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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Library Grand Opening

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

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What My Library Lacked

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

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

Two Years In The Making

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

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

The Grand Opening

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

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

Inside The Library

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m Proud Of My Community

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

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

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

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

Do you visit your library often? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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My New Work From Home Schedule [Life]

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Working from home is no easy task. I’ve always been used to it though. When I got into college I always preferred taking online classes. There were many reasons for this, of course, but one reason was that I preferred to do everything at my own pace. I preferred to do the work on my own and tell myself what to do.

In some ways I miss being in college because I found great joy in looking up the homework for the entire semester, making a large to-do list, setting aside time each day for school specifically, and just getting it all done on my own terms. Half of the time I’d have my homework completed a couple weeks in advance.

People have always awed at me saying I had a lot of “discipline.” I can certainly agree with that, especially since I took a leap to quick my job and work from home.

There are ups and downs to working from home though. It’s harder to stay healthy and while you have more time to socialize with friends and family, it’s harder to get out there and meet new people. Not to mention the whole money-making thing.

But if there’s one thing that’s super hard about working from home, it’s balancing between work and real life.

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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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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.

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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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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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Give Yourself Some TLC

It was the day after Christmas
and all was now calm.
No one was stirring
not even my Mom.

The holidays are over and so is 2017 for the most part.

I’ve spent 90% of my life on the computer and internet the past couple of months writing, blogging, and lately getting ready for the new year.

Work certainly takes a lot out of you as do the holidays.

So this is a gentle reminder to take care of yourself. The busy days are over. The stress should be gone.

Even if you have more writing and blogging to do, let it go for now. Take this day (or the week) to kick back, relax, and reflect on what a great job you’ve done.

Reach out to some family and friends you haven’t talked to or seen in a while and catch up. Sit on a couch with any new books you received as gifts, make a cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate and enjoy. Sit in front of the fire if you have a fireplace. (I do not. Sad day.)

Spend the last week of 2017 recharging. Brainstorm resolutions that you’ll only keep for the first couple of weeks of the new year (as you do). Go out with friends and family.

Remember that you work hard each and every day and it’s okay to take breaks. It’s okay to give yourself a little vacation, even if you’re not going away anywhere fancy.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday. Please be well, be kind, and bring in the new year with lots of positivity.

rachel poli sign off

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