2019 Writing Schedule

Normally I spend December prepping for the next year. I get a work schedule in place, I go through my books and writing, and I figure out what I want to accomplish for the following year. Technically, I did do most of that. It’s just that I’ve had a couple of realizations within this past month and I’ve decided to change some things. Well, not change things per-say, but I’ve decided to do some things differently – change some habits and be more open and less stressed. (Which, I guess, is changing things…)

I’m sure you all know at this point that I’ve been participating in the 85K90 Writing Challenge. January is a month of writing though I’ve been using this month to outline and prep. So, if you take a look at my progress tracker on the page, then you’ll see that I’m extremely behind. I’m not behind at all though, I’m just figuring things out. The nice thing about this challenge is that you have three months to write 85k words, but you also have April as a buffer in case you get behind. (April is also Camp NaNo where I’ll be writing 50k words regardless, so I think I’ll reach 85k by the end of April in no problem.)

The other day, the kids I babysit had a lot of homework. They were both sick the previous week so they had a lot of make-up work on top of their regular homework. It took them about an hour to an hour and a half to get their home done each day all week. So, I let them have a little extra iPad time throughout the week because they worked so hard and they were exhausted.

Thus, my brainstorming session.

2019 Writing Schedule | Creative Writing | My Books | Author | Creative Writer | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I made a chart in my Brain Dump notebook for the entire year following the schedule of the 85K90 Writing Challenge. January, February, and March are writing months. May and June are editing months. August and September are prep for publishing months. October and November are publishing months. April, July, and December are finish months, which can be used to finish whatever you didn’t yet or they can be break months. Then there’s also Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo in April, July, and November. Two happen to follow on break months and the other happens on a publishing month, which will most likely continue to be prep for me.

I knew I needed to prioritize my writing and figure out what projects I wanted to get done this year. I needed to look at which stage each project is already on and line them up with the appropriate months.

In 2019, I’ll be working on six to seven books. It seems like a lot, but honestly – I’m including Sunday Morning, which will be published soon. I’m also including two novellas. Yes, I’m going back on Wattpad. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on there and I have a couple ideas for some short works. I definitely need to update my profile and such, but I’m planning on publishing two more novellas on there this year.

In addition, I’ll be working on George Florence & The Perfect Alibi, volume two of Sunday Morning, another project I’m not ready to announce yet, and… whatever I decide to write during NaNoWriMo in November. At least I have some time with that! Who knows though, I might use that month as a “rewrite” month for certain projects.

I’ve prioritized my projects and broken them up into the outlining, writing, and editing stages. I’ve designated each month of the year to work on two or three of these projects. As long as I stay focused and everything goes according to plan, I’ll have a few books completed by the end of the year. I’m looking forward to it.

I’ve updated the My Books page if you’d like to see the projects I’m working on and tentative deadlines for them.

Do you have a writing plan for 2019? Do you have a backlog of books to work on like I do? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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My New Work From Home Schedule [Life]

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Working from home is no easy task. I’ve always been used to it though. When I got into college I always preferred taking online classes. There were many reasons for this, of course, but one reason was that I preferred to do everything at my own pace. I preferred to do the work on my own and tell myself what to do.

In some ways I miss being in college because I found great joy in looking up the homework for the entire semester, making a large to-do list, setting aside time each day for school specifically, and just getting it all done on my own terms. Half of the time I’d have my homework completed a couple weeks in advance.

People have always awed at me saying I had a lot of “discipline.” I can certainly agree with that, especially since I took a leap to quick my job and work from home.

There are ups and downs to working from home though. It’s harder to stay healthy and while you have more time to socialize with friends and family, it’s harder to get out there and meet new people. Not to mention the whole money-making thing.

But if there’s one thing that’s super hard about working from home, it’s balancing between work and real life.

My New Work from Home Schedule | Creative Writing | Blogging | Entrepreneur | Freelance | Business | RachelPoli.com

People find it hard to believe that I follow a “schedule” because I’m home. I’m my own boss so I can do my work whenever I want to, right?

No, that’s not the case. There’s a lot of things I have to do and I set deadlines for myself. I have to get X, Y, and Z done before I can get things A, B, and C done. This is easy for me to do when I’m home alone, no distractions other than the dog and cat, and I have my priorities straight.

Yet, I do get the occasional phone call from a friend or family member. Someone needs to be picked up from school or someone is having drama in their life and just needs to vent. Normally this isn’t a big deal. I’m here if anyone needs to me.

However, because I’m here, people tend to think I’m available 24/7. I don’t have a boss looming over my head making sure I get my work done. I can text while I get my blogging done. I can talk on the phone while I do the dishes. Even though I can multitask with these things, I don’t get my work done to the best of my ability. Sometimes I’ll stop, give the person my undivided attention, and then I blink and a few hours have gone by.

