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

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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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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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An Update On Life & My Mental Health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll talk to you all soon.

Coming Back With A Fresh Mind

Happy Monday, everyone! I feel like it’s been a little while since I’ve posted on here. I skipped two days last week, which is totally unlike me. I usually have my blog posts done in advance, but I got behind due to writing. I was also busy with my Dad’s birthday, Easter, and other things. I’ve been exhausted and blogging definitely got pushed to the back burner.

It’s weird because I haven’t missed a day of blogging in three years. Still, I’d rather post useful content than post just for the sake of posting. I’m coming back for a fresh mind now, so I thought I’d give a quick (which will most likely turn into a long) update.

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Writing

Sunday Morning: A Collection of 52 Flash Fiction

First things first, writing has been kind of crazy lately. I’ve been working on a lot of different projects and officially know what the self-publishing process is like. My debut book, Sunday Morning: A Collection of 52 Flash Fiction is now available on Amazon. It comes out tomorrow, April 23, but you can still pre-order it right now. I’m still working on a few things – such as getting the paperback set up as well as getting the book out there on other platforms. It’s a work in progress, a learning curve, but hey – it’s on Amazon. I did it. So, if you’ve enjoyed my Short Story Sunday feature on the blog, then please grab a copy of Sunday Morning.

Crossroads

I’ve been working on my next Wattpad novella – which has turned into a novel. Which will most likely have a sequel. It was not supposed to be this way. Still, I’m enjoying myself as I write it. I have a long road of editing ahead of me, but that’s okay. I’ve been keeping notes and ideas for when that time comes.

I’ve been using this story as my project for Camp NaNoWriMo and the 85K90 Writing Challenge. As I write this post, I’m sitting at 45,717 words for Camp NaNoWriMo. So, I only have 4,283 words left to right to reach 50K. I’m hoping to do that today once my blogging is done for the day.

I’ve also been using this story to catch up with the 85K90 Writing Challenge. I edited for a good chunk of the “writing” months so I’m using April’s “finish” month to reach the 85K word goal. Right now I have 77,033 words. I need another 7,967 words to complete the writing part of the challenge. If I reach 50K for Camp NaNo today, that’ll knock down 4-5,000 words and I should be able to finish the challenge tomorrow.

George Florence & The Perfect Alibi

I’m getting closer to completing this one. I have a publication goal in mind for 2020, though that’s all I’m going to say for now. I’m still working on it, it’s still happening. It’ll be here soon, I promise.

I don’t have too much else to say about it. I’m in the final self-editing stages. Then it’s off to an editor, which I’m currently shopping around for.

Blogging

Posts

I need to sit down and look at my planner again and really get my posts in order again. I’ve gotten behind in getting them set up in advance. I have plenty of ideas but I haven’t sat down to work on posts in a while. This is definitely on my to-do list for the week.

Admin & Maintenance

I’ve been wanting to go through my old posts for a while now. I need to upgrade most of the pages on this site and there are some new things I want to do with the blog. I’ve had the business plan for WordPress for over a year now and I’m just rediscovering plugins. I didn’t realize the many different things I could do with my blog and also how fancy I could make it look.

I’ve had something in mind for a while and I found a way to do it through my blog without creating a brand new website. If I can, I’ll definitely work on that so I only have to maintain this blog and have everything in one place. It’ll make it easier for all of us.

There are also a lot of simple upgrades I want to do for the blog as well. Of course, this is something I’ll be working on throughout the summer (at least, my goal is to have this all done by September). I won’t sit down and do it all at once – no one wants the blog to change overnight. These changes will be slow and subtle. Well, some may not be as subtle.

Still, I’m looking forward to it. I’ve finally found a way to do all these things I’ve been wanting to do for a while! I feel like I’m creating a brand new blog and it’s a good feeling.

That’s It For Now

I was super busy and totally overwhelmed last week with the launch of Sunday Morning and everything else going on. When I tried to get any work done, nothing happened, but I did brainstorm. Now I’m back and feel ready to continue as well as implement my new ideas and plans.

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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