Harry Potter Trivia Night

I got together with friends Sunday night. We went into the city for trivia night at a bookstore. It was Harry Potter themed and it was a great night had by all.

Harry Potter Trivia Night | Reading | Writing | Life | Harry Potter | Trivia | RachelPoli.com

My First Trivia Night

The first and only time I’ve ever gone to a trivia night was when I worked at the preschool. It was for a fundraiser for the school district and it was… fun, but not at all what I had expected.

Since it was a fundraiser, mulligans were involved. If you got an answer wrong, you could buy a mulligan and automatically get the answer right. The team that won bought about 20 of these and that was the reason they won. Granted, I understand it was to raise money, but it was totally one-sided and not at all fair.

The trivia was random facts. There were no real categories, just random questions. I knew one answer throughout the night. That was it. Not to mention, the host speed-read the questions out loud. There was no multiple choice and no visuals. Needless to say, I tuned him out a lot and just focused on eating – which we had to bring our own food.

After that, I never really got why people enjoyed trivia night. Sure, it was just one experience, but I felt kind of dumb at the end of the night.

Practice The Night Before

A few weeks ago, my friend’s friend discovered a Harry Potter trivia night at a bookstore in the city through an ad on Facebook. Teams were allowed to go up to six so we got a group together: myself, Kris, our friend, her friend, her sister, and our other friend. Kris ended up not being able to make it, so our friend’s husband joined us. The one who discovered the trivia backed out so our friend’s sister invited her friend. (I love how we have substitutes for friends.)

Anyway, we all got together the night before to practice. Kris joined us and she found a random list of Harry Potter trivia online. She read some questions and our friend’s husband knew all the answers. Like, obscure details that are in the books but we probably didn’t need to know. Apparently, he listens to the series on audio every year and practically has them memorized. Needless to say, we were thankful he was able to join the team.

We pigged out on chips and dip, salsa and cheese, and other goodies while we “practiced” for about an hour. Then we ended up playing the card game Uno for about three hours. It was a good night. Then, it was onto trivia the following night.

The Bookstore Cafe

The trivia was in a bookstore cafe. It was a cute place and if it wasn’t in the city (which is a pain to drive into – I’m too chicken and overwhelmed to do it). When walking into the bookstore, it’s just books upon books. There is a bar and cafe area and upstairs was the function hall, which was smaller than I thought it would be. Then again, it was a sold-out event and we were packed like sardines to fit everyone in. But it was comfortable enough at the same time.

Unlike the last trivia night I went to, there was a large TV screen that had the questions pop up as they were asked. Plus, they were all multiple choice which was nice. A few of my friends ordered drinks while I got a butterbeer and my usual soda water. My friend and I shared spicy fries which were really good. The place had a large menu from breakfast to dessert and it was overwhelming. There was a lot going on so it was nice to just pick at stuff instead of ordering a meal.

Harry Potter Trivia Night

Trivia lasted about an hour and a half. There were six rounds, each having five questions for a total of 30 questions. All the rounds were multiple choice on the TV screen except for the fifth round, which had pictures of the chapters from different books. Of course, the paper said, “write the chapter title of each picture.” If you’ve read the Harry Potter series, you know each chapter has a small picture along with the title. We completely guessed because who remembers the exact chapter titles?

When they went over the answers, they wrote the book titles. The directions were wrong and every team got them all wrong, so they automatically gave every team the five points. If we knew to write the book titles, we totally would have gotten them right anyway.

Aside from that, we only got three questions wrong out of 30 landing us in first place. We got a $35 gift card to the bookstore, which we gave to our friend’s husband because he was the one who knew all the answers for us. We won with 27 out of 30 points, the team that came in second had 25 out of 30 points. So we got the lead by two.

Overall, it was a great night. We had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs. Plus, I know some Harry Potter facts now… though some might be considered useless information, that’s okay. I can still say I learned something.

Have you gone to trivia nights before? Have they been themed like Harry Potter? Let me know in the comments below. Good luck! If you liked this post, please share it around!

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House-sitting For A Week [Life]

I tried something new last week. I pet- and house-sat for my neighbors, a family I usually babysit for. So, I lived alone for a week. It was interesting, to say the least.

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Initial Thoughts

I had a range of emotions when I found out I would have an entire house to myself. Kris is the one who house/pet-sits for a few different families while I babysit for a few different families. When this family I babysit for, who also happens to live on the other side of my block, reached out about house and pet-sitting, I instantly thought of Kris.

