Hope and Potential

Yet another crazy week awaits, but this one is full of potential. Today, as per Sunday usual, is not very exciting. It will be consumed by cleaning and errands. But tomorrow the exciting stuff begins.

Get It Started
Monday afternoon I meet with a couple of faculty members at Avery’s school, to discuss programs and opportunities with Usborne Books & More. It will be my first official meeting as an Educational Services Representative, and, while I’m nervous, I’m pretty excited about it. I think a couple of the offerings, in particular, would be great fits. I just hope they agree!

Wednesday evening I will be attending my first Friends of the Library meeting at my town’s library. While I am interested in helping the library overall, I am also hopeful it will become a foot in the door for ESR opportunities, as well (and perhaps, down the road, career opportunities). I don’t know yet if I will bring up Usborne Books & More in this first meeting; I’ll have to see how it goes. But either way it will be a good opportunity to meet others who are involved in the library, and find ways I can become involved, too.

Keep It Going
Friday I will be visiting a nursing home as a vendor, for both books and whatever baskets I’m able to scrounge up. I’ve been there before, and it’s been worth the time and effort, so I’m hoping for another successful visit. I have plenty of books to sell! And the timing may work out well for Easter (that was the plan, anyway!). Whatever doesn’t sell will (hopefully) be posted on Facebook next weekend in case anyone else is looking for Easter goodies.

Renaissance
Saturday I will be attending an event as an author. When’s the last time that happened? When I learned about the Read Local event back around the holidays, I was excited to get my writing “career” going again. Of course I had hoped to have recent writing projects to discuss at the event, but that hasn’t happened. Still, I’m hoping this will be a little push to get in touch with that part of myself again. I have plenty of books to bring and, perhaps, sell, so fingers crossed for a successful event!

The Big Picture
You may have noticed a lot of “hoping” in the plans for this week. And that about sums it up. I’m trying to stay optimistic, counting on something to reap rewards. I’ve decided to put most of my efforts into opportunities that actually mean something to me, rather than struggling with the dull, meaningless activities that do nothing to get me ahead. I really want to move in the right direction, not just tread water being stressed and disgruntled. And I know if these opportunities pan out, the results will be worth it. Not only will they be beneficial financially, but they will be helping me create the “brand” I want, as I discussed last week. They will actually put me more in touch with my purpose, and that can only be a good thing.

So: an exciting, busy, nerve-wracking week. But, oh, the possibilities!

Advertisements

Rebranding

Do you ever feel like you’re so focused on what you have to do that you lose sight of the purpose behind it? I think we’ve all been there, and I find myself there right now.

It’s no secret that I’ve been focused on money, or the lack thereof, for a while now. It’s no secret that I need more to continue the lifestyle the kids and I have grown accustomed to. But I think along the way the “whys” have become a secret. I don’t do what I do just to make money. So why did I start my business? Why do I want to write? Why am I creating websites? And why am I trying so hard to keep my house?

I think in my journey to create the life I want I have come across as desperate. And I think that is part of the reason I have not succeeded thus far. I’ve been so focused on what I need to accomplish, just to survive as I see fit, that I’ve dimmed the passion that should naturally be coming through. So this post is an attempt to reclaim and put forth into the world why I’m really doing what I’m trying to do. Will it help me in my businesses? I don’t know. But, more importantly, I think it will help me, to get my mindset and priorities back on track.

Why Books?

My love of books — of the written word in general — has been consistent my entire life, as I touched on in a previous post. I truly believe in the power of the written word to change lives. It’s why I’ve decided to start a new blog and will be creating a new website to go with it. So far I’ve only written the first post, but I think it will shed a little light on how much this means to me: For the Love of Books.

