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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Resolution Check In - 2017

Each year, I check back on the resolutions I made the previous year to see how well I've done. I only look at these things twice a year. Once when I make them, and once when I check them, 12 months later. It's interesting to see what my goals were and whether or not I made it.

10) Drink 5 glasses of water a day.

0. This year I felt like fuck water, I guess. I'll try again, but I think I'll go back down to 4 glasses a day. That's more reasonable for me.

9) Go to the gym and/or run consistently 3-4 times a week.

1. I actually did do this enough to count it. There were weeks when I did nothing, sure, but also weeks where I ran, biked or went to the gym every darn day. It would average out to 3-4 times a week, I'm sure of it.

8) Stop biting my nails

0. I mean. I just can never do this apparently.

7) Do something actionable and politically motivated every single week.

1. I did a lot of activism this year. A LOT. But there were weeks and even months where I did nothing. I just couldn't. Then again, there were weeks and months where I did something every day. I feel like averaging again, I'd come out with at least a thing per week. I put a lot of effort into this one, so I'm counting it as done.

6) Read 15 books. Journal 250 times.

0. I read like 4 books MAYBE, and I didn't journal at all because LiveJournal was eaten by Russia.

5) Make $55,000-$60,000.

This is a stretch for sure. I'd be happy with $50,000. <-- I said that when making the resolution.

1. I made $66,000 this year.

4) Publish 100 pieces.

0. I only published 40 pieces this year. I decided to teach instead.

3) Teach at least six classes this year.

1. I taught 10 classes this year, and I developed two more.

2) Publish my thesis.

0. LOLOLOL I really REALLY do not want to do this. Like at all. And I really REALLY should.

1) Save another $5,000 for each of my kids for their college education.

1. I saved $7,000 each for them this year.

Wow, 5 out of 10. That might actually be a record. I hardly ever keep resolutions! Also, I feel like I deserve a bonus point because even though it wasn't on my resolutions list, this is the year I for real quit smoking. Seven months and counting, anyway. That sucked and it was hard.

For my kids and I, I resolve the following:

5) Get them to stop fighting all the time.

0. Fighting is one of their favorite games.

4) Make them do math and reading every day for at least a short while.

.5. I did pretty well with this, though I did let vacations and weekends slide sometimes.

3) Get them into an activity other than Capoeira to expand their horizons a bit.

1. Um, they are in after-school instead, which isn't necessarily expanding their horizons, but we did a billion different summer camps this year, from museums, to engineering, to gymnastics, and a whole bunch more. We're trying.

2) Play a game with them every day.

0. I want to try this again. I really want to do this, but time keeps slipping away!

1) Have them do chores every day.

.5. Chores were mostly used in terms of discipline this year, though they did do A LOT of them. I want them to get used to having to do something small every day just because we are people and that is what we have to do.

Hmm, 2 out of 5. That's not super great, but at least it's something. I have a feeling a lot of my resolutions this year will be repeats, lol.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Freelance Numbers - Year 3

This is my second full year of freelancing, and while I did it full-time my first year, this year I ended up taking a teaching position at UF, and taught full-time so I'm going to show salary with that included and without it. It 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.

This year, I made $65,630 total.
I made ~$41,000 of that from teaching at UF.
Therefore, I made ~$24,000 writing this year.

Last year, I made $47,979 total.

My lowest income month was March at $2,663. 
(Last year's lowest income month was April at $1,832 )

My highest income month was July at $11,082. 
(Last year it was February at $7,743)

On average I made $5,469 a month, which is $1,367 a week.

Last year I made $3,998 a month, which is nearly $1,000 a week.

Remember, though, I still have to do my taxes on ~$25,000 of this.

I'm happy with my professional decisions this year, and I recommend writers taking on teaching a college course or two if they have the time. It's great steady income. I'm slowly switching over, I think, but freelance is always available, too, which is great!


We'll focus now on just the writing. To get that $24K, I published 40 pieces this year, down from 65 pieces last year, and down from 80 the year before. For important comparison, the year I published 80 piece (my first full freelancing year), I made just under $24K, which means I'm being paid on average twice as much per piece now.

My highest number published in a month was January with 8 pieces published.
My lowest number in a month was May with no pieces published.

On average, I published 3.3 pieces a month, down from 5.4 pieces a month last year and down from 6.7 pieces a month the year before.

In terms of publications, I published in 14 different places, down from 24 last year, including websites, newspapers and magazines.

The most pieces I published for one place? 15.

The lowest I wrote for was$50. I wrote one piece for $50 this year, and a couple more for $75 (local paper)

The highest check for one piece I received this year was for $4,400--Parents Magazine.

On average, I made $600 a piece this year, up from $440 a piece last year and up from $300 the year before. (This number skews high because I counted a few reprints and some blogging revenue in my yearly total, and also some private projects.) So, let's probably say I made about $450 a piece this year.