Of course, I wanted to give it a try. I love their dogs – a Beagle and St. Bernard – and I’ve never been alone having an entire house to myself before. Since that’s more “Kris’s thing” I asked her if she wanted me to tell them about you, but gave me the go-ahead since their technically my “clients” first. So, I said yes.

I was super excited.

Having an entire house to myself? Being almost 26 and still living with my parents (not that I’m complaining) and still sharing a bedroom can take a toll on some days. I want my own space, I want to try being an adult in more ways than just keeping parts of the house clean or paying my own bills. So, I was excited to have the whole house to myself for a week. The only downside was that it wasn’t actually my own space.

I brought plenty of things to work on with me but I didn’t have access to Photoshop since that’s on my desktop computer. So, what I could get done was limited. Also, I couldn’t work on my Camp NaNo stuff for two days because I left a few things at my own house. But hey, it’s just a week and I survived. I’m not complaining.

I was super nervous.

I don’t like the dark, I don’t like loud noises or creepy noises or things that go bump in the night. I’ve never had an entire house to myself overnight before. When my parents go away, my sister is there. When Kris is pet-sitting, my parents are there. I had done one overnight babysitting gig once. The two boys were old enough to stay home alone (I just went to their house from 9 pm to 6 am for a week) but since they were minors (the oldest was 17 at the time) and their parents were going through a divorce, their mother didn’t want their father driving by and seeing them home alone overnight. Hence, I stepped in. However, I technically wasn’t alone. And if God forbid, someone broke in, I knew the 17-year-old would most likely be more capable than me handling the situation.

(I mean… you probably don’t want your overnight babysitter to rely on the kids to take care of something like that, but hey, they’re bigger and stronger than me so it works.)

My point is, I didn’t have anyone to take care of that should such a problem arise. I had a teddy bear St. Bernard whole looks and acts like a gentleman and would not intimidate anyone and a one-year-old Beagle who is an affectionate doofus.

Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much last week.

It Was A Good Week

I can’t complain. It was still a fun experience and it was relaxing in some ways. I liked having space to myself. However, it wasn’t all mine and there were some things I needed to figure out but it was still great nonetheless. One thing I did learn about myself though was that I can be a pretty incompetent adult.

I had mac and cheese for dinner every night.

Guys, ovens are scary. I wanted to cook actual meals for myself, but they have an older oven. It clanks, it bangs, it makes poof sounds as though it’s about to burst into flames. I never want to be responsible for burning a house down, but when it’s not even your own home… yeah, no thank you.

Coffee makers are weird.

I had a Keurig at my house. I love being able to pop in a pod, push a button, and voila! I have coffee in five seconds. They don’t have a Keurig though. They have an old fashioned coffee pot. I’ve never used one of those before. Weird, right? As an avid coffee drinker, you’d think I would have used one in my lifetime. My friend has one but she always makes the coffee when I’m over.

I know how it works, but the whole measuring part? I don’t know… the coffee said one tablespoon for every six ounces of water. Well, the water is measured in cups – 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12. And it’s not cup-cups, it’s coffee cups. But coffee cups come in 8-oz, 11-oz, or 16-oz, so… which is it? I just took a spoonful of coffee grounds (you know, 3-5 spoonfuls should be enough, right?) and added water up to six cups just to see how much it would make and see if I could figure out the measurements.

I never figured out the measurements. After being there for five days I accidentally made a 10-cup pot of coffee. I still don’t know how I did that. I didn’t go through a whole bag of coffee grounds though, so I couldn’t have wasted that much coffee… right?

Coffee makers are so satisfying.

I mean, my math skills aside, coffee makers are so aesthetic. I love the Keurig, but there was something so fabulous about actually making a cup of coffee. Push a button and take the mug and start sipping is great, but I love pouring the coffee from the pot to my mug. It smells good, it looks good, and the pouring sound is wonderful to listen to.

Maybe I’m just too in love with my coffee, but it was great and now I want a coffee maker.

Being home alone is quiet.

I work from home. I’m used to being home alone. However, both my dad and my sister come home for an hour for lunch at different times. So I don’t really have the house to myself for too long. Not to mention, I usually have the TV on or listen to music or talk to myself/Chip and Chase.

I didn’t talk to myself much at their house. Every time I did, Skippy (the Beagle) cocked his head to the side like I was crazy. Plus, I don’t know what it was, but even though I was alone, I felt like if I talked to myself, I was disturbing some sort of peace. Maybe it was because it’s a totally different environment from my own home? I’m not sure, but I didn’t talk to myself as much which made things quiet and a bit lonely.