As I get my Educational Services Representative career going, and hopefully pursue my longer-term goal of becoming a librarian, I’m coming to realize how much I want to be involved in promoting literacy. I really want to help kids succeed, and I think this is a wonderful way to do it on a large scale. Not to be too cheesy about it, but “I believe that children are the future,” and I believe books can help our children succeed in the future. I’m not trying to minimize the power of technology, but it can never replace the substance that is a book. It can never spark the imagination like well-written words on a page. It can never truly take us to other worlds, regardless of how much CGI is used, as well as the vivid imagery our own minds create.

Why a Writer?

Perhaps in contrast to my children’s literacy goals, my writing endeavors have been geared toward adults. Perhaps one day I’ll try my hand at writing for children, but I must admit the illustrating end of things has me nervous (yes, I know I could partner with someone to do the illustrating, but where’s the fun in that?). And writing for adults helps me process my own experiences, thoughts, and feelings.

To be honest, I don’t know why a writer. It’s just something I feel compelled to do. And, unfortunately, it’s something I’ve been putting on a back burner for far too long. I’ve put it on a back burner for so long I question whether that burner works any more. Maybe it went out long ago and what was simmering has gone bad. But I’m still tempted to try it…

Why Websites?

Apparently in addition to feeling compelled to write, I’m also a glutton for punishment. Because, aside from novels, the medium that attracts me the most is also one of the least likely to bring in income: the free informational website. And that stems from my desire to help people, and to want to help as many people as possible, regardless of their ability to pay. Maybe one day I’ll actually get something in return for these sites, but in the meantime I’ll continue to try to create something worthwhile for others.

Why Keep the House?

While I must acknowledge that in many ways it would be easier to have a “fresh start,” my reasons for wanting to keep the house are multiple and complex.

The first, perhaps most important, reason is that this is my children’s home. I know kids are resilient, but they already have a lot to deal with. This is the only home they’ve known. And to take that away at what is already a fragile time is less than desirable.

The other reasons are more selfish: the sense of pride that keeping the house would provide, the determination to not lose what I’ve already been fighting for, the feeling of loss that would surely result from losing the much-desired spaces I’ve been struggling to create.

It is a challenge, but one I am not surrendering to easily. Until I decide it’s the best option to sell, I will continue to try to make it work.

Creating a Brand

In business it is recommended that owners create a brand. When someone buys something from you, they are not purchasing an item — they’re buying you, your brand. The brand is the image that you portray, what you stand for, what you offer the world. And it’s not just businesses that have brands. Everyone does. Think about the image you portray to the world: who other people think you are, what other people think you believe in and enjoy. That is your brand.

For a while now I think my brand has been “desperate and determined.” And I’m not happy with that. Would you be? It’s time to change. Because while I sometimes feel that way, that is not who I truly am. Yes, I’m determined. But I don’t want to come across as desperate (even if I sometimes feel that way!). I want to come across as open-minded and helpful, knowledgeable and happy, confident and successful. I want to be equated with books and literacy and children. I want to be the one people turn to for creative problem solving, brainstorming, and advice. I want to be seen as professional but approachable. I want to be seen as a good mom, a good friend, and a good person.

To create this new brand, I need to shift my priorities. While I can’t minimize the need for money, I need to focus more on value rather than cost. What is the value of my time? What is the best, most valuable, use of my time? I can’t believe that it is doing things I have no desire to do just to try to bring in a couple bucks. I want to do things that will bring me closer to my goals, that will be in touch with my purpose.

This week, as I juggle Avery’s half days at school, my first cash and carry book fair, Avery’s parent-teacher conference, and prepping for my upcoming author and vendor events, I will be evaluating how to get the most value for my time. And next week I hope to share my findings. Until then, wish me luck! And if you have any suggestions or feedback, please feel free to share!

With a Little Help From…

I have always prided myself on my desire to help others. I’m not perfect, but I’ve tried to help when I could. Over the past year or so, however, my ability to help others has been dwindling. I haven’t had money to donate even a few groceries. I haven’t had the time or energy or mental capacity to help on a more personal note, easing burdens or pitching in. And now it looks like, instead, I’m the one who needs to be helped.

