February almost gone?

February is a short month – the shortest month in fact. And next week it will be over. 2 months of 2018 will be in the books. What have I done with the new year?

Well slowly I am figuring out what I want to do with my life. It’s been a journey of finding what I don’t want to do with my life for sure. I’m getting closer to accepting what I really want to do. That may sound strange to say I have to accept what it is I know I want to do, but let me explain.

Let me take you on a journey..

My first career was in television, and I loved it. It was a definitely a career I had a lot of passion for. I was a news producer, and it felt good to know each day that I helped to inform the public on news and events. The trade-off to having a career that I loved was that it was financially challenging. Also growth in the field meant moving to larger markets (i.e larger cities) which was something that as I got older just didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t want to have to uproot my whole family for a job opportunity every 2-3 years.

So I went back to school and got another degree. This one in computer networking. My classes were diverse, so I learned a little about a lot of different areas.

After graduating, I got a tech support job. After that I got another computer support and so forth and so forth. I’ve been in the tech field now for 18 years. This is more than double the number of years I was in broadcasting.

A Turning Point

Now I find myself wanting to art more. I have always wanted to do a web comic. I would think of the words and then my husband could draw it. After waiting for years for him to come around to this idea, I decided I would just learn to draw. This has been my journey for the past couple of years. When I am drawing, there is no other feeling like it. I love creating. So I have some web comics out there and hope to do a lot more.

Drawing has opened up more creative paths in me. I’d love to get into graphic design. Graphic design is visual communication and seems to be the other side of the coin to my written communication skills.

So why is it so hard just to drop the tech stuff and go for it? I’m reading the War of Art by Steven Pressfield. In the book he talks about this resistance when it comes to creating art for a living. This totally resonates with me. There’s a part of me that just wants to create and put it out there. When it becomes something that I make my living at, the art is not as fun or has a larger purpose. Maybe I’m just not ready to give my art that much importance. If art and I were dating, then we would still be pre-first date and just flirting.

So what was I talking about anyway?

So back on topic, right now I want to stay connected with the tech field. Plus I want to blog more. How do these two items come together? Where I am writing this post? That’s right. WordPress! I am learning everything I can about WordPress. Template creation, plugin creation and maybe even contribute to the actual WordPress software are my goals.

I have used WordPress for ten years, and usually what I do is just write my blog posts, maybe add a page here and there, and change my theme once in a blue moon. This past week I have been watching a class on SkillShare about WordPress and have I learned a lot. WordPress is really something with so much capability. I’m in awe and I’ve used it forever. This really has me excited to further dive into my websites.

The Immediate Future

There are four areas I want to focus on for March: drawing, writing, blogging, and security. Security is mostly related to my current job. Blogging encompasses learning more WordPress and updating my websites. Writing is prep work for Camp Nano in April. Drawing is my daily art practice. I should break down each goal into a separate post for better accountability come April.

February goals

For February, I have completed some goals but others I will not make. The ones that I don’t make I plan to evaluate to see if it is a goal I want to move to March or to let it completely fall off the radar. I will talk more about the details at the end of the month. I still have three days! It might be possible to complete another goal or two. As it stands now I am happy with my goal progress and am pretty proud of what I’ve done this month.

Birthday Resolutions

Yesterday was my birthday, and today I was thinking back to the year that was. How did I grow as a human? What goals have I accomplished this past year? I realize that New Year’s Day isn’t the only time of the year that we reflect and make habitual changes.

Having a birthday in February, I already know which resolutions I have abandoned. Since it is so fresh on my mind, I also have a pretty good idea as to what happened. My birthday offers a great occasion to course correct and try to do better.

One of my goals for 2018 is to lose weight and be healthier. I am getting to an age where I just can’t ignore a small pain or another annoyance that if I was in my twenties wouldn’t have even thought about. I have done nothing to push this goal forward. My biggest obstacle – other than not wanting to do it – is exercise. It is really cold outside. I’m trying to push through more of it. I mean as I move I get warmer. Eating is just a matter of counting calories. Even though I hate that, too. But at least it leads to results.

There’s also those pesky blogging goals. I really do enjoy blogging and want to do more. Why is it so hard to do things we love? I think my biggest problem is that I want to do everything at once. I just need to remember to give myself time to do it all. Have small goals and do what I can. Then readjust my goals. There is no need to get frustrated when I can’t reach a goal if it is unrealistic.

So that is my plan for the rest of February. Evaluate where I’m at and move forward to a better me.

