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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A Million Dreams [Life]

I have a problem. And the problem is that I want to do too many things. When I say too many things, I mean I want to do all of the things.

By things, I mean I want to continue blogging on here and on Double Jump. I also have three other ideas for blogs. If they all come to be that’d be a whopping total of five blogs (maybe more).

I want to keep writing and reading. I want to write for magazines and other blogs. I want to write and publish my own novels. I want to continue writing book reviews and beta read for others among other freelance type work. I would like to, one day, create an online literary magazine and share the work of others, especially new writers trying to get their voices heard.

I want to start a YouTube channel for both this blog and my gaming blog. I want to continue talking and reviewing books and video games as well as convey fun and entertaining information about the two topics to everyone.

There are so many other things I want to do. I want to create comics (with Kris because Lord knows I can’t draw), I want to create a video game, and there’s so much more that I can’t even really talk about. (Mostly because it’s ridiculous. Like, I want to create music and I don’t know the first thing about that.)

I don’t know where all of this came from. I don’t know where I got these ideas. I don’t know why my brain aches to be so creative. One would think writing a couple books and running two blogs would be enough, but no. I want to do more.

I want to teach myself to film and edit videos. I want to teach myself how to create a video game and see what makes my favorite games tick. I want to share my learnings with all of you, my blogger, gaming, and writing friends who have been in touch with me for years now.

But… it’s hard. No one said it would be easy, I knew it was going to be hard. Still, I honestly didn’t think I’d be at this point in my life.

It’s one thing to have almost 5,000 followers on this blog (seriously, thank you guys!) but it’s another thing to sit down at my desk one night – last night – and create a massive to-do list on things I have to get done with what I have now as well as what I need to do in order to start new projects.

It’s a lot and I’m excited. I can’t wait to get started on any new projects or to continue old ones. I actually have a publication timeline (as long as I can get certain things in order on time, things should go according to plan).

The downside of it all is money. I quit my job almost a year ago to pursue these many passions. I’m lucky to still be living with my parents who are supportive and encouraging enough to allow me to try this. I had freelance writing and babysitting to fall back on, but babysitting hasn’t been as consistent (their dad got a new job and they don’t need me as often) and the freelance writing… well, that hasn’t been consistent either. Most of the gigs I do are for free to gain experience and while there’s nothing wrong with that and I’m grateful for the opportunities, I still have bills to pay and I feel kind of stuck. The few gigs I have had that are paid haven’t been consistent either.

I by no means am complaining about any of this, even though it seems like it. It’s confusing and a learning curve. I am the definition of a struggling artist and it’s honestly kind of cool to give myself that title as frustrating as it may seem. It’s not easy to teach yourself all these things, let alone doing everything yourself.

I don’t want to say quitting my job was a mistake because I wouldn’t have made it as far as I have this past year if I was still working full time plus babysitting. Nine hours have been added to my day and it’s been wonderful. I can actually have a life too and hang out with my friends once in a while.

I don’t have a lot of bills and the bills I do have aren’t much, which is great. But when I made my list of things to do the other night, I bummed myself out.

I need to find an editor, I need to find a book cover artist. I need to buy certain equipment for a YouTube channel (I can start now and plan to soon, but in the near future I’m going to need some other stuff). I want to have the ability to host giveaways for you guys among other things.

I apologize for this post being too rambly or woe-is-me. I don’t mean to come off like that, if I am, and I don’t mean to complain. I feel like I know most of you well enough and you, hopefully, know me well enough, that I feel comfortable explaining this to you as I try to gather my thoughts.

I think money in general – having enough to get started, because let’s face it, you need to put in money in order to make money, and also getting compensated for all your hard work – is a common problem amongst us writers; amongst artists and creators in general.

When you have the discipline like me to work from home for 12 hours a day creating blog posts, graphics, creative writing, filming, etc., you want to be compensated for your hard work. We put our hearts and souls into these creative projects.

People like it too. I’m grateful for the number of followers I have. I have a good amount of daily views who read, like, and comment on my posts. I have a pretty good relationship with most of my readers and I’ve made a lot of friends.

There are a few people out there who enjoy my Wattpad stories, who have told me they’re looking forward to my YouTube channel whenever I start it (fall 2018, just so you know). There have been plenty of people who have told me they can’t wait for my mystery series to come out. (I’m not revealing my publishing plans yet just in case something happens, but it’s coming.)

