Author: jefferydperry

Capture Your Ideas and Organize Your Writing with Learn Ulysses

Shawn Blanc over at The sweet Setup:

Learn Ulysses 2.0 is now available!

Learn Ulysses is our popular video course to help you take your notes, ideas, and writing from scattered to structured.

Over 2,500 folks just like you signed up for the original version of this course. After listening to their feedback, we made a bunch of improvements: We re-did every single video and added a whole bunch more of advanced workflows plus additional writing coaching.

  • Save time with your new, improved workflows.

  • Enjoy the benefits of having a spot to quickly capture your ideas and enjoy the writing process.

  • Relax as you finally get a structure for your notes and writing.

Today, we want to give you all the heads up so that you will know exactly what you’re getting when you sign up for Learn Ulysses tomorrow. Basically, we want to convey just how much value there is in the new materials!

I was one of those people who bought the original course when it came out and it was a no-brainer for me to upgrade to the updated version. Ulysses is an app I have been playing around with for well over a year now but I am not entirely sure that I am using it the best I could. So far I am about halfway through the App Tutorials section and I already have 3 pages full of notes and ideas written out.Shawn Blanc is the real deal when it comes to these courses and the fact that he had Mike Schmitz come and make the screencasts for it is just icing on the cake. I highly recommend this course to anyone looking to get into Ulysses as a writing tool.

Drafts 5 for Mac

From Tim Nahumck:

For many years, Drafts has been the place on iOS where text starts. But for all of those years, there has been a missing component: a macOS counterpart.

That ends today.

Drafts for Mac has finally been released to the public. Last time there was a major release, I wrote the Macstories Review. But when it comes to a Mac and how best to integrate Drafts into the macOS ecosystem, I’m simply not the right person to do the review justice. But thankfully, one of my favorite internet people reached out to me privately about writing the review for it, and I was thrilled to even be asked. To be clear: they didn’t owe me that, but it is honestly a nice feeling to feel respected within this community. They also reached out to Federico about writing for MacStories, and he agreed.

So, it’s my pleasure to point you not here for a review, but over to MacStories where Rosemary Orchard has written a review of Drafts for Mac.

Rosemary Orchard writing for MacStories:

The quest for the perfect text application – for some of us it has been a lifelong goal, or at least it feels like it. I realised very early on in my computing life that I did not enjoy playing with formatting in Word or Pages, and when I discovered that Markdown provides the ability to make items **bold** or _italic_ with just a few simple characters, I felt like I had finally found my text formatting holy grail.

Many years ago I discovered Drafts for iOS, and the idea appealed: you open the application and type. No creating a new file, or trying to decide what to do with the text before the thought is fully formed, just open, type, then decide. I frequently need to jot down notes, save links, and have found being able to write without thinking too much about where the words need to go, and how they’re going to get there, is extremely helpful in today’s world of constant interruptions.

Last year saw Drafts 5 released for iOS with even more capability than before, allowing you to truly customise it to be the text editor you’ve always dreamed of having. There was only one small but important snag – no Mac version.

Today there is a Mac app. It is what many of us have been waiting for, albeit with a few missing features at the moment. Drafts for Mac has landed.

It’s great to see two of my favorite people on the internet write about the new Mac app for Drafts 5. I played around with the beta and Greg Pierce, the sole developer of Drafts 5, has been doing a fantastic job with it. I can’t wait to see more improvements to come on the Mac app as time goes on.

Mocktail Shortcut

Jodan Merrick writing on his blog found via Supercomputer:

Instead of framing screenshots using just these images, I wanted to create mockups using different product images that are more distinctive and, in some cases, three-dimensional. The result is Mocktail, a shortcut that creates framed iOS screenshots using various device images I’ve sourced from Apple’s website (e.g., product landing pages or the online store).

This is some of the most extensive and beautiful work I have ever seen in a Shortcut. Jordan has created something incredible and I plan on using it every chance I get.

Just look at these screenshots I used with this Shortcut

Mocktail1

Mocktail2

Download this Shortcut now and follow Jordan’s blog post on getting it setup.

7 Ways to Deal with Burnout, Stress, and Imposter Syndrome

While I have mentioned it here and there on Twitter, I have been dealing with a lot of things regarding my mental health. Things that I think are common, like Imposter Syndrome, depression, anxiety about money, and stress from my job and from planning a wedding.

These things aren’t new ideas people face, in fact it seems to be about as common as a cold. Plenty of people have had issues with money, careers, and some have planned a wedding too. After thinking about this and writing this post, I have seen some trends regarding “burnout.”

