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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.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

How to Approach Depression Treatment with your Teen

There are a number of signs that you might witness that would indicate that your teen is developing anxiety or even depression. They might be showing a lack of interest in the things they used to enjoy, or maybe they have begun to recluse themselves to an alarming degree. Lack of communication with you or their friends and exhibitions of anger or intense emotions for seemingly unprovoked reasons can be causes for concern for you as a parent.
When you begin to think that your teen is experiencing depression, you might feel helpless and at a loss for what to do to help them through this time. You can sense their pain and struggle but aren’t sure what the appropriate steps to take should be. Rest assured that there are treatment options available to you and your teenager. Unfortunately, finding the right way to approach the topic with them can be an uncomfortable and intimidating conversation to have.
Here are a few things you should do in order to make the topic of depression treatment easier to discuss with your teen.

Have a Plan

There are some teenagers who might have the self-awareness to know that they are suffering from an actual condition and need help to better cope with their emotions and thoughts. However, this is not the case for all. You can often face a situation where your child doesn’t understand why they feel the way they do or that there is help out there for them. Many teenagers might even experience denial about their depression and resist the idea of treatment.
No matter what the particular situation may be with your teen, the best thing you can do is find out some viable treatment options that you can calmly and rationally explain and lay out for them. Start by consulting a mental health professional and figure out what the recommended course of treatment would be for your teen. There are a number of resources to be found that could prove helpful to you at this time. 
While you may wish to consult your teen about the treatment options they think would best help them, it is still a good idea to come to the conversation prepared and ready to discuss the different roads you can take together to help your teen find relief and peace.

Have a Conversation, Not a Lecture

When you approach the topic of depression treatment with your teen, it can be tempting to make the discussion more of a lecture as opposed to a conversation. Try to avoid this if possible. Your teen is going to need support, but you can only know how to best support them by hearing them out and allowing them to have a voice. They will have questions, so listen and answer them to the best of your ability, and they will have concerns, so allow those concerns to be voiced and try to put their mind at ease. The best thing you can encourage in these circumstances is open two-way communication between you and your struggling teen.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Day in the Life - 2020

I have skipped a couple of years of DITL because of busyness, but I wanted to pick it back up because it's such a great time capsule and the changes over the years in our day have been marked. Here is 2020, February 27.

I started the day before 7 a.m. because the dog had nightmares and needed cuddles.

So, I got up and dressed.

Meanwhile, my husband ate breakfast and got ready for work.

 I made coffee, and said goodbye to Carlos.

Took the dog for a walk before he helped me wake up the girls.

Typical morning rush to the bathroom.

Time for breakfast. Toast and a boiled egg, with strawberry and orange juice.

I do chores while they eat. Laundry and dishes. Then it's off to school.

After the girls are dropped off, it's time to actually start my day, which consists of a 16-task to-do list and a roll of the dice. I start with a house or work related task, and from that task, I count the number on the dice down, and that's the next task I tackle. Janel is going to love this, I'm sure. I don't know why I do it like this. I just do. Laundry was first because I'd already started it.

Then I make myself breakfast.

I start on work for an organization for which I am a project manager. We are (have by now) going on a trip to Georgia to do video work on the new voting machines and voter suppression there. Right here, I am organizing the trip, where we will go, who we will film, etc.

Next some house work and errands. Our fence blew down in a windstorm and I had to call the insurance. Then the family needed some groceries so off I went. Typical haul for a week.

Then everyone is back home from school and work!

We were getting our driveway repaved, so the girls marked their name in the pavement.
I wrote and shared a post on the internet about the current state of affairs.

Lunch! I eat in mediocre fashion.

I do some cleaning up while the girls practice soccer.

Time to take care of the dishes again.

Then more work, this time figuring out my university schedule for the upcoming semesters.

Check in with the girls. One is doing homework, the other is eating a snack.

Then I make dinner.

I have a herniated disc, so often during dinner prep, I lay down to stretch my back out. Hi.

Dinner is served.

It's like 9 p.m. at this point so after dinner, the day is done. We go to bed and do it again tomorrow.

To see previous years:

2017: (Actually a very similar day except the girls are three years younger, lol)


Thursday, January 16, 2020

How to Tell if Your Teen is Struggling

As any parent with a teenager knows, it isn’t easy. Teenagers have a lot to deal with, and their rapidly changing hormones don’t make it any easier for them. However, while some troubles are expected with teens, sometimes these issues grow too large and your teen will start to struggle. If this happens, it could result in destructive behavior or poor performance at school. The best thing you can do is look for some signs that your teen is struggling, especially when they won’t tell you directly. Here are a few signs to look for:
They Keep to Themselves
While many teenagers want to be left alone, teens keeping to themselves more often than they used to could be a sign of an internal struggle. Teens, just like everyone else, don’t want to let others see them having a hard time. The result is that they will keep to themselves and hide their struggles away from the world. If they want to spend a little less time with their parents, this is normal. But if they are avoiding family functions altogether, and especially if they are avoiding their friends as well, it could be a sign that they are having some issues.
They Lash Out
Some teens won’t internalize their problems and instead will start to lash out. Internal struggles can make us angry or cranky, and teens tend to feel these emotions even more strongly. Most parents won’t get away without ever arguing with their teenager, but if the outbursts start to become more frequent than they once were, your kid may have something going on in their life. The lashing out could take the form of arguing, yelling, or simply misbehaving. Keep track of your child’s behavior and see how it has changed over time.
They Seem Stressed
Sometimes it’s just obvious when someone is stressed. They become irritable or they spend all their time working. Life as a teenager isn’t easy and sometimes the amount of work they have to do can become overwhelming. If you find your teenager in front of their textbooks all the time, they are likely dealing with some stress. We have all had to deal with stress at some point or another, so think about how stress impacts you personally, then start to look for these same signs in your teenager.
How You Can Help Your Struggling Teen
If you think your teenager is struggling with something, there are a few things you can do. First, you should try talking to your teen. They may not want to talk, but reminding them that you are there for them can go a long way. If they don’t want to talk, don’t pressure them too much. Instead, just remind them that you are available and try to find subtle ways to coax it out of them.
For teenagers dealing with more serious mental health issues, you should consider getting them professional assistance. Teen depression treatment is a good thing to look into, as is simply speaking to a therapist. Sometimes your child won’t want to talk to you about their problems, but they would be willing to talk to someone neutral. This is a good way to get your teenager the help they need without invading their space.
If your child is dealing with a lot of stress from school, try to find some simple ways to help them out. You could help them complete some of their projects, study for a test, organize their notes or even talk to their teachers if need be. You don’t want to do all the work for them (that would defeat the point), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways you can help lessen the load a little bit. Also, remind them to step away from their work from time to time and do something they enjoy, otherwise, the stress will just make the work even harder.
All teens will go through some issues, it’s a part of growing up. Your job as a parent is to make sure the struggles don’t get too much to bear, and that your child knows you are there for support if they need you. Be on the lookout for signs that your teen is struggling more than usual, and if you spot any of them, take some action to help them out. When problems are ignored or unattended to they can snowball into something worse, so do your best to spot signs of a struggle as early as you can and get your child the help they need.


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