Monday, August 29, 2016

Friday, August 26, 2016

My long-term goals

It occurred to me after my last post, about weeding unnecessary and unhelpful things from my life, that I should probably ask myself the question, What ARE my long-term goals?

Of course, as I'm sure is the case with everyone, that's not a simple question -- nor does it have a simple answer.  But I'll take a crack at answering it, because I think it'll help me do more weeding.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Weeding

Yesterday I mentioned all the goals that I'm juggling: freelancing, blogging, working on my novels, ebook ideas, projects around the house, riding more frequently, practicing the piano, reading... and that's on top of the work I do with kids and at the barn.  It's too much to manage a lot of the time, and as a result about half of those things fall by the wayside at any one time.

The solution is, of course, to do fewer things... but I have to confess, I like having lots of interests.  I don't want to completely give up some things in order to spend more time on others.  So what I need to do, for me, is figure out what things I'm wasting my time doing -- and get rid of them.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Busy summer

My apologies for neglecting my blog this summer.  Even though I was no longer nannying regularly, I had picked up a couple of new families on an as-needed basis.  In addition, halfway through the summer V. and A.'s parents started asking for my help here and there.  And in the gaps in between, I was freelancing, working at the barn, doing projects around the house, and trying to carve out some free time here and there.

As a result, I was fairly busy until the kids went back to school this week.  Not as busy as I've been in previous summers -- not as busy as last summer -- but still busy enough that I completely forgot to blog all summer.

Monday, June 20, 2016

NaNoWriMo at Denver Comic Con!

This past weekend was Denver Comic Con.  I should have posted sooner, but I haven't been very good about maintaining my blogs, and by the time I thought about it Comic Con was underway -- and then I was too busy to post before the end.

My co-ML for the Denver region, who is fantastic and has been an ML for many years, arranged with Comic Con for us to have a table there again, like we did at last year's Comic Con.  And this year, I was on a panel to talk about NaNoWriMo!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hooky by day, writer by night

My plan to reestablish my freelance writing schedule this week backfired.  Over the weekend I found a piano, and will be meeting the movers at the thrift store tomorrow.  I expect the move to take up a major chunk of my day.  On top of that, I have some help with household projects available to me this week, so I decided to take advantage of it.

It helps, of course, that my biggest client is on hiatus at the moment, which has freed up a little time in my schedule.

Of course, the nice thing about freelancing is that I don't have to totally play hooky.

Friday, May 13, 2016

My writing schedule: Snafus and goals

My freelance writing schedule has become totally unrecognizable, and needs to be revived.

The shakeup has definitely been caused by the events of the last month.  I was sick for two weeks, which did the worst damage -- it was a butt-kicking kind of cold, especially the cough, and I didn't feel like doing anything while it was hanging on.  I gave up a lot of babysitting (as much because parents didn't want to expose their kids as because I didn't feel well), and didn't get all that much freelancing done, either.

Last week and this week I babysat a lot, which kept me from reestablishing my freelancing schedule.  Plus, I had a lot of stuff to do last week that had been ignored when I was sick -- like cleaning, and laundry.  And then this week I had to get ready for company, so more time was devoted to cleaning and finishing up projects.

I'm hoping for a return of sanity next week, especially since I don't babysit until the end of the week, which should give me several solid days of freelancing.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Setting boundaries

I don't know why, but setting boundaries has always been one of the toughest things for me.  Over the years I've gotten better about it in my personal life, yet I still have trouble with it in a professional aspect.  I often overburden myself because I have a hard time saying, "No, I can't," or even just, "No," when someone says they need me.

I've been trying to remain aware of when I'm letting myself be taken advantage of or overworked, however, and recently I had what I consider a pretty major victory.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Star Wars Day: May the fourth be with you!

I haven't posted in a few weeks, mostly because I've been pretty busy.  Once taxes were accomplished, I had my birthday, plus some more fallout from the divorce to deal with.  And on top of it all, I got really sick with a horrible cold that lasted for about two weeks.  I didn't work much -- on anything -- during that time.

But on to better and geekier things!  As all good geeks know, May 4th is Star Wars Day.  Because, you know, "May the 4th be with you."  Punnery at its finest!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Tax Day for freelancers: 2015 in review, and plans for 2016

Tax Day this year falls on April 18th -- something about them not wanting the next day to be Saturday.  This also means, for freelancers, that your first estimated tax payment is also due on the 18th.

My first few years of freelancing I was always ahead of the game, getting my taxes done early.  After a while, though, I stopped being as organized about recording my income and expenses throughout the year.  This meant that it all had to get done at tax time, which made preparing my return so much harder.  This, in turn, meant procrastination and last-minute filing.

This year, I did a little better, finishing my taxes a week ahead of time.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Working from home: Loathe it or love it?

I saw this post the other day and meant to share it much sooner:

The Awful Reality About Working From Home That None Of Us Work-From-Homers Want You To Know

As with all GIF lists these days, it's an entertaining post, especially for those who know what it's like to work from home.  But do you agree?

