Having a summer Christmas in New Zealand is odd. Like the whole world is turned upside-down. Which, I suppose in the Southern Hemisphere, it is. The sun rises before 6 am, and sets after 10. The longest day of the year is next week. It’s disorienting to have our traditional Winter holiday as the beginning of the summer season, but it’s also exciting and fun.
We started shaking off our old holiday traditions by completely ignoring Thanksgiving this year, and celebrating Wolfenoot instead. This holiday was made up by a homeschooler (in New Zealand, no less) and quickly spread around the globe. (Disclaimer: we don’t know the homeschooler in question, we just happen to be dog lovers too.)
To celebrate, we invited friends over for a feast, grilled a lot of meat, feasted out of (new) dog bowls, gave dog-themed presents to the kids, and howled at the rising moon.
In other family-related news, we had a Family Adventure Day at the Wellington waterfront with the #huntresskids.
I got my lady wife flowers.
Book Writing Fail for NaNoWriMo
This month, I had a good fail. My #NaNoWriMo final word count was 20,287.
To ‘win’ at National Novel Writing Month, you are supposed to reach 50,000 words. Many writers do this, and I applaud them for reaching their goal. Many writers fail, and I applaud them for making progress. I’ve ‘won’ twice before, and this is my third time failing.
I don’t mind ‘failing’ this year, because I was already bending the rules for NaNoWriMo. I wasn’t writing a novel. I have written a non-fiction book.
It’s called Sales Funnel Strategy. There are 12 chapters now complete. I have a good outline, and a first draft of the content, and I am now far beyond the ‘maybe I should write a book’ phase.
I wrote a book.
It’s short, and it’s rough, and it needs a lot of work, but I wrote all 12 chapters in November.
The road to success is paved with small failures. Allowing these failures is how you step forward.
Trimming the Christmas tree is one of our favorite holiday traditions. This year we chose a crab apple tree for our second Summer Christmas in New Zealand, and it fills the house with the bright smells of springtime.
We painted lots of ornaments to decorate our new home.
If you don’t follow me on YouTube, you should know, this is our new home:
I Make Stuff
My business is going very well. Since I left my full-time job – geez, only three months ago – I’ve collected many new clients and managed multiple new product launches. I also received a glowing testimonial from one of my favourite clients, 8-time Carnegie Hall musician and Hall of Fame speaker Mike Rayburn:
I finished a new lead magnet for my business website, the Stellar Homepage Checklist. It’s a 48-point audit of your homepage that tells you in 20 minutes what to work on next. https://stellarplatforms.com/checklist
I also made some new template documents (no subscription necessary for these):
The 21-step Belcher Formula, made by the creator of the famous Belcher Button you’ve probably seen a thousand times on the internet, is a handy method to generate the copy for a long-form sales page. Try this template to make your copywriting easy & fast -> https://docs.google.com/document/d/1arPAMCtr4GdSoiUWsL3ynq0FVcQdIeipLbhBTHjXj8w/edit
When a client asked for a new Lead Magnet, a 30-day Challenge delivered daily via email, so I made a copy of this template, copy-and-pasted out of their blog, and had the whole thing done in a jiffy. Try it out here -> https://docs.google.com/document/d/1P-tKAhTvm17-OhFaU9VifJygsTzbleg9r8CzjmZ38_c/edit
Relaunching the Make It Happen Mastermind
The Make It Happen Mastermind, my 90-day group coaching program, has been so fun and rewarding that I’m going to do it again next year. It’s great to listen to entrepreneurs sharing ideas and feedback with each other, trading connections and referrals, and helping each other to succeed.
Our hour-long mastermind call is one of the most effective and productive hours of the week. I will be leading another cohort for next year, 15 January – 15 April. Go to https://stellarplatforms.com/mastermind to find out all the details, and apply if you think you’re a match
WordPress 5 Has Landed
Within days of WordPress 5.0 launching, I got my first email from someone who had a website break from WordPress 5.0. (Upgrade in a sandbox first, kids.)
“It’s important that you update Divi to version 3.18+ before updating WordPress to version 5.0.” That’s what they say on the Elegant Themes blog, which means, upgrade your plugins, then themes, then the WordPress core, in that order.
I’ve been slowly upgrading my websites, one by one, in sandboxes or staging areas first. I wrote this post in Gutenberg, even though I don’t have WP 5.0 on this site yet. This is when I first took Gutenberg for a spin and this is my professional opinion of Gutenberg.
A couple of months ago, I designed a whole bundle of Instagram posts all at once. Made them look good in Canva. Exported them to my phone. Set up an automation so anytime I make an Instagram post, it automatically populates all of my other social media accounts.
Two or three times a week, while I’m on a train or waiting in line, I make one good Instagram post, and all my other social media accounts get activity. Since I started this, I’ve gained hundreds of new followers, and my total time investment – after the original image design – is about twenty minutes a week.
The trick is – I have to spend an hour making a bunch of images, and getting them onto my phone! It looks like I only have to do this every few months, if I pace it right. Here’s some of my recent ones:
You can follow Stellar Platforms on Instagram to see more.
Here are some other quotes that I’ve liked this month:
“If you care enough about the work that you are willing to be criticized for it, then you have done a good days work.” – Seth Godin
“A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.” —Christopher Germer
“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” —William Faulkner
“It is not external events themselves that cause us distress, but the way in which we think about them…It is our attitudes and reactions that give us trouble. We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.” – Epictetus
Upcoming: 2019 Resolutions Writing Webinar
If you’ve been around my blog for more than fifteen minutes, you’re probably aware that I’m a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I love to write them, and blog about them, and review them during my Annual Review. I even love breaking New Years’ Resolutions.
This year, I’m going to write my New Years Resolutions with you, on a webinar, if you’re up for it.
Update: Christmas Day
As you can tell by the permalink – the long URL after caelanhuntress.com – this post was published on the 14th of December. At my lady wife’s request, I made a little video out of the footage I took on Christmas morning, mostly of the surprises from opening a present. Enjoy.