know when to stop digging while putting it back and to protect the grass a bit. I had not counted on it sitting there for so many months, but there are still some shoots of grass harboring in a layer of decomposed leaves. They ought to come back fairly well now that sunshine can get to them again.

The second pile, or again: piles, were above and behind the house where the Bobcat and I carried the “fall-out” from our cave-in while building the Great Wall of Edwina. This needed to go back into the caverns behind the wall. That area looks much better now and will look even nicer once we get some flowers (or at least weeds) growing again. This area is the view out our kitchen window, so that’s a priority. I’d bore you with pictures, but our brand new camera quit on us and had to be mailed to Connecticut for repair. Hopefully we’ll get it back soon. The picture above? Oh, that’s a shot from our files of the last time the Dingo entertained us.

The third project was to flatten out the driveway and parking area. The parking area is bare clay and has been pretty badly rutted up by heavy trucks, and equipment used in installing our home. It is now, as Marie put it, “like the infield at Wrigley Field.”

On Friday we decided we could afford some gravel to put on the parking area, but at that late date we were unable to get anyone to deliver it on Saturday. So…

I tried to level out the humps-n-bumps in the driveway, but that was mostly beyond the Dingo’s capability. Here the gravel we spread the last time the dingo visited got churned into the clay below it by the bulldozer and Jadde (as well as by trucks full of cement blocks, a small track hoe, and the truck & trailer of our trim-out guy) forming a very hard, stable base for our driveway. It’s pretty ugly now, but once we get another layer of crusher run on it, it will be a good driveway, even for as steep as it is. Even now, it does not get mucky in the rain like the parking area. I succeeded in scraping off some of the bigger humps and moving that material into the deeper depressions, so it is better, but it is far from smooth.

And finally we moved most of a large pile of black dirt, which I bought from a road crew who were cleaning out the ditches along the Edwina-Bridgeport road last year, from behind the trailer around to the flower beds in front of the new house. There is a high amount of small gravel in this dirt, but it is also very rich, black dirt, not the red or yellow clay you see most everywhere. Around here, even if you buy “top soil” from a garden center, what you will get is red clay that has been screened for rocks and large clumps. This black dirt should be a good start for Marie’s flowers (better than we could buy) and we can cover the stones with mulch once the plants get started. I’ve got a compost pile started using wood chips from the shop. That’s been steeping since last fall so it ought to be ready this summer.

We accomplished in a day what we had hoped to accomplish in… well; in a day, but were afraid we’d need two. A Dingo, in the hands of an experienced operator, is supposed to be able to do some very nice finish work. I am far from ‘experienced’, so it proved very useful for moving around large quantities of earth and some of the spreading but all smoothing and making “pretty” was done with a garden rake and muscle. And those muscles were very sore on both of us last night. Hot showers and liniment all around – make mine a double!

I Am What I Am

Popeye 1The cartoon character Popeye used to say (maybe he still does) “ I am what I am and that’s all what I am.” except he said it with his odd accent that made it sound like he was referring to himself as a sort of sweet potato. His words were brought to mind by a note I received this morning from the client for whom we are building several pieces of furniture. She says:

The incredible beauty of the bench takes our breath away. It is so exciting to watch the tenderness, thought and care you put into each move you make. How different this is than buying a finished piece (and always wondering about the level of quality that went into construction) or worse yet – buying a piece made of particle board and having to put it together with no skills whatsoever.

It is so difficult to fathom the care you put into each piece you make for people you have never even met before.

I always believe that those who are happiest in life are those who have found and followed God’s calling for them. God gave you such a unique gift, and you use it to His glory for each person fortunate enough to find you. I am glad that we are among those so blessed!

Continue reading I Am What I Am

About This Business of a Writing Business

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I have a friend, a retired aerospace engineer turned artist, who hates bookkeeping.  He sells his art at local art shows, and from his home.  When he makes a sale, the money goes into a steel cash box.  When he buys supplies the money come out of the box.  When he wants to know how much money he has made from his art, he counts the contents of the cash box.  This is elegant in its simplicity, but would be a nightmare should he ever be audited.  Are you a hobby writer or a writing business?   Continue reading About This Business of a Writing Business

Warts and All

I recently posted one of my step-by-step discussions of how we build a piece of furniture; the more interesting of these discussions from our In The Shop blog become permanent articles in the library section of our custom furniture web site.

oops, mistake, errorIn this episode I discovered a mistake had been made in the piece of furniture and discussed my remedy for the error.  Shortly after having posted the chapter I was hailed by a constant reader and frequent critic to ask, “Why in the world did you admit to having made a mistake?  Doesn’t that undermine peoples’ confidence in your work?”

I asked him if he knew anyone who never, ever makes a mistake.  What do you think of someone who claims to have never erred?    Continue reading Warts and All