Tag Archives: working from home

How to Push Through a Writer’s Block


Let’s face it, some days, you just don’t feel like writing. Maybe you had a weird dream, woke up on the wrong side of the bed, have a lot going on in your personal life, or, maybe your inspiration is just being a bitch and hiding from you.

Whatever the reason, every writer has been there. It’s a totally normal – albeit annoying – part of the process.

Unfortunately, writer’s block can also seem to happen at the worst of times, so you may find yourself at times needing to write even when it’s the last thing you feel like doing. Yes, even when you’re self-employed, this can happen!

And also unfortunately, as I’ve talked about in past articles, if you are self-employed, if you aren’t doing something, it’s not getting done. And I’m sure I’m not the only writer to pull a, ‘Oh, I’ll write it tomorrow’, and then have ‘tomorrow’ turn into another day, or week…. or month.

So, what can you do if you have a looming deadline, the guilt of pushing an article/story has been eating at you long enough and you just need to get your writing done today?


Step 1. Open Your Laptop As Soon as You Wake Up

Make going on your laptop and opening the document the first thing you do when you wake up. Yes, before breakfast, coffee, morning yoga, or whatever else you usually do. The only thing you should allow yourself to do between your feet hitting the ground and opening your laptop to work is go to the bathroom. (Because let’s face it, no amount of willpower will let you power through really needing to pee)

This way, there’s nothing to distract you from writing. You haven’t started any other tasks that you ‘have to’ finish first, the only thing you need to focus on is already in front of you.

If you need to, you can even unplug/turn off your internet so you aren’t tempted to check your e-mail, play games or whatever other sneaky laptop distractions you use to continue putting it off.

Just because you’re on your laptop, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re working, does it? That’s right, I see you fellow procrastinators!


Step 2. Just Start Writing

Just start typing. This is probably the hardest part to do. In the middle of a writer’s block, depending on the reason, you may feel slightly frozen with your fingers hovering over the keys, all semblance of a point leaving your body.

Stop overthinking it and just start writing. Chances are, you’ve been at least partially mentally writing your article for the entire time you’ve been putting it off. That means the words are in there!

Start typing and you might be surprised at how fast the ideas start to flow out of you.

Before you know it, you’ll reach the end of the article, and then you’ll feel silly for sitting around and waiting for your inspiration to come back.

It’s a harsh truth, but you can’t always wait for inspiration. (Especially if you’re writing non-fiction) If you’ve turned your writing into your job, that’s awesome! But also means you no longer have the luxury of only writing when the mood strikes.

You’ve got a job to do.

You may have noticed if you’ve read some of the other Working From Home articles, but a common theme is to just make yourself do it. You’ve gotta find the willpower/drive/whatever-you-want-to-call-it inside you. As much as reading articles may help you spark new ideas, or try new techniques, ultimately, it all actually comes down to you.

No amount of advice from a stranger on the internet is going to magically write your article/story.

You need to find a way to make it happen.

Oh, and if you got a sense of deja vu reading this article (like I did when writing it), it’s because you’re remembering my Breaking a Writer’s Block article. Which is admittedly similar to this one, but different enough it definitely wasn’t a waste of time to write a second one.

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Working From Home: Taking Time Off/Vacation


Important: This is the last article for 2023. (Aside from December’s Product Review) I’ll be taking the last half of December and first half of January off from posting.

I’ll be back January 12th, 2024 with the first short story of the new year! (The first article will go up January 15th)

Knowing when/if you should take a vacation or time off from work is confusing at best. But it’s even worse when you work for yourself.

It’s not like you can ask the boss and get your request approved or rejected and that’s that because well, you are the boss! And being your own boss, while full of amazing benefits can also muddy the waters on important things.

You’re the boss, so you have to decide how much or how little you work. Not only does this have the potential to muddy your day-to-day life, but what about big upcoming events? A wedding? A funeral? Some kind of emergency?

Outside of emergencies, how do you decide if you’ve ‘earned’ a vacation? Is it once you’ve finished x amount of work? Is it after x amount of ‘work days’? Sure you could give yourself a certain amount of days off at the beginning of the year, but as we’ve established you are the boss. What are the real consequences if you take a not-scheduled day off? It’s not like you can call yourself into your office and yell at yourself.

I touched on this in my Time Management post, but working from home can severely blur the lines between your work and home life. Feeling guilty for not working when you’re trying to relax at 9pm in your living room is one thing, but actually scheduling yourself a vacation for your stay-at-home job?

Unfortunately society doesn’t help with the pressure that if you work from home (as an entrepreneur) you don’t need time off. It’s not ‘real’ work, right?


