Friday, June 29, 2018

Update Day: Gosh I'm Busy

Last Friday of the month means it's time for another update day. In case you're wondering what I'm talking about, a group of us have set some crazy/very important goals. Then on the last Friday of the month, we post updates on our progress. You're welcome to join, if you want. All you have to do is click here for more details.


As you guys might remember from last month, I got a major contract that's really a massive jump forward for me. This was the first full month I did this, and guys... I just really love it. More than that, though, I'm proving myself to be more and more inexpendable by being able to understand economics, write articles, and read French. That last one seems to be especially handy, since the company I'm writing for is active in Africa, which has large francophone portions. As a result, the source documents I have to use in creating my articles are all French, and it looks like no one in the comms department (which is what I'm contracted to) can read it.

At any rate, this job has proven to be basically the only one I've ever done that has my brain firing both hemispheres. So yeah, it's awesome. Also awesome is that it totally does count as using my writing skills, which means that as of this month, I'm just under halfway to my five-year monthly earnings goal.

Overall, though, I can say that my life is the best it's been in... about four years. Although there are some major unresolved issues, it just becomes so much easier to cope when you're making decent money.

But there's a bit of a storm brewing, namely a massive and growing frustration at the fact that I'm not able to work on my own stuff as much as I want. See, when I was beyond stressed out 90% of the time, a lot of my creativity just... vanished. Now I'm unstressing and it wants to play. Don't get me wrong, it's loving the day-job right now. But let's just say my muse is a bit pissed that I'm not making massive progress on my own books.

For this, though, I can't blame the job. I'm just super busy all of a sudden. A lot of new opportunities are opening up for my family so, as the only one who's "accounting literate" (as in able to tell the difference between debits and credits), I have to pitch in a lot and help. On top of this, I'm making a seriously concerted effort to brush up on my French.

One reason for this is the French reports I have to read. The other is that I got sponsored by someone to go to France for ten days in August. (!!!) We're going to a rural area up north, though, and will be living with people who really aren't all that good at English, so I'm doing as much as I can to be conversant in French. I've kept up my vocab for years by reading French, but because I don't have a lot of access to French speakers, I'm seriously rusty on the speaking part. You know... just having the ability to spontaneously convert your thoughts into speech that the other guy understands.

This meant that I had to put even more of an effort into immersing myself, so more reading French, more French TV series (thanks, Netflix!) and just practicing on Duolingo. Oh and narrating almost everything I do to myself in French so I can get used to verbalizing thoughts. Most of this takes up a chunk of time, though.

The French trip also meant that I had to renew my passport (because of course it would expire the one time I really don't have time to renew it), and will mean that I have to get my visum. Sigh.

So all in all, my life is still getting in the way of my writing, but just in a good way. This month, though, I really really want to finish revisions to Book 3. It's been languishing long enough. I'm just going to make that my goal for July.

What about you guys? How are you doing? Any goals achieved, since we're at the halfway mark?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Rolling Back the Hours

On the first Wednesday of every month, a sizable group of us writers take part in the Insecure Writer's Support group. We share our insecurities, because in the end, it helps us to realize that we're not the only ones feeling the way we do. If you want to check out the bloghop or sign up, you can find information here.

Also, if for whatever reason you prefer Wordpress, you can find this same post here.


As I mentioned on my Update Day post, I actually had an amazing month in May, and although there are still quite a few things up in the air, I think June might end up being a big one too.

One of the major highlights of May was that I signed a contract with a major company to help create their content. It actually suits me perfectly because I'm using my degree and my writing skills together.

For now, the contract is basically a test run until December, but given how happy the lady in charge of my work is, I'm starting to feel secure in the fact that an extension past that is probable, even likely. It's really strange to think that I'm this excited about the job, because it was so not what I had in mind when I started freelancing, but my brain is really enjoying the chance to use both hemispheres at the same time, since I have to be both analytical and creative, reading reams of reports and pulling all that information together into articles that people that haven't read those reports can understand.

Best of all, assuming this is a long-term kind of gig, it actually gives me the level of financial security I need to allow me more writing hours.

