Goals [February 2019]

Well, January is already gone. Here are my goals for February 2019.

Goals February 2019 | Creative Writing | Writing Goals | Reading Goals | Blogging Goals | RachelPoli.com

Reading

I’m ahead in reviews due to reading extra before 2018 came to a close, but I’m not necessarily ahead with my reading. I’m on par for that at least. With that said, I’ll be reviewing books I read in January for this month and the books I read this month will be reviewed in March.

Reviews this month:

  • Warriors: The Apprentice’s Quest (A Vision of Shadows 1) by Erin Hunter
  • Death By Coffee by Alex Erickson
  • Warriors: Thunder and Shadow (A Vision of Shadows 2) by Erin Hunter
  • 10 Steps to Hero by Sacha Black

Books I’m reading this month:

  • Warriors: Shattered Sky (A Vision of Shadows 3) by Erin Hunter
  • Death By Tea by Alex Erickson
  • Warriors: Darkest Night (A Vision of Shadows 4) by Erin Hunter
  • Mann Cakes by Mysti Parker
  • Warriors: River of Fire (A Vision of Shadows 5) by Erin Hunter

Remember, my Book Review Policy is only open to requests for another two months before I close it for the summer.

Writing

February is going to be that kind of month. As usual, I’ll be working on multiple projects.

Sunday Morning (Vol. 1)

I’m planning on publishing this by the end of the month… or, the beginning of March depending on how my marketing timeline works out. I also have to leave some room for error because… well, I’ve never done this before.

Write Project A

I brainstormed some ideas and thoughts for this one in January. Now I want to try to get the first draft done by the end of the writing period of the 85K90 Writing Challenge.

George Florence & The Perfect Alibi (Book 1)

I’ll also be rewriting this as well. I need to get my edits down into another draft so I can do it all over again… yay!

Submissions

My goal was to submit my writing to at least two places each month. I submitted only one thing in January and didn’t hear back (I was supposed to hear back on February 1st if I won), but that’s okay. February is a new month and I’m aiming on at least two submissions… or maybe three to make up for last month!

Blogging

Why I chose the shortest month of the year to get ahead with all my blogging, I’ll never know. But, I ran out of time in January to get certain things done, and I made a timeline for myself in February for it. I’ll be getting the posts done for the month in advance as well as some series posts that will occur throughout the year. Wish me luck!

Overall

February is going to be busy but, unless the unexpected happens, February is wide open so I can try to get as much done as I can. We’ll see how it goes.

What are your goals and plans for February? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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January 2019 [Wrap Up]

Wrap Up January 2019 | Creative Writing | Reading | Blogging | Goals | RachelPoli.com

Reading

Reading was, I’ll admit, slow-going this month. I think it was because I was ahead for reviews so I felt like I was ahead with my reading. I did finish reading what I had planned to read this month though. I’m hoping to get more reading done in February though. I’d like to get back into that habit.

Writing

I had planned a lot of writing for the month of January, but plans changed. I ended up doing a lot of planning and outlining instead. I can’t complain about that though. I still made progress. I also officially started my Fiverr account. This is something I’ve flip-flopped on for a really long time and decided to do it in addition to the services from my blog. Mostly though, I’m still plugging away at my books.

Blogging

January was a good month for blogging. I got so many graphics done ahead of time, which was be super time consuming. I have a list of series that I can write for the whole year, which I plan on doing soon. Overall though, I got my January and most of my February blog posts done.

Overall

January was kind of a weird month. I didn’t get done what I had originally planned on getting done, but I still accomplished some things. January was a huge planning month for me and I got myself organized and prioritized a lot of projects. So I feel good.

Posts To Remember

1. Why I’m Opening Up [Mental Health Monday]
2. Writing Goals for 2019
3. Why I Chose To Join Patreon

How did January treat you? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Organizing My Notebooks

Here I am, still organizing! I went through my books the other day and now I’m organizing my notebooks. I’ve felt so good going through all these things and more. Maybe I’ll talk about the more part later on, but I think I’ve overloaded you guys with so many organizational posts lately!

Organizing My Notebooks | Creative Writing | Organize | Lifestyle | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I have more notebooks than I can count. I’ve got a drawer under my bed filled with notebooks that have been used and filled. I have two other bins under my bed filled with notebooks and journals that have yet to be used. I also have a three-shelf bin in my office. The top holds my accordion folders with my manuscripts and various drafts in them as well as notebooks that are being used for current drafts and projects I’m on right now.

