Trust me, I keep learning this lesson the hard way.
It’s so tempting to keep jumping around from task to task.
You can very likely get a lot of different things done this way, but it doesn’t mean it’ll be all that fulfilling. You’ll just burn yourself out and then you’ll be miserable. I go through this cycle all the time, but I’m finally ready to try and break it.
So I said last time too. And in previous blog posts, you might’ve noticed me talk about self-care, taking breaks, etcetera. But you know what I realized recently?
There’s actually a third option besides just being a workaholic and being a couch potato.
Yes, seriously – and it’s called feeding your soul.
It’s not a question of working or taking a break – it’s actually more about doing things that make your heart happy. For me, as a content writer, my work is extremely draining on the creative front, so I recognize that I need to take time for my art as well.
Sure, it might not pay as lucratively as my articles about pest control or personal care items, but there’s something incredibly important about writing things that let your light shine. I have a story that’s been begging to get out for a while. And most importantly, big plans for it once I do.
All that being said, if you’re curious about my other stories that have already been published, you can grab copies of those HERE. They’re a mix of coming-of-age, science fiction, and YA/NA romance.
So now the question is, how do I actually get this done?
Right, of course – because it’s rarely that simple. Without any clear plan, it just won’t. That’s why I’m trying to institute Feed My Soul Fridays. Basically, I won’t do any creative work for clients on Fridays (unless there’s a legitimate urgent need). Otherwise, Fridays are my day to plan, daydream, and work on my story. That’s something that will help balance out my work-life. I also want to keep working on music and studying guitar so I can teach students soon – because that will also feed my soul.
Some easy tips I would suggest to help you start a similar habit would be the following:
Spend a day observing your habits – what do you naturally gravitate towards? Even if you can’t drop everything to do that thing in the moment, make a mental note of what you want to do later.
Think about your schedule – are there some parts of your typical day or week that are busier, or more open? Try to fit in a bit of these soul-nourishing habits when you find breaks in your schedule.
Commit yourself to honoring your body and mind consistently. Maybe it means taking time to read for a while before going to bed no matter how late it is. Following through on the promise you made to yourself is a crucial part of self-care. So don’t disappoint yourself!
If you do all these things, I am convinced your work-life balance will get better.
I wish I could say that I’ve mastered this skill, but full disclosure: I definitely haven’t yet. My hope is that by blogging about it and sharing it with you, maybe these habits will get easier to instill in my own life. So feel free to be an accountability partner for yourself, or anyone else around you that’s clearly pushing themselves too hard. I’m the worst about this, but I’m feeling the effects of not doing that, and it’s definitely not going to pay off in the longterm.
So here’s to a productive, yet fun, soul-nourishing summer. Sink your toes into the sand and live it up, because you’ll never be this young again 😉
I’m exhausted just writing this post, but I wanted to check in with you guys before I buckle down for the remainder of the holiday season.
You know those memes about Girl Bossing too close to the sun?
That’s me right now. I’ve literally got a few different paid gigs to juggle, alongside my art business (Custom Crocheted Critters on Instagram if you’re curious). And I’m on the board for my author association (you know, the Association of Rhode Island Authors) coordinating their volunteers for the big expo THIS WEEKEND (December 11th). And on top of that, I’m also mentoring a couple high school seniors interested in the writing and journalism fields. So short answer: that’s a lot. I love all of it, but it’s got me pretty stressed lately.
What I’m doing to mitigate the effects of such a packed schedule is the following:
Listening to my body: When I feel tired, I rest. Sounds simple, but it’s way underrated. And rest doesn’t always mean sleep! Sometimes it’s as simple as curling up with a good book instead of working myself to exhaustion.
Minimizing my carb intake: This is something I’ve definitely spoken about before, and I don’t do it perfectly. But small changes like swapping out a midnight bag of chips for a protein shake are huge.
Advocating for what I’m worth: Yes, in the freelancing world, there are countless smaller gigs that are fine for beginners who need to pad their resumes. But you know what? I’m now an expert in my field with a resume a mile long. And this is because I spent the last few years post-grad honing my skills. I’ve learned a lot, and now I’m quite literally, worth more. So I charge accordingly.
