Enchanted Quill Press LLC Blog

Revising the Novel. (11/24/17)

Looks like I am on the three month posting plan. I finished my rough draft of my novel a few weeks ago and have been consistenly revising and adding more scenes. I've attempted to write novels before and its been a long stretch between them. Sad how time got away from me for so many years. It doesn't take much to be consistent and make a little bit of progress. I keep a journal every work day and that's over 100,000 words this year just by dedicating about twenty five minutes a day to it.

Not sure I can stand at my computer day in and day out writing. I would get pretty bored. So between family, karate, work, and occassional racquetball. My plate is pretty full. Been keeping my habit and my promise to wake up a 5:00 to do some work on my stuff has been the glue holding everything else in place. Otherwise that time would evaporate and another decade would pass.

So think my novel is about 54,000 words right now. The scenes and structure of Chapter 1 is just about done. There could be a few more scenes that need to be added. It's been more of a labor or love than anything else. I haven't written anything of this size in a while, so been trying to rebuild those skills and get to know my muse again.

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. Will try to do better than the three month plan.

Shhhh. Busy Writing. (09/24/17)

Been writing again. At least five hundred words per day for eighty seven days straight. I have about 44,000 words out of my rough goal of 50,000 words. It's exciting to be writing again and sometimes it is difficult to fire up the computer, fight off the kids, and do some writing. I wanted to come up for air and give a heads up that I am still alive and still working on stuff.

Writing has been great. I am also trying to resurrect Dungeons and Dragons and show my boys some aspects of the game. I feel it's important for children to be creative and explore imagination and other things. We've also been playing with the Python programming language and trying to get that going. Been going over computer basics for a while and playing with some apps that teach basic programming. It's already helped my son at school since he can solve computer problems with fewer instructions, faster than his classmates, and is often helping them. That's a huge confidence booster for Jason and I hope we keep building his skillset. I don't want to force them, that never works. I want them to be passionate about it and find it fun.

I'm sorry, I haven't been around. I've been grinding though and looking forward to finishing the novel and getting it out the door early next year.

End of Site-Rx (7/15/12 to 3/18/17)

I deleted the domain this morning and have been ignoring the domain renewals. I might go in later and deliver the coup de gras (deathblow) after I write this. It's kind of weird to have it's birth and death on the same page. I've been horrible with updates.

I started Site-Rx probably from a place of desperation. I don't think work was going particularly well. I just looked back at my journal entries for that year and everything sucked at work. I don't even want to get into it, best to leave it dead. So I thought I can just work for other people including myself, but things with the job kept going. My mom wasn't doing so well. I started a second job a few years later, so Site-Rx never became a necessity. Had I just had enough or got fired I would of had no choice but to hit the pavement looking for web work.

I'm a pretty good application developer, but I'm not very artisitc when it comes to making web pages pretty. So I would have been at a disadvantage in the market. I also was struggling to make ends meet, so trying to start a business without a cushion and still provide for my family, take care of my parents (especially my Mom) just wasn't happening.

I eventually left that department and found a much better place. So I can look objectively at Site-Rx and honestly say that's not where I want to go with my life. I would rather have Enchanted Quill Press publish books, games, and software. Also have Ambient Rehabilitation with my wife and raising my boys, so there's more than enough stuff on my plate.

Looking back over the past few years, I certainly have no basis for complaints now. The levels of stress I was under for the past three or so years was easily the worst of my life to date. I suffered, wept, felt hopeless, but I didn't break. I endured. So I can let go of Site-Rx without any real regrets. It would have been great to have it be a successful business, but I think that success would have cost me my happiness.

I haven't quit too many things in my life and I'm often the person that grinds away to nothing, so I feel a certain freedom now. Instead of having it dance around in the background taking up thoughts with "I should do..." It's just fading to black and maybe a small little corner of the plate is free.

Thanks for your support,
Joe Delgado
President of Enchanted Quill Press.

