Happy Holidays + 2020 Blog Plans

Sorry I went MIA for December. I was not properly prepared Blogmas at all and hoped my enthusiasm would propel me through the month. I was wrong. I think if December had been more calm and uneventful, it might’ve. But I have no way of knowing these days what a month is likely to turn into. That’s one of the cons to being a part-timer twice over.

First let me say that I did not come back to simply do a December recap. I’ve recently come to some realizations that will affect this blog and where I want to dedicate time next year. So keep reading for all the news. This post will likely self-destruct next weekend.

This post became really long! I recommend getting a cup of coffee or tea, whatever floats your boat, and getting cosy.

December Recap

I mentioned in my monthly wrap up last month, that my parents were going to Las Vegas the first week of December and I was dogsitting Ty. I had really been looking forward to it, but it was a lot of work. I was happy to be free of the little menace by the end of it. He was here for eight days and it felt like eight months. I won’t get into it; I’m trying to repress it lol.

Rather than let this post become over-long, I will summarize the rest of the month in bullet points. For more context on job-related bullet points, I recommend refreshing your memory, or catching up, on my blog posts from November.

  • Decided I would in fact be leaving my Office Assistant job in February. I mentioned at length my predicament in a two-part blog series last month: Time to Talk About the F- Word and Carving my F- Path. I knew I didn’t want to be come full-time, but I was still optimistic they might make it work for me. Instead, I learned this month I would get what essentially amounts to a pay cut. So the job search resumed.
  • Lots of shopping. I was shopping for office decor, home goods, and Christmas presents (personal and for the office). I was close to becoming burned out on shopping. I also made so many returns this year too. It can be fun, but it was equal parts a headache at some point. This is the first year I can say I was happy when the holidays were over.
  • Company bowling party. That was a bit of a headache to coordinate, because we started late and we wanted to make sure it fell on a day everyone could attend. I didn’t even want to go in the end, but I’m glad I did. It was fun and went by so quickly.
  • Signed up for healthcare. Yeah. That’s a thing I had to do. It took some time and investigating options, and I realized it would probably be best to pick something reliably good so I could resume taking care of my on-going health issues before they become more problematic. I’ll be paying around $170 per month on this plan…I can afford it, but it’s not where I’d prefer my money to go.
  • Found out I could become full-time at my other job! I’ve kept my boss updated on my job situation and he said he could make me full-time next year when the other job is over. He probably could do it in January, but I think he wants to allow me time to wrap things up well over there. It was a surprise and something that has afforded me the freedom to think about what I actually want to do with my life instead of continuing to apply for other jobs…
  • Car issues. I had a Service Engine Soon light go on on my car about three weeks ago now and I wasn’t able to fix it before I had already drove to visit my parents. I took it to AutoZone and they diagnosed the problem with the Mass Air Flow Sensor…or Filter. I can’t remember. So the car was running really poorly, and I had to take it very easy on it. Once my Dad was able to look at it, he said the battery was corroding, so I’m glad I let him deal with that. I have a new battery now and the car is running more smoothly now. Whew.
  • Decided I want to grow my technical writing portfolio. Since August, I thought I wanted to become a virtual assistant. My inspiration was Rosianna Halse Rojas, who was John Green’s assistant and eventually turned into a producing partner or something like that. I wanted to assist amazing people with their creative projects. Long story short, I realized it makes more sense for me with my current situation to contract services that are less constrained to traditional work hours. So I now want to develop my technical writing skills and market them on a contractual basis.
  • Drove to visit my parents for the holidays. I spent five days in the valley and drove down there for the first time on my own. It was not a bad drive, other than on that Friday I drove down because it was raining. I’d hoped to work on the blog during that time, but I was happy to spend quality time with the family instead. I was also working remotely a few hours that Monday and Tuesday before Christmas, so I didn’t have the most time unless I wanted to ignore everyone around me for additional time. Opal had the best time and was only a little naughty. I felt guilty taking her back home with me.

I drove back to Austin on Christmas Day, so I’d have time to prepare for work on Thursday. I was the only person at the office, which is why I came in: so the full-time personnel could all have the day off. It was really nice. I enjoy being able to work alone when I have a lot on my mind, which is often. I got a lot done.

