A Terrible Mistake – Part 3

A few weeks ago, I posted about making a logo mistake. It’s one of those big mistakes that got out into the virtual world and stayed there. No changing it. No hiding it. It was front in center and available to the everyone. As I mentioned in my first posting, there’s only one way to handle such a thing – 1) admit to it, 2) fix it and 3) move on.

The logo is now fixed, so it’s time for step three – moving on.

In business, simply correcting an error and continuing with life-as-usual is not enough. It’s important to evaluate the situation and, hopefully, learn something from the experience. In my case, the process of correcting the logo and replacing it online led to many learning-moments, here are a few examples:

  1. Time is short but quality cannot be sacrificed: Like most people, I have a full-time job, private hobbies/ambitions and side-work that generates a small secondary income. The objective is to increase this secondary income. The challenge is fitting it into my already very busy life. The spelling error in the logo was a direct result of my tendency to multitask at home. However, no one can make dinner, answer email, throw in a load of laundry and appropriately evaluate a logo all at the same time. There can be no excuses and no cutting corners. Time for working the second job must be set aside and appropriately used. Time for make dinner and participating in ‘regular life’ must be managed in the same manner. A time for work and a time for life. The result? Better quality in both work and home living experiences.
  2. Time managed marketing: While updating WildRaccoonPress.com, I noticed many other little things that I’d never gotten around to doing. This was the perfect opportunity to revise the website and address some basic marketing issues. For example, I started posting all T-Shirts/Gifts and Resale items to Pinterest on the advice of several books and webinars (many months ago); and, while revising my website, I discovered that Pinterest provides a code-generation tool that allows a member to post a collection to a website. This allowed me to create an auto-updated image-based selection of recently-created t-shirts and postcards. Clicking on the Pinterest widget take the user to Pinterest, and all items featured on Pinterest are hot-linked to the websites where the items can be purchased (e.g.: CafePress and Zazzle). As it turns out, Etsy provides the same service, with images from my store and hotlinks directly to the items available for sale. No manual updates to my website and easy navigation for potential customers!
  3. Selective and targeted work: Working smarter, not harder, is a phrase that has become both worn out and (frankly) annoying. My frustration with the phrase stems primarily from the number of people who use ‘working smarter’ as an excuse for tricking and/or coercing other people into doing their job for them. Personally, I consider this unacceptable because I do not condone laziness or lack of respect for coworkers and colleagues. That said, my own work habits needed some modification. In my case, working smarter consisted of choosing where my time would be spent. Some of my projects are for-fun hobbies and some are for money. The trick was identifying where the income was being generated and carving out an appropriate amount of time for my primary goals, which (in turn) required some clarification. This is a process and it’s still being developed, but I am already seeing an improvement, so it’s worth the time and energy.

There are many other little things that were learned along the way, but these were the big changes. If you are a multi-job-holding not-enough-hours-in-the-day multitasking employee and/or entrepreneur, these challenges and lessons may ring true for you too.

A Terrible Mistake – Steps One and Two

I made a terrible mistake. It’s embarrassing, but it happened. Worse, it happened online. What do you do after making a stupid and public mistake? Take three steps: 1) own it, 2) fix it and 3) move on.

Step 1: Owning It

The word Raccoon is misspelled in the Wild Raccoon Press and Wild Raccoon Market logos.

I’ve spent the majority of my professional life working as a writer and editor in some capacity or another. I spend the bulk of my days creating and editing documents. I have spent (literally) thousands upon thousands of hours dealing with words, words, WORDS! Yet, somehow, I did not see the missing C – until now.

This simple, stupid and embarrassingly obvious mistake has been out there for many months. The logos have been posted to my website for ages, and I’ve proudly placed them on social media and professional accounts (read: everywhere), so there’s no hiding the fact.

These logos were the result of a 48hourslogo.com contest, and (now that I see it) all of the other logos are spelled correctly. Palm slap to the forehead, banging head against wall, hand sign for ‘loser’ held in front of face…I did not see it.

So, there it is, the mistake was made and it’s public. It’s big. Much bigger than a misspelled word in a blog posting because it’s so key, central and visible. There’s no escaping the fact, no hiding it under the rug and no changing it. What’s done it done.

Step 2: Fixing it

If you know a designer who would like to help fix this mistake, please direct them toward this UpWork posting. Sadly, 48 Hours Logo does not provide an option for contacting and working with the original designer (without posting a brand-new contest), so UpWork it is.

Step 3: Moving On

I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. For now, I’m so embarrassed….

Becoming a Real Writer

Like many bibliophile and bookworms, I have been wanting to write a book for as long as I can remember.

When I was a kid, before I was able to read, write or even recognize letters, I made my mother a book. It was a folded piece of paper covered in drawings. While my mother accepted the gift in the same manner that she accepted all arts-and-crafts projects (like most parents). What I remember most clearly about this moment was my own inability to get across the importance of this act – I wanted to make a book. A real book.