I had gone through those last summer (I think) and that’s why they each have their own little home. I also have a filing cabinet in my office that has two drawers. The bottom one is filled with Kris’s things and the top drawer is… overflowing with my stuff.

I give each of my writing projects a file folder that holds the current draft as we as an research or loose-leaf notes. I didn’t count how many folders I had in there, but the drawer was filled enough that when I opened the drawer, it would sag because it was so heavy with folders and paper.

I have a list of stories I plan on writing and when I was younger, this list used to be pages and pages long. So, instead of waiting until I officially began a project, I made a folder. For every. Single. One.

Half of these weren’t even “ideas,” mind you. If I came up with a title idea that sounded cool, I turned it into a folder because… I’d come up with a plot to go along with that title at some point, right?

So, I put the live action 101 Dalmations movie on Netflix over the weekend and I tackled that drawer. It took me almost two hours to go through it all. (That time could also be because I got distracted by the movie at times.) I saved the folders of stories I knew I was going to write soon or in the future. I put the other folders to the side and went through them separately. I wanted to double check I would never write those stories and I also had to go through any research or notes that might have been in the folders. Most of the folders were, however, empty.

My drawer is now just a little less than halfway full. I can open and close the drawer smoothly because it no longer weighs a ton. Not to mention I can fit the folders in standing up now rather than stacking them on top of each other to make them all fit… and then taking them all out one by one to look for that certain folder.

Looking at it, it doesn’t seem like I did much but it really made a difference. I feel so good that I’m slowly going through all my things and de-cluttering everything.

Have you gone through your notebooks and writing lately? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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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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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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Goals [January 2019]

New year, new month, new goals. Even though we’re already a week into the month, here are my goals for January.

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Reading

I’ll be posting four book reviews this month, each on a Saturday, as always. I read more towards the end of 2018 so these reviews are mostly from books I read before the new year. I still plan on reading a book a week though so that I stay ahead of my reviews and I can make headway on my 2019 Goodreads Reading Challenge, which is to read 52 books this year. Three out of the four reviews this month are books I read in December. I’m hoping I won’t get into as bad of a reading slump this year like I did last year!

Books I’ll be reviewing this month are:

  • Wagging Through The Snow by Laurien Berenson
  • Warriors Omen of the Stars: The Forgotten Warrior by Erin Hunter
  • Warriors Omen of the Stars: The Last Hope by Erin Hunter
  • Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows by J.M. Bergen

Books I’ll be reading this month are:

  • Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows by J.M. Bergen
  • Warriors Vision of Shadows: The Apprentice’s Quest by Erin Hunter
  • Death by Vanilla Latte by Alex Erickson
  • Warriors Vision of Shadows: Thunder and Shadow by Erin Hunter

Writing

Where do I begin with this? January is going to be a crazy busy month for my writing. I’m working on so many different projects and am participating in the 85K90 Writing Challenge.

Sunday Morning (Vol. 1)

This is in the final stages! I’ll be announcing the official release date soon as well as cover reveal for the book. While I work on final editing stuff and publishing/marketing things, I’m running a special promotion on my Patreon for the book. You can find out more by checking out my Patreon page. The deadline for that is January 20, 2019, so hurry if you want the promo-box!

George Florence & The Perfect Alibi (Book 1)

I’m going to go through another round of edits since I’m giving this to my local writers group. I’m going to go over their notes from what they’ve seen so far and figure out the rest of the novel from there. I’m also going to get a good timeline going for the book, make a checklist from editing, marketing, publishing, and so on for it along with deadlines.

Short Stories & Submissions

I’ll be working on some of my short stories and writing new ones to submit to magazines and contests. My goal is to submit at least two this month.

Other

There’s another writing project I’ll be working on but I’m not ready to share what that is quite yet. I’ll be outlining and prepping it for writing this month.

Blogging

Aside from writing January’s posts, a huge project I’ll be working on this month is getting certain posts done for the whole year along with graphics. I normally try to get ahead in my blog posts, but I want to spend time creating graphics in bulk since that can take up quite a bit of time. There are also some posts – Short Story Sunday, Time To Write, etc. – that can all be written in advance. I want to create all those graphics and then create drafts for all those blog posts. This goes for Mental Health Monday and Healthy Writer as well. I have ideas for all those posts and plan to whip them up, get the graphics, and schedule them for the year.