Friday was crazy. It was filled with more shopping, for office decor and plants. When I returned to my tech company job (I need to find a better short-hand for this job), I was bombarded with so many packages! My boss and I have both been ordering things, so everything got here while we’ve been out I guess. It was like Christmas, opening up the packages and putting things together.

That brings me to today. I’d hoped to get most of my housekeeping done before the weekend, but it didn’t happen. Allergies hit me hard when I got back and so did some old spicy queso I ate yesterday leftover from our company party almost two weeks ago. So it’s been a slow day at my apartment. And rainy so Opal’s been going a little stir crazy.

I only shared the major highlights of the month above, but there’s a lot of little things I could not see how to summarize in bullet points. But that brings me to my 2020 plans for the blog.

2020 Blog Plans

I feel like my blog has been on shaky ground all year long. It started off pretty well, but I’ve always gone back and forth over what I wanted this blog to be. I’ve wanted it to be a professional blog that I could share with employers, but I’ve also wanted it to be a space where I could document personal aspects of my life. When I’ve been forced to confront that I can’t do both, I’d step away and let other things preoccupy my mind.

Now with more changes on the horizon, I feel like I know what I have to do and what I would like to do. And for the first time, I think these two things are aligned pretty nicely.

First, let me provide some context because it will explain how limited I will be on time next year. I am most likely (I’m managing my expectations) going to be become full-time in February at the tech company I’ve been working part-time since October. I feel incredibly lucky. It’s a sweet gig. There’s going to be a lot of exciting things to work on: onboarding new employees, taking on more HR duties, and finding a new office to accommodate a growing company.

I might also land a new part-time job next week! I have an interview next week for a new part-time role in communications with a liberal dog policy. I could bring Opal! The hours sound like they will be primarily at night on the weekends. Ahh! It may have growth potential something more specialized in communications, which has me extremely excited.

So where does that leave the blog?

I have decided that I want to make this blog space a more professional space where I can showcase a portfolio of work and post creative job-related content related to office managerial work in small company settings, side hustles, digital creation, and technical writing. I might also dabble in internet analysis, because I find that kind of content fascinating.

I hope that everyone currently following my blog will find something to enjoy in the new blog direction I have decided to take. It doesn’t mean I’ll be removing my personality or life-sharing completely from future posts, but it will be less frequent. I may share tid-bits of life at the start and ends of posts. I really like the idea of quarterly Letter from the Blogger style editorial posts. I think that Instagram will become a more lifestyle-oriented place where you can keep up with how I’m doing on a personal level and to a lesser extent maybe Twitter.

I also still would really like to start YouTubing next year…But I feel like there’s enough that I need to sort out with this blog before I think about that!

This has become a really long post already. There’s more I thought I’d say, but I’d leave this post off here and a start a new one I’ll share tomorrow. :)

Planning My December Bullet Journal

Usually I would just share my top bullet journal theme ideas and my final layout in a blog post for the month, but since I am behind on my journal and participating in blogmas I figured I would show you today how I actually go about planning my bullet journal step-by-step. Because of how busy my life typically is these days, I want to keep my December bujo fairly minimal. However, I still want to have fun with it.

My journal is still a work in progress, but I figure it’s still worth showing. It’s not fair that all most of us only get to see is the finish product when so much work actually goes into the things most of the time. It can feel daunting to try and start, so hopefully this post demystifies the process.

For finished pictures of my bujo, follow my Instagram @theinkysaga. I will also try to share finished pictures here at some point during the month.

Step 1. Pick a Theme

Now this month, theme is less important to me than spread layout. I am not even sure if you could call what I decided to go with a theme. Essentially I wanted to draw pine cones, berries, and leafage; so I would call it a Christmas aesthetic? Wreath contents?

I took inspiration from __ on YouTube, but I made the specific wreath design my own.

Step 2. Find Layout Templates

This step was a challenge. I wanted something that would help me increase my productivity on personal projects each week and also be good for my work and housekeeping schedules and organization. I also did not want to spend too much time at the start of each week designing the weekly spreads, so I knew I wanted to use a dutch door of some kind.

Dutch doors are pages that are cut so that they are not full pages in your journal. Instead they work with the immediate next page to conceal and reveal content as desired. They are a lot of fun and I would like to use them more in the coming year. For this month’s bujo. I decided to use it rather simply for weekly spreads with the habit tracker, month-at-a-glance corner calendar, and a focus reminder square.