Running your own business – especially your own in-the-arts business – usually comes with more work related stress. The stress of making it, doing literally all the jobs (boss, social media manager, booking clients/selling pieces, content creation, customer service, etc.), the aforementioned blurred lines of home and work life, convincing the people around you that the work you’re doing is ‘actual’ work… the list goes on.

You also usually have to be more strategic in your vacation/time off planning. Most (good) 9-5 jobs will give you paid time off, but when you work for yourself, when you take time off, you lose money. And not to mention, you also ‘lose’ time to schedule, or update, or whatever your business. Because everything rests on your shoulders, if you decide to take time off, your business essentially freezes until you come back.

Even if you have passive income, you’re still essentially losing momentum.

So what are you to do if you’re a burnt-out artist? Do you just keep ‘sucking it up’ and plowing ahead?

No, you shouldn’t. Not only is that not healthy for you, it’s actually not healthy for your business, either.

You’ll work much more productively after you’ve given yourself a break. But how do you decide when that time is?

Well I can’t tell you definitively. What works for me may not work for you. And what works for you may not work for someone else. That said, you can try one of the methods above and see if they fit:


  1. Give Yourself a Set Amount of Days Off

Calculate how many days off you can take without hurting your business/losing too much money to bankrupt yourself, and then write them down either in a list or on your calendar.

If you’re not sure, take a look at some 9-5 jobs that offer vacation days and base your number on theirs. If you think you’ll need more, give yourself more, if less, take less.

This also doesn’t have to be a number you stick with forever. At the end of the year, evaluate yourself. Would you have benefited from taking more or less time off? Readjust the number and try again next year. Keep experimenting until you get it right.


  1. Take a Project-Related Vacation

Tell yourself once you finish a certain project, you’ll take a set number of days off. The project can be anything from finishing half your book, to scheduling three months worth of work. This one will depend a lot on the type of business you have.

This type of vacation based days also has the potential to help you be more productive. If you know you get two (or however many) days off after you finish a project, you might be more inclined to not put it off.


  1. Calendar Based Time Off

Some companies use quarterly reports to review things like their earnings, productivity, etc. You could give yourself time off the same way. Tell yourself once a quarter (four months), you’ll get a set number of days off.

Or, tell yourself at the beginning or end of the year, you’ll take a set amount of days off. If you’ve been around here a while, you’ll know that with my website, I take the last half of December and first half of January off from posting every year.

For example, this means that this year (2023) I’m off December 13th until January 12th. This gives me about 1 month to relax, go through the holidays, visit family and start gearing up for the next year.

If you decide to try this method, make sure to let your clients/customers/readers know a few weeks beforehand that you’ll be taking time off/away during a certain period of time. This way they don’t wonder what happened/go somewhere else while you seemingly disappeared.

Whatever method you decide to try to give yourself a break, make sure that when those days roll around you actually take them. No pushing them off to a different day, no “oh well after I finish this” – no. Stop. Pushing back vacation days is a great way to put you right back down the path to burn out.

Remember: vacations only work if you actually take them.

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Writing with Music: Crazy or Genius?


It never fails to blow my mind the way people react when I tell them I write with music on. There’s always some form of utter confusion, as if I’d told them I birthed a puppy or something.

This got me thinking: is writing with music really that weird?

Back when I was on Twitter, I used to see fellow writers debating about this, as well. And while we all know there’s no one size fits all, I found it weird by just how many people said they wrote in silence, or worse: with lyric-less music. It was practically half of the writers I followed!

The other half of writers swore by writing with music on, but only if the music didn’t have any lyrics. Surprisingly, they had the same reason as my friends seemed to: music with lyrics would be “too distracting” to write with.

Uh… what?!

I don’t understand how so many people don’t understand that it’s actually quite easy – and even helpful – to write with lyrical music on. I have music on for any kind of writing I’m doing, whether it’s my short stories, books, or website articles. Hell, I even have music playing right now writing this article! (23.06.26, AC/DC’s Shoot to Thrill)

I actually find that not having music on and trying to write in silence is distracting. It’s like my brain can’t think when it’s silent. I need the blanket of music to be able to barf my creative ideas all over the room. Writing in silence just does not work for me.

That’s not to say any music will do, though. I find it especially helpful to have music going that matches the emotional vibe I’m going for in a story. I pull the emotion out of the songs I listen to and inject them into what I’m writing. Every single one of my books has their own playlist. I also have a general playlist for when I’m writing short stories, and if need be, I create special playlists for those, too. Or if I’m basing a short story on just one song, I’ll listen to just that one song until I’m finished the story.

