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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25 Things To Do At 25 [Life]

I work a lot. Anyone who knows me knows this is true. When you’re an entrepreneur and trying to create your own business you need to work hard and work a lot. Though that doesn’t mean you can’t take breaks and check in with reality once in a while.

I turned 25 back in September and, a week before my birthday, I had decided to make a “bucket list” of sorts. This is a list of things I want to do while I’m 25. I made this list because I want to find a balance between work and life. I want to be 25 and go out and do things, hang out with people. You know, just stop and smell the coffee. But also, there’s a lot of things I want to do as well. Things I want to try, things I want to learn.

So, I made a list of 25 things to do at 25.

25 Things To Do At 25 | Life | Bucket List | Goals | RachelPoli.com

Exercise & Eat Healthy

Oh, gosh. This is going to sound like a new year’s resolution, isn’t it? But it’s true – working from home means I’m on the computer a lot. I lose track of time to eat and when I do remember to eat, I eat goldfish.

I’ve been doing the exercise part for a while. I have a workout routine I do every weekday morning. When the weather gets warmer and nicer out, I’ll take walks around my neighborhood. I still need to work on the eating better part… but I’m getting there. Slowly.

Save Money

I do this anyway. I’ve always been pretty good at saving my money and tucking part of it away for a rainy day. There are certain things I want to save for as well as just have money set aside for anything in my savings. I’m not going to write the figures here, but I planned a certain amount to tuck away into my savings each week.

Go To At Least One Con or Convention

This can be gaming related or writing related, I don’t care. I went to EGLX for the first time last year and I’d love to either go to that again or try something else. It was a good experience and a lot of fun.

Begin “Something” for This Blog

I totally forgot this was on the list. I’ve mentioned how I’m working on something for this blog. It should be coming the beginning of March. I have a special announcement for it planned though so I don’t want to mention it right now.

Self-Publish A Book

On it.

Get Good With Photography & Photoshop

I’ve been wanting to improve my photography skills for a while. I just need to pick up my camera and spend some time with it. Lately I’ve been mostly taking pictures for the blog, but I need to learn how to actually use the camera and get more creative with it. Of course, then I want to get better at Photoshop so I can post better graphics here, create my own book covers, and just create things for fun.

Take Up a New Hobby

What am I supposed to do with this one? I don’t know, I guess I’ll find something.

Learn/Try Something New

Is this considered the same as the previous one? Maybe I should rewrite this list and make some of these points a little less vague… then again, I might be started a D&D group with some friends, so that could count, right?

Cook

I’ve always wanted to cook dinner once in a while. It’ll allow me to learn and it’ll give my mom a break… for the most part. I’ll probably be hounding her with questions so I don’t burn the house down. But still, I need to figure out a schedule where I can help my mom cook dinner once a week or something. I have so many recipes on my Pinterest that I need to try!

Go To At Least One Concert/Show

I saw Taylor Davis live a few years ago and went to Disney on Ice a couple years ago too. I’d love to go again or see someone else in concert. Lindsey Stirling is up on the list, but the past few times she’s gone on tour she hasn’t come to my area. So, we’ll see.

Attend A Walk For A Good Cause

This is something my church used to do fairly often and I miss it. Of course, I don’t have the crowd from my church anymore to go with, but I’m sure my sisters would love to go with me. I used to work in special education and I would love to attend something for Autism or Down Syndrome or the like.

Start Planning “This” For The Blog

Yeah, this is something else I mentioned but I don’t want to reveal yet. Mostly because I’m not sure if it’ll work, but a lot is involved with it. Notice I wrote “start planning” instead of actually opening it. Though my deadline is the end of 2019… hopefully.

Journal Once A Week

I started off strong with this one. I journaled the other day and before that, the last entry I made was the end of October. A lot happened in November and December so I should have been journaling, but oh well. Once a week would be nice, but if I check in at least once a month, I’ll count it.

Get Good With Film & Video Editing

This is similar to the photography and Photoshop. I want to make videos and improve my skills with Adobe Premiere. I’ve already gotten a head start on that as well because I’m making a “birthday video” for Kris.

Drive Around, Explore, & Discover New Places

I never go out and do anything. If I do, it’s to a friend’s house to watch TV and eat. I want to go out to a new place, take my camera, and enjoy the fresh air and discover new places around me. I don’t venture out much and get lost easily, but I want to take in the world around me for once.

Create A Budget

Okay, so I wrote “personal, RP blog, and DJ blog.” I technically already did this with the whole “save money” point. I should probably put something else here, but it’s staying as is for now.

Visit The Library

My local library has been in a temporary space for the past two years because the actual building is getting renovated and upgraded. The progress has looked great and the library is re-opening, I believe, in March. I’d love to be better at actually using my library card and going there frequently to check out a couple books. Or even just use the space to get some work done.