Before I know it, the morning is gone. I need to go babysit for a few hours. When I get home, it’s dinner and the rest of my family is home from work and it’s harder to get things done then. Doable, but harder.

I’m an entrepreneur. I’m finally saying to everyone, “Here are my work hours.”

I always thought working from home would be easy.

I had assumed my “work hours” were the same as everyone else’s. In the morning, they go off to work and I’m home to get my own stuff done. By the time the afternoon rolls around, I’ll go babysit and then come home and chill for the night. Except, the phrase “work from home” is used differently to others than what it means for me.

So, with a new year comes new responsibilities. I want to accomplish a lot in 2019 and I have a lot of big plans. This requires my undivided attention. I want to make a living doing what I love and this is what I need to do.

I posted new hours on my Contact Me page, which is a general guideline of hours I’m on the computer, checking my emails, and whatnot.

My weekly hours.

As of right now, I’m working Monday through Thursday from nine in the morning to six at night. I get up early, get my writing done, get my workout in, shower, and then begin work at nine. I’ll work either on more writing or blogging or some other projects. I stop for lunch around one in the afternoon and then I need to go babysit. So, it’s kind of like an extended break, but when I get home I’ll do some last minute things for about an hour or two and then be done for the night.

I decided to add hours for Sunday because, even though we have a lot of family events on Sundays, I collab with my sister a lot on things. Sundays are the main days we can work together. I have church in the morning and then, when I get home, I’ll be working on blogging and things I need to do for my church.

I chose to give myself Friday and Saturday off. I do sometimes work on these two days, but I want it known that I won’t be checking emails or anything like that. I’ve been pretty good about keeping Friday clear. I get some chores done around the house, read a book, play video games, and just chill generally.

I still technically work on Saturdays. Kris and I still go to Barnes & Noble to get some writing done or even brainstorm for our blogging. Sometimes we’ll come home and get some more work done together or we’ll chill for the afternoon or hang out with some friends.

I have to be honest, getting work done over the weekend is easier than during the week. You’d think that, since everyone else is at work, I’d be able to get my stuff done no problem. For some reason, that’s not the case.

How I get my work done during the week now.

The number one thing I’ve been doing during the mornings has been blocking time. I’ll work for about two hours or so and then take a quick break. I’ll check on the animals, make myself a snack, do the dishes or something.

This is also the only time I’ll check my phone. I still keep it on and next to me in case there’s a true emergency, but if I get a text or a phone call from certain people, I’ll make them wait.

My phone has been the biggest distraction lately because I am able to text while I’m working and because I’m home, people know they can call me all the time. I honestly have never gotten so many phone calls in the my life, it’s crazy.

I know work isn’t the number one most important thing. There are times where I’ll give in and answer a phone call from a friend or browse the Internet a bit. We all need little distractions from time to time. However, it’s been getting a bit out of hand with people telling me, “You’re home all day. Just get it done later.”

If I got things done later, then my book would never be published. My new projects for this blog would never get done.

So, we’ll see how this new schedule works out. I have designated working times now and have put myself in a distraction-free environment with my to do list prioritized. I think 2019 is going to be the best year yet… for my work, anyway.

Do you give yourself set hours to work on your writing? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Prioritizing & Organizing My Life

I have always been super organized. If anyone has anything positive to say about me, it’s that’s I’m organized. However, being organized doesn’t necessarily mean you prioritize what you need to work on. Or what you want to work on. Or what needs to be done first.

If anyone has anything else to say about me, it’ll probably be that I watch a lot of YouTube as well. I don’t find this to be a bad thing. In fact, I watched something the other day that I really took a liking to.

Prioritizing and Organizing My Life | Blogging | Creative Writing | Organizational Skills | Prioritizing | Balance | RachelPoli.com

My sister and I watch a lot of gaming channels and even run one ourselves. There’s someone we used to watch off and on named Satchell Drakes. He stopped posting content on his YouTube channel a while ago and has, since then, posted just here and there. He’s been active on his social media and with his group of gaming friends (more people we watch on YouTube), but he’s finally started posting on his own channel again.

He started a new series called Damn Good Habits. At the time of my writing this post, there are only two videos posted for this new series. He’s got such a smooth voice and he really conveys his message in such a way that gets people listening.

The first video was all about getting started with new ideas and getting into these good habits. The second video is what really caught my attention.

Satch talked about letting your brain dump information out allowing your mind to be clear. Write everything down so that you don’t forget your ideas. Then you can sort those ideas, label them, and decide what needs to get done first.

Technically, I already do all this.

I’m no stranger to the “to-do list.” However, when ever I scratch one item off the list, three more seem to appear.

My to do lists are also very organized. They’re sorted by categories, like Satch suggests. I do so much and have a lot of work that I need to sort everything out. I run two blogs, contribute to two other websites (three of these four websites being about video games, so yeah – I need to sort them out and remember which topic goes to which website). Then of course there’s real life stuff – birthdays, cleaning, the pets, and so much more.