This is why I started a Patreon page. I’ll admit I feel a bit odd asking for donations. When I think of donations I think of charity organizations for something more serious than me creating a novel or video series for YouTube. Still, there’s nothing wrong with asking for commissions for your hard, creative work. The rest of the world doesn’t really see it as such and creators need to make a living too, right?

I swear this post wasn’t a ploy to ask for people to donate to my Patreon page. I’ve been holding these thoughts and feelings in a for a while and decided I should share them with all of you. I hope most of you understand where I’m coming from. Still, if you want to at least check out the page, please feel free to do so. It’d make me happy.

Like I said, I’m grateful and I can’t believe I’ve come so far in less than a year. No, I’m not “there” yet and there’s a lot that’s slow due to budgeting, but I can’t complain.

Thank you guys, for everything. Especially for making it this far in this post.

Have you ever felt like this before? Whether it’s money or the fact you want to do so much and don’t have enough time or resources to get it all done? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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My Trip To Canada [Life]

If any of you follow me on Twitter, I’m sure you saw a couple of tweets from me at the beginning of the month about me being away. My blog was still running as scheduled, but I wasn’t reading or commenting on anyone else’s blogs. I wasn’t answering comments on this blog and I was barely on social media.

I was in Canada for EGLX – Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo – for my other blog, Double Jump, and also for myself.

My sister Kris and I have been wanting to go to a gaming convention or expo for a really long time now. Pretty much all of the YouTube gamers we watch was going to be there. They ran a couple of panels and put on a show. This was an opportunity we knew we couldn’t pass up.

I don’t do anything spontaneous. I’m an organized person, I have slight OCD, and I need to have a plan for the day, the week, the future, everything. I know plans change and things come up and I’m a pretty flexible person, but I’ll admit there have been a few situations where I’ve been agitated or upset because something didn’t go as I planned.

Being spontaneous is a good thing, shaking things up is a good thing. But sometimes my brain doesn’t think so.

I haven’t been on an airplane since I was 3. I don’t remember it and just tell people I’ve never flown before. So many things have changed since then anyway. I also have never been out of the country. I’ve never taken a trip without my parents. Yes, I’m 24, but I still need my mom and dad.

So you can imagine my reaction when Kris burst into our office one day and said, “By the way, we’re going to Canada!”

I should also mention I’ve never really planned a vacation either. I mean, I have, but with my parent’s help or my aunt and uncle’s help from the times we’ve gone to Disney with them.

Kris and I had to figure out how to book a flight, get our passports, figure out money and currency exchange, find our way around the airport, decide how to get from the airport to the hotel, the hotel to the convention center, and back again. It’s a lot. I knew it was going to be a lot but it’s one of those things you don’t realize how much work it is until you actually do it yourself.

But I did it. Kris and I did it.

Canada EGLX | Video Games | Gaming | Travel | RachelPoli.com

Why am I explaining all of this even though this trip was mainly for my video game blog? Well, I wanted to explain that we’re capable of doing much more than we think. This trip was a huge eye-opener for me.

I have generalized anxiety disorder. I won’t go into too much detail about it. Maybe someday I will, but for now, I’ll leave you with this: some days I do well, other days it kills me.

Being on an airplane, for example, flares up my anxiety. I know a lot of people get like this with flying, so it’s pretty common.

I’m going to Disney in April where I will have to go on an airplane. The last few times I’ve gone, we’ve driven down there. I’ve been panicking and sometimes dreading going to Disney, the happiest place on earth because I need to go on an airplane.

What if the plane crashes? What if we, for some reason, can’t get home? What if I get claustrophobic? What if I have an anxiety attack in the middle of the flight? What if I have to go to the bathroom or start to feel sick? What if someone else on the plane gets sick?

There’s always that “what if” for everything in life, but now I know what to expect. Now I’m actually excited to go.

I had a great time on the plane. The flight was only an hour and a half and it went by so fast. Yes, I did have an anxiety pill, but I honestly don’t know if I really needed it. I got cookies and apple juice on the flight which was really good. I watched the map and followed where the plane was and where it was going on the way there. On the way back I watched Mrs. Doubtfire and had pretzels and apple juice.