So, that’s where the TV came in…

I watched a lot of movies.

I knew the only way to watch YouTube and Twitch (which is what I mostly watch – I don’t watch cable anymore) was to get it on my iPad. But, I enjoy having it on the TV because it’s louder and doesn’t make it seem like I’m so alone. Plus, I wouldn’t have to worry about the battery or carrying my iPad around everywhere.

There’s one DVD player in the house so I brought my Psych DVDs with me. Well, the DVD player didn’t work. As I said, I don’t watch cable anymore and there was nothing on that I care about.

I watched free movies On Demand the entire week. I watched a few of those movies multiple times throughout the week too. Of course, I like having it on as background noise so sometimes I paid attention to it and sometimes I didn’t. I watched some good movies I hadn’t seen in a while though – Remember the Titans, Hidden Figures, the Spider-Man trilogy with Tobey Maguire, Captain America, and more. New movies were added every day and, my last day there, all eight Harry Potter movies plus the first Fantastic Beasts movie was added. I mean, really, they had to add them when I had six hours left at their house? I could have been binging Harry Potter all week!

Overall, it was a good experience

I enjoyed having the house to myself and it was cool to live alone for a bit. It was quiet and got lonely at times, but the pups were good company and I enjoyed having my own space. I’m looking forward to doing it again soon.

Have you ever house-sat or lived alone? What do you do to pass the time? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Getting Out Of A Funk [Mental Health Mondays]

We’re back with another Mental Health Month talking about getting out of a funk. I’ve been absent for a bit so I thought I’d share some things I did to get out of my funk.

Mental Health Monday: Getting Out Of A Funk | Anxiety | Mental Health Matters | Mental Health Awareness | Generalized Anxiety Disorder | RachelPoli.com

Getting Out Of A Funk

An Accidental Break

I didn’t mean to take a hiatus. I knew I needed to take a step back but I didn’t mean to disappear for a bit. I was still working off and on but not nearly as much as I normally do. This isn’t a complaint – it’s definitely something I needed. It’s interesting to me how your mind and body just seem to know what’s best for you. I had no motivation, no inspiration, and honestly, I didn’t care that I wasn’t blogging or writing. I took the hint and, even though I still tried to work, the rest of me shied away from it.

So, yeah. I disappeared for about a month. Actually, I think it was over a month. I think my hiatus had started before I announced it because I didn’t realize I was on a hiatus. Even when I announced it, I’m pretty sure I said, “I’m not taking a hiatus.” Well… that turned out well.

Giving Up Social Media

One of the things I needed to do to get away from it all and take a break was to get away from social media. Sure, I still occasionally scrolled through Twitter and Instagram. I checked my personal Facebook from time to time. I never posted though. (My feed on Twitter and Instagram look really weird.) I stuck to the shadows, never engaged in conversation, and didn’t bother to post so people would start a conversation. I didn’t have any blog posts to promote at the time, so that was one less thing I needed to worry about as well. While it was weird to be watching my social media from afar, not posting or replying, it was a nice break. I wasn’t using it as much and it freed up so much more of my time.

What I’m Doing Now

With all that said, I’m back. I’m back to posting regularly on Twitter and Instagram. I’m engaging in conversations again. I’m participating and co-hosting #TheMerryWriter again with my good, patient friend, Ari Meghlen, as well as helping out with the #85K90 Twitter. I’m promoting my blog posts again as well as my writing. I’m talking about everyday life. I’m reading and engaging in other posts. So, what exactly has changed other than the fact that I took a break from all this for a month?

Believe it or not, I don’t post in “real time.” I use Buffer, like most bloggers, to set up scheduled Twitter and Instagram content to promote blog posts, books, and more. I have the Buffer Pro Plan in which I can schedule 100 posts per social media account at a time. I had my Twitter set up that I needed to sit down each week and set up my posts. This took up a lot of my time. I now have it set up so that I can sit down once a month and get my Twitter set up for the upcoming month. This has saved me so much time and sanity.

Of course, that’s just general promotion. I’m still on social media in real time talking engaging with others and talking about my day and things like that. But that’s another difference – I actually have time to do that now.