Play More Board Games & Puzzles

Kris and I have been doing this on Double Jump. We’ve started doing board game and card game reviews once a month. We’ve bought some new board games and looked at ones we haven’t played in a while. It’s been a nice change of pace from video games. We do need to do puzzles more – we have a stack of jigsaw puzzles in our closet that’s waiting to be done. Not to mention the Legos we have…

Be More Active In My Church

Why did I include this? I’ve been active in my church. I’m the director of the Sunday school program and have been running the email list, helping out with the Facebook page, and upgrading/updating the website. I can probably change this one and add something new as well. This is number 19 on the list though, so I might have been running out of ideas at this point.

Find More Time With Friends & Family

I definitely need to reach out to friends more and ask to hang out, even though I hate leaving the house. I also want to see my sister more and hang out with my parents more too. It’s tough to work this around everyone’s work schedules as well as sports games that my parents love, but I’d love to have a movie night or game night with them.

Learn Dungeons & Dragons

Alright, then… so I guess D&D doesn’t count as “learn something new” because I made it it’s own item on the list. But, like I said, I think I may be starting a D&D group with some friends either this month or next month.

Meet Someone New/Make A New Friend

I assume I meant a person in real life?

Start “This Other Thing” On The Blog

Wow, sorry for all the mysterious ones on this list… I probably should have looked it over again before deciding to write this post. But yeah, here’s new feature number three for the blog. This one will actually be on the blog though. The other two will go along with the blog but be on separate platforms… so there’s a hint for you all.

Create A Collage/Scrapbook or Mood/Vision Board

Am I really going to do this? I’ve always wanted to, but I feel like I’m going to forget about this one.

Try Six DIY Projects

Six?! What, do I think I’m made of time and money? How about three? Depending on the projects, I think that’s more doable.

Anyway…

I wrote this list at the end of August last year. It’s only been a couple of months and there are definitely some things on this list that I’ve started and been trying to do. Other things seem to be repetitive of some of the items on the list while others still seem kind of impracticable in a way. I might look over this list again and change some of the things.

Even though this is 25 things to do at 25, I might even give myself until 2019. Though, I hope I’ll get into the habit with some of these things and I carry it through the year and beyond.

Have you ever made a bucket list or something similar? Do you have any other ideas for me? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Goodbye, 2018!

Well. This is it. 2018 is over.

I feel like this year went by so slow and yet, I can’t believe we’ll be writing 2019 as the date.

2018 certainly had its ups and downs, but it was a good year overall. I think I accomplished a lot and I’ve learned a lot. I still need to learn to relax, but maybe that can be a resolution for 2019 that I won’t keep.

Goodbye 2018 | New Year | Wrap Up | Goals | 2019 | Blogging | Creative Writing | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Usually, when I write these posts, I look back on the year and reflect on all the things I did and accomplished on the blog and writing-wise. I don’t “journal” much on here – though that may change in the new year – so I can’t get too deep into personal stuff or life in general, but I can say that 2018 was a big year for my blog and writing.

January

I talked a lot about characters and character development on the blog. I started up my newsletter again… which eventually fell to the wayside yet again. I am bringing it back in 2019 though – for real this time! I also started my Wattpad. I published The Scribe in January, which went pretty well. There’s definitely room for improvement but I like how it turned out.

February

I talked a lot about world building on the blog this month. I also officially launched my Patreon at the end of the month. I have lots of plans for my Patreon in the new year as well as publishing news. I’ll also be adding some new things outside of the blog and Pareon (but will go along with them). So, if you’ve been following my blog for a while and like what I do and enjoy my creative writing, please check out my Patreon and consider joining the journey.

March

The theme for the blog was blogging. Running a blog and promoting it and so on and so forth. I also went to Canada for the first time ever in my life. It feels like that was so long ago and yet, it feels like it was last month. I went to a gaming expo called EGLX and met some of my favorite YouTubers and streamers. It was so awesome to leave the country and have a weekend getaway with my sister as well.

April

This was a super busy month. I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo where I wrote the rest of my Short Story Sunday stories for 2018 and also worked on some mystery shorts. I also published Take Over on my Wattpad and went to Disney at the end of the month. It was a good one.

May

May was Mystery Month on the blog. So I talked about… well, the mystery genre. Duh.

June

I talked a lot about reading and book reviews as well as book blogging in general, which was a new topic for the blog. I had fun with it though and enjoyed the posts I wrote.

July

I posted two book reviews a week and also talked a lot about writing scenes in creative writing. This was another new topic for the blog. I also went on vacation at the end of the month with my family, which was great.

It was also a second Camp NaNoWriMo session. I honestly don’t remember what I worked on… I think I edited during the month working on Sunday Morning and George Florence & The Perfect Alibi.