I learned about this layout from Boho Berry’s recent post on the Allistar Method, which is about…

Other than the weeklys, I just had a blog post planner page and a language studies tracker, which was another experiment for me. I know I want to prioritize relearning French over the next few months, so I want to quantify my learning in a way. I Googled “language learning trackers” and ended up on Pinterest, which is how I found a few different spreads.


An Inky Blogmas 2019

Happy December and Happy Blogmas! It is true; I am participating in blogmas this year. Blogmas, as I understand it, is daily blogging leading up to the big day – Christmas Day! That means 25 consecutive days of daily blogging in a row this month. I have not written blog posts in advance, although I do hope to get ahead on weekends. I imagine there will be a healthy sprinkle of holiday posts and just general blogging and productivity-related content.

For your reference – as well as mine – I decided a schedule may help to know what kinds of posts you can expect this month.


/ Bullet Journaling /

I will share bullet journaling tips, resources, or favorites on Mondays this blogmas season that I find useful on my quest to find a spread that works for my kind of schedule and goals. This immediate Monday, I will share my December bullet journal and the process of developing the spread.


/ Technology for Bloggers /

There are so many applications and websites I have discovered through work research that I would like to share on this blog in the blogging context. I am most excited about these posts, because I believe they will end up setting a tone for the type of content I want to create in 2020.


/ Holiday Gift Ideas /

I have had a lot of trouble in the past thinking of gifts to purchase for family, friends, and acquaintances of all kinds. I feel like any time I Google gift guides, they are so unhelpful because they are so generic and/or tailored to sell products from a specific vendor or business. This year I look forward to sharing the ideas I generate for family, coworkers, and friends.


/ Side Hustles & Business /

Thursdays I will most likely share tidbits related to my freelancing journey, or any more specific things I feel more people should know who are interested in starting their own little business.


/ Freebies /

My original idea for blogmas was born out of a desire to share my digital creations with all of you lovely blog followers. I have been loving playing with my drawing tablet and BoxySVG, and I want to feel like my creations can have a life outside of my blog. As I am always so moody when I use Canva and see cute graphics I am unwilling to pay for, I decided to take inspiration from their library and put my own spin on things I like. If you have any ideas of things I could make, let me know in the comments and I will give you a shout out if your ideas inspire a freebie!


/ Holiday Spirit /

To keep the holiday spirit alive on the blog, I want to dedicate a day to sharing some holiday-themed blog content. Whether it be a holiday home tour, or recipes that make Christmas feel like Christmas in my family, or even lists of favorite holiday classics. I feel like last December passed me by all too quickly, and I really want to make the most of the holiday season this year.


/ Reading List /

I think Sundays will be the days where I will share more casual life updates with links to things I read each week that stayed on my mind, whether they be blog posts, news articles, thought pieces, research, or literature-based. I may also include movies or shows if they were particularly noteworthy.

The Inky Saga’s Monthly Wrap Up: November 2019

Hello and welcome back to The Inky Saga. I am back today with up a monthly wrap up post of sorts. While NaNoWriMo may have been a bust, I did manage to blog a lot this month. I know how helpful it can bee when my favorite bloggers curate their weekly or monthly blog posts in one place so that I am able to catch up when I have the time. With that in mind, I decided to dedicate the time before I prepare for bed to write, polish, and publish this blog post.

After I missed posting yesterday, I thought I might just pick up blogging again on December 1st. But considering I have some time right now before I take the doggies out one last time, let me just throw together this compilation blog post. As it turns out, I ended up writing a little more at the end of this post, so keep scrolling if you’re all caught up on the blog posts I’ve compiled below.

Blog Posts

17 November: WRITING IS HARD
18 November: NANOWRIMO WEEK 3
25 November: CARVING MY F– PATH

Thanksgiving 2019

Since my last blog post was a tag, I thought I’d summarize my holiday weekend as it comes to an end. Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) I finished the Behind the Blogger Tag and started planning for December. I decided I wanted to keep up the daily blogging but also make my blog posts a little more special. More details on what I decided to in tomorrow’s blog post!

Friday I should have done a lot of housekeeping – literal housekeeping – but all I felt like I did was eat and watch YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime. Specifically, I rewatched episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the movie Instant Family (2018), and the documentary One Child Nation (2019). If you are in the mood for any of these shows/movies, I highly recommend them.