Happy Birthday EQP! (08/28/16)

Just coming off vacation, so a little disoriented where I left off things. Well...don't really consider Disney an actual vacation it's more work than anything else. In August, it's damn hot in Florida. Need to walk between attractions, family drama, wait in lines, etc. I have a lot of daily notes to organize and put away. Basically was fun things I did with my family and a couple of project ideas. I felt a little guilty I wasn't grinding on vacation, but decided to grind on things to spend quality time with family instead. Can see my Racquetball blog on 8/15/16 for the new 120 mindset from Eric Thomas.

I've been working on my grind for like nineteen days in a row and managed to get a lot of things that were blocking me from other projects out of the way. Mostly accounting entries from both businesses that needed to be reconciled. There's probably more work to be done on some other things, but if I keep chipping at it every day and keeping track of where it is. I can get to what I need to get done here.

Don't really want to think about how many birthdays this is for EQP LLC. All I know it's too many have past doing nothing. It's all my fault, so no sense writing about past situations and circumstances. I asked my son, Jason, yesterday what does yesterday and the Dinosaurs have in common? Can't do shit about it. There's nothing we can do about the past, albeit some things from yesterday can be changed easier than a few million years ago. Point I was trying to make, what I'm typing now already belongs to the past. It's like our lives are constantly at the edge of the present and everything behind us just falls off. We can't go back even a second, all we can do is take an incremental action that helps evolve our future.

Anyway pretty deep for a blog post. We're approaching the fourth quarter, so for the last part of 2016 going to keep chipping away at things in the way of my projects. Keep focusing on smaller projects and get them visible. Also going to keep grinding and making sure I put in the work here and in other areas of my life. So next year, we have some positive movement instead of the same past.

Thanks for reading and sharing in my company's birthday.

My New Workflow: Agile, a Calendar, KanbanFlow, stand-up log, and the Pomodoro Technique (03/12/16)

I read an article about Productivity by Jerry Seinfield and did Jon Acuff's 30 Days of Hustle. Basically the core of both, you have a calendar and you check off when you work on something. Keep working on it everyday and that helps create momentum. There's nothing more important than momentum...a process is a close second.

I also like KanbanFlow because it is simple and based on Kanban which is a Work in Progress management tool and it has a Pomodoro timer built in, bonus. It's hard to practice Agile solo, kind of like talking to yourself, but I do believe in having things time bound. It's easy to have a run away task that goes on forever, getting lost without clear goals, and it's also easy to spend a lot of time doing stuff that doesn't move the ball forward.

So from Agile/Scrum, I take the time frame (usually four weeks), a prioritized backlog of things I want to do for a project, a daily stand-up log, and user stories. I know my schedule in the morning and can usually shave off about an hour (2 pomodoros) a day. So there's a limited number of pomodoros for that four week sprint. I estimate my stories using Pomodoros (Story points) for each task, so I can work within my time budget. If something large comes up, then it needs to be broken down into stories that fit my schedule.

The idea is to want to sit down each morning and do the work not to feel like I am overwhelemed and not making any progress. Waking up to that kind of work is life draining and counter-intiutitve. We need to make progress, we need to measure that progress, and for me it should be loosely structured. If things are too regimented then my creativitiy bails and I go back to watching the clock. The best pomodoros are the one that blink by and you're hungry for more work.

I also think it is important to stay hungry. So the built in five/fifteen minute breaks that the pomodoro techinque has help keep you hungry. It gives you a chance to walk around and reflect on what you did and what you need to do for the next one.

We've been doing Scrum-but at work, which means trying to follow scrum thinking, but coming up short in some areas. It is better than not following Scrum at all. I think the best thing about Agile is that it shows you at the end of a Sprint something tangible. Deliver enough and people come to start getting excited about what you are working on eventually they want to help and make contributions. I think the same works for ourselves and it spreads to other parts of our lives. We start feeling the momentum, we get into a habit of working that way, we see measureable progress, we're happy about our accomplishments, and it just keeps feeding itself and getting stronger.