Let's talk pitches, rejections and acceptances. To publish my 40 pieces this year, I sent out 165 pitches this year, down from 267 pitches last year and 329 the year before. I'm slowing down on writing to teach more. 

I was rejected outright 56 times. 
I was accepted 50 times (some are still in edits, and some were killed, which brings the published list to 40). 
I was ignored 59 times (which is a silent rejection, obviously).

So, my percentages work out like this:

Accepted: 30% of the time (same as last year)
Rejected: 34% of the time
Ignored: 36% of the time
Total Rejected: 70% of the time.

I was accepted 30 percent of the time. I was rejected 70 percent of the time.

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

Last year's complete numbers are here.

2015 complete numbers are here.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Top Cultural Activity Ideas for Kids

If you are sick and tired of your kids being glued to the television screen or their tablet or smartphone, then it’s high time you took matters back into your own hands! Why not show them who’s boss, and be sure to ration all those hours that they spend using their electronics in favor of more cultural and holistic activities? From learning a musical instrument or skill, such as cooking, to going to see a Broadway show or even an art exhibition, there are a range of fun ways that you can introduce a bit of culture into your kids’ lives – and best of all, they might even enjoy it too!

Visit an Art Gallery

From the Metropolitan to the Moma, or even the Guggenheim, no matter where you live in the US, you may be surprised by the wealth of art collections that are only a short drive away. So, if you don’t want your kids to associate art galleries with boring class days out, then it’s time to show them that art is accessible to everyone. Take time to explain to your kids why they should learn to look at art. Keep it fun and light, they only have a short attention span after all, and ask your kids what they like about the paintings or sculptures that they see. You may even be surprised to find that you have a little Picasso living under your roof.

See a Show

If your kids dream of making it big as a celebrity, or even if they spend hours watching Glee, then taking them to see a Broadway show will make all their dreams come true, well into next year. Check out websites such as to find the exact date, show and time that you want to see. Once you’ve found the ideal show for you and your family, make sure that you leave the house with plenty of time to make it to the theater. Seeing a show is a great way to inspire your kids to use their imagination and embrace their cultural side. So, make sure that you give their dreams and ambitions room to grow.

Take a Class

Ok, your kids might roll their eyes at the thought of taking more classes, especially if they already have a packed schedule from school and sports practice, but don’t let their moaning put you off. A class is a great way to teach your kids a new skill, and be imaginative and inventive – all while learning from a professional at their own speed. Cookery is the ideal way to encourage your kids to experiment with new tastes and flavors, plus it’s a life skill that will be very useful in the future.
If you worry that your children are spending too much time on tech, then keep these tips in mind to ensure that your little darlings enjoy some much-needed culture in their lives. Even if they grumble at the thought, they will secretly love any new activities that you plan for them.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Four Ways to Prepare Your Child to Become an Independent Adult

Parenting is unique per person. There is no wrong or right way to parent, just better ways. You need to do what you feel is right, and what you believe is best for your child. As long as you try, and care about the wellbeing and future of your kid, you’re already on your way to being parent of the year. What you need to remember, though, is that your children won’t be little forever, and you need to help them prepare for their future.

Young people today are nowhere near as prepared or ready to be independent adults on their own, which is why when you parent, you should aim to teach them the things school doesn’t. High schools don’t have home economic classes anymore, meaning that common skills like cooking aren’t taught to teenagers. That is why you need to ensure that your child learns these four lessons before they move out for college:

1.     How to do the Laundry
How to properly do the laundry is a crucial life skill that your children should know how to do, and it’s easy enough that you can start teaching children from a young age. Help them sort clothes by color and teach them what kind of clothes can be washed and how. They’ll protect their garments as adults, and they can also help you out around the house as they grow up.

2.     How to Clean a Room
Cleaning a bathroom is another life-skill that children and teenagers should know how to do. This is especially important if they have a bathroom to themselves. Teach them how to safely and effectively clean, and get them in the habit of cleaning often. This applies to bathrooms, kitchens, and even their own bedroom. Deep-cleaning is important for health, so ensure they can take care of themselves.

3.     How to Cook
One of the biggest and most important life skills that you need to teach them is how to cook. Start when they are small, and work your way up so that not only can they fend for themselves when they move out, but they can stay healthy and make themselves great meals, too. Teach them how to make their favorite pizzas from scratch using a VonShef pizza stone for the oven that will keep their pizzas hot for longer. Teach them how to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Just by helping you make food can help expand your picky eater’s diet, and it will give you peace of mind when they move out. As a bonus, cooking together is a great way to spend time and bond together!

4.     How to Mend Clothes
Clothes tear, buttons fall off, and generally sometimes you just need to go with a needle and thread and fix your clothes. Teach them how to mend their clothes effectively so that they can keep wearing their favourite pieces.

These life lessons are important to learn, but are rarely taught. That’s because high schools no longer include these skills in their curriculum. As such, you need to ensure that you teach your child so that they’re ready and capable adults when the time comes.


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