However, while I can sort them all and give each a label, I’ve always had trouble with deadlines.

I used to never give myself deadlines and I would get the items done whenever they got done. But then I would sometimes get things done that didn’t need to get done right away. The things I needed to do by the following day were left until the last minute.

I’ve never viewed myself as a procrastinator, but I guess in a way I am.

I got everything done on my to do list and then some. But the things I needed to get done first were always done last and then I’d be scrambling. Why? Why do I do things this way?

It’s because I do whatever I’m in the mood for. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. People always tell you to just get it done. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike. Well, I don’t want my ending result to see forced either. So, I look at my list and pick out what seems most appealing to me.

I also get overwhelmed by my list, if I’m going to be straightforward. I have so much do between work and real life that my to do list is a few pages long. This includes what I need to get done – it doesn’t include other things I want to get done or want to start. I have too many ideas and projects in my head that I want to start and finish. But once I start something, I don’t finish it… something else comes along and that seems more appealing.

That’s where the Damn Good Habits come in.

After I watched the second video of the series, Take A Brain Dump, something clicked in my head. Yes, I already do what Satch says to do. I’m organized, but I don’t prioritize.

This is where I’m lacking and this is why some of my work suffers. Go figure.

Satch suggests taking a notebook and using it as a “brain dump.” No matter where you are, what you’re doing, the time of day, whatever, stop and write down anything that comes to your mind. This can be a new project idea, an errand you have to run, anything.

I have a small notebook that I used to carry around with me so I grabbed that again and have been taking it with me where ever I go. I’ve been writing down things I need to do, new ideas, and any last minute thoughts for pretty much anything and everything.

Again, this is all something I usually do, but I tend to make it look neat and organized. This is messy and, I’ll admit, bothers me because it’s a mess. Yet, my mind feels so much better.

Prioritizing my work.

One thing I’ve learned about my brain dump notebook is that everything I’ve written down are things I already knew I needed to do. However, I didn’t write everything down on my to do list. Everything written in this notebook are things that are on my mind right now and that need to get done now. My brain already knew this but because I make super long lists and look at everything as a whole, I often confused myself.

I use Asana to keep track of my projects and work and real life happenings. After going through my brain dump notebook, I went through my entire Asana (which has 16 projects on there, by the way… that’s 16 different to do lists for 16 different categories!) and I broke up each list into sections. I gave every task an appropriate deadline.

I looked at anything that needed to get done before something else got done. For example, I can’t edit my next Patron story unless I have it written first. I prioritized what needs to get done and which projects should have more focus than the others.

I’ve been at this for a week and I already feel so much better.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know if this is something I’ll stick with. But it’s been working great for me so far. It’s really helped me out and made me evaluate what I already do. It’s made me change the way I view my work. It’s made me keep up the same habits but slightly change them to be more efficient and better for my mind.

I hear it takes about two weeks to get into a habit. Hopefully this is a damn good habit I’ll stick with.

Are you organized? Do you prioritize your work or just take it day by day? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Short Story Sunday 248: Overflow [Flash Fiction]

Short Story: "Overflow" | Flash Fiction | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Water dripped from the ceiling in the basement. Harry looked up from his book, comfortable in his new armchair, noticing the water. A bright flash of lighting shone through the small window and was followed by the loudest boom of thunder that seemed to shake the whole house. He closed his book and stared at the small dark spot on the ceiling.

He could understand if he were upstairs and the rainwater was seeping through the ceiling. However, the living room was above the basement. Unless the ceiling upstairs collapsed from the storm, there shouldn’t be any leak into the basement.

“I’ll be right back.” Harry said as he put his book to the side and pushed himself up from his chair.

No one answered him. In fact, he was the only one home. Both his dog and cat, however, were hiding underneath the couch in the basement from the storm. Harry enjoyed being upstairs during storms like this one so he could watch the rain at the window. He felt bad for the dog and cat though and thought to stay down with them. He spoke once in a while to comfort them and let them know he was there. The dog always hid, but the cat never did. That’s how he knew it was a bad storm.

Harry trekked up the stairs to check out the mysterious leak into the basement. His first thought was to head into the living room. He was pretty sure that room was above the basement. When he entered the living room, however, there was nothing out of the ordinary.

At least, not that he could tell.

Harry looked up at the ceiling, but that was dry. He took his shoe off and rubbed his sock over various places on the carpet, but no water soaked his foot. Of course, it wasn’t until he turned around that he noticed the problem.

The bathtub water was on, the water spilling over the sides of the tub. The bathroom was flooded and a steady stream was making its way to under the couch in the living room. Harry wasn’t quite sure how that worked out. He also wasn’t sure how he missed something so obvious.