It’s no secret as to why this has happened. When Kevin moved out, our already-tight budget got impossibly stretched. And now, with more financial changes taking place as we make things official, that budget is ready to burst at any moment. So I’ve had little choice but to seek out assistance in the one place I never thought I would need: the department of social services.

I’m not ashamed. I’m a hard-working mama who just needs some help until I’m in more comfortable circumstances. And I know I will get there. But in the meantime I’ve qualified for state-supported health insurance (which is actually a pretty sweet plan, if I do say so myself – and all of our doctors accept it, so it was a no-brainer!). And I’m pursuing food stamps, though I’m still awaiting the answer on that one.

It’s not easy accepting handouts, especially when you’ve always been the one helping. But this is why the programs exist, and I am grateful for the help. I honestly don’t know how I would have afforded health insurance for myself after the divorce. And if I don’t have to worry about paying for groceries (even though I am an excellent shopper who doesn’t spend much anyway), that’s more money that can go toward the less-forgiving expenses, like keeping a roof over our heads.

While I use these benefits, I’m still chugging away, trying to get my business and websites going strong. I’m still putting in my hours at my day job. And I’m still searching for other ways to bring in income. I’m still hemming and hawing, trying to figure out the best course of action with some things, and putting in the effort with others, hoping something will pay off. (And something has to pay off, right?)

So, that being said, it’s time to move forward. My current project? Trying to use what I’ve got to bring in the income I need. I’m going to start putting things on eBay again (a project I let fall by the wayside after a few measly listings). And I’m going to finish reviewing what I have on hand, in my personal stash and my businesses’ inventory, to create baskets for Easter and beyond. I can’t spend much, if any, money on more inventory, so I need to get creative and maximize what I already have. It won’t be easy, but I’m up to the challenge.

I expect to have one vendor event coming up before Easter that will offer both books and baskets (and whatever else I want to bring). Whatever baskets I’m able to make will be brought to this event. But I think I’m also going to revive my sad and pathetic Creative Endeavors Facebook page so I can post everything I have available without making my personal page too sales-y. If you want to want to “like” the page and hold me accountable (and give me a little kick in the butt!), you can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/MyCreativeEndeavor/.

I have a few events coming up just with Usborne Books & More, so I’m hoping those will help, too. And I’m still working hard on getting my schools and libraries division up and running. I also have to update my available inventory in my Usborne Facebook group.

The only problem with these grand plans? They all take time. And that is something I’m still working on. I’ve been finagling with my weekly schedule to figure out how to fit it all in, but it’s definitely much easier said than done. And that’s assuming I stick to my plan! If I succumb to fatigue, or get attacked with illness or very grumpy children, everything tends to slip.

So the moral of this blog post? Time and money are not my friends. But I’m doing what I can with what I’ve got. And I suppose that’s all any of us can really do!

The Nitty Gritty

Oh, what a crazy couple of weeks! First a flurry of activity surrounding Valentine’s Day, including my having lunch with Avery on Valentine’s Day and a Friendship Dance at Avery’s school that Friday. Then it was his birthday, and suddenly my little boy is 6 years old! We had some birthday fun, then the following day a party for some friends. All in all a busy, but fun, week. This past week, though, was another story. It’s like all the fun got sucked away. We dealt with not feeling well, crazy weather fluctuations (that contributed to the not feeling well), behavior issues, and just a general feeling of chaos and blech.

Whew. I’m glad that’s over. It’s the start of a new week, and I’m hopeful that we’ll all be able to get back on track.

