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Friday, March 12, 2021

Day in the life -- 2021

Every year, I do a Day in the Life, or a DITL.

I skipped 2018 and 2019, but I've done one every other year from 2011 on. It's cool to see the years in this way. Here is 2021's, March 11.

Wake up at 7:30 a.m.

Water. I keep a log now of how many glasses I drink.

I wake the kids up and make them breakfast. Coffee and fruit yogurt today.

Then I walk the dog as the kids start getting ready.

Dulce likes coffee quite a bit.

Natalina likes the yogurt.

Carlos wakes up and gives the dog a good morning hug.

The girls want to take a picture of me since it's 'picture' day.

The girls are still eating, so I make their lunches.

Goodbye girls! (They are going back to school after an entire year at home)

Finally some coffee.


Now I do some quick work, emailing some freelancing clients about edits.

Time to fix my cable situation, by which I mean, cancel it and get faster internet instead. This took forever. Seven phone calls to Cox, and I bought a modem without a router, and ugh.

As I'm wrestling with that, Carlos takes off to get his COVID vaccination, yay!

I have to run across town to buy a router. Sigh.

Ah. The router isn't connected properly, you don't say. I call Cox a few more times and we get it straightened out.

Lunch break.

Next up, some work for a small news room where I do election integrity management.

Then, grading. I have too many jobs.

Time for some dishes.

Then I get to pick the kids up from school.

Snack. (not pictured the donuts I also had).

Natalina making cookies, Dulce consulting.

At 6 p.m. I work out, body combat at home (no going to the gym these days)

That completes my move, stand and exercise goals.

At 7:30, I call my friend for our every other week happy hour over the phone.

Made shrimp peri peri for dinner.

Called the kids for the meal.

Then family dinner, wrapping up around 9 / 9:30 p.m. when everyone goes to bed.

Like I said, I do these every year. Some of the pictures have gone missing, but here is the gist throughout the years.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Resolutions - 2021

My resolutions for 2021.

10) Drink at least 6 glasses of water a day. 

I almost do this. I'd like to do it do it.

9) Exercise consistently 5 times a week.

I got up to a little over 4 times a week this year. We'll try again.

8) Stop biting my nails.

I had done this, but lapsed in 2020. I'm going to try to do some vitamins, too, to strengthen them.

7) Do some kind of yoga, meditation, self-care three times a week.

I'm trying to get away from gleaning my value from my accomplishments.

6) Fix three things about the house

5) Make $100,000 and/or get a full-time position somewhere.

Didn't quite make it this year.

4) Publish 50 pieces

This is a large goal, but with teaching less, and counting regular clients, maybe I can make it.

3) Read 50 books

This year, I read two, so.

2) Watch less TV

I think if I spend at least one hour of my working time without Netflix on, I can do this.

1) Start a new creative endeavor and get it off the ground

Working with a friend on a possible podcast, and I have a book I want to write. But anything will count.

For my kids and I, I resolve the following:

5) Help them navigate tween-teen years, be someone they can trust and love.

4) Integrate them into my life more now that we're all home

3) Save $10,000 more each for them.

2) Do something with them every day.

1) Have them help me with one unpleasant thing a day. (Like chores or projects)

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Resolutions Check-in - 2020

Well, 2020 was not a year for keeping resolutions, was it. But we'll check in anyway.

10) Drink 6 glasses of water a day. 

I will give myself a point. I drink 5 to 6 glasses of water a day. And I am still dehydrated. WHY. 1

9) Exercise consistently 5 times a week.

Nope. I averaged just over 4 times a week. We'll try again. 0

8) Get my nails nice

I started biting my nails again, lol. 0

7) Contribute to election integrity in ways that are tangible and meaningful before the election

I did this. I wrote articles, coordinated a book about voting machines, did a video series on voting in Georgia and headed a student voter guide project. 1

6) Fix three things about the house

I fixed the driveway, the fence, and the back wall of the house (got rid of the door and the wood rot). 1

5) Make $100,000 and/or get a full-time position somewhere.

I did not. I made $91K and I almost got a full-time job, but I did not. 0

4) Publish 30 pieces

Published 26. Close but no cigar. 0

3) Go somewhere overseas.


2) Meditate for 30 minutes a week and see one friend a week.

Nope. I started doing this. And I was doing incredibly well. Then the pandemic hit. So. 0

1) Read 12 books.

I read 2. But this year I swear to God, I'm going to read. 0

3/10 better luck next year.

For my kids and I, I resolve the following:

5) Help them navigate tween-teen years, be someone they can trust and love.

yes. 1

4) Read to them every night.

Nope. I started this, but it got away from me. 0

3) Save $10,000 more each for them.

Killed it. I saved nearly $18K each for them. 1

2) Do something with them every day.

I mean, yes? Because we have to do school every day? .5

1) Have them do chores every day.

Again, I did not do this. 0

2.5 of 5.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Freelancer Numbers - Year 6

This is my fifth full year of freelancing (I started a half year before that), but since becoming a freelancer, I've also done adjunct (freelance) teaching, and taught more than full-time so I'm going to show salary with that included and without it. Just like the past few years, teaching took up a bunch of my pitching and writing time, but also gave me a steady paycheck that I could (mostly) earn from home. And I get to teach students about journalism and how to do it! For me, this step was worth it. Of course, this year, I stepped over into too much, teaching a double course-load (8 classes) last semester. So my freelance numbers are abysmal. I'm going to change that this year. Less teaching, more writing!