Blogging Break

I didn’t mean to stop blogging and I certainly didn’t mean to stop writing. However, there were so many things overwhelming me at the time and I felt like I was going to explode. I publish a blog post every day and that eventually takes a toll on you. I love publishing every day and toyed with the idea of cutting back on posting, but I honestly really like having content every day. So, where do I go from here? How can I continue this without burning myself out?

I’ve always wanted to be a month ahead. My Short Story Sunday and Writing Prompts are always done the year before. So, really, I only have five posts to write each week. I have a few monthly features – the quotes, mental health, healthy writer, and more – that I can write ahead of time as well. If you think about it, it’s only 12 posts a year. I actually got a good chunk of it done already. I just need to create the graphics, schedule it on WordPress, and figure out a sharing plan. So, instead of sitting down one day a week and doing the posts weekly and trying to squeeze in an extra here and there (I never end up sitting down each week – I’m constantly working on the blog). I said, screw June and got to work on July instead.

What I’m Doing Now

I’m actually blogging a month ahead. I made a list of “Summer Goals” for myself of things I want to get done in June, July, and August. During the month of June, even though I wasn’t posting on the blog, I was setting up the blog for July. I wrote the blog posts, gave my pages a make-over, and more. Of course, there’s still some work to be done that I’m working on, but for the most part, July is all set. Now I can start working on August’s content so that, I’ll be ahead.

In addition, different kinds of posts will be coming. During this break, I thought of so many other ideas for blog posts. This will no longer be a strictly writing and reading blog, but some lifestyle posts sprinkled in along with other things. I hope this keeps the content fresh and interesting for all of us.

Creative Block

No, I didn’t exactly have writer’s block. I still wanted to write, but I just didn’t want to write anything I was working on. Plus, I wanted to be creative, but I didn’t want to use the written word to do so. I wanted to work on my photography or find some DIY crafts to try. I wanted to create new skills for myself, try and learn something new and different. I flip-flopped so many times wondering what I wanted to do. Did I want to try something completely new? Or work on something I already had? The DIY section on Pinterest was y best friend for quite a while.

The thing is, I never actually did any of it. I bought some things to create something, but I never ended up doing anything with it. I still plan to in the near future, but I actually ran out of time to use it due to real life happenings. With that said, the planning was fun and I have that as a fall back if I ever get stressed and need a break from my other creative projects. In the end, though, it somehow put me back into the writing mood.

What I’m Doing Now

I don’t know why or how – maybe it was just the fact I took a month off. Maybe it’s because it’s Camp NaNo time this month. Maybe my characters have been impatient with me and are finally giving me a kick in the pants. Or maybe it’s all the Marvel movies I’ve been watching lately. Whatever it is, I’m writing again. And I have so many new ideas as well.

The thing is, even though I had been writing and going through the motions, I haven’t had any new novel ideas in a really long time. Normally, I start many projects and don’t know what to work on. But it’s been at least a year since I’ve come up with a new novel idea. Which is totally unlike me. Now, I’m rolling in ideas. I sat down and created a brand new novel timeline for myself for the rest of this year and into 2020.

I explained it to my sister through Discord, sending her a huge, long paragraph explaining my plans. Her response? “Wow, that’s a lot… Glad you’re starting to sound like yourself again.”

We all know I plan and over-plan things and this has felt good. It’s made me get back my mojo and I’m eager to get back to work.

Getting Out Of A Funk – What’d I Actually Do?

I don’t really know. I explained it all. I feel good. I don’t know what I did along the way to caused me to bounce back. This past month has been horrendous for my anxiety and, for a while, I thought all of this hard work – everything I’ve built since 2012 – was done. I wasn’t sure if I was going to come back at all.

But, I think, deep down, something inside me has other plans. I’m glad I was able to work through this on my own (with some support from family, of course) and I’m happy to be back to my normal self.

How’s my anxiety? Still present. But I feel much better than I have been.

How do you do when getting out of a funk? Also, tell me how you’ve been lately. Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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An Update On Life & My Mental Health

For someone who publishes a post daily, I practically missed the entire month of May. I haven’t even been reading and replying to the comments. I apologize for the silence and lack of content.

The truth is, this post has been coming for the past couple of weeks – I was just having trouble wording what I wanted to say.

A lot happened in the month of May. A lot that affected me in ways I couldn’t even imagine. I will not go into great detail though I will explain a bit so you guys can somewhat understand.

First – I’m okay. Things have been rough, but I’m doing okay. There’s just been so much going on that it’s taken a toll on my mental health and I need to re-evaluate some things in my life.