Monday, April 04, 2016

Busyness, scheduling, and Camp NaNoWriMo

The last few months have been busy, to say the least.  Some weeks I think I'm settling into a manageable routine with freelancing and juggling my other things (babysitting, the barn, etc.) effectively, and other weeks I feel like I'm scrambling just to stay afloat.

I'm thinking I'll need to set some limits on things going forward, such as how much time I allow babysitting to take from my freelance hours on any given week.  I also need to finish unpacking (yes, I still have some things that I have yet to unpack!) and get a few other projects done so that I can focus more on freelancing.  I'm not very good about juggling too many things at once, I'm afraid!

Speaking of juggling multiple things at once... This month is Camp NaNoWriMo.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Rough week

This has been a rough week.  I agreed to babysit for one of my families while their school was closed, and quickly regretted agreeing to so many hours.  It basically meant a 12+ hour day yesterday, including my barn chores, and only a slightly less long day today.  When you add in the fact that I got home last night to cat puke on my bed, a long evening of doing laundry, and only three hours' sleep...  Well, suffice it to say that I'll be glad to put this crazy week behind me.

Friday, February 26, 2016

A day in the life of a writer

My schedule has been all over the map lately, but I'm gradually figuring out more of what works for me and what doesn't.  Keep in mind that there is a lot of variation on this, depending on what work I have lined up for the day and what I need to do at the barn, but in general this is how a typical day seems to go for me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My first few weeks of freelancing again

It's been a few whirlwind weeks.  A couple days into my fourth week of freelancing full-time again, I'm finally taking a breather to update my blog and do a few other tasks.

I guess I needn't have worried about finding enough work, because I've been busy.  In fact, I should have been worried about balancing all the other things I wanted to do -- like blogging and writing fiction and reading and riding my horses.  I've been having a hard time carving out time for everything.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Setting up a daily schedule

I've been thinking a lot about my daily schedule lately.  I posted recently about some concerns I had regarding the barn and how that'll affect my chances of sticking to a work schedule.  I also think it's important to have at least a loose schedule in place, though, if I'm going to be at all productive.

I have considered a few different possibilities for working around my barn chores.  I could, for example, plan on going first thing every morning, getting my chores done, and then heading home to work.  I could also plan on doing my admin stuff in the morning, heading to the barn for a bit, and then returning home to focus on client work.

But then there's also my goal of riding more in 2016.  Riding means taking longer at the barn.  I could plan that into my day and work later into the evening.  I could also plan on devoting more time to the barn one or two days a week, and fully intend to work longer hours the other days to make up for it.

So many factors to consider...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tools to increase freelance productivity

Since I'm thinking about how to relearn good productivity now that I'll be freelancing full-time -- at least for the time being, as I still haven't decided about the long term -- I've also been thinking about tools to help me increase my freelance productivity.  Freelancing is going to be more of a numbers game for me this time, since I can't depend on my husband's income to fill in the gaps in mine.  I'm going to have to be more productive so that I can be more self-sufficient.

Here are a few ideas I've come up with for tools I can use to help me increase my productivity.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Relearning productivity

Now that I'm no longer nannying, I will need to relearn some of the productivity skills I had back when I freelanced full-time... at least back when I was doing a good business with it.  I had gotten a little burned out, which was part of why I took the part-time nanny job, but before that I actually did a fairly good job of staying on task and getting everything done that needed it.

Some days I wonder how I ever managed that.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Goals for 2016

Way back around New Year's, I wasn't planning on making any New Year's resolutions.  I haven't had much luck keeping my resolutions in previous years, and I decided it was too demoralizing to make resolutions you don't keep.

My non-resolution didn't last long, though.  I caught myself saying I wanted to ride my horses more in 2016, and then I saw the Goodreads reading challenge for 2016... and those who know me know I can't turn down a reading challenge!

And now with the changes in my nanny job and my living situation, I've been thinking about the coming year in a totally different way.  I'm thinking it's time to make some resolutions after all.

Monday, January 25, 2016

New beginnings: Change #2

I recently blogged about some significant changes in my life and freelancing career, and then I announced one of the bigger changes, that I'll soon be leaving my part-time nanny job.

The other change isn't entirely a change for me, but will come as a surprise to many of my readers.  Although I never announced it (aside from some vague mentions of changes), I've been separated for nearly two years now, and have been going through a divorce since summer.  We're in the home stretch now, though, and the divorce should soon be final.  Although living on my own won't be a change, the divorced status will be, and there are some other, related changes, too.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

New beginnings: Change #1

I announced in my last post, when I returned to blogging a week ago, that I am undergoing some major changes.  Both will have a significant impact on my freelance career, although in vastly different ways.

Change the First: In another week, I will be ending the chapter of my life that I began over four years ago, when I started working part-time as a nanny for V. and A.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Hello, can you hear me?

After months of silence on my end, I'm back to announce some significant changes in my life, both current and upcoming, and what they mean for me and my freelance career.

But first: My first November as a NaNoWriMo ML was relatively successful, although in retrospect I wish I'd had more time to spend on ML-type things.  I did, however, set up and attend lots of write-ins.  I also set up the TGIO party, although it wasn't as well attended (and usually isn't anyway).