On the way to Canada, I sat in the aisle because I was nervous the window would make me sick. I didn’t want to stare into the abyss to remind me of how high we were. On the way back, I sat by the window and loved watching the plane ascend and descend. I loved seeing the buildings from above. We were also sitting right next to the plane’s wing both ways so that was certainly cool to see as well. I’ve never seen a plane up close before.

I was also nervous about the expo itself. Kris and I were going to be in an unfamiliar place, a large room filled with, what seemed to be, a thousand people. It was crowded. It was loud. There was a lot going on. I don’t do well in those situations.

But I did it. I was fine and I had a good time. Sure, there were some moments I felt claustrophobic, but there were so many things to do and games to play, I was able to keep my mind off it and just focus on the good.

And I did this for three days in a row.

EGLX in Canada | Gaming | Travel | RachelPoli.com

I’ve realized something important about myself while going on that trip. I knew my anxiety was all in my mind, but this proved that it really is just in my mind.

I’ve always wanted to travel but never have because I was afraid to leave my house. I was afraid I’d die on the plane.

It was amazing to see all the art and talent of various people who share a love of video games. It was fantastic to see the YouTubers who have inspired me to do what I do today. (Our hotel room was right next door and across the hall from a couple of them!)

It may seem kind of silly, but even though I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in elementary school, these YouTubers have changed my life.

A few of them have anxiety and/or depression and talk openly about it which has helped me a lot. Their videos are funny and entertaining that I’ve watched them in the middle of the night a few times when I had too much anxiety and couldn’t sleep. They’re very open, kind, and welcoming to anyone and everyone no matter their race, sexuality, mental health, or anything.

They’re just a group of friends who do what they love for a living and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do – what I am doing.

I can relate to them on so many levels: working from home, doing what I love for a living, my mental health issues, my overall goals for why I do what I do, and more.

I want to inspire people the way they have inspired me. I want to make people laugh. I want to make people feel loved and welcome in this community I’ve been building with my blog (and beyond). I want people to feel safe and comfortable when they read my work or watch my videos (when I get the channel up and running).

I want people to look at me say, “If she can do that, I can do that” just like I’ve done with these YouTubers.

I want to explore the world and before going to Canada I didn’t realize that was a thing I could do. I did it because I wanted to see those YouTubers in person. (And also because Kris was able to pay for me… Thank you, Kris!)

I want to teach myself new things and I have been. I’ve been teaching myself filmmaking and video editing so I can start a YouTube channel for this blog (and also for Double Jump down the road). I’ve been drawing more. I’m not very good, but maybe I’ll get there in time. I want to publish books. I want to create a literary magazine or something similar. I want to create a video game.

That’s not even the half of it. There’s so much I want to do. I want to do it all. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But the possibilities are endless and my creativity can go as far as my imagination, which, I’ve come to realize, is pretty endless itself.

Canada seemed to be the first step for me. It opened a new world for me and I came to realize I can do more than what I think I can do.

Maybe someday Double Jump will have its own panel at a convention. No, I don’t want to be rich or famous, but I’d like to make an impact on people’s lives. (As well as make a living off it because… bills.)

Maybe someday my creative works – no matter what form, video, blog, writing, etc. – will inspire and help others.

Of course, I can’t give all the credit to those YouTubers and to the fact I went to Canada. I went to Canada and I do what I do because of the choices I’ve made and the way I’ve decided to spend my time.

I do what I do because there are so many people who visit my blog on a daily basis and actually care about what I have to say.

Canada's EGLX | Gaming | Travel | RachelPoli.com

This is a long post, probably the longest I’ve ever written on this blog. If you’ve read this far and you’re still reading, I applaud you. Thank you for reading this through.

I didn’t mean for this to be so long and corny, but it’s the truth and I felt it needed to be said. I had this realization through my trip and breaking out of my comfort zone, but there was also something else that happened to make me realize this.

The other thing that made me realize all this isn’t a happy story like Canada. It’s gotten me down for quite a while now. Though that’s a story for another day.

I’ll say this though: I’m happy where I am in life. I’m happy with the things I’m doing and the things I’m trying to do. My anxiety holds me back sometimes, but I figure it out. I have a good head on my shoulders (I think so, anyway). I have a good support system with friends and family who love and encourage me to do what I do. I’m a pretty lucky person.

But I guess I’ve rambled enough. Thank you for reading. Thanks for listening. Thanks for being here and taking this journey with me.

Have you ever taken a risk in life? Done something you didn’t think you could? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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