Hi. I’m Michael Donaldson and this is what I’m working on now:
I kept this /now page stuck in January 2020 for months. I was reluctant to update things as that January time capsule quickly transformed into novelty. Have you seen those videos where the woman talks to her future self, visiting the past from only two months ahead? It feels like that when I look at the plans I laid out last January. If my past self only knew what was in store and how those bold plans went right in the bin.
Rather than give an overview of the past six months (which would be daunting), I’ll keep this in the present. I believe that’s what /now is about, anyway. So here’s what is happening now:
• I was hired by a pair of businesses to create original theme music and audio logos for their content marketing. That’s what we call a ‘side gig,’ and I happily accept those in this time of professional challenges. It would be cool to do more of this, and I created a simple landing page explaining what I offer.
• I was a featured speaker for the Giants of Video online summit. I gave an hour-long presentation on sourcing music for video and the various legal considerations that appear when syncing music with visual content.
• I also guested on the Spot Lyte On… podcast. Host Lawrence Peryer and I intended to talk about music business matters but instead quickly veered into a fun and casual conversation about fandom and loving music. I got somewhat nostalgic, which is rare for me.
• There were two new 8D Industries releases over the past couple of months: San Mateo’s Deepstaria and Monta At Odds’ Zen Diagram. Both are excellent (OK, I’m biased, but I wouldn’t put them out if I didn’t believe they were) and available as ‘name your price’ on Bandcamp.
• Newsletters are tough. I’ve shipped 17 ‘episodes’ of Ringo Dreams of Lawn Care and took my first break this past weekend. I wasn’t happy about skipping the weekend, but now I’m glad I did it. It’s a reset — what do I want this newsletter to be, and where do I want it to go? I have ideas. Subscribe here if you’re curious.
• The licensing and sync industry joined the rest of the music world in slowing down for COVID-time. Things are revving back up as we all get (kinda) used to how things will be functioning for at least the rest of the year. I’m focusing on 8DSync through the summer, making up for lost time and aggressively pushing our current roster. I look forward to immersing myself in music publishing once again.
• I spent the last month helping my mom buy a house. She closed yesterday. It’s next door. That’s a good thing — quite wonderful, really. She’s going to love lake life, especially if we keep having sunrises like this one.
• Caroline got another memoir offer and hasn’t even finished the one she’s presently co-writing. That’s amazing — she’s well on her way to a career as a professional memoir co-writer (if she’s not there already). I’m super-proud of her.
• I saw a tornado. And we were visited by coyotes.
• I’m experimenting with increasing my effectiveness (not productivity, thanks). Following Twitter advice from Craig Mod (now deleted, as I guess he deletes tweets after a couple of weeks), I’m no longer checking email or looking at any websites until the morning passes. That includes any news. For the most part, I don’t look at any news sites throughout the day. It’s interesting how the most essential and meaningful news stories still find their way to me while the outrage-of-the-day stories are invisible. And I’m removing myself from Facebook sometime soon — I can’t take that company anymore, and I’m embarrassed I didn’t make this move before. I’m currently figuring out how to go about it — instant cold turkey or gradual retreat. I’m open to any advice.
• I’m all in on Roam Research. Finding a way to digitally replicate Ryan Holiday’s index card system was my ‘white whale’ for the past two years. After trying many different apps and techniques — Notion, DevonThink, Ulysses, many others — and getting almost there but not entirely, I stumbled upon Roam. Immediately I realized Roam is the perfect tool for this digital commonplace book/index card system. Huzzah! Bonus: I’m also using Roam as my task manager and daily journal and starting to implement it as a CRM tool. I will soon be able to eliminate 3 or 4 other apps (including a couple that have subscription plans) and get the same functionality in a single app. (This seems like it should go under ‘Work,’ but this change has more dramatically improved my personal life.)
• As a form of de-stress, before bed, I’m catching up on the fiction — mostly science fiction — that I probably should have read when I was younger. I read the Foundation trilogy (just in time for this, I guess), which I enjoyed, but not blown away like some famous people were. I’m checking out Philip K. Dick — reading Time Out of Joint right now, which is amusing and good. I finished Consider Phlebus and had a lot of fun with it. I’ll continue that series. I also read some non-science fiction from a sci-fi author: Ray Bradbury’s Green Shadows, White Whale. It’s excellent and hilarious.
• In the mornings, I am concurrently reading non-fiction: Tiny Habits, The Longing For Less, and Stillness Is The Key are recent ones. Right now, I’m into So You Want To Talk About Race and plan to follow that with other recommended books about this mess we’re in (and that we’ve been in since the country’s founding).
• I can’t believe I didn’t see Wild Strawberries until last week. Fantastic — I can’t stop thinking about it. I recently rewatched Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and it’s still my favorite film of the last couple of years. And we started The Bureau and just finished the second season. The series has us completely hooked. Other than those, there’s not a whole lot on the TV and film list. I’m reading a lot more these days, and the 8:30 PM sunsets have us enjoying lake life rather than watching TV in the evenings.
• Right now, you can follow and message me on Twitter, LinkedIn, or micro.blog. Or you can reach out through this page. I’m always happy to hear from others floating around in this convoluted world.
(updated: June 23, 2020)
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