He took off his socks – wearing wet socks was a terrible feeling – and dashed into the bathroom. He shut off the water and unplugged the drain immediately. Bubbles formed near the drain at the amount of water trying to get sucked down. It gurgled, making awful sounds. Harry groaned at the mess he’d made.

He rubbed the back of his neck embarrassed, even though there was no one else around him. He remembered now – he was going to take a bath when he saw the first crack of lighting followed by a subtle boom of thunder. He didn’t want to be sitting in a pool of water with a storm on the way.

So, he had taken his book and decided to sit downstairs. Apparently, he had never turned the water off.

Harry looked at his watch. The water had been running for a good 45 minutes. He felt like such an old man. How was this something he forget?

He reached into the bathroom closet and tossed a couple towels on the ground. He had a lot of cleaning up to do before his wife and kids got home.

Words: 560

Check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Warriors: The Last Hope (Omen Of The Stars 6) By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

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Book Review | Warriors: The Last Hope (Omen of the Stars 6) by Erin Hunter | Middle Grade | Fantasy | Fiction | Book Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I got the book as a gift for my birthday.

Summary:

The end of the stars draws near. Three must become four to battle the darkness that lasts forever…

After countless moons of treachery, Tigerstar’s Dark Forest apprentices are ready to lay siege upon the warrior Clans. As the Clan cats seek out their allies and enemies, Jayfeather, Lionblaze & Dovewing search desperately for the fourth cat who is prophesied to lead the Clans to victory – and who may be their only hope for survival.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comAs soon as I picked up this book, I knew exactly who the cat on the front cover was. And I cried. I had spoiled something for myself a while ago and, with the content of the Omen of the Stars books, I knew something was coming. The title alone says it all.

Plot | RachelPoli.comThis is the final book in the Omen of the Stars series. This particular series of Warriors has been my favorite so far because it had so many Harry Potter vibes. I’ve been with these characters since I was 11-years-old and this plot wrapped everything up so nicely and punched me right in the gut.

This would have been the perfect ending to the series as a whole. Of course, there are three series (at the time of writing this review) after this one. So, this book serves as an ending and new beginning.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book, as I said earlier, punched me right in the gut. I don’t even know how to write this review because of spoilers… though, based on my blog audience, I’m not sure how many of you will actually go read these books. Still, I took out the character section due to spoilers because I don’t know what to say.

I cried throughout the majority of this book – that’s how good the writing is. I’m still crying even while writing this review.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was a wonderful ending to a new beginning. I’m glad the series is still going, but I would have been satisfied if this was the final book in the Warriors series. I’m looking forward to reading a brand new generation of Warriors.

Warriors: The Last Hope (Omen of the Stars 6) by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“I would have taken your place if you had let me.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: The Last Hope (Omen of the Stars 6)

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Time To Write: Sky [Creative Writing Prompt]

Last week’s writing prompt was a random words. This week’s writing prompt is:

Time to Write: Sky | Creative Writing Prompt | General Writing Prompt | Creative Writing | Writing Prompt | Flash Fiction | Short Story | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Write a story using the three words listed above.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

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Why I Chose To Join Patreon

Patreon is a membership platform where you can get closer to some of your favorite creators and show them how much you love their work. These creators can be anyone from an artist, musician, gamer, YouTuber, writer, graphic designer, and so much more. Art is everywhere and we are all artists in some way.

There’s a lot of misconception about Patreon. Unless you’re some sort of artist, freelancer, or entrepreneur, most people tend to think Patreon is just a “donation” platform. I’ve been part of Patreon for almost a year now and I still get people commenting and asking me why I ask for donations from people.

Now, there are a ton of places out there where people can ask for money. Patreon is one along with Ko-Fi, Kickstarter, or some people just leave buttons to they PayPal. For some reason, people only tend to question Patreon. Yet, the other platforms are completely normal to them. Of course, this is just what I hear and maybe I don’t pay enough attention to the others, but I’m going by what I’ve experienced and what I’ve witnessed.

It’s because of all this, I decided to share why I chose to join Patreon.

This is probably one of my longest posts, but it would really mean a lot to me if you read until the end.

Why I Chose To Join Patreon | Creative Writing | Patreon Creator | Become a Patron | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

When I started this journey – you know, the whole writing and blogging thing – I never imagined I would be here, in this spot, in this very moment. I never imagined my blog would have over 6,000 followers. I never imagined I’d be in the process of self-publishing a novel.

I never imagined I’d be doing a whole lot of other things as well. This includes book publicity, co-hosting a Twitter game, contributing to other websites plus an online magazine, and so much more. So, when one of those doors opened, I jumped on it. I thought it would open way more doors – which it did, but not in the way I had expected them to.

I worked. A lot.

