So maybe you’ve noticed a much more sporadic blog post schedule taking hold around these parts… that’d be my fault. Somewhere between my post fake-bragging about a quiet October, everything on the Internet exploded and maxed out my computer time with work.
This is a blessing of a problem, to be sure. And once I get paid for all of this work (because that’s the fun part about freelancing that I don’t find quite as fun), I will be very glad it all happened.
Here’s a quick recap of the fun things I’m dealing with right now:
The emotional hurdle of taxes.
Money is emotional? What?
To be clear, I have paid a lot of taxes this year. However, we’re rolling into the last part of the year where I need to make those numbers line up much more officially, and that is very stressful to me. It’s so, so, so, so, so (x1,000,000) painful to get $3,000 and then turn around and send $1,000 of it away just for the crap of it– especially when the pressure to pay off debt and save money for our security is always looming. Oh my gosh, it hurts so much.
I know I should be grateful to make money, and even more grateful to be able to freelance and to live in America, but Ow. When you sweat every detail to make every dollar and no one else is going to pay taxes for you, it hurts a lot more. I’ll be leaning on JHubbs to support me in this effort through the next two months.
Health ups and downs.
I’ve been eating Paleo AIP very clean for almost a month (I’m writing about that stuff over at my new site Eat Your Values now!).
The good news? I feel great. The bad news? I feel great. That means I have every reason to continue this diet (give or take some reintroductions whenever I feel brave enough to try them) and no reason to have coffee, chocolate, and cream any time in the near future. I had an amazing 3 or 4 weeks followed by a less-amazing 2 weeks that I’m slowly coming out of. Thyroids just do that sometimes, lucky me.
Fear of the computer.
One of the biggest changes in my freelance life is a new fear of the computer. When I worked for someone else, I would be at work 8-9 hours per day on a computer, then come home and fiddle with blog stuff and writing projects for another 2-3 hours. I’m so grateful to have had this time to do that, because it lead to my current career. But I also wonder where that energy and “fun” went.
Now, I work 4-5 billable hours per day and a handful of hours with adminstrative stuff. When I’m done doing that, I practically throw my computer across the room to get away from my responsibilities that hound me (ANOTHER ROUND OF EDITS, a new business email, a follow up email, etc). Not another click! Not another scroll!
I don’t feel like I have a safe place online that’s not work-related anymore because I made that safe place my job (ahh, those carefree hours I spent drinking coffee with cream and browsing the blog lives of A Well-Heeled Blog and My Pretty Pennies). I bet I’ll pull this out for this week’s Freelance Friday if I get up the energy.
As far as business goes, I’ve been feeling some ennui lately. This is common for freelancers, apparently, but I’m not excited about it. I have projects I love, I like, and I don’t mind… but I don’t know what to specialize in.
It feels like college all over again, except this time I know how important this decision is. Just when I think one type of work is my favorite, I get a different project that’s different but also awesome. And then there’s the opposite side of things, where something that pays well or is regular scratches at my soul a bit.
The end of FPU
For the past 10 weeks, we’ve lead a Financial Peace University class at church. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done! Not only did we get to talk money with people for an hour every week, but we met some amazing people we otherwise wouldn’t have gotten to meet. During the course, one woman paid off her student loans (!) and several couples elected to do the credit card shred. Both of those nights actually gave me chills, which was really cool.
Also awesome, leading the class made it impossible for JHubbs and I to NOT follow the steps. We put together our emergency fund and are right around the corner from paying off a debt that’s plagued us for over a year (my MRI bill from last September when I got laid off).
Our steps are tricky because each month we have an $1800 deficit that I need to earn (that is, we don’t have a balanced budget each month, I work to pay the bills) and Dave Ramsey’s standard $1,000 savings certainly isn’t enough, but we’ve agreed on a method that feels good to us and respects Dave Ramsey’s method all the same: $1,000 savings (DONE), then build one month of my income (DONE), then pay off one debt (ALMOST), then build the next month of income, then another debt, and so on.
This will allow me the safety of having 60 days to earn each paycheck (which given the time it takes to receive and process payment is about accurate) without waiting to pay off debt until we have an indefinite amount of money saved up (translation: we never would be).
(On that note: does anyone have any good tips for negotiating a lower payoff for a medical bill? The debt has already been sold to a second-party, so I know I have some negotiating power but I am otherwise clueless.)
The one thing going well for me right now (besides JHubbs, who is always my silver lining) is my spiritual mojo. I go to mass every week, and during busy weeks I go to daily mass once or twice a week (For real, it makes me more productive and boosts my focus).
It’s really special to me to get as much as I do out of church because it’s a first in my life. Growing up Catholic and being not-Catholic in college didn’t encourage my spirituality in the way my life does now. I have JHubbs, Matthew Kelly, and the priest at my church to thank for that. (And, lamely enough, the local Christian station. Besides Joshua Wake, I listen to Christian Rock almost exclusively…. and I NEVER could have seen that coming).
Well, this mini-update turned into a journaling session. The one thing that keeps me motivated to blog and share things? Comments! If you have a second, I’d really appreciate a mini-update of your own to let me know how you’re doing, what you’d like to read about on the blog, or comments on things I’m dealing with in this post. For serious! Thank you!