Constantly working on myself: This is as simple as tracking my mindsets and fixing them. Not that it’s necessarily easy, but there is so much you can do to enrich your life by taking up journaling. Self-awareness is where it’s at, so start creating the life you want instead of complaining about it all. My faith in Jesus has also been a major part of this. Feel free to reach out anytime if you’d like to know more about that!
Exercising regularly: Okay, this is one I’m actually still working on, but I typically love going to yoga class weekly. And walking the dog counts, right? Lilly appreciates the chance to sniff around the neighborhood and handle her outdoor business.
These aren’t one-size-fits-all suggestions, but I do believe they can help you live your best life.
Over time, you’ll create new habits – and what better time to do that, than at the end of the year? That’s right – I too keep forgetting that 2021 is virtually over. But that’s kind of perfect, since my book is called Forgetting What I Couldn’t Remember. And no – it’s not about senility. I’m only 24, after all!
It’s actually about the intriguing way that trauma affects how memories are stored, and the way we have to work through that to be our best.
My character, Vera, deals with all of this alongside time travel, old bullies, and new romance. Want to dive in?
Read more about this book (and all my other ones) on my website.
Wherever you find yourself this holiday season, I truly hope you take time for you! There is so much to be grateful for, as long as you take the time to remind yourself.
If you’re still shopping for any readers in your life, may I suggest some books? Mine are somewhere in between sci-fi and romance, with a dash of sass and sparkle.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a lovely holiday season!
“The most beautiful things can come from the hardest times.”
Just like you may have seen in The Rewind Duology, the idea of a character interacting with her younger self is present in Madilyn Bailey’s new music video. Of course, this is a bit more voyeuristic of a style, in that she’s more watching over her younger self – but the nostalgic feeling is the same! Just like my character, Vera, Madilyn was an outcast as a kid, but that didn’t stop her from accomplishing amazing things later – namely, being a semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent (in addition to garnering millions of views on YouTube).
I love seeing art like this that directly relates to my work, because it becomes a great tool to layer my own writing up against. It also proves to me that the things I’m working on matter to people, because other people are writing about issues like bullying too. What it comes down to, is that you cannot ever let people put you in a box – break out of that shit and get moving. You’re better now than you’ve ever been!
This song is so powerful, seriously – check out these lyrics:
“I took all the sticks and stones All the blows and bricks they throw Everything that ever gave me scars
All the hurt and bridges burned Every word and lesson learned And turned it into art And in time built a diamond heart.”
As cliché as it may seem to say, it is those experiences that are tough at the time, but they make us who we were always meant to be.
In my books, Vera has to grapple with her past alongside her present moment to be her best self – and that includes going head to head with her old bullies, but now as an adult. The Rewind Duology is something that I am incredibly proud of, and I’m so humbled to be able to give a portion of the proceeds to KIND Campaign to prevent bullying in school. Might as well do some real-world good with my pain, right?
But honestly, I’ve already healed so much. I am so grateful for the lessons I learned. If I wasn’t forced to make due with being by myself for as long as I did, I probably wouldn’t have been half as motivated to make something great of myself. That’s why I’ve really thrown myself into freelancing more recently – and that has been so incredibly fulfilling for me!
So case in point – even if life ends up looking different than you originally expected it to be, you can still make something beautiful out of the cards you’ve been dealt. Don’t believe me? Watch “Diamond Heart” by Madilyn Bailey HERE.
If you’d like to read or listen to The Rewind Duology, you can access it on Amazon / Audible HERE. And if you’d like to meet me at one of my upcoming events, you can view those on my website!
This year didn’t completely suck! Here’s a brief run-down of the bright side of the whole thing.
It’s safe to say this year was collectively a turd sandwich for just about everyone, at least in one way or another. So I was thinking back on my year as we’re about to welcome in 2021 later this week, and along with it, a fresh start. And I realized something interesting, that I honestly didn’t expect: this year was actually pretty lucrative for me.