Writing with lyrical music on is something I’ve been doing literally forever and honestly now, it’s just second nature. I don’t even have to think about it. When it’s time to write, I turn on my playlist before even opening Word.

Now, you may be thinking “okay, fine, you write with lyrical music on, but you probably have it so low you can barely hear it, which is why you don’t find it distracting” and if you are, you’re 100% wrong!

I have music not quite blaring, but it’s definitely loud enough to drown out any potential background noise. (And definitely loud enough to not hear if someone calls my name) The perfect level of music for me is being able to hear my fingers hitting the keyboard, and nothing else. Funnily enough, if my music is too loud and I can’t hear myself typing, I get the same type of brain-fart as if I were writing in completely silence. It’s a delicate balance between having it loud enough to suck out the emotions from the songs, and not being so loud that it drowns out my own thoughts.

Y’know when it gets too loud and people say they can’t hear themselves think? That’s exactly what happens if my music is too loud.

Writing, and honestly just life in general is so much better when you give it a soundtrack. Whether you’re doing the dishes, working out, or even just walking down the street. Having music on just brings an extra little boost to your day.

If you’re someone who writes in complete silence (or with lyric-less music) and you find yourself sort of stuttering in your writing, try finding a song or making a playlist of songs that matches the emotions you’re going for. You might just find yourself getting unstuck, and who knows? You might realize you’ve been writing wrong and change your ways. 😉

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Brainstorming Pros and Cons


To make any website successful, you need to fill it with content. In most cases, this content refers to articles. And if you want any chance of gaining an audience, you’ll need to upload on some sort of schedule. But, where do these article ideas come from?

Are they hand-chosen by some higher being and plopped into a person’s brain? Do you have a master list of every idea you want to turn into an article that you pick from? Use an idea generator?

While there’s no one way to come up with ideas, I’ve found what works best for me is picking from a master list of all my ideas. To create this master list, I designate one day a year to brainstorm and write down all the ideas I can for the upcoming year (or years) content.

While this might sound like a dream (being able to concentrate your creativity into one super-productive day), it’s not without its downsides.

So today, I wanted to share some of the cons (and pros!) of using this brainstorming method.


  • You just have to come up with content 1 day of the year. This eliminates the stress of having to figure out what to post on a week-to-week (or month to month) basis
  • You have more free time to pursue other interests/activities or to be present for the other important aspects of your life
  • Having a master list of all your ideas might help spark new content ideas
  • Having everything in one place will allow you to quickly see whether or not you’ve already done a specific idea



  • Forcing yourself to be creative on one designated day may have you drawing a blank
  • If something comes up on the day you designated (that you can’t get out of) you won’t end up getting many or possible any new ideas down, which you’ll then have to make up on a different day, or wing it, which as said above, can be more stressful
  • If you don’t have a back-up of your master list, and the file somehow gets corrupted or damaged, all of your ideas are gone with it
  • It can be hard to force yourself to think of different content ideas for multiple topics on the same day

Despite the almost equal amount of pros and cons of brainstorming article ideas, I still feel it’s the best method for me. I feel a weird sense of chaos inside my brain if things aren’t scheduled out. Even without having the articles written, just seeing the ideas lined up nicely on a calendar lends a sense of calm to my life.

And I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels this way, which is why I recommend you try it! Not only does coming up with ideas all at once save time, but if you do end up having a cool article idea later on, you can add it to the master list – instead of saving it in a separate note.

You’ll also never know if this method works for you until you actually test it. And what better time to test it out than the early days of the New Year?

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How to Run a Blog


I’ve touched on some of these points already in previous articles, but I wanted to write this post to show you how to put them all together. Running a blog isn’t hard per se, it just takes some time and effort. It really just takes 3 steps to become a blogger, and though they may sound simple, the execution can be quite daunting, especially if you’ve never been self-employed.

But, don’t worry! I’m here with the below three steps to help make your transition a little easier.


Step 1: Come Up with an Idea

You can’t post articles, your opinions and advice about nothing, so first you have to think of what you want your blog to be about. It can be anything you’re passionate about. Lego? Cool! You think dinos would’ve been cooler if they wore fedoras? Sure, why not!

Whatever topic you pick though, it should be one that you can make multiple posts about. You can’t be a blogger if you only have 1 post. If you want to be serious about blogging and make it any sort of ‘real job’, you’re going to need to pick topics you can consistently post about, and come at with new ideas.