Part of that getting on track will be tweaking my weekly schedule so I’ll be able to better stick with it. (I haven’t been sticking to my daily schedule, either, but that’s more a matter of willpower, or, rather, the lack thereof.) Amidst all the chaos and blech-ness, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, prioritizing, and brainstorming. I feel like I keep making plans, but then I don’t stick with them. Now, this is not a new problem by any means, but I’ve been trying to pinpoint the reason for this so that I can make adjustments and then make progress, rather than get constantly discouraged because I’m failing. So I’ve had to ask myself some questions:

  • Do I not allow enough downtime for relaxing and “me” time (a very real possibility)?
  • Do I need to prioritize more, so less meaningful tasks take up less time (and therefore less energy)?
  • Do I need to shift when I take care of certain tasks, so I’m doing the most meaningful tasks when I have the most energy? (though if I do this, will less meaningful but more urgent tasks fall by the wayside if I’m too tired?)
  • Do I need to set aside some less-pressing tasks to focus more on tasks that will bring in more income sooner (even if the less-pressing tasks are more meaningful for me)?
  • Can I set aside a few large chunks of time more frequently to tackle the “big stuff” that takes a lot of time — rather than wait until Kevin has the kids every other Sunday? (Because doing things little by little is getting me nowhere…)
  • If I actually stick to my daily schedule (with built-in “kid” times), will that be enough meaningful time with my kids to assuage my “mom guilt” or do I need more?

As much as I love to plan and fit things into a calendar, I know I need to move past planning and actually take action to move forward. Sadly there hasn’t been much progress as of late (for a while, actually, it seems). Part of this can be attributed to the insecurity I discussed a while back, and part of this can be attributed to the fact that I honestly don’t know what to focus on (and my gut can only be trusted so much). I don’t want to waste time heading in the wrong direction.

As I’m thinking all this, and typing it all out, I think what I actually need, ironically, is a plan. I’m not talking about a daily and weekly fit-things-in kind of plan. I’m talking about a business-style plan. I need to set some concrete goals, to sit down with that scary checkbook and budget book and make a real plan.

I’ve talked about goals before. I’ve talked about plans until I’m blue in the face. But I’ve never been in my current situation before, so life hasn’t been so urgent, make-or-break before. I’m getting a divorce. Money is tighter than it has ever been. I have two little kids relying on my for just about everything. I need a real, solid, “this is what I HAVE to do” kind of plan. And, I have to admit, I’ve been avoiding it. I’ve been focusing on the little stuff, trying to get by, but that’s not going to help me long-term. Asking myself all these questions just reinforces that.

I’ve taken long, hard looks at my career options. I’ve determined, for the most part, what I want to do. And, yes, I need to find time to make progress in that part of my life. But now I need to take a long, hard look at the rest of my life. I need to really figure out the money stuff — long-term, not just getting-by.

It’s time to make a plan. Now when am I going to find the time to make it?

Get the Party Started!

I’m happy to say I’ve finally completed my 2017 business paperwork, so I can get my taxes done today and kiss 2017 good-bye! It may not seem like a big deal, but having that big weight off my shoulders means I can finally move forward and make this the best year yet. And I’m determined that THIS WILL BE MY YEAR! It’s going to be a busy year, for sure, because I have a long list of things I want and need to do: in my personal life, for my household, and for my career. But I’m ready to get started!

Personal Life

As I’ve mentioned previously, Kevin and I are getting a divorce. While the decision was made a couple of weeks ago, however, not much has been done to actually proceed with this decision. I’ve met with a divorce mediator to discuss what needs to be decided, and he also recommended a book that I’ve started reading, to assist with the process. I met briefly with my insurance agent to see what would need to be done to get our accounts separated. And that’s about it.

Kevin and I have arranged to meet tomorrow night to discuss some details, and I’m hoping I can start working on the paperwork this week. When, exactly, I’m not sure, but I’ll get there! I’m hoping the meeting will get things moving.

The one negative about getting the ball rolling? Having to tell the kids. Emily will likely just take it in stride — she’s too young to really understand. But Avery is another story. I worry about how he’ll take it. We’ve already been struggling with his behavior lately. Will this make it worse? Will having a definite answer help in some way? Will he get overly emotional (I have a feeling he will)? I know he’ll get through it, but I worry about him in the meantime. Hopefully his therapist will have some suggestions.

