Making Time

Making Time

Happy Spring!

If it would only stop raining already it might be half-way decent out. Not that it matters- I’ve been too busy to enjoy the weather yet. Or much of anything else, for that matter. But I think that’s about to change. I have a couple more weeks left of working six days before I get my second day off back. It’s amazing what a critical difference having a second day off makes in my work-life-hobby balancing act. If I’m busy on Saturday, as I have been for the last couple weeks, I fall behind on everything else. My house is an absolute train wreck right now and it really effects my psyche. Going to burn my day off this week on deep cleaning and doing some long overdue organizing/throwing shit out. I like to have a clean slate when I start to get overwhelmed so I know that will help. My other two goals for the week are to get my Etsy shop updated (I have a batch of stuff already made that just needs to get listed- a more time consuming process than you might think) and edit the few pics I managed to get from Acen. (photo drop coming soon!)

I’m happy I made it down for Saturday of the con this year but, as always, I have a couple regrets. Once again, I really wish I got more pictures. I’m not sure how to rectify this without really changing my entire approach to conventions. If I want to get more pictures, and better quality pictures, I probably need to stake out places with better backdrops, away from the crowds, where I can really take my time. This means I need to break away from my friends and do my own thing (at least for part of the time) and I’ve NEVER done that. Cons have always been something I experience with a close friend group first and foremost. But, especially now that I don’t drink anymore, maybe that’s something to consider? I feel like my not drinking does have a noticeable impact on how I meld with my friend group and has changed how I experience conventions. Still, I don’t know. I have some more thinking to do on the whole thing and I know I don’t have to come up with any sort of definitive answer anytime soon. There were always be more cons and I can dabble with how I approach them as I go.

Speaking of changes, I want to switch up my focus going forward. For the past month or two, I’ve been spending all my spare time on crafting. While it’s definitely been fun and rewarding, and I certainly want to do more (especially with clay- I just started getting into making polymer clay charms and I really want to try some more) I think it’s time to shift my energy back to writing and editing instead. I like crafting and it’s a fun way to spend my time but, since I have so little of it to spend, I really need to get back on track if I want to finish anytime soon. And I really really do.

To a lesser degree, I also want to get back to spending time on non-productive hobbies. I haven’t sat down and just binged out on a video game or anything like that in months. Which, if you knew me, you’d know is incredibly strange. I think I have been consumed with this idea that I have to spend every moment of my time creating something. It’s a pitfall I’ve seen echoed amongst many other folks my age- especially (though not always) other creative types. That all our hobbies need to be monetized, that if we don’t have something to show for the time we spend, that time is wasted. It’s an unhealthy mindset, one that my boyfriend noticed I was starting to slip into when he pointed out how stressed I was getting over making stuff for my little shop. The shop is and always will be just for fun. I don’t really make a profit from it- it’s just a way to make back some of the money I have into materials and to find homes for the things I make rather than amassing a hoard of trinkets I don’t need. But it’s not a job- it was never meant to be. And if I start stressing over it like a job, then I’ve really lost the plot. I mean, I’m happy I’m spending my free time productively. There was a time in my earlier twenties where I would play games in excess- they consumed my life and left room for little else. I’m happy to have moved on from that but now the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. I want to find time to enjoy things just for the experience they give- just for how they enrich my life and give me a break from making.  It’s always a struggle to find harmony in my life, something I’m sure I have in common with many others. Yet, even if things are still a little out of balance, I cannot claim to be unhappy. I’m far from that.

Wishing you all luck in overcoming your own struggles, whatever they may be!

Boats and Books and the Best Laid Plans

Boats and Books and the Best Laid Plans

This past year has given me a lot to think about with regards to my life, my work, and my future.

Let me start by saying that I love my job. Coming out of college with a degree in English and a passion for writing, I certainly didn’t foresee landing a job in the boat business, of all things. My plan was to apply for some administrative, office-type jobs just to get keep a roof over my head, and I’d figure out something more permanent after. I was attracted to this marine position because of all the people I’d dealt with during the interview process. They were so kind, welcoming, laid back- the work environment seemed ideal. And I was right- I’m shocked at how much I enjoy the job considering I had no knowledge or interest in boats or boating. My coworkers and the management are amazing, the work is rewarding and interesting, and you can’t beat the view. It pays pretty well and doesn’t stress me out- it doesn’t mentally fatigue me to the point that I don’t have enough energy to work on my passion projects, which is awesome.