My generation has been told time and time again to go to college, do what makes you happy, and to follow your dreams. That is precisely what I did and I am working in the field I went to school for and I love my job. Yet, I still wake up anxious and afraid of what will come next. This isn’t me blaming anyone for the path I took in my life, I am happy I went to school and I am happy with the career path I took. In fact, I haven’t met someone in the millennial generation that seems to be an outlier from this mental health and cultural issue. This could possibly be just the people I associate with, but even those I talk to have mentioned something like this to me.

In a recent article from The Atlantic Sophie Gilbert mentions Tidying Up With Marie Kondo and how people define success and the burnout many millennials are feeling right now. It also goes into some other things like the Fyre Festival and how these two events are synonymous with the culture that the millennial generation brings. What got me the most, though, was how “burnout” was seemingly connected with success, but what is “burnout” anyway?

The majority of the video content that I consume is on YouTube and a recent trend I have seen by people like Casey Neistat is this open dialog about “burnout.”

Said Video of Casey on Burnout

In this video he comments on this article from The Insider about big YouTubers feeling burnt out and overwhelmed. Most of this video is about how when people attain this level of success they realize that to continue that growth they have to ultimately push themselves to their absolute breaking point and, frankly, bust their ass to make that effort equal or exceed their expectations.

But what if you haven’t reached that level of success and you already feel burnt out? Does that mean you should just quit while you’re behind? Or does it mean that you need to push yourself even harder to get over that dip?

I ask not just because I want to bring about a different angle on this, but because that is where I am right now. To be completely transparent here, I haven’t seen any real growth from Rocket Panda (formerly Tablet Habit) in several months. It just has this plateau of about 2000 visits a month. Which in blogging terms means next to nothing.

There have been several times where I decide that the best way for me to use my time is to work on a new design, or maybe even move my site to a new blogging platform, or even just change the domain to something else again. Which I know is about has useful as cutting off my foot just before I get ready to run a marathon.

Most of the time I have these thoughts it’s because I am afraid of just sitting down and writing. I am afraid because I worry that once I do I will see I have nothing to say, or what I do have to say isn’t good enough. But as literally every great writer has said in one way or another, the best way to get better at writing is to actually write.

What I am saying here isn’t new and revolutionary. The problems I face aren’t unique by any stretch of the imagination. With that said, I can’t help but feel like this is something that is not being talked about enough, hopefully that will change.

I also find these common problems for my generation to be indicative that millennials are more superficial than ever. For example, I would rather waste time on materialistic things instead of working to get better at my craft. ”If I can’t be the best,” I would say to myself, “why would I want to put any of my time an energy into it? I should just go and try something else that I can be better at instead.”

I don’t know the definitive answer to this problem but I think it starts somewhere with changing the mindsets of myself and others in this era of what success actually is. I am still trying to figure that out for myself, but it shouldn’t be the number in our bank account or whether we have the more organized and optimized apartment.

How I am Changing My Mindset

Before I go into this, I absolutely know that this is something better said than done, but you can’t start somewhere without taking that first step.

1. Throw Envy Out the Window

One thing I am slowly starting to make a mantra is that your work should be like golf, the only real opponent you should measure yourself to is you.

I have seen people I follow and consider my peers gain success in their own ways and I can’t help be get a little jealous and envious of them for growing while I am not growing fast enough to my liking. This kind of thinking is how you get discouraged and throw in the towel. It isn’t healthy to always be looking how well others are doing and comparing yourself to them. If anything it will drive you insane.

What I plan to do instead is to look at how I am doing month-to-month. The things I want to look at are:

  • RSS subscribers
  • Email Newsletter Subscribers
  • Page Views

With these numbers I record them in a Google Sheet and see how they are trending and see what I need to do to either continue growing, or what I need to do in order to start growing these numbers.

2. Quality of Quantity

While I do want to keep an eye on the numbers, they aren’t everything. One thing that I want to remember as I write and post on Rocket Panda, or really anywhere, is that there are people reading this. My readers are not numbers on a chart, they are human beings that I want to engage with and share things with.

A trick I learned seem Chris Wilson was to act like I am writing for a blog or person I admire as if they were to read it. For me it is Federico Viticci, Serenity Caldwell, Myke Hurley, Stephen Hackett, David Sparks, Rose Orchard, Rene Ritchie, Merlin Mann, Alex Cox, Matthew Cassinelli, and John Gruber. All of them are people I admire and hope to connect with one day. Some of whom I already have (listen to the episodes of A Slab of Glass with Rose Orchard, Matthew Cassinelli, Alex Cox, and David Sparks).