Running to the Finish (2/20/16)

There's a point, at least in my limited racquetball experience, where you feel a shift in the momentum. That point when you've been losing the entire game and nothing you do works, but then that one rally or that one serve hits and it galvanizes you. Your efforts double, you see there's a chance to win. Everything else just melts away, you're in the zone and everything is working together. That is best place to be in life.

Not saying that in that zone yet, but I've made good progress with my Dad's Estate. I've changed jobs at Rutgers after sixteen years in one stagnant place to where I can make a better contribution and feel a lot more appreciated. Need to keep pushing myself to using new technology and not lay down in the past letting someone else serve.

It's been easy to throw up my hands and just take a beating. Sometimes been afraid to act, been afraid of losing things or money. Worried about making the wrong decision or pursuing the right one. There's been a whirlwind of changes in the past couple of years. I've gone into it in many other places over the past two years, but that is not the point of this post.

The point is. Need to breathe, walk up to the line, focus, and start serving! Need to really push.

So going to change things around here. We'll be redesigning this website from the ground up using Bootstrap. I know, I am little late to the game. Been stubborn and tucked under a rock for a long time. Also have been stuck maintaining other people's bad code at work for a couple of years, so I got out of code shape. I think working with Bootsrap and other newer technology will help with my job, my company, and my skillset. Let's go!

Bad Eighteen Months (6/13/15)

It's been almost a year since I last worked on this blog or on the company. It has been a difficult year and half. I tore my miniscus playing racquetball (January 2014) and had to have surgery to repair my ACL and the miniscus tears I had (April 2014). Then my Mom was very sick and eventually died on hospice back in August of last year. Then my Dad got sick and died six months later in February of this year. I've been dealing with his Estate ever since. I'm still working full-time with a part-time on the side. So to say things are off track is an under statement. Been working pretty hard and slowly righting things. My wife and family have been a great help. Looking forward to working less and having more resources and time for Ambient Rehabilitation and EQP LLC.

The End of Joe's Racquet Stringing (7/27/14)

I did it for a long time and we helped a lot of people, but the numbers never worked. All of hours never resulted in signifficant income. Kept it around under the guise it was making some money. Keeping us afloat. Nope it was confusing our identity, against our vision, draining hours useful for other things, and just a plain old drag. Sorry to my friends that do string, it should have remained a hobby for me.

Lack of Systems. Lack of Vision!

I've been working at my job for a long time and I remember once I interviewed with a higher up for better position. The interview was a sham and lasted fifteen minutes. Toward the end I asked him about his vision for the department. Can hear a pin drop and after a long pause. He asked about IT? I caped it with about anything. Anyway was never going to get the position, so glad I got my interview and got my dig in.

Anyway the funny part is...if I had a prospect on the phone or a customer and was asked the very same question about Enchanted Quill Press LLC. I would have no idea either. I have been stringing racquets and running racquetball leagues on a company that's supposed to be a publisher! I self-published a poetry book back in 1995 long before I even knew what LLC meant. So what's my vision? I have no clue.

Been reading "Work the System" by Sam Carptenter and it makes a lot of sense that everything is a system. Up to the point where I need to generate some documents to guide my business and my life. Being a computer programmer I can easily relate that everything is indeed a system. Around here. I've been building the wrong ones. Stringing was ok and was able to help a lot of people and had lots of referrals coming in, but it's not what want for me or this company.

It is very easy to sit back and waste a tremendous amount of time all the while thinking your doing fine because there's no point on the map to push for. I am really sick and tired of drifiting and pretending!

Internal Release of NextSteps (05/09/14)

Been working on some web applications. The first is NextSteps which is a simple project to-do list. Basically wanted to get the functionality down with JSON, jQuery, MySQL, and PHP working together and expand it later. Need to add Facebook authenication and see how can make it multi-user and work better with touch devices.

The Law of the Lid. (8/11/13 by JD)

I first heard about this Law from Dave Ramsey's Entreleadership book and audiobook. Can read about the law from John Maxwell's blog. Anyway the law basically states there's a limit on my company and it's my effectiveness as a leader. Sadly I think I'm about a two or maybe a one in my effectiviness as a Leader. That's after reading a bunch of books and learning what I can about business, marketing, etc. I think I would have have been in the negative numbers back in 1995.