While the actual blogging might have suffered, I was at least doing a little work on blog graphics over these two days! I had to get the hang of BoxySVG again, but a lot of it came back pretty quickly. I think I am much better at it than I was this August, but only because of the learning I had to do that month. Some of my creations are going to be featured in the banner for tomorrow’s blog post!

Saturday (today) I was cleaning practically all day until my family arrived. My parents are going to Las Vegas on Tuesday, and they decided to fly out of Austin. So they will be around for a couple of days, and then they will leave and I will be dogsitting little Tybo for the week! I’m so excited for Opal to have a pal this week while I work. They had to drive my brother to Dallas tonight, so the dogs I will have some quality time tomorrow before the work week begins.

Tomorrow I will need to do a little more work to make sure I’m prepared for the week ahead. I have not finalized my plans for December blogging, and I do not want to let anyone down. I also need to do some work on my freelance business before the week begins because I would like to start reaching out to people next week if possible. There’s so much to do! Ahh!

Behind the Blogger Tag

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are that are celebrating and all who are not! It’s maybe my favorite holiday of the year since I started college, because it was a break from the chaos of college studies. I always had homework to do that week off, but it was nice to get a break from class and get my work done on my own time in the background of holiday noises and cooking. I miss those days!

I opted not to visit my family this year because I thought I would still be deep in NaNoWriMo mode, but even though I’m not, I’m glad I didn’t commit. I needed this little break from work – even if my bank account didn’t – and family can be exhausting. I’ll see them this weekend anyway. And I’m not alone; I have an Opal!

So today I wanted to do a blog post where I didn’t get existential, because I’m trying to be productive and plan for December 2019. I would like to keep this daily blogging thing up, but I also want the posts to be better organized and optimized. To give myself the time to work on these plans, I’ve figured out the blog posts for the next two days. I’m hoping I might be able to set the blog on autopilot for the weekend!

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you (Thank you, Sumedha for recently doing this tag so I could find it this morning!)
  2. Answer all the questions down below
  3. Pingback to the creator: Ellyn @ Allonsythornraxx
  4. Nominate 5+ bloggers you’d like to know more about, to do this tag (Want to do? Consider yourself tagged!)

The Questions


I started properly blogging in 2015, and that what was really because I was inspired by BookTubers but too shy to put myself in front of a camera and talk. A blog was a better alternative for me at the time when I was reading a lot and wanted to be a part of the online conversation about books I loved.

It’s weird but I feel like I have always been a blogger, even before 2015. I don’t know why I never properly started in high school or even middle school, but it’s something that always seemed right for me. I have a lot of thoughts and a blog is an outlet to organize and share them. I feel so much satisfaction once I’ve been able to write and communicate thoughts and feelings I’ve had that I can’t really share with people IRL.


I like to write explainers where I break down topics and provide advice and tips for doing certain things.






  1. Sitting in my comfy chair and typing a stream-of-conscious-style blog post
  2. Taking Opal for a walk without being in a rush
  3. Making a plate of homemade nachos and watching YouTube, Netflix, or whatever


  1. When I can take my MacBook Pro out at a cafe and be productive outside my apartment
  2. Getting home early and feeling energized enough to take Opal on a long pretty walk before the sun has fully set
  3. Being able to shop before a store gets busy and crowded


I plan to do a blog post about this eventually, but I got approved by Awin and Etsy earlier this year to be an affiliate partner. I haven’t utilized my customized links yet, but I plan to and document the process on the blog. I was also proud when I started blogging about side hustles how many people became interested in the blog for my research on that topic.


I got back into playing Pokemon Go when I started taking Opal on longer walks. I play it whenever I’m bored at work, so I do not know if that counts as a hobby. It helps me explore more of Austin than I would maybe naturally.

I am learning JavaScript online, which will be the topic of a blog post soon! I would say this little project falls under the umbrella hobby of learning new technology.

Cooking, I guess. I love to eat yummy food and I don’t have a lot of money, so it’s cheaper to cook. Plus it’s nice not to have to leave the apartment when I’m feeling low about myself. I’m not a super adventurous eater, but trying to figure out how to make some of my favorite things I’ve had at restaurants is pretty fun and satisfying.


