Creativity, Internet, Websites, Books, Software and Videos… Oh, My!

Juvy and Rod Martin at beach resort
Juvy and Rod Martin at the Voda Krasna resort, Cebu, Philippines.
Voda Krasna means “beautiful water.”
Copyright Rod Martin, Jr.

I love being creative. It’s what I live for. Channeling all that creative energy has remained a challenge. I’ve made mistakes; some big ones. But I don’t regret any of it. All of it has been a richly rewarding, learning experience.

In this article, I discuss my current projects and the arc of my own creative development.

Scatter

One mistake has been to indulge my interests in so many different topics—science, spirituality, science fiction, art, computer programming, web development, star catalogs, and more. Each one of these could be several full-time careers. My interests in science, along could take a few dozen lifetimes—astronomy, physics, chemistry, archaeology, geology, oceanography, biology, physical anthropology, linguistics, cultural anthropology, and others.

But I’ve found that my dabbling in one has invested in others. The things I’ve learned in comparative religion, for instance, has helped my writing as well as my study of the sciences.

Drilling Deep

I have become so focused, at times, that I’ve forgotten my other interests and implied commitments. For instance, I’ve gotten so busy writing books, not only for myself, but also for my clients, that my YouTube channel has not seen a new video in a year. My poor subscribers have been waiting and waiting and waiting…

My long anticipated upgrade for my “Stars in the NeighborHood” software has been put on old because of other projects and some hardware failures. Also, it doesn’t help that the newer operating systems  (Win7 and beyond) are not compatible with the programming language (Visual Basic 6). And though I’ve programmed professionally in Visual Basic .Net 2005, converting the code would be time consuming. I would like to take the Gaia star database, with its billion-plus stars, and pour the closer stars into my software. Preparing the data takes lots of time. Though I enjoy every minute of it, it remains an indulgence that I should really delegate to someone else. I could get lost for decades in the data, if I let myself be. Visualizing the stars in our sector of the galaxy has been a long-standing passion. The plan, now, is to increase the prosperity level where I can fund hiring someone else to do all of the grunt work that I love doing. This is part of multiplying myself and my creativity.

One thing that I will keep for myself is the drilling deeply on spiritual matters. The reason is quite simple: I need to learn this stuff first-hand. Delegating this work would keep me from learning all the nitty-gritty details that lead to a more perfect understanding.

Simplifying

So that I can produce more books, videos, software and blog articles, I need to keep only those things that are uniquely my own creativity. Much of the research, and other work can be done by someone else. I love doing it all, but I need to pack 30 or 40 lifetimes worth of work into the time I have left. At age 69, I’m still young. There was a time that anything over 30 seemed old. Not anymore.

I used to love to program my own websites from scratch. I learned not only HTML and CSS, but also PHP, creating variable and interactive content. I’ve greatly simplified my life by moving all of my websites to WordPress.com. My niece, Niña, helped post all of the old material a couple of years ago, but most of the websites still need a lot of work to clean up the rough edges. I am grateful for all her help. The free WordPress platform makes it easy to manage the websites, but still it all takes time.

I’ve attempted numerous times to set up a schedule for periodic blogs to all of my websites, but none of my plans worked out. They were all too unrealistic. You can find a list of my websites at:

https://tharsishighlands.wordpress.com/products/websites/

Beach and ocean in Cebu. Banner art for "Websites" heading on Tharsis Highlands publisher website.

I also didn’t used to like social media, but in the last year or so, I’ve become addicted. I hope to hire a personal assistant in the next few months to take care of research, social media postings, blog uploads and even formatting books prior to publishing. Things like these will allow me to concentrate more on the creativity side of things.

I will also want to hire someone who is artistically inclined and capable of producing videos from scripts that I write and narrate. In the meantime, I’ll continue to do it all, enjoying every moment of it.

Successes

September 2018, I promoted my latest book, Climate Basics: Nothing to Fear, giving it away for free. I had hoped to give away a thousand copies and then to turn on sales by switching the price from zero to $0.99.

Amazon would not let me set the price to zero, unless I joined their restrictive internal, KDP program. I wanted to maintain greater freedom. So, instead of sending people to Amazon, I sent them to Smashwords, where the price was zero for awhile.

Someone on Facebook notified the WattsUpWithThat.com (WUWT) website (the most popular climate website on the planet) that Climate Basics was free for a limited time and gave a link to the Smashwords page.

That turned out to be a lucky stroke for me. In several weeks prior to this, I had given away a dozen or so copies. With the WUWT article, I gave away over 1,500 copies in 2 days. Not only that, enough people did not want to open a Smashwords account—people who really wanted my book—that 15 bought copies right away. Remember, Amazon wouldn’t let me give away the copies, so people paid less than a dollar, quite willingly.