I was working in a preschool classroom making $14,000 a year. Yeah, a year. A full-time job that was making me just a tad over $1,000 a month. On my third year working there, I realized the substitute teachers got paid more than me. Even though I was part of a classroom working with a great team and working with the same kids for 180 days of the school year – plus the summer program – I realized I was at the very bottom. I got three sick days a year. No personal or vacation time. No benefits or insurance. One, because I was still under my parents and two, because my co-worker, who was the same level as me, carried the insurance for her family and ended up getting $1 paychecks and owing money because she didn’t make enough for the insurance and taxes and everything else to get taken out.

I soon realized I was nothing in the eyes of the town I worked for.

I wrote and blogged in the early morning hours. Then went to work until 2:30 in the afternoon. Then I babysat for a few hours after that. When I got home around five or six, I ate dinner, and wrote and blogged some more before going to bed just to wake up and work another 12-hour shift.

So, I quit my preschool job in June 2017.

It was a rough decision for me to quit. I loved the teachers I worked with and I knew I would really miss the kids. Honestly, if I didn’t need money to survive in this world, I would have stayed. But I just couldn’t. I wanted to be a writer and I had my blog well established at this time. I talked to my parents and thankfully, they were supportive and encouraging enough to allow me to quit my job and pursue my writing career.

I still babysat in the afternoons though. I was still the director of my church’s Sunday school program, which paid me as well. So, I was losing $14,000 a year, but I was still making money for me to get by.

The summer of 2017 I had an internship with a book publicist with the option of it becoming a part-time job in the fall. I thought this was my foot in the door. I could put the preschool jobs behind me and focus on writing, blogging, and everything in between. I could finally work in the writing world.

Once the internship was over, however, I got one paying job and then… nothing. It took a few months for my employer to reach out again saying there were other jobs lined up. Then nothing still. It’s now been a year since I’ve heard anything.

That’s not all that was short lived.

That was disappointing to say the least, but I had still learned a lot and was able to move forward, hopefully to do some things on my own. I still had babysitting and Sunday school, after all.

Well, no. Before the 2017-2018 school year began, my church asked me to help with the email list and the Facebook page. I agreed. In October, I asked where my paycheck was for September and the answer? “Oh, I forgot to tell you… you’re out.”

My church, at the time, wasn’t doing well financially, and apparently, I was the one they decided to cut completely. So, now I had no book publicity jobs and even though I was still doing the work for my church, it was all volunteer-based.

I was still babysitting three days a week. Except the father became a firefighter and his work hours were weird. He worked mostly nights so he was home during the day, which meant they didn’t need me as often. At most, I was making $25-$50 a week. In the spring of 2018, they told me they wouldn’t need my anymore. Their oldest was going to middle school the next year and between the father’s work schedule, they knew she’d be able to be home alone for an hour or two after school.

“When one door closes, another opens.”

Not in my case. One door opened and everything else locked me out – including the door that opened.

In less than one year, I quit my full-time job, lost a potential part-time gig, lost my compensation for my church despite still doing the work, and lost my babysitting job. I was left wondering, “now what?”

What do you do when you take a big risk and it doesn’t work out?

I’ve been job-hunting since June 2017. Just because I took a risk, doesn’t mean it didn’t scare me. I’ve applied to quite a few places since then. Unfortunately, nothing has ever worked out. Apparently, you need experience to get experience and even though I do a lot for this blog, it’s a “personal” blog and therefore doesn’t count as experience because it’s not for a “third party.”

What if?

I’m easily stressed. I panic a lot. I can’t predict the future. I can’t know cause and effect of my actions and my decisions. I often wonder so many “what ifs” about my choices.

What if I had waited a year or two to quit my job? Or not quit it at all?

What if I had started looking for a new babysitting job earlier to fill in the lost time?

What if I didn’t agree to do so much for my church? They didn’t pay me any more, but it’d be a weight off my shoulder.

I often wonder if I did something wrong or maybe I didn’t do something well enough. Why did my church decide to cut me off completely instead of docking a little bit of pay from everyone? Why did I never hear back from that book publicist? My work was often praised, but was that just a front? Maybe it was more work for her to have a middle-man and I just complicated things.

I guess I’ll never know the answers to these questions, but the fact remains – I made decisions and this is the result.

Now what do I do?

I was at a loss of what to do. I had heard of Patreon from a lot of the YouTubers I watch. I didn’t think it was something I’d be able to do though, even though there are plenty of writers and authors on there. For a while, I thought I had nothing to offer.

In addition to everything I do offline, I do a lot online as well. I run two blogs, I’m working on various novels, I co-host #TheMerryWriter on Twitter, I’m on the Editorial Board for the 85K90 writing challenge, and I contribute game reviews to two websites as well as help out with social media and contribute to the magazine for one of those websites. I did an unpaid freelance gig because I wanted to help a friend and I wanted to get more experience, plus I was hoping to develop a working relationship. Once the gig was over, I never heard back from her.