Second – There are stressors absolutely everywhere. Everything seemed to want to happen all at once. There’s been stuff going on with my friends that I’m trying to support them with but it’s been hard for reasons. My family has had some ups and downs with health issues and the like, but that’s just the circle of life, unfortunately. (And no, no one has passed away, thankfully, but it’s still been tough.) There are also basic stressors that come with the “adult” status and such.

Third – Social media. Social media can be your friend or foe and lately, it’s definitely been an enemy. Something happened about a month ago that affected me deeply. No, I do not know these people personally but I’ve looked up to them as a person and as a creator. Some of the work I do was inspired by them. It turns out they were not the person I thought they were and, after looking up to them for years – I even met this person in real life – it’s a hard pill to swallow.

And, if you know who/what I’m talking about, please do not mention any names or go into detail about it. I will delete any comments about it or turn off comments completely. I’m not writing this to open a can of worms.

It puts things into perspective though. This is something I always knew but it was proven on that day – I have no idea who any of you are. I have more friends through the Internet in various parts of the world than I do in real life, in my hometown. I enjoy these connections and I appreciate each and every one of you.

However, the hate and nasty comments that were spread throughout social media about this incident and the creator really bothered me. These were all people who enjoyed their work and in an instant immediately turned on them, judging and condemning them – a stranger, no less. It bothered me and it still bothers me. It made me wonder why I want my name on the Internet in the first place – what am I doing and why? Lord knows I would never do what they did, but people are mean. They’re harsh and quick to judge.

I’ve grown thick skin over the years and I’m lucky enough that, in the 13 years I’ve been sharing my writing and work online, I’ve never had someone say something mean or hateful to me. To be honest, I got a lot of that in real life at school so being online was my sanctuary. How reversed is that?

This also all happened a week after I released my debut book which, in turn, made me realize something else about myself, my work, and the Internet. This is something I won’t go into detail about, but it’s something I’m trying to figure out. The good news is, I can only go up from here.

Fourth – Speaking of work, that’s been another huge stressor. Mostly because of what I mentioned in the previous paragraph but there are other factors involved that I don’t want to go into detail with for reasons.

I did get a freelance writing job that’s been good. It’s less creative than I would like, but the people are nice, the pay has been the best since any freelance job I’ve ever had, I’ve been learning new things, and it’s been something different. It does take up quite a bit of my time though, which means other things (like my own creative writing) have taken to the back burner. So, I need to figure something out about that.

Fifth – Everything I mentioned above has taken a great toll on my mental health. Things I already knew about life on the Internet were proven. Not just about my third point in this post, but that also helped me realize something about myself and relationships on the Internet and, believe it or not, in real life.

I’ve been so busy helping and supporting others that I haven’t been focused on myself. Not my mental or physical well-being and not my work. My work – writing, blogging, and other things – have taken a back seat to support other authors, bloggers, etc. There have been quite a few people (not everyone – there are definitely some people in particular who have gone above and beyond for me and I hope you know who you are!) who have said they’d help me in return but it was just empty promises.

This could be for a number of reasons: maybe they haven’t checked their email in a few months, maybe they were just trying to be nice, maybe something came up in their life, or maybe they were just saying that in hopes I would help them out. The possibilities are endless and, right or wrong, it’s discouraging for me.

It hurts and makes me feel like I’ve been taken advantage of. Which, again, brings me back to my original point: you have no idea who you’re dealing with on the Internet. Obviously, no one is obligated to help or support me in any way if they don’t want to or if they don’t believe in my work or anything. But it’s still discouraging as much as I try not to feel that way – and I feel awful for feeling this way. If anything, this has been a lesson learned and a huge eye-opener.

With that said, I’m at the point where I dread waking up in the morning which isn’t something I’ve felt since high school and certainly something I never want to feel again. I do get out of bed though and I do get to work. Why? Because I know I need to and because I enjoy the work despite certain things. My anxiety has been all over the place and the idea of certain work, which I typically enjoy, has been stressing me out.

Sixth – This has, of course, affected my creativity as well. There are a lot of things I want to do. There are a lot of things I want to learn. I have ideas for this blog going forward – on and off the blog. The same goes for my other blog, Double Jump. My sister and I have a lot of new ideas in the works.

Obviously, my creativity isn’t going to do that well if my mental health is suffering. In fact, as soon as I skipped a few days of blogging and didn’t care, I knew something was wrong immediately. Normally that would bother me. I hate to miss a day but my mind has been trying to tell me something. I need to slow down and focus on myself.