I want to add that when I started this money tracking, I was not making very much, and I liked being transparent to show other people the journey.

I also took on a part-time job as a program manager for a remote newsroom. So, between that and teaching, I pull up to 80 hours a week, working.

Please keep that in mind. It's not sustainable. Don't do this. There is only so much a person can do, be kind to yourself.

This year, I made $91,756 total.

I made ~$62,500 from teaching, down from $76,000 teaching last year.
Remember, I added a job in there, which covered another $19,500
Therefore, I made only about ~$9,000 writing this year. 

Again, I hope to change these dynamics next year.

I want to give you a rundown of the totals for the last five years, just so you can see the trajectory.

2020: $91,700
2019: $94,600
2018: $77,900
2017: $65,600
2016: $48,000
2015: $23,000
2014: $6,000

My lowest income month was June at $4,670.
(Last year's lowest income month was September at $4,430.)

My highest income month was January at $10,532.
(Last year it was February at $13,112. This was an all-time high)

On average I made $7,641 a month, which is $1,910.
Last year I made $7,882 a month, which is $1,970 a week.

Remember, though, I still have to do my taxes on ~$29,000 of this.


We'll focus now on just the writing. To get that $9K, I published 23 pieces this year, which is up from the year before when I published 21.

My highest number published in a month was June with 4 pieces published.
I had several months where I didn't publish anything, which is not great for a freelancer.

In terms of publications, I published in 13 different places, down from 16 last year, including websites, newspapers and magazines.

The most pieces I published for one place? 3 which is the same as last year down from 7 the year before that, and down from 15 the year before.

The lowest I wrote for was $50. 

The highest check for one piece I received this year was for $2,500--for a piece in a college alumni magazine.

On average, I made $391 a piece this year, lower per piece than any recent year. In fairness, I have not been paid for SEVERAL of my high-number pieces, each coming in at $1,000-$2,000. So, a truer number, actually, is $473 a piece for what I've been paid, or, $630 a piece, when my accounts are squared.


Let's talk pitches, rejections and acceptances. To publish my 23 pieces this year, I sent out 72 pitches this year.

I was rejected outright 29 times. 
I was accepted 16 times (I was commissioned for some of these pieces, which doesn't count in the pitching process). 
I was ignored 27 times (which is a silent rejection, obviously).

So, my percentages work out like this:

Accepted: 23% of the time (same as last year)
Rejected: 40% of the time
Ignored: 37% of the time
Total Rejected: 77% of the time.

I was accepted 23 percent of the time, and rejected 77 percent of the time. THIS HAS BEEN CONSISTENT FOR 3 YEARS NOW.

Keep trying! Keep going! We can do this, freelancers. It is possible.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Top 5 Tips for Finding The Right Addiction Treatment Program for You

If you or a loved one has been struggling with addiction, then you have probably looked into the various addiction treatment programs available. There are now a huge variety of options when choosing an addiction treatment program for you or your struggling loved one. Finding the right program can seem terribly high stakes and very complicated. At the end of the day, you are going to have to look at a few key factors when considering your options and assess which program best fits your needs. Here are the top 5 tips for finding the right addiction treatment program for you. 

1: Get Professionally Assessed 

Before you decide to seek out an addiction treatment program, you should make sure to get professionally assessed by a doctor, social worker, or other professional who is experienced in substance abuse issues. This will help you get an idea of all your options and discover any underlying psychological problems that will undoubtedly affect your decisions about what sort of treatment you wish to undergo. The results of your assessment will allow a trained professional to recommend a course of action, which will give you a good place to start on your treatment journey. 

2: Research Your Options 

Because of the wide variety of options available today, doing research on your options is absolutely essential. If you have underlying conditions such as anxiety, depression, or other psychological disorders, you will have to make sure that any treatment center you consider is equipped to offer resources to address those issues. You may even find a facility that specializes is your particular difficulties, which of course will almost always be the better option. Call any centers you’re considering and ask about the resources they offer and how they may help with your particular situation. 

3: Consider Medication 

There are particular types of addiction, such as opioid addiction and alcohol addiction, that can be treated more effectively when you are open to using medication. These medications can help lessen cravings, mitigate withdrawal, and treat dependency on the drug. Most addiction treatment centers use medication throughout the detoxification process, but only some will utilize medication for the addiction itself throughout the treatment process. If you believe that you will benefit from medication throughout the process, you have to be sure that the treatment center you choose provides those resources. 

4: Ask Questions 

This is the only way to really compare and contrast the different options that you will find. Here are some questions you may wish to ask. Does the facility offer therapy, medication, or a combination of both? What scientific framework is the facility working under? Is the rehab individualized or more general? Does the facility offer aftercare programs after leaving the physical building, or will you have to find another resource to guide you through your longer recovery journey? Every addiction treatment program will be different, and it is important to understand these differences before you commit yourself to a facility. 

5: Don’t be Fooled by Luxury 

Even the simplest of addiction treatment programs can cost thousands of dollars per month. WIth that sort of financial commitment, it’s easy to think that having private rooms, pools, and other amenities is the equivalent of quality treatment. Luxury isn’t the point of treatment, however, and you shouldn’t let yourself be fooled by it. Looking at the quality of therapy, medication, reviews, and success rates is far more important than looking at the amenities offered by a facility. Your recovery has far greater stakes than a luxury vacation and deserves to be treated with the seriousness and respect that entails.


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