I had been making occasional sales of my books on Amazon for years. Suddenly, I was making daily sales—one or two, then ten, twenty and spiking at 40+ on a few occasions. No national bestseller, but it made category #1 bestseller, twice—Science and Math short reads (8 weeks), and Weather (14 weeks). It even made the top 10 in the coveted Climatology category.

Not only that, the sales on that one book triggered sales on some of my other titles. Thermophobia: Shining a Light on Global Warming has had virtually daily sales for several months, now. Both Thermophobia and Red Line—Carbon Dioxide have made it several times into the top 50 on Weather.

Now that paperback editions are out on most of my books, those are selling, too. And brick and mortar bookstores are starting to order copies for their bookshelves—not just climate, but this last week, one store ordered copies of my biblical research book, The Bible’s Hidden Wisdom: God’s Reason for Noah’s Flood.

Commitment

Until last week, I had written blog articles when I felt compelled to write. Now, I’m compelled to write an article every week. I’ve started off by writing three each week—trying to have one come out Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday in my time zone (Philippines), so they’ll show up late Saturday, late Monday and late Wednesday in America. It doesn’t always work (and this one is being written a day late), but it’s a good goal to shoot for.

On top of that, I’ll endeavor to write one blog a month for my other websites, though that will take a lower priority until I have some help.

I want to add more value. I’ve always wanted to help. That’s why I’ve written the books and produced the videos on YouTube. It’s why I created all of my websites. In fact, I created the 3D astronomy software, “Stars in the NeighborHood,” to help people “see” what our galactic neighborhood looks like.

I will be selling my books through the publisher website, too, most of them at a discount (ebook only). This will help fund my projects, because I get paid within seconds and money can be in my bank in a day, rather than the 6 months it sometimes takes for me to get a check from Amazon (2 months waiting period before cutting a check, 1–3 months waiting to receive the check and 1 month to have the check cleared through the banks). Though the sales through Amazon helps to increase visibility, sales through the publisher website (TharsisHighlands.com) helps with more immediate funding. One day, Amazon may actually have direct deposit to the Philippines, like PayPal. Until then, it’s wait, and sometimes cancel a check that takes too long and write a new one. Then more waiting. But one thing I’ve learned is not to hold such things as “important.” Why? Because the more impatient I become, the longer it takes. And doesn’t that tickle?

Spiritual Lesson

We can wish for a specific plan and, because it is important, it will never happen. Or we can picture a specific result with non-specific content, and have it happen immediately.

Let me give you an example. This is a bit off topic, but not by much, for even romance requires some creativity.

We can “fall in love” with a specific individual and nothing will ever happen. I had this happen in the 80s. The girl of my dreams enters my life, flirts with me, we date several times, but she’s too “important” to me and I drop the ball.

Fast forward to 2007, I decide to be “in love.” No one specific. I simply decided that I am going to claim that in-love feeling despite not having someone physically in my life. In fact, I would play act her calling me and we’d carry on a conversation while I did my shopping. It felt so real that within 2 weeks, she contacted me through one of the dating websites I had joined. I remembered my earlier lesson about “importance,” and decide to let God lead the way; if it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Five and a half months later, we were married. Today, we’re still madly in love.

What’s Coming Up?

We never know what the future has in store for us. We have so much karma for which to be grateful. So, we have some surprises coming up, I’m sure. But we also have many opportunities to use our creativity to contribute to others. Not just me, naturally, but all of us.

I’ve already contributed a great deal with all the knowledge I’ve learned and shared with others. But, God willing, I’d like it to be only the beginning of a great many contributions.

Right now, I’m writing my “big” book on Atlantis, including over 50 years of interest and research. I’ve had some powerful breakthroughs on the topic, many of which were mentioned in my recent book, Proof of Atlantis? Evidence of Plato’s Lost Island Empire. My upcoming book, Mission: Atlantis, will be far larger and with far more in-depth analysis of the topic, the scientific literature, the poor (even shabby) work of self-proclaimed skeptics, and the science that ironically supports the possible past existence of the lost island.

Scene from Wizard of Oz with Wicked Witch and Dorothy.
The Wicked Witch, representing the Greenhouse Effect, confronts Dorothy, representing humanity. MGM publicity photo for The Wizard of Oz, 1939 (PD). Colorized.

I’ve also had a major breakthrough on climate science that has me waking up in the middle of the night to write down new notes. Finding the right way to talk about it has been one of the most exciting things to cross my desk in years. The upcoming title on my GlobalWarmth website blog is tentatively: “Ding Dong, the Greenhouse Effect is Dead,” styled after the song in the old Wizard of Oz movie, “Ding Dong, the Wicked Witch is Dead.” Now, that I see this and understand it, I feel as though it is blindingly obvious. Truth has a way of doing that. It may take years to discover it, but when the right words are used to describe it, the question inevitably comes, “Why did it take so long to see this?”

Creative Outlets

Update 2019:0903

The article mentioned above, “Ding Dong, the Greenhouse Effect is Dead,” is now live. Click on the title link, above, or click here to read all about it.


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