Sure, all my in-person book signings and concerts were cancelled (of course) and I do really miss all those things. But something I didn’t expect was how the creativity in my mind didn’t stop moving – not at all! It just leaked out in new and innovative ways that I probably wouldn’t have discovered had 2020 not happened the way it did.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m upset and frustrated at the craziness of the world right now, and praying that it improves soon, but through it all, I realized I still have so much to be grateful for. So, as we move into 2021 which is hopefully a significantly better year than the preceding one, I’ve outlined below some cool things that happened to me this year. My hope is that by reading the good things that happened to me, you’ll be able to reflect on your own year too, and get pumped for what’s up next!
1. My social media following grew.
Seeing as how everyone has been stuck at home on their TV and devices, I’ve been able to capitalize on my reach. The biggest example of this might be my Boston Sports Desk music article gig, which has seen a good handful of my article get like 80k views (seriously, I’m shocked too). My Instagram page @ angelinasingerauthor also just hit 900 followers today, so I’m pretty psyched about that! Additionally, this blog is pushing almost 100 followers, not even counting my Facebook and Twitter following. I’m so grateful for everyone who’s taken an interest in my work! I’ve also met more amazing new friends through social media, and I’m so grateful for them as well.
I also published my sixth novel, the sequel of which will be available for purchase hopefully mid-2021. In the meantime though, you can read the first book, Forgetting What I Couldn’t Remember available on Amazon HERE.
2. Freelancing became my main hustle.
And I’ve never been happier. I spent the majority of the year and a half or so since graduating from college looking for corporate jobs, padding my resume, and just generally pulling my hair out trying to figure out what the heck I was supposed to be doing. But as it turns out, I’ve been doing the thing I’m meant to do all along. And that thing is: writing. Through this gig, I’ve connected with some pretty high-profile people, like Tree Paine (Taylor Swift’s general manager) since I provided some media coverage on her latest two surprise albums Folklore and Evermore.
3. My diet got healthier.
Despite the temptation to binge on sugary carbs all the time since I’m home and there isn’t much else to do, I’m determined to cut down on my intake because I feel better when I eat more proteins and healthy fats. Don’t get me wrong – I still love a good late night bag of chips, but I try to only do that occasionally at most. Taking care of yourself, including amping up on vitamins, was critical to get through this year without getting sick. I’ll definitely be carrying those habits into 2021 too!
I guess this wasn’t really part of the diet thing, but I also got my nose pierced this year finally! I’ve been wanting to since high school honestly and I feel so much more confident with it than I did without it. And most importantly, it’s a promise to myself to be happier with my appearance and love myself a lot more than I used to. Overall, a win-win. Still figuring out why it’s taking months to heal, but I guess that’s just the way the cookie crumbles!
4. My faith in Jesus got stronger.
When everything is crashing down around you, turning to Jesus is the only thing that truly brings me comfort. He even helped me with frustrations about the pacing of my life, and how I worry that I’m so far behind everyone else. I’m 23, but it literally took most of my life to realize that it actually doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. The only thing that matters is doing what God has for you the best you can. I know for a fact that I’m meant to write, and that’s exactly what God has me doing – and I’ve never been happier!
5. My author association voted me onto the board!
This is very possibly one of the coolest things on this list, but I was so humbled and blessed by the opportunity! My main responsibility as a board member in the Association of Rhode Island Authors is to recruit more young adult authors to join up, so if you live in or around Rhode Island, reach out to me for more info! I’ll be setting up an Instagram (and possibly Twitter) account for them too so that everything will be more accessible to younger writers as well.
6. Landed a weekly blogging gig.
Semi-related to the author’s association above, one of my good friends invited me to join her writing team for the Inkitt Writer’s Blog. It’s a really cool platform where writers can share stories and ideas about writing. It’s a nice little paid gig, and I love doing it! Stuff like this is super productive and helps me fill my time post-grad. I’d definitely recommend it for anyone looking for something similar.
7. My music journalism expanded into a magazine.
Yet another plug through my author association, I met someone at an expo event a year or two ago who manages Rhode Island-based Motif Magazine. Then earlier this August, I reached out to them to ask if they had any writing positions open, and they said yes – freelancing. So now I do the bulk of their music critiquing for local artists and bands. It’s super fun to network this way, and I love that I get paid for my articles to be included in a printed magazine!