My career has involved writing professionally, in some form or another, since the early 90s. I am particularly skilled at technical writing and report development, which is about as far removed from fiction (or anything fun to read) as a human being can possibly get.

As much as I enjoy searching out information, verifying facts, identifying needs and creating documents that present the appropriate data in a useful and accessible manner, a part of me still wants to be a writer. And, like most aspiring writers, to my mind being a writer…a real writer…means writing fiction.

I don’t often make regular original postings to this blog because my life is busy and I don’t have time to really sit down and write (edit) a proper post on a consistent schedule. Since I spend every moment on the bus, and during my lunch hour, reading; I decided to fill this blog with quotes. Do you want to know who I am? What I’m about? What I’m interested in? Take a look at these topics, authors and quotes. It works.

Yet, I’m not spending enough time on creative activities. I can’t seem to carve out moments to focus on music and fiction, and I’m not willing to reduce my workouts at the YMCA or my time spent with family. Work and commute time are inflexible – they are what they are (as everyone knows). So, the creative stuff just wasn’t happening.

Until now.

There are a few projects I have been slowly chipping away at. Recently, I spent two weeks making them top priority (read: temporarily reduced time at the gym and early/late nights). One of the results is the Wild Raccoon Farm blog.

Wild Raccoon Farm is a work of wishful fiction, which is more of a writing technique than a genre. It is both a networking tool, created for the purposes of finding other writers interested in Intentional Communities, and a very scheduled fiction-writing exercise. It is updated every Wednesday and Saturday.

Thus far, this project has worked out. I have been able to find time to write and I have had plenty of ideas to write about. It feels good to dive into fiction again. In fact, I feel like the creative part of my personality is sighing with relief and uttering a heartfelt “Finally!”

Whatever the outcome, it feels right and I guess that’s the most important part of this project and the experiences that come with it.

Adora Translated

IMG_0485Many years ago I visited Disney World and Epcot Center. During that visit I bought a paper fan with a landscape painting from a woman who was selling both the fans and her services as a translator. for a nominal fee, she would write the buyer’s name on the upper right corner of the fan, in Japanese characters.

The little table where she worked was located on a relatively quiet (for Disney World) sidewalk populated by street artists drawing caricatures and portraits of tourists willing to pay the fees for their services.

Walking up to the table I indicated that I wanted a fan with my name. She smiled and we went through the usual formalities of clarifying the service and making payment. I recall liking her sincerity – for reasons I cannot explain she came across as a person who was inherently authentic and trustworthy. Ready to begin the work, she my name.

“Adora” I replied. Just to be clear, my name is pronounced Uh-Door-Uh, with the emphasis on the second syllable. In other words, ‘Dora’ with an A.

The look this poor woman gave me was something I had become all to familiar with over the years. There are many variations, ranging from simple I-don’t-understand panic to outright anger (yes, anger over the audacity of admitting to my legal name…but that is a story for another blog posting). This woman fell under the former category and, for a brief moment, I thought she was going to ask me to repeat my name but (for whatever reason) decided against it. She nodded, bent over the table to complete her task and handed me the completed fan.

At the time I wondered whether or not she had actually written my name and how I would even know if she hadn’t. Regardless, it was a pretty fan and my ‘name’ looked elegant, painted in the corner, so I went with the flow, proudly displayed my fan, and told people it was my name…no doubt about it.

Recently, I have been using Fiverr to complete some work for my WildRaccoonPress.com website. (Many aspects of my Wild Raccoon plans are still in the formation stage, so the work is somewhat exploratory as I test out ideas.) I noticed Fiverr has an entire category for translation, which reminded me of that old fan.

Amazingly enough, the fan has survived many decades of time and thousands of miles of travel. So, I took it outside, snapped a picture and posted a gig to Fiverr, requesting a translation of the text. I did not provide an explanation of the fan’s original or my decades old request to write my name. Several Fiverr-accounts posted their bids and I selected a company that specialized in Japanese, Chinese and Korean because I honestly could no longer remember what language it was.

For $5, I requested a translation that included the following: 1) the language, 2) a roman letters translation of the foreign language text (read: the text in the non-English language but using the English-language alphabet) and 3) a translation of the text into English. Here is what I was provided:

雅&多 are both existing in Chinese and Japanese, but 娜 only can be find in Chinese.
雅 多娜 is absolutely a girl’s name. But actually, this kind of name is often the transliteration from Japanese name. So this 娜na could be a translation from Katakana.
Thus, this name also have a possibility from Japan. In this way, it is 雅多ナ(雅-みやびmiyabi,多-たta,ナna).

From this I gather that Adora (Uh-Door-Uh) was translated into Yaduona, and I’m guessing the pronunciation would be Ya-Doh-Nah, which isn’t to far off.

In the end, my $5 Fiverr translation has made me re-appreciate that old fan, which is more than worth the money.