I don’t get paid for any of these things. I do them because I enjoy them. I like learning new things and I like to help out. I’ve met a lot of people and have made a lot of friends these past couple of years. However, if money didn’t make the world go round, I would not be writing this post.

In doing all this though, I realized one thing.

I do have something to offer.

I wouldn’t have so many followers on my blog if you guys didn’t enjoy my content, right? If you hated my articles, if you didn’t care for my writing voice, or if you thought my creative writing sucked, you wouldn’t be reading this right now, right? (Of course, this is a super long post, so if you’re still with me – thank you!)

Between the work in real life and online, I’ve learned a lot. I have a good amount of skills. It’s taken me a while to realize it because with the lack of communication and the lack of compensation, I always wondered if I wasn’t good enough or if I was doing something wrong. I never knew and I’ve finally decided to step up.

I work hard. I put my heart and soul into my work. I’m often the first one to jump up and volunteer to do something if it helps someone else out.

But my writing has suffered for it. My mind has suffered from it. Everything all at once is stressful and then to end the night by job hunting when I already have like, five or six jobs, takes a toll. I can’t keep giving away my work for free.

So I joined Patreon in February 2018.

It was a long shot, but I bit the bullet and decided to join Patreon. I work night and day and I create a lot. As a creator, I feel I should get compensated for my work. No, I’m not looking for donations. I’m looking to be compensated for my time, for my hard work. I’m looking to build a community and get to know people who enjoy my work. I want to keep doing this for a living and, without something like Patreon, I fear that will never happen.

I’m still trying to figure out to make my Patreon page the best it can be for my patrons. I’m trying to be better at promoting it. I’ve always felt funny self-promoting… I don’t know why. Maybe I feel like my work isn’t good enough, but then, if that’s the case, why am I doing any of this at all?

Plus, if I’m going to be self-publishing books, I need to work on my self-promotion and marketing skills anyway, right?

So far, Patreon has been a wonderful experience. I’ve met a few new writers through there and I’ve loved being able to share my journey with my patrons as well as support other creators through Patreon.

Getting an email saying someone became a patron of yours is the best feeling in the world. That feeling isn’t because of the monetary value, but it is because of the money itself. Let me explain what I mean:

Money is sacred. We all have bills to pay. We all have groceries to buy. Maybe your saving up for a new video game or that shiny new car. Maybe you’re trying to whittle down your school loans. So, when you get an email saying, “Hey! This person gave you $1 – they really must like your stuff!” It means the world. It means that even though you have a mortgage to pay, you decided to spare a dollar on me, a stranger, simply because my work makes you happy. Because you believe in my work. Because you want to support and encourage me to continue to work.

I’ve worked and reworked my Patreon page a couple times to make it the best it can be for you guys, my patrons. Of course, I’ve been promoting my Patreon more than I used to. However, I’m not asking each and every one of my 6,000 followers to join. If you can’t afford it, don’t do it. If you don’t want to, don’t do it. If you enjoy my stuff anyway, reading and commenting on this blog is great. Reading my books when they come out is great.

I’ll still get crap for it, but I don’t care anymore.

“So, you quit your job and now you’re asking for donations?”

That’s the biggest comment I get whenever I mention my Patreon. But now you know. I quit my job thinking I was all set and I wasn’t.

Maybe I was naive to think that. Maybe, out of all the work I do on and offline, I should give up a couple of them. Maybe I should stop working “for experience” when I already have a lot. Maybe I should stop thinking I’ll “grow” with these people, these websites, these companies.

I know all this now, though I didn’t realize it then. I know I’ll eventually have to give up a couple of these jobs so I can work on my own creative projects. I know, once I find a paying job, the free ones will have to be given up, despite how much I enjoy doing them, aside from the money part of it.

I don’t regret anything.

Life isn’t perfect and the choices I’ve made in the past were the “right” ones at the time. Life loves to throw a few curve balls here and there and, despite my panicking, I know I’ll figure it out at some point.

I did find a new babysitting job for this year. They’re paying me more and they needed me for more hours than the family did last year. Plus, their friends need an occasional babysitter so I sometimes have double-duty.

I’m still running the Sunday school program at my church. I’m still doing the Facebook page, running the newsletter, and now managing the website. We’re in the process of getting a new Reverend and when all is official, the first thing I’m going to do is talk to him about getting paid again. The church is doing well financially again and I definitely deserve to get compensated for all the work I put into it.

In the end, though, I still have bills to pay. I still need to save up to hire an editor for my books. That’s why I chose to join Patreon. I know a lot of people out there enjoy my content and maybe they’d want to see more of it through Patreon.

Thanks for reading.

Seriously, if you read this far, I really appreciate it. I’ve been trying to write this post for two weeks. It’s been on my mind for a while and I think you guys deserve to know why I joined Patreon and why I’ve been pushing it more. I’m not looking for “donations” because I quit my job. I’m just trying to make a living like everyone else.