Household

Oh, where to begin? There is, of course, the never-ending money crunch. I’ve started playing with money again, arranging balance transfers in an attempt to save on interest. And I’m doing what I can to stay afloat. I’m hoping once details are worked out with Kevin that I’ll be able to better plan moving forward. I’ll need to know what I’m dealing with to know what gaps I have to fill. Then I get the joy of figuring out where the rest of the money is coming from. That’s always the challenge. Fun is!

There is also, of course, the mess that is my actual house. I’ve made little bits of progress, but you wouldn’t know it! I’m hoping that now that a good chunk of paperwork is done I’ll be able to get back to the schedule I had made and start making progress. I really need to get this house in shape! I hate living like this (and Avery has indicated he does, too, which makes me sad). So the next full free day I have (aka the next day Kevin has the kids), I’m going to attempt to go on a cleaning spree. And then most free days moving forward will likely be the same, until this house is at least somewhat clean and organized. Then maybe I can breathe a little easier!

Career

This is probably the only “fun” stuff on my to do list, now that I finally have a firm direction in which to head. First things first: start the year off right with paperwork. I’ve got to stay on track with paperwork this year so I don’t end up with a headache come tax time. I say this every year, but this year I really mean it. I’m determined to stay on track this year so I can move forward instead of constantly play catch-up. It shouldn’t be too hard. January wasn’t exactly a big time for business! But I still have little things to do for Usborne Books & More, and some adjustments to make to my Creative Endeavors inventory. And, of course, I have to get my binders set up so I can keep track of all my reports and paperwork for the year. If I can keep it up, though, it won’t turn into a monumental project.

I also want to finish re-creating and adding to my A Life You Want site. I have an author event scheduled in the middle of March, and since I have a book related to the blog, I feel I have to get the blog back up and running! And I should probably update my professional website, too, so that’s in tip-top shape for the event. I work well with a deadline, so here goes nothing!

And, as I mentioned last week, I have a new project I’d like to get started on. That blog and site will be a big undertaking, but I have high hopes for it, and I’m excited. I think for now my Saturday morning project, which I had assigned to “writing,” will be devoted to writing content for the new site. And I’ll have to design a logo and create a website design and set up the blog template…..

A Great Year

Whew! I have my work cut out for me. But this is good. Having a plan in place, knowing what I have to do to get where I want to be, is good. I really am determined to make this a great year. And while that will require a lot of effort, a lot of optimism, and a lot of commitment, I’m excited to make it happen!

A Little Clarity

Oh, what a week! That makes it sound like it was horrible, but actually it was a very inspiring and motivating week, at least as far as my professional life is concerned. It was a week of little pushes and possibly big steps forward (though only time will say for sure). And I feel I’m finally getting a handle on what I want to do with my life. Sounds good, right? So what happened?

Well, to start, I don’t believe I mentioned it in my last post, but I am now a certified Educational Services Representative for Usborne Books & More. FINALLY! This is one of the main reasons I signed on with Usborne in the first place. As an ESR I can now work with schools and libraries on reading programs, fundraising, and, of course, direct sales. It has A LOT of potential, but, perhaps more importantly, it has me excited about the business again. While I have nothing against parties and the like, they’re really not my forte. I would prefer to have a few organizations that I help on an ongoing basis, rather than have to constantly go out and search for new customers, new sales, and new business. And I love that I can help these organizations earn free books for themselves and the children they service.

That being said, I’ve started putting out feelers to get my ESR business going. I hope to be working with Avery’s school in the near future, and I’ve already been in communication with the literacy coordinator there to arrange a meeting. I also have the contact information for the person who handles ordering at the local library, too. I’m holding off on sending that e-mail until I’ve received my official starter kit, though. It should arrive on Tuesday according to UPS tracking, so I may have a new lead next week, too! I’m excited to get started.

