Not Enough Hours in a Day

Still too busy to blog regularly.

I’ve been neglecting this blog lately, which is something I’m not happy about. You see, I need to blog. I need to keep this journal of my life and share tips and how-tos with strangers all over the world.

So when I neglect it, as I have been for the past week or so, I feel bad about it.

I Take Work When I Need To

But the reason I’ve been neglecting things is because I’ve been so busy doing the kind of work that pays the bills. (No, blogging doesn’t do that.) As any business owner or freelancer can tell you, there isn’t always paying work to do. Sometimes, after a dry spell, you have to take the work that comes along.

And that’s how it is with Flying M Air. Summer in Wickenburg simply sucks. I can’t put it any other way. There are few people around and none of them want to fly — including me. It’s just too damn hot. So with just one gig in all of July and just three or four in all of August, I was personally funding Flying M Air again, paying its bills through the dead summer months.

And Flying M Air doesn’t have small bills to pay.

When September rolled along, I was anxious to do rides at the Mohave County Fair for the third year in a row. And right after that, were two good gigs with photographers over some of Arizona’s most scenic areas. Although the Fair gig was a bust this year, the two gigs that followed it earned me more than 15 hours of revenue time. That’s enough to keep Flying M Air in the black for four to five months. Best of all, I have another very lucrative gig lined up for Lake Powell, Monument Valley, and Shiprock at the end of September and beginning of October.

I Work Two Jobs

All these gigs have been keeping me from my office for days at a time. That means I can’t do the work I need to do for my other job, the one that funded Flying M Air in the first place.

I’ve been working on my 70th book, a revision of my Mac OS X Visual QuickStart Guide for Leopard, since July. It’s a 750-page volume and I decided this year to tear it apart, reorganize it, and rebuild it from the ground up. I’m nearly done, but it’s been a long, hard task from the start.

It’s always hard writing a book about software when all you have is beta. Betas aren’t always stable, so they occasionally crash at the most inopportune times. Betas aren’t always final, so the thing you wrote about two weeks ago might be different today. It’s a constant process of review and revision.

It’s also a process of learning how new features work. Sure, there’s some onscreen help for some of the new features. But it’s spotty and incomplete, designed to teach basics. It’s best used as a starting point for learning more. Only by “playing” with the feature and experimenting with it can you learn the little tricks that give the book value to readers. That’s my job, and it’s both fun and frustrating sometimes.

Tight Scheduling

As I write this, aviation photographer Jon Davison is in my kitchen, cutting up a cantaloupe for his breakfast. Here’s here to photograph and write about Flying M Air and my helicopter for a book he’s writing about Robinson helicopters. We’ll be flying today and tomorrow and probably on Tuesday. Today’s the air-to-air portion of our photo work; we leave in 45 minutes to fly in formation with my buddy Dave, who owns a Hughes 500.

Although this isn’t a paying gig, it’s important. Jon’s coverage of Flying M Air will help me promote the company. The book, when released, will show readers the kind of work I do and places I go. I’m eager to promote my 6-day excursions and this will definitely help.

So I’m squeezing Jon into my schedule. A few days with him followed by a few days of Leopard followed by a few days in the Four Corners area, flying photographers around.

October is another busy month, with gigs on three of the four weekends.

What To Look Forward To Here

When the Leopard book is done, I’ll begin writing short how-to pieces for this blog about it. But don’t expect to see them before Leopard is released. I take non-disclosure agreements very seriously and don’t have any desire to get Apple, Inc. pissed off at me.

And if you like reading about flying, keep checking in. I’m sure I’ll have some things to say about my work with Jon — hopefully, with photos — and the photographers I’m working with at month-end.

One thought on “Not Enough Hours in a Day

  1. Hi Maria – I just wanted to wish you well on your visit to Lake Powell! I have lived here all of my life (save for an early mid-life-crisis when I lived in Phoenix for 9 years), and love the Lake.

    Enjoy!

    Jane W.

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