If I write something that is for the people I admire I feel like I am more considerate of their time, attention, and I write enough to make my point but I edit down as much as I can to not have too much “fluff.”

3. Focus on the Rocks First

There is an old metaphor about a professor who came into class with an empty jar, he filled it with a few large rocks, then several small pebbles, then sand. The adage goes that you should focus on the big priorities in your life, the big rocks, more and then the other important things, the pebbles, and then the “small stuff” and material things in life, the sand. If you were to focus on the “small stuff” first you wouldn’t be able to fit the rocks and the pebbles in there.

There’s this great video that explains this better than I can.

The point of this, for me at least, is that priorities matter and in order to focus on these big things we first need to acknowledge what those things are. What do we care about the most? Family, friends, passions, careers. These are all good examples. But if we focused more on the small things like the latest tech gadget, whether we have the best phone or iPad, or other material and frivolous things we won’t have the time and energy needed for the big rocks.

Focus on the big rocks first, then the pebbles, and if there is time the sand.

4. Get Organized

In order to find those big rocks, we need to get organized. For me, I have been bouncing around task managers so many times the last week I cared more about what app to write down the things I need to do rather than just doing them.

We all get swept up in the productivity porn of task managers and it can be fun to start using a new app or system; but if we spend all of our time on the app or system we aren’t going to actually get anything done.

So I have decided on an app, which one is honestly not important for this article, and I plan to use this for 90 days without waver. I will write more about it soon but for now I am less interested in writing about the app and actually using it to get things done instead.

I decided to use Things 3, the reason for this is because I have been going back and forth between this and Omnifocus and I decided to use Things 3 after flipping a coin to see which one would win.

Once I take the choice of the app out of the picture I can start focusing on the things that matter, which are the things I want to get done.

5. Replace Social Media Apps on my Home Screen

I am not removing myself from social media, but I am making social media a lower priority for me. When ever I get free time in the bank or at work or even at a stop light I immediately go on my phone and check Twitter.

I have since replaced this with the app Tally to count how many times I open it in a given week.

This prevents me from sinking time into Twitter when I can be doing something better like reading articles on my Pinboard or an actual book. I also deleted Twitter from my phone and instead made it only available as a web app in Safari, which is blocked with 1Blocker. This makes it very much intentional for me to actually open Twitter for something and if I do so I have to jump through a number of hoops to get on it.

Like I said, I am not going away from social media, but I am reducing my intake of it and making it very intentional in my life.

6. Make Time to Get Centered

When I am going through a very anxious or stressful period in my day I spend at least two minutes meditating to get myself back to the center. I know that I am stressed and I know something needs my attention, but if I don’t make the time to decompress this will hit a boiling point that won’t be good for anyone involved.

Meditation is a new thing for me, so I have been using the app Calm to get started on it and learn more about meditation. So far, it seems to be helping me learn and use these meditation techniques at home, work, and even when I write. As of now, I meditate every morning and throughout the day when I feel that things need to be brought back to ground level.

As someone that has a history of depression and anxiety I am blown away with what meditation can do for me. I was a skeptic for a long time but as I get more and more into this space I am finding it to level things out and help subside my depression and anxiety at times.

7. Never Quit Before Reaching the Starting Block

When you are in a creative field, it can be common to have a feedback loop, a recurring thought that you aren’t good enough or that you aren’t doing enough, or something to that affect. I know because this is a very common thing in my writing process.

In fact, it has killed a lot of ideas before they had time to incubate long enough to grow into something. Sometimes it can be good to not spend time on something that you aren’t passionate about. But when your reasoning is because you feel you aren’t good enough that just stops you from even trying out something that could be great.

I have been making a change to my line of thinking with my writing, namely to not kill them off before writing at least 500 words. That way I spend time writing out my thoughts and figuring out what it is I want to say. It has helped me write this very article, and it has allowed me to leave ideas in my writing folder to keep them in the forefront of my brain.

The feedback loops I have are still very much there but I have been working on not letting them make decisions for me.

What’s Next?

With all of these ways I have of dealing with burnout, it is still early on for me. I plan to keep at this and follow up next month. Until then, I would love to know what kinds of things you do to deal with things like burnout, Imposter Syndrome, and feedback loops. You can let me know on Twitter or via email.

New Patreon Plans Coming in May

From Patreon:

We’re announcing new creator plans, which will be available later this spring. Current creators on Patreon will see no change to the fees they pay or the features they have, unless they are interested in some of the new stuff we’re launching!