The other big business-y development this week comes in the form of my websites. It’s no secret that I’ve had tons of different projects going on for a while now. In addition to my books, I’ve had websites in the works, on a variety of subjects. As time has passed, the passion I’ve had for some of the topics has waned, but I’ve kept them alive because I thought the sites had potential. But, through careful consideration, I’ve finally decided to let a couple of them go. Unless something drastic happens between now and then, when my money and gift-giving sites expire (in about a year), I will not be renewing them. Though I haven’t done much with them in a while, the fact that they’ve been on a back burner has been taking up mental space, and I need the room!

I will still have my general professional site (www.VanessaKelman.com), my Usborne Books & More site (www.NessasUsborneBooks.com), my family fun site (www.FreeFamilyFuninCT.com), and I’m sticking with my A Life You Want site (www.ALifeYouWant.com), though that one needs work. That’s still a lot, but for the most part those (except for A Life You Want) are up and running and will just require general maintenance and updating as necessary. That means perhaps I will have room for a new project…

Which brings me to my last development: the decision to start a new blog and website. I touched on this last week, and I’ve made the decision to go for it. This new site will be all about children’s books, literacy, etc. I already have a list of ideas for content, though it will take a while to write articles, do research, and design the site. But, as with my new ESR title, this is something I’m excited about, and it’s something I feel has a lot of potential.

OK, so if you’ve been reading my blog and reading this post, you’re probably thinking I’m nuts. New projects, making changes, and yet I still have not much to show for it. But this blog post is titled “a little clarity.” So what’s up with that? Let me explain.

Since before I started this blog, I’ve been struggling with what I want to do for a living. I’ve had different ideas, tried different career paths. I’ve followed different passions, expanded on different interests. I’ve owned businesses and worked for “the man.” I’ve brainstormed and driven myself nuts and researched and asked for input. And yet I was still lost. I still lacked focus, lacked a true path. But now I finally feel I’m heading in the right direction.

So what is that path? In what direction am I heading now?

What is the ONE thing that has remained consistent my entire life? What was there in the beginning and remains to this day? My love of books.

I’ve read them, I’ve written them, I’ve tried to sell them. They’ve made me laugh and made me cry. They’ve taught me and kept me entertained. I’ve read them aloud and read them to myself. They’ve kept me company and provided an escape. They’ve encouraged my kids to curl up on my lap, snuggled against my shoulder. I love the feel of them, the look of them, the way that you can learn anything just by reading one. I love how they spark our imaginations, teach us about ourselves and the world around us, offer kids a way to explore anything they want. Books are awesome!

So, as I’ve stumbled over the past couple of months, determined to finally figure this out, I’ve finally reached some conclusions. And I’ve decided that, for the most part, my professional life is going to be dedicated to these wonderful compilations of words. I will continue to read them, write them, sell them, share them with my children and other people’s children. And now I will write about them, teach about them, encourage through them, and hopefully help others realize how amazing they really are. I will go back to school and become a librarian so I can earn a steady income while sharing this passion. And I will be successful, because I think this is what I was meant to do.

Now, a lot is still up in the air (like that pesky lack of money), and I have a lot to still figure out, but I’m choosing to stay positive. I’m choosing to hold on to the excitement and enthusiasm as long as I can, and to let it move me forward. When I’m excited about something, I feel like anything is possible. And I’ll need that feeling if I’m going to make this happen! So here’s to excitement, passion, and all things good…may they drive me to success — at last!

What If?

What if everything I wanted came true? What would my life look like? They say it can be helpful to envision what you want, to give you motivation to make it happen. So here it goes:

  • I would live in my current house, but it would be clean and organized and fully functional, without any concerning maintenance issues.
  • I would have two beautiful, well-behaved children who loved spending time with me but were also free, independent thinkers who were thriving and growing.
  • I would have a fulfilling book-related career (as a librarian? an Educational Services Representative?) and also have my fulfilling side projects. My websites would be full, getting traffic, bringing in income, and helping people. My novels would be actually selling, and I would be making progress on additional books to publish and sell.
  • I would be involved in my kids’ schools, able to help with projects and field trips and fundraisers.
  • I would be able to give back and get the kids involved in giving back, through volunteering or donating. I’m also still considering fostering…
  • I would be happy, comfortable financially, able to go on vacations with the kids, with enough free time to catch up on my reading list or watch movies or treat myself to a manicure or bake.