You can even pick more than one idea, if you just can’t bring yourself to choose. Like myself, I have different sections on my website for the different things I’m interested in: veganism, writing, and a new lifestyle section. I’m in no ways an expert on any of these topics – I never went to school and got a degree for any of them – I’m just a person who thinks (hopes) my experiences and opinions on these topics can help others who are on a similar path.

The point of your blog is to share things you’re passionate about, and maybe even help other people on their journeys, so you can make your blog about whatever you want. Find your reasons and topics, and go from there. Though, if you’re just starting out, I’d recommend starting with 1 topic, just until you get the hang of all the rest of it. Don’t want to overwhelm yourself when you’re starting out. Remember: you can always expand your blog to incorporate more topics/things later on, but it’s a lot harder (and looks worse) to let a part of your blog die.


Step 2: Get Organized

Now that you’ve got your idea, it’s time to think about how to put it into action. I suggest coming up with as many article ideas as you can and writing them down/keeping the list somewhere safe, so that you aren’t scrambling on posting day.

And, speaking of posting day: decide on a posting schedule. Most of the advice I had come across when I started out said to start out with posting just once or twice a month, until you get the hang of things. I thought that was way too little – after all, how was I supposed to drive traffic to my blog if I wasn’t posting regularly? – so I decided on posting roughly 5 times per month.

A month of posting for me looks like 2 articles, 2 short stories and 1 product review. The articles I try to rotate between the different sections of the website, so that I’m posting to each section ‘fairly’, and not giving more attention to one topic.

I realize posting five times in one month sounds insane, but when you break it down – 2 stories and 3 articles – it really isn’t that bad. I usually don’t count the stories as ‘work’ when I think about the website, because I’m a writer, and I’d be writing stories anyway. And yes, while I like all the topics I post about, it takes more work for me to write the articles than the stories. Stories I’m constantly coming up with, but articles require research and more planning so that I’m not just babbling on and on for a few pages.

Making posts coherent can be quite the task, especially when I’d rather be writing fiction. This is why, as said in my Time Management post, scheduling articles and making yourself a to-do list can be a huge help.

Not only will it let you make sense of all the ideas you just came up with, but it will also help take the pressure off yourself when you can see all the ideas planned out. This way, you won’t have to worry about the blog looking dead, and you won’t feel like you have to do everything right now. Having a set schedule (that you stick to) will also benefit your readers. Think of it like being punctual – if you post on a schedule, people will know when to expect you, and can then go ‘greet’ you (ie check your blog) consistently.


Step 3: Marketing

You can’t have people flock to your blog if nobody knows it exists! I know it sucks, but you have to market yourself. Post on social media and tell people why they should check you out. What new (or creative) ideas are you bringing to the table? Why should they change their routine to go see you? In what ways will you be making their day better (and feel like they’re missing out) by visiting your blog?

The truth is, people are selfish creatures, and don’t like change. Which is why you need to make yourself seem important enough for them to check out. Dazzle them with your new ideas, your polarizing opinions, or whatever you’ve got going for you. Be yourself, and people will flock to you. Even assholes get followers, so don’t fret!

This is (in my opinion) the hardest part about being self-employed. On the one hand, you don’t want to sound gimmicky/click-bait-y, but on the other, you want people to come to you, because you know you’re awesome. Unfortunately, it takes time to build yourself a following, and though it can be discouraging when you don’t get many (or any) likes/views on a new post, you have to keep going.

If you quit, you’re guaranteeing nobody will ever see your hard work.

Part of marketing is also learning how to monetize your blog. There are tons and tons of options out there, everything from Google Adsense to being paid by companies for dedicated posts, but as someone just starting out, I don’t want you to worry about that part.

You can worry about making millions once you have your blog established and a dedicated audience. No company will pay you to promote their product to no one, which is another reason getting good at marketing is a big help.

Do what you can with what you can, and a little pro tip: Don’t be afraid to pay for some ads! I know, I know, you may think that’s a cop out, or that you don’t have funds to do ads right now, and that’s okay! Just make sure you don’t discount paying ads as an option forever.

There are literally billions of people on the planet, and your manual posting can only reach so many.

Bottom line (and yes, I know it’s cheesy): keep going. Don’t give up just because it’s hard, or because it’s harder than you thought it’d be. Nothing worth having comes easy. Hard work does pay off. It just might take a little longer than you expect.

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WFH: Time Management


*This article was written 20.04.29, when the corona-virus lock down was beginning to go into full swing in Canada. Please excuse any reference/comment that is no longer applicable.

Now that everyone is pretty much forced to work from home*, you may be scouring the internet trying to find ways to make it work. After all, you’ve always had a physical separation of your work space from your home, so how are you supposed to focus on work while wearing pj’s, and being so close to the dirty laundry?

