Hello, 2020!

Here we are. Another day. Another month. Another year. It’s been a while. How are you all doing?

I feel like such a broken record saying this but… 2019 was a rough year. I’m not entirely sure what happened to my mental health, but it threw a lot of things out the window. This blog included.

I barely wrote anything. I didn’t read at all. A lot of my other work fell to the wayside.

This isn’t to say I didn’t accomplish anything. 2019 was great in its own way for other reasons.

To be honest, though, most of 2019 is a blur. I didn’t really start to feel better until September/October and I’m still trying to crawl out of this hole.

With that said, toward the end of 2019, I started to get hopeful for 2020. I know the calendar is just resetting, but I have some plans to help me get back into the swing of doing what I enjoy.

I’ve come to a conclusion about all the work I do and plan to do. This is something I’ve known for a while but didn’t necessarily want to do anything about it. But now I think it’s time I cut back.

I have a lot of creative projects I want to pursue and always trying to get them all done in one go. I want to work on them all, but I need to prioritize what’s the most important, what I can do now, and what’s the best for my mental health and time.

So, I’ll only be working on a couple of different projects this year. I haven’t given up on everything (not at the moment, anyway). Instead of trying to squeeze it all into one calendar year, I’ve decided what I want to work on in 2020 and pushed other things back to 2021 and beyond. Assuming nothing changes between now and then.

Hello, 2020! | New Year | Goals | Creative Writing | Mental Health | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

This Blog

First and foremost, this blog is coming off hiatus but things won’t be back to normal. I’m not going to post daily anymore. I’d love to get back into posting daily at some point, but until further notice, I’m only going to post 3-4 times a week.

Short Story Sunday will still be published every Sunday. I’ll still post book reviews though I’m not sure if it’ll be every week. I’d like to get back into the habit of reading one book a week, but I’m not sure when that will start.

Time To Write is on hold until further notice. It’ll be back at some point, but it’s not something I can keep up with at the moment. This also means that guest posts and author interviews will be infrequent.

Aside from Sunday and Saturday with Short stories and book reviews, I’m planning on posting on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These will be articles or general updates on what I’m working on.

Patreon

For those of you who don’t know, I do have a Patreon for my creative writing. I post exclusive short stories on there once a month plus other content that’s not shared anywhere else.

Some new things will be happening on my Patreon this year that I’m excited about. To start off, an ebook will be sent to all my patrons at the $10+ tiers later this month. This has all the exclusive short stories from 2019 plus a bonus story. If that’s something you’re interested in receiving, you can sign up here (must be at the $10 tier or higher to receive this ebook).

More will be coming to my Patreon in the coming months. I’m in the works of creating a community for creatives and artists. So, please, if you enjoy my work and would like to be part of this community, consider joining my Patreon. It means a lot.

Novels

I’ve decided which stories I’ll be working on in 2020. They all have deadlines attached. Something (that’s long overdue) will be coming April 2020.

I have two more projects that are aimed to come in 2021. Yes, George and Lilah will finally see the light of day in 2021. The hype train for that will begin soon.

Services

As much as I would love to sit down at my computer and write creatively all day long, I still have bills to pay. My characters dancing around in my head are dancing because they’re living rent-free up there. I know, I know. I should be harder on them but I love them too much.

I’ve worked hard over the years in other areas than just writing. I edit, I can do website admin work, I market on social media, I market books and more.

If you like my work and are looking for some help with your own website/blog or your novels, be sure to check out my services.

Also, I’m going to shamelessly plug my Patreon again. If you enjoy my work, then join my Patreon and get exclusive content consistently.

Secret Projects

I wouldn’t be me if I said I wasn’t working on a few things behind the scenes. One of those things is for this website that my email list will be the first to know about as well as help me out with it.

My sister and I are working on a few new things for Double Jump. If you enjoy gaming then be sure to check out my other blog.

Finally, I’m working on a special project with a friend. Information on that will be shared in the coming months.

2020

Hopefully, 2020 will be a great year. I’ve cut back on some work, even though I still have a lot of plans. I’m going to take things slow while still working hard.

I’m looking forward to it.

What are your plans for 2020? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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I’m Starting Over

2019 has existed. It was mean at times and it’s just been an interesting one, to say the least. I haven’t had a “bad” year in a while, so I guess I was due. However, with everything that happened, I’m trying to move on, get past it all, and try to have a sense of normality again. With that, I’m starting over.

“Starting Over”

No, this isn’t meant in a literal sense. I’m not scrapping the blog or anything like that. But I’m going to basically pretend that this year didn’t happen. I wasn’t consistent on the blog, I rarely read other blogs, I missed so many comments, and I just haven’t engaged like I normally do.

I keep trying to think of ways to “get back into the swing of things.” I keep looking back at past posts and the long gaps in between them wondering how to get back into my usual routine.