Optimistic, anxious, considerate


  1. When people ask me “How are you?” casually as if I’m going to be honest about all the crap constantly on my mind
  2. When people who watch videos on their phone in public without headphones on like everyone wants to hear what they’re watching or listening to, especially if we are inside a restaurant
  3. When people leave a TV on in the background super loud, especially when there are commercials playing


Since losing my parents’ healthcare coverage in February, my skin has become a nightmare with acne flare ups. It’s miserable and has not helped with my self-esteem. I’ve gotten more in makeup this year, just to hide and minimize the visibility. I’m not a beauty blogger, so I’ve not really felt like talking about my skincare routine, but you best believe I’d have a lot to say at this point.

WWW Wednesday | The Day That I Didn’t Know What to Post

Well it’s Wednesday and I’ve been feeling out of sorts all day. I thought I would work until at least five today, but the office was dismissed at 1 PM. I’ve not used my extra time this afternoon very wisely at all.

As I’m at a loss for what to do for today’s blog post, so I decided to participate in this bookish meme! I don’t think I have ever done this one before, although I’ve seen it around for years. I just don’t read frequently enough to do it each week and have the answers change! But here is my first entry into WWW Wednesday hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you will read next?

Currently Reading…

I have only read the prologue of the Ninth House, but I’ve decided to make it my current read as I’m not in the right state of mind for The Tin Drum by Günter Grass. I’ve seen reviews pop up all over the place and I want to get in on the discussion, so I best read it now.

Recently Finished Reading…

Recently is a relative term. The last book I finished was in September or October. I was rereading the Curse Workers trilogy by Holly Black, starting with White Cat. I was nearing the end of the second book Red Glove when one day I returned home to find Opal had destroyed it. I wasn’t enjoying it much the second time around, so I let that deter me from finishing it. Although now I’m feeling like picking it back up – what’s left of it – and trying to finish the trilogy again. They’re light reads.

My Next Read…

After Ninth House, I will probably pick up The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher. I have no further explanation other than I bought it this summer and I feel like I need some lighter reads at the moment.

Reading has not been a priority this year and I’m sad I don’t reach for books more. I felt like I started the year pretty strong and I would like to revisit that original goal I had of reading at least one fiction book and one non-fiction book per month in 2020. I think it will be possible once I have more of my life sorted out.

Thanksgiving 2019 Forecasting

Hello, it’s me. Lori. I’m back again. It’s 6:35 PM and I’m still trying to keep up with this daily blogging thing. I wrote the last two blog posts on Saturday, so I had the blog on autopilot for a couple of days there.

Monday was tough; I had day naps Saturday and Sunday that messed up my sleep schedule.

Tuesday was…is…Tuesday is today. Tuesday was busy! Lot’s happened at work and my main supervisor wasn’t there so the other two and I had to change course on something. It was part of an on-going project that’s been an issue for months. I’m being vague on purpose. I may talk about it in a few months’ time, when everything regarding this project is running smoothly.

Anyway! Like the title says I want to do some forecasting for the rest of the week and into the weekend. I’m not really doing anything for Thanksgiving this Thursday – a personal choice, don’t feel bad for me – and I want to get a lot of work done to get ahead on blog posts and my freelancing idea before it’s back to work again.

Plans Regarding the Blog

I’ve not explained why I’m daily blogging, and I don’t really have one. I feel like I’ve had a lot of hiatuses where I don’t blog and I don’t think about it either. So I never come back with a fresh take on it all. I think that there is a problem bloggers can run into where they overthink blog posts and impose limits on themselves for no reason outside their own heads. That’s what I think I let happen to me.

I feel like a lot of people treat their blog like a semi-professional thing, with schedules or content that follows a template. I’ve rejected schedules for a while, but not templates – until now. Daily blogging, for me, has been an act of resistance – against myself – a radical move to prove to myself blogging can be more personal. You don’t need to optimize for SEO, create blog graphics, or promote anything anywhere. People will read what you write and you will learn who cares about what you have to say. On that note, shout out to Jenn @ Bound to Writing!

However, I am not sure I want to continue daily blogging without doing all those other pesky things. After all, I want my blog to continue to grow and reach wider audiences. So this week, my plan is this:

  1. Continue daily blogging
  2. Create a backlog of short-form blog posts, organized by amount of time they would entail to complete with additional work (e.g. research, graphics)
  3. Create original blog assets

That last thing I’ve been saying I want to do for ages, but it’s always evolved into an excuse not to blog so then I don’t blog but I don’t create the assets either so I do nothing until I’m procrastinating on something else *cough* NaNoWriMo *cough* and the blog becomes attractive again. Ha! But now that I’ve torn down the walls that kept me from blogging (e.g. “I haven’t created the graphics” or “This idea isn’t good enough for a blog post”), I think I can keep up with regular blog posts while also working on blog assets.