With that said, I have to do one final plug – I’m running a special promotion for my debut book. If you become a patron at the $1 tier than you’ll get an exclusive promotion box which will include a paperback copy of the book, a bookmark, a handwritten thank you note, and a special surprise. This offer ends in four days on January 20, 2019. So, if that’s something that interests you, then you can head over to my Patreon page to learn more.

As always, thank you for reading and for all your support – on and off the blog! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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WIP Wednesday [January 2019]

Well, we’re already in the middle of January and it’s time for me to give an update of what I’ve been working on. So far, the month of January has been getting away from me. I keep thinking we celebrated the New Year just the other day and it’s already been a tad over two weeks.

I have to be honest, I haven’t been working on too much. There are a lot of projects to work on, but the biggest thing I need to do is prioritize. Even though I listed everything I want to 2019, I’m trying to figure out what can be done now. What should get done first.

One thing that I know for sure that I need to get done as soon as possible is my debut book, Sunday Morning.

WIP Wednesday | January 2019 | Creative Writing | Writing | Patreon | Patreon Creator | Book Update | Work In Progress | RachelPoli.com

Sunday Morning

It’s crunch time for me on this one. I’ve been giving the majority of my focus and attention on this collection of short stories. The writing and editing is done. I just have to do another proofread of the book. Other than that, it’s all technical stuff from here on out.

It’s taking me extra long because there’s a lot of research involved as I figure out how to self-publish. Hopefully it all goes well and I don’t mess anything up.

I’ve also been working hard on setting things up for my patrons. If you join my Patreon at the lowest tier by January 20, 2019, you’ll get a special promo-box when the book is released. So, yeah… lots of things to do!

Submissions

I’m still working on submitting to at least two places this month. I submitted one thing and now I need to find someplace else. I have a few ideas, but I’m not sure if I’m going to go with all of them or just one. Normally I wouldn’t question it, but the entry fees add up.

That’s it for now.

That’s been my January so far and most likely will be the rest of my January. I feel like I already need to start planning my February.

What have you been working on this month? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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9 Ways To Keep Yourself Moving Throughout The Day [Healthy Writer]

Sometimes it’s hard to get started on writing. You sit and stare at the blank screen or you’ll get up and wash the dishes or take that shower you meant to take three days ago. Your best ideas come in the shower anyway, right?

On the other hand, you can begin writing and get into the groove with it. You can sitting at your computer for hours typing out words, brainstorming ideas, or setting up marketing plans. Whether you’re writing creatively, for a blog, researching, or what have you – it can be hard to snap back into the world around you.

As a writer, you need to keep moving. You need to peel your eyes away from the glowing screen from time to time. Stretch your legs. Arch your back. Let your butt relax.

This is difficult to remember, especially if you work from home and have very little distractions during the day. However, there are more distractions than you think and some of them you should pay attention to.

Healthy Writer: 9 Ways To Keep Moving Throughout The Day | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Give your pet(s) some attention.

If the dog is barking or the cat begins climbing up your leg, maybe it’s time to give them some attention. Save your work and leave your seat. Throw a ball around with the dog. Play with her. Take her for a walk. Unless it’s winter, then don’t bother to go outside. Play until the dog gets tired and doesn’t feel like playing anymore. Or just play for 15-20 minutes. It’ll give your pets some love and you’ll be able to get up and moving. Chances are, when you get back to work, the cat will be curled up on your desk chair.

Take a walk.

This one is kind of obvious. With or without the dog, go for a walk around your neighborhood. The air will feel refreshing and the sun will make you happy. Plus, there might be a neighbor or two out that you can chit-chat with. Either take a walk with them or just say hi and make small talk. I know we all shy away from socializing of any kind unless it’s on the Internet but trust me – real people can make you feel good.

Have a workout routine.

This doesn’t need to be anything fancy. I personally watch a couple of YouTube videos. The trainer keeps me company and, when I learn the routine myself, I put on some good music or a different YouTube video to watch and keep me company. This will wake up your body and get you moving and stretching before you decide to sit back down at the computer and work for a few more hours. If you have the money and want an excuse to get out of the house, join a gym and go there for a hour a couple times a week.

Get some chores done.

There’s a lot jokes about writers and how they forget to shower and do the dishes. I mean, I kind of made a shower joke at the beginning of this post. The sad thing is, it’s true. I’ve actually forgotten to take a shower because I keep telling myself, “just one more thing on the to-do list.” Then I need to tell my sister, “I call dibs on the shower in the morning because I haven’t taken one since Monday… and it’s Thursday.” Good thing I work from home, huh? But showering is one thing. You can vacuum, do the dishes, clean the fish tank, anything. As long as you’re up, moving, and away from the computer screen, it works. Not to mention, you’ll get a clean house out of it too.

Dance.