Another way this has affected my creativity though is that I’m feeling more creative than ever. Oddly enough, it has nothing to do with blogging or writing. I want to try something new. I want to have a hobby. I want to improve my photography and film editing. I want to learn how to crochet or make jewelry (that I don’t even wear, but whatever). There are a lot of DIY projects I’ve love to try. I just want to learn something new. But I want to do it for me.

This is a weird feeling for me because I’ve really only ever known writing or blogging as a creative outlet. But I need something that will relax me. Something that I’ll enjoy doing but that’s not also “work.” Even if I just set aside some time each day to color or something.

Overall – What does all this mean? Why am I writing an extremely long blog post about this? (Seriously, I didn’t think it’d be this long. Thanks for reading this far if you’re still with me.)

I’m here to say that I’m taking a step back from everything. I will still be here in some sense but not to the extent that I have been. I have a lot of thinking to do and a lot of re-evaluating to do of my life and online presence. This doesn’t mean I’m quitting or leaving though. I’m proud of all the things I’ve created, the milestones I’ve hit, the people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned, and the overall work I’ve done.

However, some hurt still lingers. Stress is strong. My mental health is taking the brunt of it all.

I don’t have the intention of giving anything up, but I need time to rebuild. I’m taking the month of June to come up with a new plan and figure things out. Things won’t be back to normal on this blog until July. Maybe sooner, but I’m going to take my time coming up with a new plan and catching up with things while taking appropriate breaks. I’m working on catching up with things on Double Jump and, at this time, I can’t do both blogs at once.

For this blog, my writing prompts and Short Story Sundays will still be published because those are already scheduled for the year. Book reviews are on hold as I haven’t read a single thing in about a month and just haven’t found the motivation for it. I’ll most likely post something here and there just to let you know I’m still here, but, as I said, I don’t expect the regular schedule to be back until July.

My social media presence will be limited until further notice. I am not going on hiatus with any of this because it’s the nature of my job. But I will be scheduling a day or two to check it each week and will not be on constantly. I need to shoo some negative vibes and take a breather from all that.

As for my writing, I need to come up with a plan for that as well. I will still be writing and editing. I will still be publishing books. It’s just going to be a bit more on the slower side for the moment.

With that said, I think this post has gone on long enough. I appreciate everyone’s patience with me and hope you understand my absence and the coming weeks as I try to figure things out and take care of myself.

I’ll talk to you all soon.

Musical Mondays: Zero By Imagine Dragons

Musical Monday: Zero by Imagine Dragons | Music Video | Mental Health | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

This is a fairly new song to me. When my sister saw the Wreck-It Ralph 2 movie, Ralph Breaks the Internet, she was addicted to this song for a little while. I heard it and was too addicted, but soon forgot about it. I saw the movie for the first time just a couple weeks ago and I had forgotten all about this song.

When I first heard it a while ago, it reminded me of me. It reminded me of when I was high school and I still feel like this at times, though not nearly as often.

This is a catchy, up-beat song but the lyrics sing a different tune. I don’t know if I’m the only one who thinks this or if the song was even meant to do this, but it reminds me on the contrast of your mind going crazy and yet you’re putting on a smile and going about your day as though nothing is wrong. The lyrics are your mind, but the catchy tune is the smile plastered on your face just getting through the day.

Overall though, it’s a good song. And I’m glad I don’t feel like this all the time anymore.

What did you think of the song? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Library Grand Opening

This weekend was a special one. My local library is a historical landmark thus making it super old. The architecture, however, is beautiful. Still, it was lacking a whole lot – mostly keeping up with modern times. They finally were able to remodel and the library grand opening was on Saturday and I was proud to attend.

Library Grand Opening | Creative Writing | Writing | Reading | Library | Books | RachelPoli.com

What My Library Lacked

Most the libraries in surrounding towns have evolved with modern times. They have updated technology, study rooms, and the like. My library didn’t have that. We had two floors of books, the lower floor being the children’s room. It was a beautiful library and while there was an open space on the second floor with tables, chairs, and a handful of computers, that was about it. We had a beautiful field so, especially in the summertime, they were able to have fun events for kids.

My writing group meets there once a month but we were always in the employees’ break room. I don’t know about the rest of the members, but I always felt like we were taking over their space – especially when an employee has to come in to get their dinner. I felt like we were taking their break away since they really had no where else to go. My writing group had come together in January 2015. It’s been four years and now we’ll finally have a “home.”