Oh, and Ari started #TheMerryWriter on Twitter as well. At least, I think it was this month? I might have officially joined as her co-host either this month or August. I’m pretty sure July was the first month for it though.

(It’s funny – looking back at my planner I never kept up with keeping track of my writing like I said I’d do… so I only remember what I blogged about rather than what novels I worked on!)

August

I continued to post two book reviews a week on the blog and also talked a lot about dialogue in creative writing. Other than that, nothing too exciting happened on the blog.

On a side note, I had started live streaming on Twitch with my sister for Double Jump. So that was a big thing for us.

September

Not too much happened on the blog but we talked about the creative writing process.

October

This month’s blog topic was outlining your novel. This is something I talk about often on the blog. I personally love outlining but most others don’t.

November

This month was another NaNoWriMo session. I wrote all 52 shorts for Short Story Sunday in 2019. It was a good accomplishment.

December

This month has been a total crapshoot. I’ve been doing a lot of prep for the new year and have kind of talked about random stuff on the blog. It’s been good though.

Overall

2018 was a great year. I had fun, I learned a lot, had some great experience, and met a lot of new people. I have no complaints. Sure, there were some rough patches here and there, but I’m learning from them and moving on. It’s hard to not look back or dwell on the past, but I’m focused on a positive future ahead.

Posts to Remember

1. 9 Types of Characters in Fiction
2. 21 Questions To Ask When Writing a Scene
3. The Sticky-Note Method For Outlining A Novel

Here’s to 2019! Bring it on!

How did 2018 treat you? Are you looking forward to 2019? What are you doing this New Year’s Eve? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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WIP Wednesday [December 2018]

WIP Wednesday: December 2018 | Work in Progress | Blogging | Creative Writing | Writer | RachelPoli.com

I mean… what is December, really? It’s filled with holiday shopping, wrapping presents, prepping for family, gathering with said family and friend, and stress. Lots and lots of stress.

So, what did I accomplish this month? What have I been working on? Nothing really writing related, that’s for sure.

I’ve tried and I’ve little bits here and there, but for the most part I’ve been dealing with real life things. Some good, some bad, unfortunately.

Most of my December work in progress has been prepping the blog for 2019 as well as coming up with a decent timeline and plan for my writing for 2019. Which, I’ll be writing a blog post about soon and also in January.

My thoughts are all over the place at the moment, if you couldn’t tell.

This week has been tough since this past weekend didn’t go as planned so now I feel like I’m rushing to get things done before Christmas. I have a lot of things to do this week that has nothing to do with Christmas so I feel like I’m scrambling. I’m usually in good shape at this time but I only just wrapped my gifts yesterday. Normally they would have been under the tree two weeks ago.

But what can you do?

It doesn’t feel like Christmas to me. I see the tree in my living room, the lights outside everyone’s houses, the chill and snow is in the air, everyone is baking… but I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had the time to sit and enjoy it. I hope I’m able to finally take a breath this weekend and take in the festivities of Christmas and enjoy it all because we all know it’s going to be over in a blink of an eye.

So, yeah. That’s what’s happening on my end. Busy with lots of things but writing and sometimes blogging have had to take a backseat. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes.

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

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Needing A Break

Monday has come again. This past weekend went by pretty fast. Last Thursday I had made a to-do list for myself for the weekend. I got a decent amount of it done but certainly not all of it.

This was not the blog post I had planned to write for today. I simple had no motivation to write the one I had originally decided to write about. I’ve been in a slump with a lot of things recently.

I’ve been busy – on and off the Internet.

Last night I was overwhelmed by all the work I needed to do. One of the tasks was writing today’s blog post because I somehow have gotten behind with them. Instead of writing the post I logged off the computer and took a bath for an hour.

It was refreshing. (Despite Chip coming in and out of the bathroom looking for attention. She’s not a fan of baths so I also think she was concerned that I was willingly sitting in the tub.)

I wrote in my journal for the hour I was soaking and it was nice. It was quiet – aside from Chip’s low-toned barks here and there.

This isn’t the typical blog post I normally write. Every once in a while I’ll talk about general life and my well-being. I don’t know why I don’t do it more. I don’t even know if you guys like these kinds of blog posts.

Honestly, I’m partially writing this because I don’t like to skip a day of blogging. I like to keep in touch with you guys no matter the content of the post. I love what I do, but I especially love getting to know all of you guys. I’m pleased you guys care about what I have to say each day.

I’m not going to take a break from blogging or anything like that. I think I just needed a post that didn’t require as much work and thought as the rest.

Baths and journaling always seem to help. And if there’s anything I’ve learned tonight, it’s that I need to get a doggy-door for my bathroom.

What do you do to unwind for a bit? Do you ever get in blogging slumps like this? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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