8. Finally met a long-distance friend in person!
This one, was probably the most incredible of the whole year. Still not over it, to be honest. When his family went on vacation within driving distance of where I live, he invited me to spend a few days with them. So I did, and it was just so surreal and amazing. I’m grateful for the time we got to spend together, and hopefully it’ll happen again sometime in the near future.
9. Got out of my music learning funk.
As the pandemic wore on, my music teacher wasn’t as available for lessons, so I lost my rhythm (no pun intended, LOL). But that time away from more structured lessons gave me time to reflect and take a little breather from my in-depth music theory studies and guitar training. I’ve been learning guitar for over 12 years, and now I’m training to teach part time. Although it was a bit uncertain switching to an instructor who was more available (as I really admired my other teacher), I’m actually excited about a fresh perspective and new ideas. Very 2020 of me to say that, right? Like how life surprises us sometimes, but it’s what we do with it that matters. And I’m absolutely making the most of the opportunities I’ve been given to learn all I can!
10. Enjoyed more family time.
With nothing to do outside of the house, my parents and I found ourselves hanging out with the small group of just my aunt, uncle, and their two kids (my cousins) on weekends. We’re all feeling totally fine, and spending time together in a safe, home environment every week. We play games, eat a big dinner, and laugh a lot. It’s made my 2020 a lot brighter, and I’m so grateful for them.
I hope this little list of things I actually enjoyed in 2020 brought you to some of your own realizations. That maybe after all, this tough year had some good lessons in it. And that after we get through 2021 and everything turns back around, you’ll see that you’re more resilient than ever before. And in some ways, that makes the struggles (almost) worth it!
Happy new year, my friends! Here’s to a bigger and even better 2021.
P.S. – Keep an eye out for my next book, Forgiving What I Couldn’t Change, coming in (hopefully) mid-2021!!!
Ahead of Thanksgiving Day this week, I thought it would be high time to tell you about some of the things I’m grateful for.
Author life isn’t usually as glamorous as you might think. And with all the varied levels of uncertainty in the world right now, it’s so hard to stay focused and peaceful in the midst of the storm. So ahead of my favorite holiday of the year (Thanksgiving Day, DUH), I thought it would be high time to tell you about some of the things I’m grateful for. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list – I’ve just picked a handful of things to share. The real list would probably be way too big to share on a single blog post. And the biggest thing, is obviously Jesus – whenever I’m scared, I know He’s got my back and sees the whole picture, especially when I can only see what’s directly in front of me.
The ability to build worlds on paper is sheer magic. I honestly love how I can bring a story to life effortlessly. It feels like a superpower some days! Then again, it’s probably because I’m epically bad at anything math or science related. I guess Jesus knew that my brain would have to be good at something, so He made me extra artistic and creative. I am definitely not complaining! So whatever you’re good at, and whatever you love doing – just keep doing those things when times get hard. You’ll be surprised at how mediative and relaxing hobbies can be.
I’m also a big fan of music, and I’ve been studying guitar in various capacities for over 12 years now. My hope is to be able to teach guitar someday, but for now, I’m just really enjoying honing my skills.
So I guess what I’m saying is, hug your loved ones tight, this season and always – you never know how much time you have left with them.