Maybe you have set work hours from your job, or maybe you’re trying to start a work from home business and the line is a bit blurrier. Either way, you’ll need to know when to close your laptop and switch from Work Mode to Home Mode.

Walking the line between getting work done and having time to relax can be difficult for those who aren’t use to it. Fortunately for you, I’ve been working from home since I started my writing career, which was around 2016, and while I’m not a master, I’ve definitely picked up a few things.

The best thing tip I’ve found is learning how to time manage. Without time management, you’re pretty much lost in the sea of work and relaxing.

But, never fear! Below are the best tips to help you with your time management, so you can take some practical steps into getting things rolling.


Tip #1: Have Clear Work Hours

Scheduling your work hours is probably the #1 most important tip for being able to pull this off. If you don’t draw the line in the sand of when Work Mode begins and ends, you’ll constantly be feeling like you could be working when trying to relax, and trust me, feeling guilty for not working 24/7 is not conducive to a good work environment.

Whether you have set hours from your job, or you’re making it up as you go, set yourself work hours. I personally work (about) 10am-8pm. This will help ease your planning of say, knowing when to take a break and do some chores, or when to get dinner ready.

And don’t forget to allow yourself to take breaks within those work hours! You get breaks in the office, and your home office shouldn’t be any different. It’s okay to take a quick coffee/smoke/pee break during your work hours. Or, if you have an unexpected knock at the door? (Which you shouldn’t unless you’re getting stuff delivered) Get up! Don’t feel that just because you’ve set work hours, you need to be glued to your chair.

That’s actually not healthy at all! If you’re able, get up and stretch every few hours, or stand at your desk so you aren’t sitting all day. This will also help you feel less like you’re ‘stuck’ doing work. Just because it’s ‘business hours’ doesn’t mean you can’t take a quick break.

If you worked in an office and used to take regular breaks, do that at home! Try to keep as much of your routine the same, so it’s easier to stick to.

And, once the scheduled Work Hours are up? Get off your computer. I’m serious, especially if you’re starting your own business, I know how tempting it is to keep going. But then the next time you look up it will be 3am. Detaching yourself immediately from your computer once work is done is a big help in mentally keeping those work boundaries straight.


Tip #2: Schedule/Make a To-Do List

I know, I know, not everyone is great at scheduling, and not everyone likes to-do lists. But, scheduling stuff is honestly not as hard as some would make it seem. You can schedule literally as much or as little as you want/need to. If your brain will explode at the near thought of having to plan out your whole year (or week), start smaller!

Start with a to-do list for just today. Or, you could break it up even more by making a morning/afternoon (or hour by hour) to-do list. Everyone loves checking/crossing things off a to-do list – it gives you a sense of accomplishment, so go ahead and make one!

Now, again, if you are working a regular job from home, you may have clearly marked things to do, but if you’re a blogger, or similar ‘not real’ job person, this may be more essential to you.

As a blogger (and author!), I’ve found it imperative that I schedule my posts. Back when I started really getting into blogging and making my website functional, I would post 5-10 posts in a few days, and then wouldn’t touch it for a few weeks/months. That’s not exactly a good business model, neither for gaining fans, nor for your sanity.

Having a set schedule will take a lot of pressure off, so you don’t feel like you have to do everything right now, and it will give your fans a dedicated time to check in. It’s hard to see what’s new with someone you like if they post sporadically.

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I’ve found it helpful to list out everything you want to eventually get posted/done, and then organize from there what takes priority. For me, when I’m deciding on what posts to do, it’s actually kind of easy. Since I have a bunch of different interests, I cycle through them.

The way that works the best for me, is to list all the posts I want to (eventually) post, and then fill them in (rotationally) to an editable calendar. This helps keep me organized, since I plan out the entire year, and it takes the edge off my anxiety, because I know it will all get done.

For example, this post is scheduled for publishing August 3rd, but I’m writing it April 29th.  (Hello from the past!) That kind of advanced planning doesn’t happen by accident! Since I have the entire year planned out, it allows me to schedule posts as far in advanced as I need, thus giving me more time to do other things I enjoy. (Like starting the next book, or working on merch, or even just relaxing/having time to spend with family)

Being organized and scheduling my shit actually feeds my lazy side. If I don’t want to do any work at all and take a day off? Sure, I’m scheduled till August, so why not?

The one downside to this method is that you will eventually have to kick your own butt to make sure things are getting done. Which actually leads us into the last tip:


Tip #3: Discipline

Not everyone can thrive while working from home. I understand this kind of not-as-structured lifestyle is for everyone. But, I also think one of the main reasons why so many people fail is because they lack the discipline.