So where's the insecurity?

Well. In the fact that for the past two weeks, I've been sleeping through those writing hours, which means I'm still struggling to fit everything into my schedule.

See, when I was working fixed price gigs instead of hourly like I do now, my hours drifted. It didn't matter what time of the day I did something as long as it got done before deadline. And I was "filling" my writing hours with freelance work because for the past few months, I was in no shape to be creative. The stress and anxiety from my life exhausted me emotionally, and since freelance was paying my way, I put the emotional reserves I had into that so I can keep racking up the good ratings. (A strategy that paid off in a big way because it directly led to this contract.)

The overall result was that my sleeping patterns shifted to hours inoptimal to my writing. I went to bed at 2 a.m. and woke up at 8, maybe 9. Then I'd work from about 10 a.m. to as late as 11 p.m., and veg out until 2 a.m.

Bad bad Misha.

Because a lot of the stress points in my life have lifted, which leaves me wanting to work on my own stuff. Thing is, if I want uninterrupted writing hours, and I do, I need to wake up at 6 a.m. It's a simple thing, really. In theory, I should get to bed at around midnight and set my alarm.

Phht. Uh huh.

I did that.

Now I have the lovely sounds of my alarm as backdrop to my dreams.

As I sleep right through it to 8, maybe 9.

So now I'm going to move my hours some more and get to bed by 10 p.m. but it remains to be seen how that works out.

How do you guys on Daylight Savings Time manage to shift your sleeping patterns? It shouldn't be that different from what I'm trying to do. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Update Day: Boy Do I Have Good News!

It's hard to imagine, but this is the last Friday of May, which means, for those of you who don't know, it's time for me to share my update for the GotGoals? Bloghop.

Cohosted by me and JEN Garrett, this bloghop has its participants set some crazy or just crazy important goals, and then update on the last Friday of every month. If you want to join in the fun, please click here.


So how did May go? You'd think from my prolonged silence this month that it went horribly, but actually, something happened this month that was nothing short of a miracle. One day, I will be able to publicly talk about it, but because of the nature of my original problem that this miracle solved, I can't really give too much detail.

But yeah. On 3 May, someone basically walked in out of the blue and offered to solve one of the biggest problems that was threatening us. Just like that.

And then, something else amazing happened. So late last month, someone wanted to hire me as one of five people who would write articles for a project she was working on. Since the project deals with female entrepreneurship (a subject dear to my heart), I accepted the offer and started work.

It's only a short-term job, of the kind I usually do, so I thought nothing more of it, but then when I started submitting my articles, the lady let me know that I was the only one of the five people who wrote the articles the way she wanted. (She wanted stories, which worked for me. ^_^) So awesome. I'm basically going to write all those articles now.

But then last week or the end of the week about that, she said she'd referred me to the company she works for as a communications consultant, and they wanted to hire me as a contract worker, because they needed someone who could do the work I'd proved to her I could do.

So I said yes, because yay extra work.

And then I got the contract.

Guys... It's flexible and dependent on how much work they send me. But... We're talking about jumping to almost halfway to my monthly earning goal, assuming I fill the allowed hours.

And having started this week, I have to say I love the work.

So yeah. I had a super exciting month.

It's really great to be able to share some good news, I have to say.

Does that mean I'm going to set myself short term goals for June?

Not quite. See, because this is a major and new job for me, I want to keep everything as open as possible and settle into a routine. And once I do that, I'll be able to turn up the throttle on my personal goals again.

How are you guys doing? Anyone else have good news? 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Probably the Most Damaging Insecurity I've Ever Had

Gosh, I can't believe it's time for another IWSG post again. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, the Insecure Writer's Support Group is a bloghop where we share our fears, doubts and insecurities once a month. The idea is for everyone to see they're not alone in what they're feeling, and also for everyone to encourage each other, or to give advice if you've been there and made it through. If you would like more information or to sign up, just click here.

Also, I have this exact blog post up on Wordpress in case you prefer to read there. 


I actually considered skipping today, because man, I've been having some serious troubles writing. 

But here's the thing. I realized earlier that the major insecurity I've been suffering from for the past two or three months is a lie. 

