Library Grand Opening

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

Library Grand Opening | Creative Writing | Writing | Reading | Library | Books | RachelPoli.com

What My Library Lacked

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

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

Two Years In The Making

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

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

The Grand Opening

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

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

Inside The Library

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m Proud Of My Community

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

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

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

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

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

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My New Work From Home Schedule [Life]

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

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

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

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

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

My New Work from Home Schedule | Creative Writing | Blogging | Entrepreneur | Freelance | Business | RachelPoli.com

People find it hard to believe that I follow a “schedule” because I’m home. I’m my own boss so I can do my work whenever I want to, right?

No, that’s not the case. There’s a lot of things I have to do and I set deadlines for myself. I have to get X, Y, and Z done before I can get things A, B, and C done. This is easy for me to do when I’m home alone, no distractions other than the dog and cat, and I have my priorities straight.

Yet, I do get the occasional phone call from a friend or family member. Someone needs to be picked up from school or someone is having drama in their life and just needs to vent. Normally this isn’t a big deal. I’m here if anyone needs to me.

However, because I’m here, people tend to think I’m available 24/7. I don’t have a boss looming over my head making sure I get my work done. I can text while I get my blogging done. I can talk on the phone while I do the dishes. Even though I can multitask with these things, I don’t get my work done to the best of my ability. Sometimes I’ll stop, give the person my undivided attention, and then I blink and a few hours have gone by.

Before I know it, the morning is gone. I need to go babysit for a few hours. When I get home, it’s dinner and the rest of my family is home from work and it’s harder to get things done then. Doable, but harder.

I’m an entrepreneur. I’m finally saying to everyone, “Here are my work hours.”

I always thought working from home would be easy.

I had assumed my “work hours” were the same as everyone else’s. In the morning, they go off to work and I’m home to get my own stuff done. By the time the afternoon rolls around, I’ll go babysit and then come home and chill for the night. Except, the phrase “work from home” is used differently to others than what it means for me.

So, with a new year comes new responsibilities. I want to accomplish a lot in 2019 and I have a lot of big plans. This requires my undivided attention. I want to make a living doing what I love and this is what I need to do.

I posted new hours on my Contact Me page, which is a general guideline of hours I’m on the computer, checking my emails, and whatnot.

My weekly hours.

As of right now, I’m working Monday through Thursday from nine in the morning to six at night. I get up early, get my writing done, get my workout in, shower, and then begin work at nine. I’ll work either on more writing or blogging or some other projects. I stop for lunch around one in the afternoon and then I need to go babysit. So, it’s kind of like an extended break, but when I get home I’ll do some last minute things for about an hour or two and then be done for the night.

I decided to add hours for Sunday because, even though we have a lot of family events on Sundays, I collab with my sister a lot on things. Sundays are the main days we can work together. I have church in the morning and then, when I get home, I’ll be working on blogging and things I need to do for my church.

I chose to give myself Friday and Saturday off. I do sometimes work on these two days, but I want it known that I won’t be checking emails or anything like that. I’ve been pretty good about keeping Friday clear. I get some chores done around the house, read a book, play video games, and just chill generally.

I still technically work on Saturdays. Kris and I still go to Barnes & Noble to get some writing done or even brainstorm for our blogging. Sometimes we’ll come home and get some more work done together or we’ll chill for the afternoon or hang out with some friends.

I have to be honest, getting work done over the weekend is easier than during the week. You’d think that, since everyone else is at work, I’d be able to get my stuff done no problem. For some reason, that’s not the case.

How I get my work done during the week now.

The number one thing I’ve been doing during the mornings has been blocking time. I’ll work for about two hours or so and then take a quick break. I’ll check on the animals, make myself a snack, do the dishes or something.

This is also the only time I’ll check my phone. I still keep it on and next to me in case there’s a true emergency, but if I get a text or a phone call from certain people, I’ll make them wait.

My phone has been the biggest distraction lately because I am able to text while I’m working and because I’m home, people know they can call me all the time. I honestly have never gotten so many phone calls in the my life, it’s crazy.

I know work isn’t the number one most important thing. There are times where I’ll give in and answer a phone call from a friend or browse the Internet a bit. We all need little distractions from time to time. However, it’s been getting a bit out of hand with people telling me, “You’re home all day. Just get it done later.”

If I got things done later, then my book would never be published. My new projects for this blog would never get done.

So, we’ll see how this new schedule works out. I have designated working times now and have put myself in a distraction-free environment with my to do list prioritized. I think 2019 is going to be the best year yet… for my work, anyway.

Do you give yourself set hours to work on your writing? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Prioritizing & Organizing My Life

I have always been super organized. If anyone has anything positive to say about me, it’s that’s I’m organized. However, being organized doesn’t necessarily mean you prioritize what you need to work on. Or what you want to work on. Or what needs to be done first.

If anyone has anything else to say about me, it’ll probably be that I watch a lot of YouTube as well. I don’t find this to be a bad thing. In fact, I watched something the other day that I really took a liking to.