By blog assets, I essentially mean blog graphics. I feel like blog graphics means the final product, but I rarely use the same final product twice. I like to customize header images to the blog post content. Take for instance Top Ten Tuesday. It’s the same main graphic, but I will type in the theme for the week. Assets could be elements of the graphic that are reused to make each blog post feel more consistently…on brand, I guess.

Plans Regarding Freelancing

I don’t expect it to be that easy to find clients or convince them to take a chance on me, but I do feel like that will be the hardest part: actually contacting them. So I’ve been procrastinating with the excuse that I don’t have a concrete list of services I can offer or pricing figured out. I want to do all that this week. I have a done research here and there, but I want to finalize things by Sunday. This will process will definitely become a blog post, don’t worry.


I want to read. Academia.edu started emailing me out of the blue a couple of weeks again and it has reinvigorated my desire to read more research literature related to topics that interest me. I also want to read Social Update by Alice E. Marwick, because South by Southwest will be here before I know it, and I remember the conference/festival mentioned in it when I read excerpts in Fall 2015. Also I want to finally read Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, which I started at the beginning of the month before realizing it had nothing to do with the type of story I was trying to write.

On Sunday, not knowing what to do with myself, I actually picked up a book called The Tin Drum by Günter Grass. I don’t know what I was expecting, and it’s been a bit odd thus far. I’m not sure it’s the right thing for me to read right now, but I will endeavor to give it a chance for a few pages longer.

I don’t know what I’ll blog about tomorrow, but hopefully it’ll come sooner than today’s post. I’ll probably start it after I shower tonight.

Carving My F– Path

…or whatever you would call what I’m currently doing.

Just like I said, I’m picking up right where I left off in yesterday’s post, Time to Talk About the F– Word. I’m writing this on Saturday, and I feel like I’m getting a lot off of my mind and it feels good. To summarize what I’ve written thus far, I have realized that I am enjoying working part-time at the moment because it is allowing me the freedom to figure out what I what I want to do. And I’ve also come to the realization that I’m not following a commonly tread path.

There are a lot of things I want to do, and I do not see why I need to pick one and stick to just it. But I do think I should pick two or three to prioritize at any given time, or I’ll accomplish nothing. Which is how I got to where I am currently this Saturday night…sitting in my comfy chair…drinking coffee…while Opal sighs at my feet. Let me go take her for a quick walk.

Back. I am currently working two part-time jobs; this you know. After yesterday’s post, you now know why I have to think about my career again. The way I see it, I have a few options. And because there’s no telling which are the most likely to pan out, I have decided to pursue them all.

Here are my plans:

  1. Resume the search for new administrative part-time jobs, which would give me even more experiences and/or potentially become alternative stepping stones to my next big career move
  2. Freelance as virtual assistant
  3. Begin specializing

I will now go into more detail on each pursuit below.

Resume the Part-Time Job Search

So here’s the thing, I’m a little nervous about this. I’ve told my boss at the new(ish) job already that I have begun thinking about this because of the concerns of my situation at the old(er) job. I think I made it clear that it is not to replace the job he just gave me. I was hired with the knowledge that there was a possibility this job could potentially evolve into something full-time. And this is a shining beacon on my mind.

However, I do think that I would like my next part-time job to be similar in that it is the tech environment. I’ve found some options already, but some are full-time. There’s no guarantee anyone else would take a leap of faith on me, but assuming they did…I don’t know. I would hope that I could stay at this new(ish) job regardless, since I am able to do a lot of my work here from home anyway and would have no problem coming in on off hours.

But there’s no telling how my current or future bosses might feel about that. It’s highly unlikely I’d be put in a tough spot, but I have to be prepared for the possibility or I’d be an idiot.

Freelance as a Virtual Assistant

This one I’m super excited about and hope could work out well enough that I stay at my new(ish) job to see it through to the next level. I had been contemplating this line of work for a few years since learning one of my favorite YouTubers is an assistant to John Green, Rosianna Halse Rojas. I have always been captivated by a job that deals with a lot of different tasks, which is how I figured out administrative work might be the right line of work for me.