Having the ability to kick your own ass is a dying art, but it’s something you’re gonna have to learn to do if you want to succeed.

A lot of people in my life have complained to me about being ‘stuck’ working a job they don’t like, and thus they don’t have the life they thought they would. And, not to sound like a privileged white lady, all I can think is nobody forced you to get that job. Sure, there may have been people who forced you to get a job – but other people can’t force you to make decisions.

They can try to manipulate you either emotionally or some other way, but ultimately, it’s your life, and you just need to find the inner strength and courage to stand up for yourself and say ‘hey, this is my life. I’m going to do whatever I want.’ And if they don’t like it? Well then maybe you need to analyze what it is they’re adding to your life.

If you’re unhappy with your life, take some time and really think about why. Where did things go wrong and what steps can you do to change your life? It’s your life, you have the power to make yourself happy. Do some soul searching and think about what you want your ideal life to look like. What way of life would make you happy?

Once you see the figurative light at the end of the tunnel, start thinking about how to connect yourself from where you’re at now to there. What steps can you take – even if they’re small – to get yourself to your ultimate life? It’s never too late to make yourself happy, you just have to try.

Honestly it is that simple.

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Working From Home: Focusing


While I think I touched on this in my Top 5 Pros and Cons of Working From Home article, I thought I’d dedicate a whole post to perhaps the biggest/hardest part about working from home: focusing.

(If you live alone feel free to disregard most of the following)

When you’re working from home – especially a home that you share with others – sh*t is gonna get loud, especially around the time everyone else comes in from work. They just got back from work, so they want to relax with watching T.V., playing video games, and they most definitely need to cook dinner. You may need to call/text friends and family through out the day, go to the store and if there are pets you need to attend to?

And that’s not even mentioning digital distractions, like social media. So, with all these distractions, how are you ever going to focus? Well, the answer is both simple and complicated: You just gotta make yourself do it.

Whether this means waking up earlier/staying up later than everyone else so you can have a few hours of quiet, working with headphones on, or having a dedicated ‘work’ room (or space), do something that will allow you to get your shit done.

Is it fair that you may have to work around others’ schedules just so you can get what you want done? Not really. But what is the other option? Sitting there doing nothing day after day when you could be working? Everybody has to start somewhere, and one day when you’re in the middle of living your dream, you’ll thank your past self for taking the initiative.

Anything that’s worth getting is worth the work.

If interruptions are unavoidable/people absolutely need to talk to you, maybe try giving them certain times they can interrupt you. Like a short recess, it allows you a quick break from your work, and allows the people in your life to not feel like you’re blowing them off. As your list of things that need to get done grows, it will be increasingly good to schedule yourself breaks and check-in times with those around you, so you don’t go down the work spiral. It can be hard to keep to your scheduled breaks, but working constantly isn’t good for your health. And, there are studies that show that constantly working and not taking breaks can actually make you less productive.

I actually gave myself a ‘quitting time’ of 8pm. This may sound late, but since most days I wake up at 10am, it’s actually only 9 hours of work a day – which is only 1 hour more than the typical 9-5.

I also usually write with headphones on, so if people are talking, being loud, etc. it doesn’t usually bother me. And, if I need extra non-distractions? I just close my door. (My desk is set up in my bedroom.)

Everyone in my house knows that if my door is closed, not to bother me, unless it’s really important. Or, a less invasive way to get my attention? Shoot me a text! I always have my phone to the left of my computer, so I can see it light up. This system has been working since I started publishing books in 2016, and so far there haven’t been many issues. (This may be because my mom is also a freelance writer, so she understands the need for space)

However, as life tends to do, things won’t always run smoothly. No matter how many scheduled times/breaks, meetings times, etc. you have, some days it will just feel like people can not give you time to yourself to complete your work. I understand the frustration (trust me), but try not to let this get you agitated. Sure, it’s annoying, but these people care about you, and chances are they don’t realize they’re being annoying.

This is why having a conversation about what you need to be productive can help. (Instead of not saying anything and then blowing up at people when they do the thing that’s secretly been annoying you) I’ve found most people aren’t actively trying to be assholes/annoying, etc. so just tell them what you need so you can get things done.

Okay, I feel like maybe things got a bit muddled up there (I was actually writing this while fielding interruptions… go figure!), so in the interest of keeping things simple:

Ways to Focus:

  • Get up earlier/stay up later than others
  • Work with headphones on
  • Have a designated ‘work’ space (that people know not to bother you)
  • Schedule breaks/check-ins with people so they don’t constantly interrupt (or feel ignored)

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Top 3 Tips to Running Your (New) Website


Running a website is hard as sh*t.