Overall

January will be busy, that much is plain to see. I’m starting a new work schedule for myself though and I’m looking forward to getting a head start with these things. There are other projects I want to work on, but need to get the basics down on things I’ve already started. All of this will be a good start.

What are your goals and plans for January? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Writing Goals For 2019

A new year comes with new writing goals! Except these goals are more or less the same as last year’s… meaning, these goals are whatever I didn’t finish last year. I got a lot done in 2018, but… you know what? Let’s just get into it. Here are my writing goals for 2019.

Writing Goals for 2019 | Creative Writing | Blogging | Author Goals | RachelPoli.com

85K Writing Challenge

I’ve talked about this not too long ago. I’ll be participating in the year-long 85K writing challenge. I plan to get a few projects written, edited, and ready for publication. Between this challenge and three sessions of NaNoWriMo, I think I can do it. It’ll certainly keep me busy, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and I’m beyond ready for it.

So, which projects will I be working on throughout the year? That’s the million-dollar question.

George Florence & The Perfect Alibi

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you’re certainly familiar with George and Lilah. This dynamic duo have been in my head since 2011 and it’s finally time I kick them out of the nest and they see the world. I still have a lot of edits to go through and I’ve started sending it to my local writer’s group again.

My original plan was to try to self-publish it this year but I’m think it won’t be until 2020 now. I’ve been coming up with plans, deadlines, and a timeline for it all. They will get their chance to see the world soon, I promise. I know it’ll never be perfect, but there’s still some tweaking that needs to be done.

I also need to hire an editor. So, if you’re looking forward to this book and have been enjoying my content for quite a while, please consider joining the journey on my Patreon. It’s an exclusive community where you’ll get inside access to my books, writing process, and a lot more. I’m trying to reach a $500/month goal so I can save for a few months to afford an editor. Every bit helps and I’m looking forward to sharing the process with you all!

Sunday Morning (Vol. 1)

This book was supposed to be self-published in just a few days. Unfortunately, 2018 had to get a few final punches in during November and December and I was unable to work on this book at all. I had to push back the release date, but that’s okay. It’s still going to come out, I’m still going to do it. Slow and steady wins the race, people. I’m super nervous about it but completely excited at the same time.

I’ll be posting more updates on this as the month goes on though. As always, my patrons get a first-look at it all. Also, since I needed to push back the release date I’ve decided to bring back the promo-box!

If you become a patron at the $1 reward tier or higher, then you’ll get an exclusive promotion box mailed to you. Of course, you must be okay with giving me some sort of mailing address so the box can be sent to you. I promise the address will be deleted once the box is sent and that will be the only thing I send you.

This promo-box will include:

  • A signed print copy of the book
  • A bookmark
  • A hand-written thank you post card
  • A surprise

You can head over to my Patreon page to learn more.

Sunday Morning (Vol. 2)

Yes, there will be more. Since the first book is just about done, I’ll be starting work on the second book to be released at the beginning of 2020. I’ll definitely be utilizing the 85K challenge to get this book in order throughout the year.

Secret Project

Yeah, I know. I work on secret projects a lot. My patrons don’t even know what this is yet. This is something I’ve thought of doing for a while but never thought I could pursue it for some reason. With some of the things that happened in 2018, some changes coming to this blog in 2019, I realized that this is something I can do. And I’m going to pursue it.

I’ll be using the 85K challenge to its full ability for this project as well. This project is in the pre-planning stages and I’m not even sure how it’s all going to come together yet. With that said, I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to announce it, but I’m sure it’ll be sometime in 2019… otherwise I wouldn’t be mentioning it now.

Submissions & Contests

One goal I make for myself every year and don’t always follow is submitting my work to magazines, other websites, and contests. I’d like to submit a poem, flash fiction, or whatever at least once a month. Twice a month will be ideal, but with everything else I have planned and going on, we’ll see how it goes. As long as I submit something once a month, I’ll be good.

I have a lot of pieces sitting in my writing folder on my computer and none of them are doing anything. Surely there’s a couple that’s worthy of winning a contests or being published in a magazine, right? I just need to take the time to scour the Internet for the right fit for those pieces.

Wish me luck!

That’s All… I Think.

I believe I’ve covered everything. It’s a lot, right? I know, I’m wondering how I’m going to do it at all. Honestly, if I get just two of projects done, I’ll be happy. I know it’s a lot, but I’m ready for the challenge and I’m eager to get started. I can’t wait to see what I can accomplish in 2019.