Two Years In The Making

It took a long time and it was tough for the library to get approved for such renovations. A whole lot of money and two years later, the library was finally completed. They had their grand opening on Saturday where we were able to walk around, explore, and start taking out library books again.

The library is five minutes away from my house and Kris works right across the street from it. It’s been interesting to drive by it each day for the past two years and see the progress they made. They estimated it would be complete in March 2019 and I’m impressed that they stayed on schedule.

The Grand Opening

I have never been to any event where they had giant scissors to cut a large ribbon. No, that wasn’t the best part, but it was really cool. I witnessed history being made in my hometown and while I didn’t have a direct hand in any of it, I’m proud I was able to attend and join in on the celebration.

Kris and I arrived 15 minutes before the ceremony began. We waited outside in the cold weather – it was actually fairly warm with the sun but it was a super windy day. The high school marching band performed, an a cappella group sang our national anthem, a few people including the mayor made speeches, and then the host of my writing group, Morgan, read a poem he wrote about libraries. I couldn’t see anything and honestly, the host of my writing group was the loudest one so I heard him the best. (I barely heard the marching band, if you could believe that.) Then the ribbon was cut. I don’t even know who cut the ribbon because I’m short. I did see the scissors though – I didn’t know they made them that big!

Inside The Library

The speeches took about 30 minutes and then, because of the crowd, it took us another 10-15 minutes to make our way inside the library. We were standing outside for about an hour. My nose was so stuffed up.

When my sister and I finally made it inside, we veered off to the right because we saw Morgan standing off to the side. We said our hellos and then went off to explore the library. And holy crap, what a wonderful place it is.

We now have three floors. Kris and I started on the bottom since we were sort of swept away in the crowd. The bottom floor has a program room for… well, various programs. The children’s room is also down there. It’s much bigger than it was before. Aside from books there was a computer station as well as library card kiosk for kids to make their library cards. There was a separate room for story and craft time as well. The space is amazing.

Next, we went to the third floor, again following the crowd on the spiral stairs. Down a long hallway with some tables and chairs, there was an archive room off to the side. There are also three study rooms now, one is a little bigger than the other two. Hopefully my writing group has a home now!

Finally, Kris and I went back to the first floor. The new library is wall to wall glass windows. It looks really cool, but totally out of place with the old architecture. They preserved it since it’s historical. So, looking on the outside, it looks great but kind of weird. Going inside, however, I’m really impressed and pleased with the way they did it.

The first floor is a circle. When we came in through the front door, we went to the right where the new construction was. There are rows and rows of books plus a new room which we didn’t have before, a teen room. Guys, it has a Nintendo Switch. I’m happy with that. But anyway, as you keep walking around the circle (the middle of the circle, by the way, is part of the old architecture that’s blocked off but can still be admired by the glass walls) you’ll end up in the fiction area where they integrated the old building.

It’s hard for me to explain. I know I won’t do it justice, but one half of the first floor is the old building newly renovated on the inside and more polished, but still preserving what our library was before. The other half is the new building. It’s really cool how they integrated both to show that the library is one with the new and old all the while keeping the historical parts.

I’m Proud Of My Community

I don’t know many people who go to the library that much anymore. Myself, included. I’m often found at Barnes & Noble. One, because they have a cafe there and two, because I can be louder in there than the library.

I’ve always said I need to go to the library more often though. In fact, one of my goals for 2019 is to visit the library a couple times a month. Get some books or just be in the atmosphere of it. Granted, I’ll do that anyway because of my writing group, but I want to actually be apart of my library.

My original point, though was that I was shocked to see the crowd that came to the opening. I have a big city and it was great to see so many people come together for this moment. I saw so many people I know as well – a ton of people from my church were there, the kids I babysit were there, and I even saw a lot of kids who I don’t know but see coming out of the school when I pick up the kids I babysit. We ran into Kris’s best friend’s parents as well. We chit-chatted with a few people we don’t normally see often or talk to that much.

Overall, it was a great experience. It was certainly a memorable day for my city.

Do you visit your library often? 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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My Accidental Education [Skillshare]

I love learning new things. If going into business for myself isn’t enough proof, then I don’t know what else to tell you.

I never imagined teaching myself so many new things – things I never thought I’d be interested in. But when I quit my job, it opened up a lot of new doors. I’ve often wondered if I should go back to school and get my Master’s in something. Of course, I don’t have the money to go back to school. If I did, what would I go to school for?