At my last Airbnb this summer I happened to be renting a room in the same house as an Australian romance author who was touring the states. She mentioned knowing a few authors who needed assistants – she even knew Rosianna!

So my goal is reach out to authors and other busy entrepreneurs who may need help with menial tasks like emails or customer service and work as a contractor that way. It’s a little nerve wracking but I have nothing to lose. And I feel more capable than ever now that I’ve been doing invoicing for my new(ish) job and know what I could use for accounting.

Begin Specializing

I’ve always admired people who were able to be jack or jane of all trades. I hoped that by diversifying my knowledges and skill set, I’d bring a lot more to the table wherever I went. Plus it would me the trouble of committing to any one job or path. I feel like my biggest weakness is also one of my best strengths, the ability of seeing multiple pathways to a goal or multiple solutions to a problem. But sometimes you just need to pick one lane and go all in.

I want to start doing this. I want to have a career plan. I want to know what I’m working towards – to know what all of this is about.

I feel like I know what I want all the effects of my work to be. I want to be able to travel, meet talented people, and be a job creator. But my exact path to getting there. That’s more complicated an answer. So I do feel like I need to start specializing in something that would be most likely to help me get to a place where I want to be financially.

More thoughts to come in the next blog post!

Time to Talk About the F- Word

… also known as the future

I can’t remember – and I don’t want to check – but I do not think I ever mentioned in any of my July blog posts my plans at the time to prepare PhD application materials this fall. It was something I was planning a whole blog post series about, to the point where I believe I have at least two blog posts still saved in my drafts about the kinds of programs I was interested in and the reputable places to which I planned on applying.

It’s so weird to think about July and how different my life would have been if I never ended up taking the plunge and moving to Austin. It’s depressing, and I refuse to go there tonight!

The reason I mention it at all is because I have realized I needed to think about my overall career plans again. Yes, I had hoped by taking this new part-time job this October that I was able to conclude the job search. But I was wrong. There’s a few things I did not mention at the time and some new things that I have recently realized that I will delve into a little in this blog post. I do not know who might read this post, so I’m treading with caution!

First, let me explain what happened when I took this new part-time job. Literally the day after I started, I discovered that the team at my other job was scrambling to find a way to make my part-time job both permanent and full-time. A sane person might have been thrilled, but I was terrified. I still love the team I work with, but even now when I think of the future there I can’t see it being something I would find satisfying forever. And I’m speaking here specifically about the main type of work I was brought in to do here: data entry, filing, and training material organizing.

So last month I was in a weird predicament. I wanted them to know I was in no hurry to leave this job and also that they need not waste time trying to find a way to make me full-time.

Now, because it’s pretty clear that I do not want to become full-time at this office, I do feel like my position may be in a little bit of jeopardy when my six-months expires in February. I know my training team would fight to keep me if that’s what I wanted, but I also know that it will become harder to leave the longer I stay. And I will want to leave before the end of next year.

This is where I get into territory I’m anxious to talk about…money.

I feel like I have probably mentioned salaries I’ve had at jobs I had earlier this year. It has not been good, and that was fine at the time. I was living with my parents and I enjoyed those other jobs for the most part, particularly my rec job. It was exactly what I needed for reasons I do not want to delve into at the moment. I don’t regret my time spent there in the grand scheme of things. I only truly regret two jobs I’ve had in the past and for the same primary reason: they killed my feet.

Compared to those other jobs, the job that brought me to Austin pays fantastic. But it was only enough to survive on and even then only because my parents still help out with other expenses (e.g. car insurance, smartphone data). I choose a more expensive apartment than my budget technically should have allowed for safety and peace of mind, so that’s on me, but I don’t regret that either. My mental health is heavily tied to where I live, so living somewhere nice is essential. And I love it here. I hope to extend my lease next year.

But here’s the other thing about that job. Even if I became full-time there, I doubt the hourly rate would have increased by much if at all. So my hours there would need to increase and the only true benefit would have been that I have health insurance. Yes, health insurance is important, but I can now purchase out-of-pocket for next year and keep my freedom.

The only true benefit of my current work situation is that working part-time has afforded me a certain amount of freedom. It’s why I can take two hour lunch breaks at the moment, which allows me to take care of Opal’s needs during the day. It is also why I have had the time to work on things that could qualify one day as side hustles.