Oh, Wait. Two More Things.

…But I’m not going to mention them just yet! Just be on the lookout early March for one of them.

What are some of your writing goals for 2019? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Hello, 2019!

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Here we are – 2019! Looking back at my Hello, 2018 post, I said that 2019 will be here “tomorrow.” I don’t think I’ve ever made a truer statement.

Hello 2019 | New Year | Goals | Creative Writing | Blogging | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Every single new year I always tell myself, “This will be the year.” The year of what, though? I’m not really sure. I have plenty of ideas and goals to keep my occupied and focused for the next 12 months. Whether something comes of those ideas, I have no idea.

If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I’m a hard worker. I always have been and I definitely know I can be a bit of a control freak and while I collab a lot (I mean, I run an entire blog with my sister) I like doing a lot of things myself and on my own time. I enjoy being my own “boss,” if you will.

I quit my job in June 2017 and decided to pursue this whole writing and blogging thing. Since then, I’ve had my ups and downs. Ideas have come to fruition, others haven’t. Some deadlines were met, some are still collecting dust or were deleted all together.

When I don’t meet deadlines or complete a task, it could be for a number of reasons.

  • I took on too much and ran out of time
  • I took on too much and ran out of steam
  • Something came up in life – friends or family, good or bad – and I put them first

Improvements

One thing I’d like to improve about myself this 2019 is to stop being so hard on myself. If I run out of time, I stay up later or wake up earlier in an attempt to get hours back. If I don’t, I lie awake in bed all night thinking about it.

Same thing if I run out of steam. I need to accept that I’m human. I need breaks and rest and definitely need to schedule that into daily routine or stop working at a certain time for the day.

Family and friends will always come first, however there have been a few times where my work at suffered for no reason. I won’t explain in detail, but for two weeks straight I was helping a friend and it turned into the same problem each and every day. Sometimes people seem to think that because I’m home I have a lot of free time because I’m “my own boss” and I could always do my work “later.” But there will be times where it’s okay if I put my work first.

In other words, I need to stop feeling bad if I don’t get back to my friend right away or if I decide to put my work to the side for the time being.

So, What’s Up For The Blog?

With all that said, I’m changing some of the content on this blog. I’ve talked about this before, but I’ll say it again.

Instead of the blog being strictly writing and reading, I’ll be sprinkling in some personal posts here and there. This blog originally started off with writing posts and personal posts and I’d like to bring that back. There are only so many posts I can write about “dialogue.” Those posts won’t go away though! They’ll just be a little less with some other happenings going on. The schedule will, however, be the same daily posts.

  • Sunday – Short Story Story – A new flash story or poem from me.
  • Monday – Free for all – This will typically be home to any Guest Posts or Interviews along with a new feature that will appear once a month.
  • Tuesday – Free for all – Book reviews will appear on this day during July and August.
  • Wednesday – Free for all – Once a month will be a WIP Wednesday post.
  • Thursday – Free for all – I don’t think I ever really have anything special going on this day.
  • Friday – Time to Write – A creative writing prompt that everyone is welcome to participate in and share their stories in the comments.
  • Saturday – Book Reviews – A new book review will be posted.

In addition to new personal posts, I’ll be starting two new features. Both will appear once a month – Healthy Writer and Mental Health Monday. I’m looking forward to sharing those posts with you guys!

What Else?

On my Goodreads, I had pledged to read 52 books again. I think that will be a breeze for me with the way the past couple of years have worked out. I got a lot of gift cards to Barnes & Noble for Christmas, so I’m planning on buying myself one new book a week – because I totally need more books.

I do have quite a lot of writing goals, but I’ll be talking about that in a separate post tomorrow.

I have so many other things planned for 2019 as well – one should be made public in early March while the other will probably be closer to the end of the year. Plus there’s many more!

I’ve always been thinking of better ways to utilize my Patreon and make things more engaging for my Patrons. If you have anything in mind, let me know and please join my writing journey on there. A lot of cool new things will be coming in 2019 and my patrons will be the first to know about it.

Happy 2019!

I believe that’s it for now. I’ll be back tomorrow with an update on my writing goals for the year. Here’s hoping 2019 is filled with a lot of kindness and positive vibes all around. Thank you all for being here!

Do you have any plans for 2019? Are you looking forward to the new year? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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