I’d love to learn more photography, Photoshop, film and video editing. I’d love to learn coding – for video games and websites. I wouldn’t mind going back to school for more creative writing. I’d love to learn about marketing, social media, and general business things. There are so many other things too.

My Accidental Education | Skillshare | Creative Writing | Blogging | Research | Online Courses | RachelPoli.com

What I Wanted To Be When I Grew Up

When I was in first grade, I had decided I was going to be a teacher – first grade, to be exact just like the teacher I had that year. As I got older, I decided to do preschool instead. Some of them – not all of them – are actually shorter than me and I always had more fun with that age group than older kids. That’s what I ended up doing. I was a preschool teacher for about six years.

Before that though, when I was ten, I had decided to be a writer as well. I figured I could be a teacher and a writer at the same time because… well, it’d be easy, right? Of course.

So, that’s what I did. For six years, I was a writer in the early morning, I chased toddlers during the day, and I babysat in the late afternoons, at night, and on the weekends.

When I finally realized how burnt out I was getting, I evaluated what I really wanted to do with my life. Between blogging, creative writing, babysitting, working a full-time job, and doing things for my church, I knew something needed to give. I realized I loved writing more and, while I decided to keep babysitting, I quit my job at the preschool.

Of course, writing isn’t black and white.

Research, Research, and More Research

Until I started really working on my blog and writing full time, I never knew how many things I could do. I could be a blogger, an author, a freelance content writer, editor, journalist, publicist, virtual assistant, and so many other things. So many doors opened up and I didn’t know what to do with any of them.

I wear many hats and have tried to do so many things. I’ve tested the waters. Some things I’ve decided to pursue, others not so much. No matter what I do I need to research it and teach myself how to do it and do it right.

Google is great as are the various websites you find through it. Pinterest is also cool as well, but I feel like a lot of the pins I find are successful bloggers saying, “I did it this way, so you should too.” Which, isn’t how I roll. I take everything into consideration and am all for swapping methods and techniques, but there’s no one thing that works for everything.

I Came Across CreativeLive & Skillshare

I found CreativeLive through NaNoWriMo. There was a package of certain courses for winners of one of the Camp NaNo sessions in 2018. I was able to pick a certain amount of courses to watch for free out of certain classes was hand-picked for NaNo winners. I watched them and they were good, but I haven’t gone back because the other courses are money. They’re not expensive, but not something I felt like putting my money toward.

So, I found Skillshare. It’s similar to CreativeLive, but Skillshare has a good chunk of free courses. You can sign up for a premium account and get access to all courses.

I joined Skillshare and was only taking the free courses. I wanted to see how useful they’d be and if I’d get anything out of them. Then Ari happened to make a blog post about Skillshare and she shared a link that allowed me, if I signed up, to get two months of a free trial of the premium courses.

Naturally, I took as many premium courses as I could in those two months.

I forgot to “cancel” it though and was surprised when my credit card bill came with an extra $99 charge on it. I kept it though. I enjoyed the premium courses and figured, I’m not going to go through the trouble of canceling it. I’ll actually use it. It wasn’t the money I had meant to spend at the time, but I think it’s worth it.

With that said, you’re more than welcome to get two free months of Skillshare on me.

What Does Skillshare Have?

Everything. There are four categories of classes – creative, business, technology, and lifestyle. Those categories have subcategories. For example, graphic design, writing, and photography are included in the creative section. You can learn about freelance, marketing, and fiances in the business section. There’s a lot more too.

Even if you want to learn something for fun and get a new hobby – they have craft classes – then Skillshare is great. I’ve been loving it and it’s been super helpful.

There are classes Skillshare runs themselves, some teachers are “professionals,” and other are entrepreneurs teaching classes in their own niche. Some are definitely more helpful than others, but they’re all good.

So, that’s my happy accident. I’ve done a lot of Googling and spent so many hours on Pinterest, but I’ve been enjoying Skillshare the most. Plus, a lot of the classes have PDFs you can print and look at as well for references, which is great.

Again, feel free to try it all for two months free. I don’t get anything out of it – no commission or anything – but I think, if you pay for a premium account after your two free months, then I get a free month. So, there’s no harm in giving it a try. But if you don’t like it or can’t afford it, just don’t forget to cancel before it renews!

Have you tried Skillshare, CreativeLive, or something similar? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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