So I thought I'd share a bit of what's going on with me. Finally figured out a way in which to put my feelings in a publishable format. 

There's a bit of a challenge, because I can't really explain why I felt this way. I did explain on my Patreon page, since I wanted my patrons to know where I am in my life, but I couldn't make it a public posting, because I have quite a good reason not to want to put everything up in public unfiltered where a Google Search can pick it up. So. If you want to see a full picture, I'm afraid it's going to cost a dollar. If not, no pressure. I think you'll be able to get by without the full picture. 

Why? Because I'm a writer, damn it. I'll make it work. 

Right. 

So. 

*Deep breath.*

Basically from the beginning of March, I stopped feeling like I had a future worth living for. 

Man. That sentence was harder than I thought. Already in tears. 

Okay. I can do this. 

From the beginning of March, I stopped feeling like I had a future worth living for. Basically for the past ten years, I've been keeping myself functioning by relentlessly chasing down my dream of becoming a writer, and then later of making a living off my writing skills. 

And that was great, because there was always something to work towards. A book to write/edit. Marketing to do... And so on and so forth. 

But then partly thanks to a very close relative and some supposed "friends," my life started to unravel in 2014. 

And it kept on unraveling. 

And kept on unraveling. 

To the point where in March, I stopped being able to even hope that one day it would be okay. It didn't help that I was already earning my living from writing and it just wasn't enough to stabilize the shit storm that my life has become. 

That was the worst. Because if I wasn't happy now, what was the point of building toward the future anyway? 

It started as a single thought that multiplied and multiplied until it became a belief that simply wouldn't go away. 

But here's the thing. 

It's a lie. Or worse, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Because if I believe that my future is dead in the water, I'm going to stop trying to fight for it. And if I stop trying to fight for it, all hope is lost, and my future as I want it really will die. 

And today I had the blessing of being given a chance to step back and evaluate. And to remember that although I have a grand future planned, I also have a closer, smaller, more short-term future. One where I have a new book (or two) published. One where that book acts as a stepping stone to what I consider to be my empire. Also, one where after two years of putting it off, I have an actual proper author website and stuff. 

That smaller future is something I want. Badly. And it doesn't matter whether my life wants to fall to pieces. I have the skills and tools at my disposal to make that smaller future happen. 

But to do that, I have to stop lying to myself. I have to stop thinking that I'm going to be trapped in limbo forever. 

Maybe you're in the same boat as me. In which case, I want to remind you to stop lying to yourself as well. There is a future you want, and there is a way for you to get there. Once you remember that, it becomes easier to to figure out what you need to do and how to do it, regardless of what's going on in the present. 

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 30, 2018

I've been self-censoring a lot lately. And really, I hate it. I always told myself that the day I could no longer be honest with myself and others on my blog would be the day I stopped blogging.

And really, whether it was a willing decision or not, that's what's been happening.

I'm sitting with multiple ideas for blog post topics, but the truth I'm having to stare in the face is taking up so much real estate in my mind that the instinct I try to write about something other than the truth, I get blocked.

But the instant I face the truth, I realize it's hardly publishable online.





I just deleted half my blog post again.

And... again.

Yeah. Stuff it. I'm packing it in for today.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Update Day

It's the last Friday of the month, which means that's it's time for another Update Day post. For those of you who don't know, a group of us set some crazy or important goals, and then, once a month, we post updates.

If you would like to join in, you can click this link for more information.



So how April went for me...

Sigh.

I'm just really glad I didn't set any specific goals for this month.

At the same time, though, I'm annoyed by how everything seems to conspire to prevent me from achieving anything I set out to do.

Still alive though, so that counts, right?

Monday, April 2, 2018

Update Day

This post is for Update Day, which is our once-a-month update for the Got Goals Bloghop.



I'm a few days late in updating, and I have two reasons for it. Firstly, Update Day fell on Good Friday, which I had decided not to post on, and then I got majorly side-tracked on Thursday, which was when I was planning to write and schedule my update post.

Secondly... I got easily side-tracked because I had been procrastinating on writing this post. And... you know... blogging in general.