I've focused more on Ambient Rehabilitation LLC with my wife and that business has made far more income, but it also has far more expenses and risk. Things have been a little tigher than I hoped, but again, it's my lack of leadership that is creating the problems. I'm probably being overly harsh with the 1 or 2, but there's always something more to learn and a lot more to apply. I'd rather work harder at getting better than thinking I'm better than I am. I've been there and it's a sad and empty place.

Working on something for our Leagues and it's taking a little longer than expected. Been having some problems with MoneyBuckets and later versions of Access. I assume it breaks because of outdated DAO references. So either need to upgrade my Access (not looking foward to spending more money this year) or finish our Visual Basic version. Ultimately finishing the VB version will remove the need for Access, open it to more users, and make adding new features easier. So we'll finish the League project and move on MoneyBuckets 2.0 hopefully before year end.

Dream Big! (03/21/13)

Been using this app on my iPhone called, Habit List, mostly for tracking my staying away from soda and some other good habits. So far up to 58 consectutive days and have dropped about five pounds since last time I weighed myself. I haven't been working out like a fiend, straving myself, or anything like that. So the app works for me, I would hate to mess up my streak. Other good habits have been a little harder to follow.

Dream Big! Is very hard for me. I guess, I've kind of thought it silly and to be more realistic. The young poet who wrote, Storms of a Soul, would be extremely upset with me. Sometimes it's easy to make things hard on yourself, so you can escape true defeat under the guise of never really trying. So off to put a one in the Dream Big habit.

Sandy's Aftermath (11/5/12)

We hope everyone is safe after Hurricane Sandy devastated most of New Jersey and neighboring states. We lost power for several days, had a couple of trees fall away from our property, and some minor damage due to the high winds. Anyway we consider ourselves very fortunate. God bless you and your families.

MoneyBuckets 2.0 Update (10/8/12)

Deposits and Payments are done. We're wrapping up the coding on searching for deposits and are planning to port almost all of the code for searching payments. The last component is transferring money between buckets. Then kicking all the tires, and shipping it.

Site-Rx Launched (7/15/12)

Site-RxEnchanted Quill Press LLC is proud to announce a new business called Site-RX. Site-RX's mission to help small businesses create and improve their websites. With over sixteen years of experience online and more than that programming we expect to help a lot of businesses work better online.

So if your online presense has kind of stalled and you need help. Please visit Site-RX and request a free analysis of your site.

Happy New Year! (1/2/12)

We wanted to express our thanks for supporting our company and wish you a great 2012.

A lot of things are being planned for this year:

CoreString is going to be our racquet stringing business application. It will help stringers keep track of customers, racquets, and inventory. We spent a good quarter last year designing the database tables. This year we're developing a web application to help people keep good customer records and keep better track of their business. Once we're ready we'll invite some stringers to help test and expand it.

Racquetball League Manager is basically an expanded version of our in house League Application that's responsible for most of the racquetball match content on Joe's New Jersey Racquetball web site. It handles matches, rankings, and profile data for multiple leagues and keeps player history in one place. We think it will get more people into racquetball and let racquetball websites do more for their players.

MoneyBuckets 1.0 for Mac a few people have asked for MoneyBuckets for Mac and we're still learning how to incorporate SQLite into our applications. Once we're comfortable we can begin coding MoneyBuckets for Mac and plan on submitting it to the Apple's App Store.

MoneyBuckets 2.0 for PC is a shift from our current MoneyBuckets application in that it will not require Microsoft Access to run. It may mean additional functionaility that needs to be coded that we got for free with Microsoft Office, but we would like a more stand alone product that doesn't interfere with existing setups or costs a couple of hundred dollars to implement.

An Untitled Mental Toughness Book by Joseph Delgado. Joseph has been raising his two boys and watching them grow up and meet the challenges and games they face. He believes there's a book on his experiences growing up, playing racquetball, and being a Father. We're looking forward to getting the book ready for publication and increase our catalog.