I think that sounds good. Now, if I follow recommended advice, the way to accomplish these goals is to work backward and determine what I would need to do to reach them. What steps would I need to take, how long would I need, what would I need to do each day to get there?

Now that would require a lot of thought and planning and figuring out. I’ll save that for a future post! But the reason I bring it up now is because I hate feeling like my options to meet my immediate needs aren’t bringing me any closer to my long-term goals. And I need to either find a way to deal with that or find other ways to meet my immediate needs that do bring me closer to my goals.

I have spent the last week trying to figure out the best course of action. I’ve said I was going to make the leap into freelancing, and yet I find myself reluctant to start. Scrolling through job boards to bid on, I find myself struck with an emotion other than the fear I mentioned last week. It’s a feeling akin to disappointment. The feeling that if the jobs that interest me most are in line with my own personal projects, why should I spend the time writing for someone else when I could be writing the same things for my own sites and getting myself closer to my goals at the same time?

I know, I know. The guarantee of money is a strong motivator. But I kind of feel I would be wasting my time — and possibly shooting myself in the foot at the same time, as I might not be able to reuse what I wrote for my own needs, which would affect my sites in the future. So what do I do?

And, let’s not discount the fact that while reaching out for advice on ways to bring in money an idea was presented to me that has since been rolling around in my head, growing like a snowball, to the point that I kind of want to jump in to that new project. What is it? A new blog, and coordinating site, that revolves around books, specifically children’s books (though I suppose I could expand it if I wanted to). This project could have positive effects, as it could provide ad revenue (especially if I opted to expand onto YouTube for reviews and such), plus ways to channel traffic to my Usborne Books & More business, any children’s books I decide to write, and more. Hey, I might even get to the point where I’m getting free books to review and whatnot, but I may be getting ahead of myself. Still, the possibilities are endless. (I know, I know. I do not need another project right now, but if it helps and has a lot of potential, is it really so bad?)

Keep in mind that all these thoughts are swimming in my brain as I’m trying to take steps for immediate needs, and I feel I’m not getting too far. I tried transcription again and spent about an hour and a half transcribing a 16-minute audio clip for about $6. It’s more than I would have gotten just sitting on my butt, but not much more! Is it worth it to keep going? Yes, I would get faster with time, and yes, I would get more per minute as I get established, but still… I spent a couple of hours posting items on eBay. I’m hoping that pays off, but it’s too soon to say. Was that a waste, too?

I’m torn. Can you tell? I have such high hopes for the future, and so many things I want to do. I had thought I was getting closer to a solution, but I realize I’m not, after all. So where do I go from here?

Well, I think that when it comes to freelancing I’m going to look for projects that are not related to my personal projects. In other words, find topics I’m interested in that I wasn’t creating a website for (maybe kids/family life, writing etc.) or focus on editing, proofreading, and other tasks that are not actually writing. And in the meantime try to make progress on my own websites (and maybe that new blog…?) and other projects. I’m also going to continue to post items on eBay. Not only will that possibly bring in income, but if I find the gifty items I’m posting are selling well, I may be able to build something from that to relate to my gift-giving website for future income.

It’s not perfect. And I do really need to tackle that “working backward from your goals” thing. I want to feel like I’m making real progress, not just flopping around and occasionally moving forward. Ahh!!! Sometimes it feels my brain is more of a muddled mess than ever. But I feel I am getting closer to a solution, or at least a course of action. Any suggestions? Advice? I’m open to input!