Especially if you choose to post… oh, I don’t know, let’s say roughly five times a month.

Before I had started my website, every article I read basically said the exact same thing: posting once a month is more then enough. Once a month? How am I supposed to build a following if I only post once a month?

I can see now that… well, not that I was wrong, but I was pretty naïve to think that I knew better then other professionals. My thought process was something akin to, ‘a month is a long time, I can definitely post every week and be fine.’ So that’s what I did at the very beginning.

Posting every single week got old/infuriating real fast. I felt like I was losing my mind, having to constantly be preparing the next post, worrying about how was I going to tackle the vastly different topics that interested me, and perhaps the worst of all – it didn’t leave me any time for continuing with my books.

Needless to say, that was not a good way to run my website, nor a good way to keep my sanity in check. It took me probably the better half of 2017 to get into a groove and set myself a schedule for what was to be posted when. I still struggle with the system I’ve put into place sometimes – we all know how life likes to ruin our plans – so while I haven’t quite perfected the art of managing my website – and it’s not even close to being everything I want it to be – I’ve definitely learned a lot in the process.

This article is to share 3 tips I wish I’d known when I was starting out.


  1. Start with One Idea

This is probably one of the hardest things I had to learn when I was starting out. I had been ‘planning’ all the different elements/topics I wanted my website to have, so when I finally went for it, I was all over the place. One week I’d post a TAF (short story), the next I’d post a recipe, and still another would be a product review. There was absolutely no structure, and it was driving me crazy flipping back and forth each week between different ideas.

One thing I wish I had read/or heard, was this: Your website will expand. It takes time to establish a website from nothing. You have to pick things like layout, theme, how you want it to look, and that’s all before you start adding content. Your best bet when you’re just starting out is to focus your energy and time on one thing – preferably the main thing you’d want the website to be about – and only post that.

You may feel like you’re limiting yourself, since you’re bursting with ideas about this and that, but trust me – focus on one thing, and get yourself to fall into the pattern of posting that one thing. Remember, you can always add more once you’re more established. Give yourself time to get used to having a website before you try to go whole hog.


2. Pick a Posting Schedule (That You Can Realistically Keep Up With)

Give yourself a posting schedule that you think you’ll be able to stick to. It doesn’t have to be just once a month, it could be more, or less then that. When you’re just starting out, I’m sorry to say but no one is looking at your website yet. Now is the time to experiment and find what works for you. Before you begin to build a following, and especially before people start expecting you to post in the schedule you’ve set.

Give yourself enough time between posts that you’ll be able to do the following three things:

  • Write the post that needs to be posted
  • Write the next post (or at least, have the idea)
  • Have a personal life (hang out with friends, be able to go to family functions [like holidays], have a few ‘off’ days, etc.)

Let’s say you tell yourself you’ll be able to post each week. Will you have enough time in one week to come up with an idea for next weeks’ post, while simultaneously writing this weeks post, and still be able to go to grandma’s birthday/Christmas, etc.? Also, if you’re too stressed, feel like you never have a day off, and are constantly wracking your brain for the next idea? You need to dial back your scheduling.

Remember, you can always add more things to post later. You don’t have to come out of the gate doing everything all at once.

You gotta walk before you can run.


3. Plan Your Posts

It sounds simple, and yet… it can be one of the hardest things to do. You don’t want to wake up on your posting day with an ‘oh shit, I don’t have an idea for what to post today!’

True, you could always just skip that day, and get yourself ready for the next one, but, you’ll want to get yourself into the habit of not skipping posting days. Since your website is still new, and you’re still getting used to having it, you’ll want to be able to schedule your time so you’re able to do your work and still have fun. Think of it like you’re forming a new habit – you gotta find ways to incorporate it into your already established routine, without disrupting the rest of your life.

I’m assuming you didn’t quit your day-job while you’re starting this website, so let’s pretend you just got in from work, perhaps you have kids who need to be fed/put to bed, or a pet that needs to be taken care of – next thing you know it’s 11pm, you’re just about to collapse into bed when you suddenly remember: you were supposed to post something to your website today. You begrudgingly drag yourself to your website, and double-check and it’s just as you thought: no posts were scheduled, and you don’t have any finished/ready to post.

Now you have to spend your precious sleeping time thinking/writing/editing and finally posting an article to your website.

Enter: Planning.