At this point, it makes me overwhelmed. I have too many other things on my mind. There are so many projects I’m working on, I want to work on, or I’m collaborating with others behind the scenes on secret projects. This isn’t to say I want to stop doing any of these things – I want to continue them all. But I think that’s part of my problem. I’m trying to do too many things at once.

Between all that and real-life happenings on this side of my computer, 2019 has been pretty bad.

Thinking Outside The Box

In other words, I need to stop looking at what I have done and start thinking about what I need to do in order to move forward. I look back at the past couple of years, blogging daily, writing, and everything else. In my mind, getting back to normal is doing that again. But I don’t think that’s what needs to be done. I think that’s what I’m used to so I’m trying to get back into those habits.

I’m starting to realize that I need to form new habits. I need to work in different ways. It’s time things changed and that I shake things up a bit.

I need to stop trying to get back to where I was when 2019 started. A lot of things have happened, a lot has changed. I’m sorry to not go into detail about what these things were, but it’s put some things into perspective for me and I’ve come to realize that the “normal” I’m trying to get back to is not my “normal” anymore.

So, What Am I Trying To Say?

Well. I have to admit, this was not my original intention for this post. But, as I type this out, I realize I made a decision deep down and my mind is now just catching up. I think it’s the right decision too because I think I’ve known this for a while but just didn’t want to admit. So, with that said…

This blog is on hiatus until January 2020.

Yes, I know in my October goals I mentioned that I’d be getting back into the swings of things. But, as I just said, I think the normal I’m trying to get back to isn’t my normal anymore.

I have plans and ideas for this blog going forward and I think I need time to sort them out so I can implement them and enjoy myself while doing so. I haven’t been able to yet because I’ve been so busy trying to come up with content so I can start posting daily again. But I don’t want to post for the sake of getting something up here.

Not for nothing, but I originally started this blog in 2012 to share my creative writing. I’ve barely written a thing all year long. It’s hard to talk about writing when you’re not actually writing anything.

What About The Rest Of 2019?

I’m not stopping everything. Short Story Sunday will still be posting every week for the remainder of 2019. I am stopping Time to Write though. I love the writing prompts and will continue them in 2020, but for now, I can’t be sure I’ll check them each week to add your stories. I apologize for this. I will add the stories from last week on this Friday, but there will be no prompt to follow.

For the rest of October, I don’t know how often I’ll post (if I post). I definitely want to keep in touch so maybe, in addition to Short Story Sunday, I’ll whip up a post once a week or once every other week. The same thing will go for December. Between 2020 prep for everything plus the holidays, I’ll try to keep in touch and post a handful of times, but I make no promises.

November, on the other hand, is NaNoWriMo. I’m still going to participate in the event and will post at least once a week about my progress.

2020 Will Be Great

I have a lot of great ideas for 2020. Features, post ideas, collabs, and more. I’m really looking forward to it and I think taking a couple of months off from the actual blog content will allow me to start fresh with a brand new year.

A lot of things, unfortunately, fell to the wayside in 2019. I’m going to take a look at each and every on and either bring it back, as usual, bring it back in a new way, or just do without it. We’ll see how it goes.

In the meantime… I hope 2019 was a lot kinder to you all. It was a good year – I don’t mean to sound pessimistic and say 2019 was absolutely horrible. But there were some questionable things that happened and it was just a weird year overall.

I appreciate you all being patient with me this year when I disappeared without a trace on a couple of different occasions. I’ll be back and ready to go in 2020, but I’ll keep in touch.

Talk to you soon!

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Musical Mondays: Try Everything By Shakira

Musical Mondays: Try Everything by Shakira | Music Video | Inspiration | Inspirational Songs | RachelPoli.com

This is kind of an oldie at this point, but this is such a good song. (Zootopia is a great movie too!)

I fell in love with this song’s catchy beat, but you can’t beat the lyrics either. Zootopia had a great message about following your dream and never giving up and this song just puts that message into a catchy theme.

I used to listen to this song on a loop because it reminds me a lot of me. I often put too many things on my plate and I’m always wanting to try new things. I’m always wanting to create new things. I resonate with this song because I truly do try everything and with this whole writing and blogging thing? Well, I haven’t given up yet.

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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Harry Potter Trivia Night

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

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My First Trivia Night

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

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

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

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

Practice The Night Before

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

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

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

The Bookstore Cafe

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

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

Harry Potter Trivia Night

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

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

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

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

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

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House-sitting For A Week [Life]

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

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Initial Thoughts

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

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

I was super excited.

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

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

I was super nervous.

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

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

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

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

It Was A Good Week

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

I had mac and cheese for dinner every night.

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

Coffee makers are weird.

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

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

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

Coffee makers are so satisfying.

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

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

Being home alone is quiet.

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

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

So, that’s where the TV came in…

I watched a lot of movies.

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

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

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

Overall, it was a good experience

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

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

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