Patreon has grown, and our community of creators has grown with us. We now serve so many different types of creators, from a painter with 100 fans to a creative business with 100k fans and a staff of 25. This allows us to tailor our offerings to different types of creators. We’re also introducing new payment processing rates for future creators, including a new low rate for payments of $3 or less.

These changes will help us invest in the features and services all our creators depend on, and create a strong and independent Patreon that creators can build their businesses on for decades to come.

From FAQ:

Why the New Plans?

The new plans better serve new creators by offering options, including more powerful tools for those that are ready for them. And they allow us to develop new features like Team Accounts and Merch for creators who really want them. We want to be around serving creators for decades to come. These changes set us on a solid path toward that goal, and will fuel investments in core product quality to improve the experience for all creators. Learn more about the plans.

The Plans

Patreon Lite

This plan is for future creators who want a simple option to launch a membership without tiers and benefits that they can get up and running within minutes. This plan has no tiers; just a creator page with a ‘Become a Patron” button that allows patrons to enter any amount they wish.

Patreon Pro

This plan includes everything Patreon creators have today plus some new perks! It’s for creators who want more tools to build and grow a thriving membership. All creators on Patreon before the plans launch automatically get this plan at their current pricing.

Patreon Premium

This plan is for established creative businesses with a large following who need advanced features and a higher level of service. Premium will have limited availability at launch. If you’re interested in Premium, you can sign up to be notified when it launches.

Patreon is also offering a new feature for Pro plans called “Creator-led Workshops.”

What are Creator-led workshops?

Creator-led workshops are livestreamed workshops taught by creators who are successful both on and off Patreon. We’re introducing creator-led workshops because we’ve heard from creators that they want to learn from other creators in their respective fields, i.e. musicians want to learn from other successful musicians, podcasters want to learn from other successful podcasters, etc. Creator-led workshops will cover topics like how creators are making Patreon work as part of their creative career, as well as other topics specific to the creator’s field. As we build out the program, we’ll be taking requests from Patreon creators to find out more about which topics you’re most interested in.

Are Creator-led workshops different than the Patreon workshops?

Yes. Patreon workshops are available to all creators on Patreon regardless of the plan they choose. They are taught by Patreon staff and focus on Patreon specific topics like optimizing your tiers and benefits and how to market your membership.

Who are the creators teaching creator-led workshops?

We are currently building our roster of creator teachers.

The other new feature for Pro plans is “Priority Customer Support”

Customer support emails from creators in the Professional plan and above will be prioritized, with a minimum first response time of 6 business hours.

Patreon also had their CEO Jack Conte explain in a video the new plans, which you can watch here.

As I mentioned in a previous article about Patreon changing their fees back in late 2017, Patreon has addressed that in their FAQ section of the page.

How is this different from the fee changes Patreon made in Dec 2017?

In December 2017, Patreon made some changes to the way we charge for payment processing, and within a week of the rollout, reversed the changes after hearing feedback from creators. There are 2 big lessons we took away from this event:

1) We got in between creators and their patrons. Our plan in 2017 was to move payment processing fees so they would be paid by patrons instead of creators, and creators were frustrated by the decision. Moving forward, the right way to build a sustainable Patreon is to charge creators, not their patrons.

2) The fee change we proposed overly penalized low dollar pledges. The new payment processing rates we’re announcing for future creators will be transparent and predictable for creators as well as providing savings on small pledges. And current creators on the platform will see no change.

Payment Processing

With these new plans from Patreon comes new payment processing for new creators. This is the breakdown of them.

Founding creators: no change. You will keep the same processing rate you have today. Learn more.
Future creators: There will be two payment processing rates

For pledges of $1 to $3: 5% plus 10 cents per successful pledge

For pledges over $3: 2.9% plus 30 cents per successful pledge

For all pledges from patrons outside the US who use PayPal, regardless of the amount: An additional 1% per successful pledge

There is also a table breaking this down comparing what each of these new plans get which you can see here.

My Thoughts

There is a lot to unpack here and Patreon seems to be restructuring their platform to offload the smaller creators with smaller memberships so that the team can focus on the creators that are creating more revenue for the company. From a business perspective this doesn’t seem nefarious or anything that would raise eyebrows. That said, we are talking about creators income and potential livelihood. Therefore, I will be watching one of there many livestream sessions they are offering. You can also sign up for them as well. They have many in different times available from March 19th through March 22nd.

After I attend to the session tomorrow morning I will be providing more information and thoughts on this new chapter in Patreon.