Why? Well... the thing with a monthly update (and blogging as a whole, really) is that it requires a certain amount of introspection.

Usually, it's the case that I would feel like I achieved little, and would end up being surprised at how much I actually did get done.

March was another beast. One that I did not, and still don't, want to face.

...

...

....

................................................

Okay. I just faced it and it's just making me feel nihilistic (and like I'm going to jump from somewhere high in the near future), so let's not post that on the blog, even though I doubt anyone will see this thanks to A to Z. (She says after deleting about half the post she's written.)

Suffice it to say... I didn't achieve anything of not last month. And odds are there's not going to be much in the way of improvement in April. On the contrary.

So I'm not going to set any goals, because I'm just going to hopefully let myself be pleasantly surprised in a few weeks.

I'm probably not going to blog much until the next Update Day either. So if I'm quiet this month... don't worry... I'm probably around somewhere... But April happens to be a good blog break time if you're not taking part in A to Z. (I'm not.)




Wednesday, March 7, 2018

IWSG: Thoughts and Prayers Appreciated

Since it's the first Wednesday of the month, it's time to do another Insecure Writer's Support Group Post. If you'd like to join in or just see more information on what this bloghop is about, please feel free to click here.


Today's title deals with neither writing nor an insecurity per se, but I thought I'd take a moment to ask those of you who pray to shoot a quick prayer up for me and my family. 

As some of you might know, I live quite close to Cape Town, which is currently facing something of a dystopian-level event in July, namely where the water levels in our dams will be so low that the city will be turning off the water supply to homes, and people will be required to queue for water at a few hundred water points. 

Well... what you guys don't know is that my family business (and me) have basically been quietly but slavishly working on offering the City a possible band-aid to help stave off Day Zero. I can't give you guys precise details just yet, but to tell you guys it's been a Hurculean effort on the part of our small business is a bit of an understatement. 

But people said we wouldn't be able to approach the City... But we did. They said that we wouldn't be able to get the resources together to make the business work, not even on paper. But through God's grace, that's done too. 

Today, we submitted our pitch to the City government at their request, and now we have to wait to hear whether or not they give us the Okay Go. 

At the moment, my fingers are shaking as I type this, as we have literally done every single thing we could do to make this happen. It all depends on a yes or no from the City of Cape Town. But I can definitely say that if we get a yes, this will by far be the biggest thing I've ever been part of in my life. 

So if you pray, please ask God that His will is done, and that if it is His will, that He would continue to supernaturally intervene in this business in order to help us pull it through. 

Okay... Bringing it back to the point of IWSG...

Given that this business thing has basically consumed my thoughts lately, I'm a bit low on writing right now to even think about being insecure over it. So... Today I'm going to answer this month's question:

How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/ finish a story?

Usually, I just dance around a bit and brag about it on social media. Overall, though, I don't see this as a major achievement yet. The big celebration is for when I actually publish something. 

What about you? How do you celebrate finishing a story?

Monday, March 5, 2018

I just don't feel like writing.

I really can't believe that more than a week has passed since I last posted. I kept thinking that I'd at least post once more, but somehow, that never materialized.

There are a few reasons for this, like the major freelance job I got and the major development in the family business that kept me busy.

But then there are other reasons too, like how I've just been having this urge to play on Photoshop. (The results of which I'll probably be revealing over the next few weeks on Wednesdays.)

Thing is, I didn't have to do those things. I just wanted to. It never even occurred to me that I was procrastinating from my writing until I actually had to sit down and write this post.

See, I have about a month's worth of posts planned, so I have about 12 interesting topics to choose from today. Buuuuuuuut.... I just don't feel like writing.

So here I am, writing about not feeling like writing.

On the plus side, at least the words are flowing naturally here, so I'm not in severe burn-out territory.

I'm just feeling like my creative urges have shifted gear into visual forms instead. I'm still going to edit, though, since that mostly uses a different part of my brain.

But for today, I decided to give myself a pass, and just wanted to let you guys know why I was so quiet last week.

How are you doing? Do you also sometimes find your attention unexpectedly pulled to another art form?