Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Moving forward

I started this blog back in 1995, before "blog" was even a word. At the time, it was an "online journal," and I remember thinking how dumb "blog" (then "weblog") sounded. But now it sounds perfectly normal, and pretty much everyone has one. Well, not everyone, certainly, but an exponentially larger group than existed at the time.

When I started it, I wrote every day, and it was a huge struggle to think of something to say. I remember sitting in my chair with the laptop on my lap late at night, searching for something to write, because I knew that people were waiting to read it. In fact, if I didn't write one night, I could expect to wake up to emails asking if I was okay!

It became a burden, and I eventually allowed myself to stop writing every day. I instituted a mailing list so I could let readers know when I had posted a journal entry. That eventually fell by the wayside as well. I was working a full time job (a series of them, actually), and writing in the evenings. That worked for awhile, but then I started doing freelance web design also, and it just got to be too much, so of course, the non-paying gig was the one that suffered.

Now that I'm working from home, one of my goals is to write much more. I'm following several self-help gurus, one of whom is Leonie Dawson. She publishes a set of workbooks that guide you through a series of exercises to help you improve your life and business. One of the exercises is to write down 100 things that you would like to accomplish in the next year. When I started writing them down, 100 seemed like a huge number, but I'm now up to 64! Some of them are fairly small and easy to accomplish (get new glasses, inventory the safe deposit box), but some of them are huge (clean out my parents' house, write another book). A couple of them I've already done (pay off Bob's hospital bill!, get a new wedding ring set!).

Okay, the wedding ring set was a $65 set from Kohl's, but it's beautiful, and will suffice until I can, someday, get my engagement ring diamond reset in a ring that actually fits my finger.

The point is, make some goals--some that may be fairly easy to achieve, and a lot that may be harder. One of my biggest goals, now that I no longer have a full time job, is to figure out ways to generate more income. A couple of my friends have suggested that I set up a system whereby people could help me out by paying small amounts for the content that I provide, such as this blog. I've resisted it because it's so hard to ask for those kinds of things, but one of my goals this year is to be braver.

When I was building my new website this summer, I got up my courage and asked my website clients to give me testimonials, and they did. It was hard for me to ask, but no one minded (I don't think), and they wrote some great stuff.

So I'm being brave, and I've added a "Paypal Me" link at the top right of this blog. If you click on it you can send me some Paypal money! I've also set up a Patreon page. There's nothing there yet, because I have some questions.

I can set up the page either as a monthly subscription or "pay as you go" where you would donate a certain amount each time I post something. That's the one I'm leaning toward, but what do you think?

Also, Patreon asks you to set up rewards for various levels like crowdsourcing sites do, i.e., if someone donates $5, I'll send you a thank you email, if you donate $50, I'll mention you on the blog, if you donate $500 I'll name my first-born child after you. You know, like that. What would make sense? What would you like? Could you either leave a comment here telling me what you think, or send me an email? I would appreciate it so much!

Feeding Myself with Love

​One morning last week I was hungry, and was going to go scrounge something in the kitchen, probably a Pop Tart. I almost never cook for myself, I just don't see the point. And working from home, I don't even think about eating until I'm starving. It's different from going out to work, when I always either put together a lunch to take with me, or planned to go out, or planned to eat something that I had at work. When all you have to do is walk to the kitchen, the planning kind of goes out the window.

So, the plan, such as it was, was a Pop Tart or a frozen waffle or, I don't know, peanut butter on a piece of bread. Then I thought, you know, you might try treating yourself like you would treat someone you loved. So I scrambled a couple of eggs with onions and mushrooms, made toast and poured orange juice and ate it on a real plate. It was lovely, and I felt as if I had treated myself well.

I feel like I'm always quoting Anne Lamott, but there's a story she tells about radical self-care. She asks (paraphrasing here), if you invited the minister to lunch, would you meet her at the door and say, "Reverend, here's your very own can of Ptingles," and eat them standing up in the kitchen over the sink? Of course you wouldn't. You would cook something wonderful, one of your best dishes, and serve it on your best china with real silverware and a tablecloth and a glass of iced tea.

Certainly you won't do that every day, just like you wouldn't invite the minister over every day, but it's definitely something to think about.

I'm not a huge fan of cooking, but I always try to have something for Bob when he comes home from work. It's not always elaborate, but it's usually something hot, and I make an effort to present it in a pleasing way. I arrange the plate on a tray with a napkin and silverware. I may add a small dish of olives, or if it's a sandwich, there is also a pickle. It sounds silly, and I guess it makes me sound like a 1950's housewife, but I try to do everything with love, and he's always appreciative, and that makes me happy.

I try to remember that it'd also important to treat myself well. I may not always do that, either, but it's worth making an effort.