IMG_3911
And some other pretty rad perks 

I’ve been here for over five years now, and I still love my job, but I’m also reaching a tipping point. I’ve pretty nearly hit the wage ceiling for my position, so unless they can splice some more significant roles into my job, I probably can’t make much more without switching out to a different department. My boss is very supportive; he’d help me join any department I want, but I honestly don’t have a lot of interest in the available opportunities right now. I’d love to stay in sales- I’m so happy here! My boss has been encouraging me to move up from sales support to an actual selling position and…I just don’t know. I enjoy being a support player- the idea of selling on my own is really intimidating. The base pay would be comparable but the rest is commission-based and we’re in an inventory-lean period right now that doesn’t show signs of changing soon. So I told him I would consider it.

And I’ve been considering it.

I know I shouldn’t stay stagnant in the same position if there’s no opportunity for a wage increase…but I’m just so hesitant to mess up a good thing! How many people can honestly say that they love their job- that they wake up in the morning and (still hit the snooze- I’m still human) are happy to be heading into the office? I’m worried about losing that. And more importantly, I’m worried about losing the ability to continue pursuing my real passions. I still dream of becoming a published author above all else and if I’m committing all my focus to being a successful saleswoman… I’m afraid I’m forfeiting that dream. I’m in a ‘have your cake and eat it too’ scenario with a job I truly enjoy that also allows me to pursue higher ambitions. But I also worry it won’t continue to pay the bills. I’m still little better than paycheck-to-paycheck and approaching thirty. I worry this isn’t sustainable. Or could it be, if I budgeted better? I don’t know. That depends on so many unknowns.

What I do know is this: for the time being, the bills are getting paid and I’m keeping my head above water. I’ve got credit card debt but who doesn’t? And it’s not like, crazy out of control amounts of debt. I’ve got the student loans too but they’re just out there existing and would be in any and all scenarios.

Here’s what I’m leaning towards.  I still plan on selling at the boat show this January- much of the company’s support staff helps sell at the big show so it’s a great way to get my feet wet. Beyond that, I want to wait to make any decision regarding joining the sales force till next summer at the earliest. Until then, I want to concentrate on giving publishing a proper shot. I’m still on schedule to have the book done before year’s end. Then I can start the publishing process in earnest.

I just feel like I owe it to myself to try this before I commit to a different path. I have a window- my boss is in no rush to move me. If he wasn’t genuinely concerned about me ‘fulfilling my potential,’ he’d keep me here forever, as I’m most helpful to him directly in my current role. So I have no pressure to move beyond what originates from my own life.

So I guess that’s the plan. Subject to change, warp, evolve, or entirely dissolve at any given moment. Wish me luck? Or maybe just the sense to see the proper path in time? As always, I wish the same for you!

Busy but Balanced

Busy but Balanced

This summer is turning out to be full to the brim and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve reached a rare balance of work busy & fun busy and I’m interested to see how long it will last.

I finished part 3 of my fantasy WIP and made a conscious decision to step away from it for a few weeks. I could feel myself getting creatively fatigued by the end, like I had been too close to the story for too long, and it was all getting hard to see. I wanted to take a break, focus on my other creative endeavors, and return to it refreshed- with new eyes. It feels great to take a break from writing without the accompanying feeling of guilt. I know this is what my story needs right now, and it’s also never far from my mind. I know there will come a point soon when I’m anxious to get back into it, but in the meantime I’ve made some progress on a bunch of other stuff I love.

Had my first trip to the Renn Faire and I loved it, as always. The Bristol Renaissance Faire is consistently one of the happiest places I’ve ever visited. The scenery and atmosphere are unmatched, it’s rarely too crowded, the food and staff are excellent- if you live nearby I highly recommend a visit! I went without a costume and focused on taking pictures instead, this time. I’m hoping to get a chance to edit them in the next couple days and make a little photo dump post.

I’m also getting close to finishing my Taako costume! It’s missing the bracer and the cape, and I want to touch up the ears and makeup, but otherwise I’m so pleased with how it turned out. Taako is such a rad character; I’m so looking forward to being him with the rest of Tres Horny Bois when we head back to the Faire at month’s end. Gratuitous pictures to follow, I’m sure!

I also had the opportunity to host my first tabletop campaign as a GM. I’m doing a run of Monster of the Week inspired by The Adventure Zone: Amnesty. It’s a fun & easy game type and I’m lucky to have a great group of players. Everyone’s characters meshed really well and I’m excited to see where the story goes! It’s a lot harder to be a GM then I imagined (I was already nervous about it) and it got a little rough in parts, but I think I learned a lot and I’ll know how to be better prepared for next time.

Beyond that, it’s my birthday this week and I’m celebrating by (hopefully) getting a small tattoo that I’ve wanted for a while and then I’m going camping with a bunch of rad friendos.

I wish this summer would never end. Hoping you all are enjoying it too!