Seriously, if you work from home and everyone else is at their own respective jobs out of the house – blast that music and bust a move. This may seem like kind of a random option, but this job is overwhelming. It’s stressful. Dancing and listening to loud music will relieve some of that. It’ll make you feel good, crack a smile, and have fun. It’s a great break from the computer and it’ll get your body moving. It’s doesn’t matter if you can dance or not – just pick up the dog or cat (provided they don’t run from you) and start dancing.

Block your time.

There’s always so much to do and it never seems like there’s enough hours in the day. Blocking your time throughout the day – meaning a schedule or routine – is a great way to make sure you get your work done but also have some time to yourself. Tell yourself you’ll only work from nine in the morning until noon. Then you’ll take a lunch and do other things for a while. Maybe you can get back to work again after dinner and write for another hour or two to end the night. Not only will you not be stuck in front of the computer all day, but you’ll train your brain to get into a creative mode at certain times.

Make to-do lists.

Don’t give yourself too much to do during one day, but making a to-do list should help you keep track of what you need to get done, what you want to get done, and also spread out your day a bit. Add three writing tasks on the list as well as a couple of chores that should get done. Alternate between writing and the other tasks to get yourself up and moving. Unless something is time sensitive or you’re on a roll, then get it all done in a clump. Still, make sure you find the time to move.

Take breaks.

Try not to sit for longer than an hour or two. Sure, there are a lot of blog posts to write and you need to write the ending to your novel, but there will be time for that. Take frequent breaks in between the work. Not only will your body thank you, but your mind will as well.

Take a day off.

If I can, I always try to take Fridays off. I don’t typically go on my computer in the morning. This is the day I catch up on reading, video games, and clean the whole house. I try not to let my mind think too much. It’s always a long week filled with work, writing, family, and friends that I try to take Fridays mornings (while everyone else is at work) to myself. No emails, no social media (for the most part). I also use this day to run any errands I may have too. I’ll admit, sometimes I find myself doing things on Fridays, but it’s not as much as I would during the other days. Taking a whole day off is great and it’s needed.

About The Healthy Writer Series

At the beginning of the month, I mentioned a couple new features coming to the blog. Healthy Writer is one them. I’ve been working from home for almost two years now and it’s still hard to find that balance to between work and life, between sitting and standing, between staring at the computer screen and getting up and moving. I wanted to talk a little more about this since it’s something I need to work on and I’m sure there are other writers out there who could work on it as well.

This series will be posted once a month with various advice and experiences about keeping yourself healthy physically and mentally while we all work creatively. I hope you guys enjoy it.

Whether you work from home or not, what do you do to keep yourself moving? What do you do to give your body a break from the computer or writing? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Inspiration Station: Fear As Fuel [Guest Post]

It’s my pleasure to welcome Annette Rochelle Aben to my blog once again. This Inspiration Station is brought to you by her. Thanks, Annette!

Inspiration Station: Fear As Fuel | Guest Post | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

In the Kane Brown/Lauren Alaina song: What If, the duo goes back and forth siting the pros and cons of starting a relationship. Of course, it might work but what if it doesn’t. In the end, it sounds as though they are willing to throw caution to the wind and give it a go, despite their fears. Why? Because the pay-off is more attractive than giving into the fear.
They are using the fear as the fuel to create the argument FOR making their dreams come true.
As writers, we can talk ourselves in or out of everything from hitting the PUBLISH button to even beginning a project. The ten good reasons why we should not move forward, can become the justification to languish in a comfort zone of safety from disappointment. The more frequently we talk ourselves into playing it safe, the further away we drift from the possibility of making our dreams coming true.
I don’t mind having a life in which I never experience happiness from my creative energy is just fine with me.” Said NO ONE EVER!
Fear is merely a word. A word we define for ourselves. We decide if fear is our guide or our prison guard. It is up to us to use the fear of failure to help us explore the possibility of success. The power is ours to wield! Own your “what if’s” and watch the amazing results.

About Annette

Annette Rochelle Aben, Author | Guest Post | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.comLearning to read, opened up world of acceptance and creativity, Annette found irresistible. Learning to write, made that world come alive inside Annette. Publishing books, allowed Annette to share herself with the world.

To date, Annette has self-published 12 books in the categories of poetry, self-help, spirituality and inspiration. A Haiku Perspective 2018 became a #1 Amazon Kindle Best Seller within 3 days of release. Her television commercial copy writing, garnered her an Emmy nomination and a children’s coloring book she designed, won a national marketing award for her, then, employer, United Artist’s Entertainment.

Currently, Annette is the Copy Editor for the digital magazine, The Magic Happens.

Blog | The Magic Happens | Amazon

Be sure to let Annette know what you thought of her post in the comments! Check out her links and show her some love. If you liked the post, please share it around.

If you’d like to write a guest post for my blog, then read the Guest Post Guidelines.

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