The end of my software development career

I’m not sure the title is totally accurate since my career never took off so to speak. But what it did was take up a lot of my time.

While I do know some programming and have been on a couple of projects as a developer, I am still just a hack when it comes to it. That is not the reason I am calling it quits though on this journey that started 18 years ago.

It started when I was in college. I had taken a visual basic programming class and was in love with programming. I wanted to change my major but opted not to since most of the development model at this school was geared to business reporting languages – something that didn’t interest me.

So I spent the next few years learning a little bit about coding but it just never clicked for me. Through my current job I was able to attend a Java boot camp and finally learned a lot of programming. Then I was on a couple of short term projects. When the last project ended there wasn’t a development role for me, so I had to choose another type of work.

Since then I have tried to learn more about coding. I have several ideas but just cannot seem to make anything happen. If I am honest with myself, I just don’t enjoy it but feel that I must continue because..well I’m not sure why but it just seems like the thing to do.

I am realizing that this holding onto this dream that is not my dream anymore is getting in the way of my current dreams. I have to let it go. It’s time.

Live Your Dream Now

Ever heard of morning pages? The idea is to write three pages in the morning of your thoughts, etc so that you get that out of your head and make room for other things the day may bring.

This have been very helpful because I wake up with so many awesome ideas that by 10am I have convinced myself I will actually do them. I never do. It’s only in the morning window where I am full of ideas that I care about doing it. So not all ideas are meant to be carried out. That is hard for me as I am a hoarder of ideas. But sometimes you have to let go and make room for an idea that is a better fit for you.

My big goal for 2018 is to work from home. While I enjoy my office job, it drains my soul. I just need more from everyday life. Working in an office is not meeting my needs. So I have to decide what makes sense for me to do from home. This is really hard because so many options seem pleasing. I know I want something I have some control over. This is why I’m leaning toward online sales like ebay, maybe Etsy, and possibly some other ventures. There are a few t-shirt ideas we have so maybe pursuing that some way.

Circling back to the morning pages, I wrote something today that I’m going to make my mantra, “Live your dream now.” So many times I think my dream will happen in the future but I can make it happen today. I just need to do those things that bring me joy like blogging and stop planning so much. More action for sure. It’s time to get out of my own head and stop worrying so much. Take action and live my dream. Everything else will fall into place.

How often can you blog and still be called a blogger?

Asking for a friend. Wow. It’s been a while since I blogged. I miss it though. It seems the harder I try to blog the harder it is. Why is that? I mean it should be easy. I have something to say and I have a blog. So just sit down and write. It’s the little things that can be the most difficult.

Another January and another round of resolutions. Although I have to admit that this year I am doing what I did last year. I don’t have a resolution as much as a mantra. Last year it was “no excuses” and I challenged myself to not put off tomorrow what I can do today. This year the mantra is “no fear.” Take those risks. Do that web comic. Make that video game. Why are you waiting? Fear of failure? Well I fail for not even trying. The challenge for me is to concentrate on one thing at a time. I want to do it all at the same time which is impossible.

One thing I do want to do is blog more. I want to regularly blog but part of me revolts against schedules. She can be really hard to live with sometimes. I’ll have to start out small and go from there. It is nice just to hear the keys clicking again. It’s like music to my ears.

So for 2018 look for more updates on this blog. I promise the next one will be sooner than six months.

Writing Burnout

I used to blog a lot. My motivation was simple: make money blogging. I did so many paid posts it isn’t funny. But that money was just what we needed as I was staying at home with my daughter. Losing that second income hurt..a lot.

Thanks to better job opportunities and returning to work after my daughter started school, we are financially sound for the first time in our lives. It’s kind of a weird feeling but one I could get used to. Since I have stopped paid blogging, I find I have trouble blogging or writing in general. I suffered burnout at the end of my paid blogging career. I thought once I took a break from writing that the burnout would fade. Now I’m wondering if it ever will.

It doesn’t just affect blog posts either. Anything that has to do with the written word gives me fits. I took up Java coding and find it very had to stay focused as it is basically writing and thinking about what to write. I miss writing. I want to write but cannot keep myself focused.

One thing that used to help when I had writer’s block was to change up where I was writing. That little trick now is not as effective. Part of me just says buck up and write. It will get easier. There is a part of me that doesn’t believe that. I will forever struggle with writing.