Prioritizing and Organizing My Life | Blogging | Creative Writing | Organizational Skills | Prioritizing | Balance | RachelPoli.com

My sister and I watch a lot of gaming channels and even run one ourselves. There’s someone we used to watch off and on named Satchell Drakes. He stopped posting content on his YouTube channel a while ago and has, since then, posted just here and there. He’s been active on his social media and with his group of gaming friends (more people we watch on YouTube), but he’s finally started posting on his own channel again.

He started a new series called Damn Good Habits. At the time of my writing this post, there are only two videos posted for this new series. He’s got such a smooth voice and he really conveys his message in such a way that gets people listening.

The first video was all about getting started with new ideas and getting into these good habits. The second video is what really caught my attention.

Satch talked about letting your brain dump information out allowing your mind to be clear. Write everything down so that you don’t forget your ideas. Then you can sort those ideas, label them, and decide what needs to get done first.

Technically, I already do all this.

I’m no stranger to the “to-do list.” However, when ever I scratch one item off the list, three more seem to appear.

My to do lists are also very organized. They’re sorted by categories, like Satch suggests. I do so much and have a lot of work that I need to sort everything out. I run two blogs, contribute to two other websites (three of these four websites being about video games, so yeah – I need to sort them out and remember which topic goes to which website). Then of course there’s real life stuff – birthdays, cleaning, the pets, and so much more.

However, while I can sort them all and give each a label, I’ve always had trouble with deadlines.

I used to never give myself deadlines and I would get the items done whenever they got done. But then I would sometimes get things done that didn’t need to get done right away. The things I needed to do by the following day were left until the last minute.

I’ve never viewed myself as a procrastinator, but I guess in a way I am.

I got everything done on my to do list and then some. But the things I needed to get done first were always done last and then I’d be scrambling. Why? Why do I do things this way?

It’s because I do whatever I’m in the mood for. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. People always tell you to just get it done. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike. Well, I don’t want my ending result to see forced either. So, I look at my list and pick out what seems most appealing to me.

I also get overwhelmed by my list, if I’m going to be straightforward. I have so much do between work and real life that my to do list is a few pages long. This includes what I need to get done – it doesn’t include other things I want to get done or want to start. I have too many ideas and projects in my head that I want to start and finish. But once I start something, I don’t finish it… something else comes along and that seems more appealing.

That’s where the Damn Good Habits come in.

After I watched the second video of the series, Take A Brain Dump, something clicked in my head. Yes, I already do what Satch says to do. I’m organized, but I don’t prioritize.

This is where I’m lacking and this is why some of my work suffers. Go figure.

Satch suggests taking a notebook and using it as a “brain dump.” No matter where you are, what you’re doing, the time of day, whatever, stop and write down anything that comes to your mind. This can be a new project idea, an errand you have to run, anything.

I have a small notebook that I used to carry around with me so I grabbed that again and have been taking it with me where ever I go. I’ve been writing down things I need to do, new ideas, and any last minute thoughts for pretty much anything and everything.

Again, this is all something I usually do, but I tend to make it look neat and organized. This is messy and, I’ll admit, bothers me because it’s a mess. Yet, my mind feels so much better.

Prioritizing my work.

One thing I’ve learned about my brain dump notebook is that everything I’ve written down are things I already knew I needed to do. However, I didn’t write everything down on my to do list. Everything written in this notebook are things that are on my mind right now and that need to get done now. My brain already knew this but because I make super long lists and look at everything as a whole, I often confused myself.

I use Asana to keep track of my projects and work and real life happenings. After going through my brain dump notebook, I went through my entire Asana (which has 16 projects on there, by the way… that’s 16 different to do lists for 16 different categories!) and I broke up each list into sections. I gave every task an appropriate deadline.

I looked at anything that needed to get done before something else got done. For example, I can’t edit my next Patron story unless I have it written first. I prioritized what needs to get done and which projects should have more focus than the others.

I’ve been at this for a week and I already feel so much better.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know if this is something I’ll stick with. But it’s been working great for me so far. It’s really helped me out and made me evaluate what I already do. It’s made me change the way I view my work. It’s made me keep up the same habits but slightly change them to be more efficient and better for my mind.

I hear it takes about two weeks to get into a habit. Hopefully this is a damn good habit I’ll stick with.

Are you organized? Do you prioritize your work or just take it day by day? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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25 Things To Do At 25 [Life]

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

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

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

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

Exercise & Eat Healthy

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

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

Save Money

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

Go To At Least One Con or Convention

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

Begin “Something” for This Blog

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

Self-Publish A Book

On it.

Get Good With Photography & Photoshop

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

Take Up a New Hobby

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

Learn/Try Something New

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

Cook

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

Go To At Least One Concert/Show

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

Attend A Walk For A Good Cause

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

Start Planning “This” For The Blog

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

Journal Once A Week

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

Get Good With Film & Video Editing

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

Drive Around, Explore, & Discover New Places

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

Create A Budget

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

Visit The Library

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

Play More Board Games & Puzzles

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

Be More Active In My Church

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

Find More Time With Friends & Family

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

Learn Dungeons & Dragons

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

Meet Someone New/Make A New Friend

I assume I meant a person in real life?

Start “This Other Thing” On The Blog

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

Create A Collage/Scrapbook or Mood/Vision Board

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

Try Six DIY Projects

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

Anyway…

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

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

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

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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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