#3: My Friends
When OCS (Only Child Syndrome) sets in with a vengeance and I really need to talk to someone not blood-related to me, friends are an amazing alternative. When I was a kid, I didn’t have many friends I could depend on. That was probably compounded by the fact that I was always a bit more mature than other kids my age. Plus, it didn’t help that I exclusively attended private schools miles away from my hometown. Add in a good dose of bullying, and ya girl had it pretty rough. That’s why I’m so beyond grateful for the friends I found in high school and college. They fill in the gaps of friendships I was lacking in the past in the most honest, wholesome way. I even got to meet a long-distance friend IRL for the first time this year, and you can read about that surreal experience HERE: https://angelinasingerauthor.wordpress.com/2020/08/25/when-writers-meet-closing-the-distance-from-800-miles-apart/
But this isn’t meant to be a sympathy post – no. What I’m trying to show you is that no matter how bad things get, time and life experience fix most things. I used the struggles I had to write my latest book – Forgetting What I Couldn’t Remember – all about overcoming bullying and the long-term damaging effects it can have. All fictionalized, of course – the story is about Vera Bartlet who travels through time and meets her younger self. Navigating some romance and estranged relatives in the mix too, this is a story you don’t want to miss! Grab a copy before the sequel, Forgiving What I Couldn’t Change is released mid-2021: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084QK6DFW?pf_rd_r=5TKMY5SCHQFM95MN0S40&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee
So no matter what your holiday looks like this week, I truly hope that you find time to thank God for all that He’s given you, big or small. Even the tough things always happen for a reason, and that understanding is getting me through so many of my struggles. Things will get better soon! And until it does, counting your blessings is a great place to start ❤
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
P.S. – Although in person events are obviously cancelled right now, I’m participating in the digital Rhode Island Author Expo on December 5th. Click this link to see the events I’m in, and register for free if you’d like to virtually meet me!
I’m not giving up, but I’ve come to the realization that I might have to accept that there will be detours in my professional planning.
My biggest dreams are to be a bestselling author and a world-renowned music journalist. Of course, I’m well aware that the first thing is probably about as likely as becoming a pop star and the second thing takes years to accomplish.
Since those ideas obviously fell through (shocker, I know right?), I’ve been looking for remote work through all the typical job finding sites, preferably for something like copywriting or marketing. And due to probably a bunch of different variables, that just hasn’t happened for me yet either.
And I’m not giving up, but I’ve come to the realization that I might have to accept that there will be detours in my professional planning. No matter what happens in the future, I gotta be okay with where I am now (very zen-like of me, isn’t it?).
So here’s where I’m at, and what I’ve been doing lately to make the waiting productive and not a waste of time:
#1: I’ve embraced freelancing as a legitimate option.
At least for now, working for myself has been really really great, and I’ll be able to pad my resume for later. Hopefully the world stops imploding soon enough, and at that point, I’ll land a full-time gig. Or hey, if the freelancing thing goes well enough, maybe I won’t even have to at all! As my uncle put it once, I could work for someone irritating and make less money, or work for myself and make more money. The choice is pretty obvious!
As far as what kind of freelancing I’ve been doing, it varies. Sometimes it’s an article for Motif Magazine, Inkitt Writer’s Blog, or an edited manuscript for a client. No matter what it is, I’m totally busy enough with whatever I find and it’s actually really fun! I’ll attach some links to my work below if you’re curious about it.
I’ve also still been working on my latest book, Forgiving What I Couldn’t Change (Book 2 of The Rewind Duology), but I’m not expecting that to be a full-time venture anytime soon necessarily. So I’m diverting my attention to these gigs full time (for now).
#2: Trust God.
‘nough said, right? My faith in Jesus plays a massive role here, because it helps me remember that even when I’m convinced my life is spinning out of control (or worse yet, not going anywhere at all), He’s got it covered. It’s a pretty good feeling, once you retrain yourself to think through struggles that way. So just hang in there best you can until things start to change 🙂
#3: Be nice to yourself.
Don’t blame yourself for not having a job yet (especially these days). There are so many totally valid variables that are making the job search harder than it’s ever been. Maybe the company you want to work for isn’t hiring right now. Or the one that is being extra picky in their hiring process because as it is, they have a shoestring budget. But the overwhelming consensus us that it’s not you. Everything is just tough right now, and that’s okay.
In the meantime, fill your time with productive action steps that could lead to getting out of your rut sooner versus later. As for me, I took a leap of faith and joined the Editorial Freelancers Association – a paid database that connects freelancers with people who need their services. It was a bit more expensive to join than I typically would have been okay paying for, but I think it was a smart investment. Point is, do things that are productive, even if it feels like a tangent.
In my limited experience, sometimes side quests end up leading you right back to the main path anyway 😉