One thing I plan on trying is writing down what I love about writing when I’m in the head space to think about that sort of thing. Then post it where I see it every day. It’s time I remind myself just what I really love doing and why. Then just do it.

I can’t get away from writing

My first blog was an experiment. I wanted an easy way to update my website without having to upload a webpage every time I added content. I loved blogging. It was easy, and you would see the results instantly instead of having to ftp changes. I was hooked.

I soon turned my whole website into just a blog and upgraded to WordPress. Before I was using a very simple blogging program that used a file system(read: simple text files) to store blog posts. As I wrote more, I found blogging communities and other bloggers. It was too long after that I learned of opportunities to make money with your blog. I joined every paid blogging site I found and loved making some extra cash for our family, but there was a price.

I was writing paid blogging post but also needed other posts in between them, so it was just paid post after paid post. I was writing a lot and running out of things to say. About a year into this, I was burned out. I no longer looked forward to paid blog posts as it was just getting harder and harder to write.

I gave up paid blogging and continued to blog with no set goals or schedule. I was averaging a new blog post every six months. I thought a nice break would re-engerize me but it didn’t. I still could not bring myself to write.

That was really hard since I loved writing but found it impossible to do. Would I ever write again?

My husband is writing a book which I am thrilled he is doing it. He’s an amazing story teller, so I am sure he will find success. His interest re-ignited my love for writing. Last NANOWriMo(National Novel Writing Month held in November) I wrote 50,000 words. Thrilled with myself, I was finally feeling that my writer’s block was gone. While I have written a few more thousands words since then, my writer’s block isn’t completely gone and probably never will be. But that’s OK. I know that I can write and still enjoy writing. If I set small attainable daily goals then I can get into better writing habits.

It seems that everything I want to do involves writing. There are blog posts and books that obviously need to be written, but there are other projects. I want to write crochet patterns and computer programs. While those are really more technical writing, it will still be hands-on-keyboard-writing. Sometimes I love to just type on a keyboard to hear the sounds of the keys.

Writing is a passion of mine. If I just remember that and remind myself that I really do enjoy the process of writing, I can hopefully keep it up.

How I’m winning NaNoWriMo

No, I’m not close to 50,000 words. My total sits at about 17,000 words with six days to go. Will I hit 50K? I’m going to try but even if I don’t, I’m still winning NaNoWriMo. How you may ask? Well it’s simple.

To me, NaNoWriMo is about writing and I’ve written over 17,000 words. The past few years I haven’t written that much even though I’ve had plenty of ideas. I just cannot commit it to paper or computer screen. It’s been very frustrating to say the least.

With NaNo, I have been able to finally sit down and wrrite. I’ve never written 17,000 words on anything. That is a great accomplishment for me and hopefully one I can build on in December. This exercise is teaching me to just write and stay with an idea. I’m excited about writing which I owe to NaNoWriMo and and thousands of other participants. Knowing there are so many out there typing away on their story is inspiring.

I am going to try to get to 50,000 words; whatever my final word count will be an amazing accomplishment.

One less blog..

There can be only one..or three in this case..

The moniker war is over and Raesmom was triumphant over Geeky Housewife. After the long fought battle that raged for weeks (ok more like an hour) in my mind, Raesmom just makes more sense. I am no longer a housewife. *sniff* I’m still the wife part but I have a full-time job outside of the home and will be employed for – regrettably – for some time. I will always be Rae’s mom, so it makes sense to go with the name that I love so very, very much.

All of the Housewife posts are here and I do plan to continue offering household tips, but there will be a wide mix of blog fodder here as well.

So now I will only have three blogs –

Raesmom.com – eclectic
CrochetMae.com – crafty
Questionablemilk.com – funny (hopefully)

The Writer’s Life

I feel very much like I am at a crossroads in my life. Should I continue a career in my 8-5 job or should I set forth and make my own path? Having had a taste of the freelance life, it calls to me – some days very loudly.

Freelance writing is a lot of fun and I enjoyed it a lot. It is also very unnerving when jobs are plentiful and when they are scarce. Worrying about money was also in the forefront of my mind. With a steady job, I know my paycheck will come regularly.

My husband is interested in pursuing a writing career which has renewed my interest in writing. I used to blog way more as I learned you could make money blogging. I became burned out and didn’t enjoy writing for a long time. It just wasn’t fun.

So I’ve learned a few things about what it takes to be a freelance writer but more importantly I am learning what I need to do to become successful at it. So when I do hand in my notice, I will hopefully have to worry less about money and just worry about deadlines.