I have gradually come to the realization that I may not be cut out for an ordinary life path. Most people my age have been able to start careers and start their own families, some right after their undergraduate degree. Meanwhile I have felt like I was not able to graduate from college (either time) knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I feel like I still do not know what I truly want out life, which is why I’m absurdly afraid of commitment to anything and anyone.

I have started to realize that maybe my problem has been that I have felt like I needed to choose a path, when really what I should be doing is carving one. So that is what I intend to do in 2020…

This post is becoming really long. I’m going to continue writing, but you will be able to read what comes next tomorrow.

I Haven’t Given Up on NaNoWriMo…

…but it’s highly unlikely I’ll win at this point.

I should have spent today writing, but I haven’t. This weekend was off to a great start, but my apartment is a mess and I have a lot on my mind. Where to begin with this blog post?

Let’s start with Friday.

Friday was our company Thanksgiving lunch at The Roaring Fork in downtown Austin. It was fucking amazing. I had spit-roasted half chicken, which is half a chicken roasted with green beans and sausage stuffing. Holy moly. Never have I had stuffing anywhere, especially a restaurant, where the stuffing could compare to – and maybe even surpass – my mom’s homemade stuffing. Side note: I managed to make a pretty good vegan one in 2017 that I would like to try to recreate if I can find any notes I made about it…

Anyway I wish I had been able to take a picture of my food, but I was surrounded by people I barely know and I don’t want to feel like a tourist – which I still totally am in this city. Hopefully I’ll find a way back to that restaurant one day.

I got home around 4 PM that day and was able to take a gorgeous walk with Opal. The sun hadn’t set yet and it was so beautiful, especially in contrast to the day that it started as – grey, misty, and cool. I posted pictures on my Instagram, which I rarely post on anymore.

So today I woke up normal time (around 5:30 AM) took Opal for a short walk and then went to the grocery store because I needed to buy coffee. I have my new coffee machine, as you might recall, and I ran out of my last Verismo pod yesterday. It took a little while to clean the machine before I could start brewing my first carafe, but it was great. I can’t wait to pick up better coffee at Central Market and other fancy schmancy places.

What have I done since then? you might be wondering. Well, as I mentioned at the start of this blog post, my apartment’s a mess at the moment. Did I clean? No! Well, just a little, but mostly no. I did some online shopping.It’s not as bad as it sounds; I only bought one thing. Well, I guess it’s still bad, because I wasted so much time today!

You see, my apartment becomes a mess quickly during the week because I still don’t have enough furniture for things to have a permanent place in the apartment. Most everything I end up using during the week or bringing home ends up on top of an IKEA table I got in 2015 when I moved to Dallas for grad school, Opal’s crate generously gifted by my parents, or my kitchen counter. I’m talking jackets, shoes (to keep them out of Opal’s mouth), recycling, mail, cleaning supplies, traveling mugs/food containers, etc.

There’s literally tiny mountains of junk behind me right now, which is why I wanted to finally buy some new furniture bits and bobs.

I’ve not done this sooner, because I’m still paying back money I borrowed to make my move over here this August. I tried to buy some new things in October after getting my new job, but thankfully Target ended up canceling the order – thankfully because it ended up saving me from a little more debt. I try to be pretty selective, because I want anything I purchase to be things I’ll be happy with five or ten years from now. I think I’ve done a good job thus far.

For all my efforts I only ended up purchasing the kind of matching media stand to my World Market desk. It’s in my favorite style, midcentury modern, and will go in my bedroom so I can set my TV and books on it. It will free up the boxes it currently sits on so that I can access the contents of those boxes and use those boxes in my living room as “table top” space.

I would really like to buy the shelves I got at work for home, but I figured I’d wait and see how they turn out before doing that! I also think white cubicle shelves would be great for out here in the living room, but it’s less urgent. Maybe it’ll be a January purchase.

Once the new stuff arrives, I may finally share a small apartment tour. I started one in October, but that furniture I mentioned never arrived – thankfully – and so I saved it in my drafts. I’ve since moved things around in here, but I think I will be as close I can will get to a final layout once the new shelves come in next week. I may endeavor to visit Home Goods next week and see if I can find anything else that would suit my interior style preferences.

Obviously furniture is not the only thing on my mind. I feel like it was a form of distraction from more serious matters. I’ll start that post after I publish this one and hopefully have it up bright and early tomorrow.