You have a schedule you want to stick to – awesome! Now it’s time to put it to good use, and start planning out the posts you want to put up on those days. For simplicity sake, we’ll just use my posting schedule for this example. Which is every two weeks, and the 13th of every month.

This past Friday (Nov. 2nd) I posted what I call a Throw Away Fic, (which is just a short story), and today (Nov. 5th) I posted this, which internally I just call an Article. Next thing I need to post this month is a Product Review, which I do on the 13th of each month.

After that, my next two posts are:

Nov. 16th: Another TAF

Nov. 19th: Another article

I try to alternate my article content between writing tips and veganism, as these are the prime two other things I post, excluding the Throw Away Fics. Back when I was first starting my website, I had sat myself down and wrote out a list of all the possible article topics I wanted to post, and saved them to my computer. Now, I go to that list and plan out my next few articles, usually till the end of the month.

Organization is key here. I know it’s not fun, and is probably one of the least fun parts of having your website, but this saves me from having those last-minute freak outs of not having content, and not having an idea for content, too. I try to schedule out my articles at least one month in advance.

My TAFs are a bit of a different story. Last time I’d counted, I had roughly 60-something short stories that I could finish and post. I schedule those, but sometimes, plans change. For example, if a holiday is coming up, I will write a new TAF specific for the holiday, and leave the scheduled one to be posted at a later time. I don’t always know exactly which story idea I’ll be posting – sometimes it’s one of the ones from The Vault, and sometimes it’s new stories I write on my commute – but I try to get it done/scheduled at least the week before it’s supposed to go up.

Planning out your posts can put your mind to ease and not make you feel like you’re scrabbling each week (or month) to get a post to your website. This will also allow you to actually schedule the posts in your website.

In WordPress, when you make a new post, it enables you to Post Now, or you can schedule the post for a later date. This is extremely helpful when life decides to get in the way, and you’re not able to make it to a computer to manually post your article on your scheduled day – you can set it to go up automatically.

It may seem like a small thing, but it can be a life saver, especially around the holidays, when you’re pre-occupied with holiday-related worries. This gives you one less thing to try to remember after you finish cooking/hosting/buying presents, etc.

And there you have it. My top three tips of website running help I wish somebody had told me when I was starting out. It will take some time for you to adjust your schedule no matter how much of your time you commit to your website, so if you hit a few bumps along the way, don’t get discouraged – that’s just part of doing something new.

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Top 5 Pros/Cons of Working From Home


You don’t have to get up early every morning, deal with rush hour, you’re your own boss, you get to work on your schedule. What could be better, right?


It’s not all sunshine and good times. Working from home is actually a giant pain in the ass. It’s one of those things you love-hate. On the one hand it can get pretty stressful/hectic, especially because you’re trying to do everything, but on the other there is no way in hell you would trade the stress for a ‘regular’ 9-5. I’m not saying it can’t be great, but there is much more to it then what meets the eye.

Below are my Top 5 pro’s/con’s of working from home:

#1: You’re Your Own Boss

This is absolutely the number one best and worst thing about working from home. Being your own boss means you don’t have anybody to answer to. Sure, this means that if you forget a deadline you won’t get yelled at, and you have the freedom to move said deadline to whatever you want. But the flipside is: you have no one to answer to.

Nobody’s going to hold you accountable for missing a post, not writing an article, skipping a day because you’re bored/lazy/just don’t want to. There’s nobody else writing articles for you, scheduling your social media – basically nobody’s there to save your ass. If you aren’t doing it it’s not getting done. No matter how much you wish it would do it by itself, you have to dedicate a bit of time to everything in order to keep things running. And, trust me, when you really sit down and start trying to plan all the things you want to accomplish, things can get stressful very fast. I’m not saying it’ll all fall apart and all your readers will leave if you miss one post, but they’ll at least be disappointed if it doesn’t come.

Think that doesn’t apply because you’re just starting out and don’t have anyone looking at your stuff? Not quite. If you’re just starting out, sure it can be tempting to not post if you don’t feel like it because nobody’s watching, but if you want to grow and get people to start looking at your stuff, you’re gonna have to post at least somewhat consistently.

#2: It’s Hard To Detach

Another big con is that since you’re already home, it might take you longer to get out of Work Mode. Also, since you work from home, even when you do decide to relax/shut it down for the night/take a day off, the temptation is always there, and you might find yourself feeling guilty during your days off for ‘slacking off’. It’s tempting to say, ‘my laptop/notebook, etc is just upstairs/in the other room, I should be working, not wasting time doing nothing.’This is something I’m certainly guilty of.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a writer or what, but I always feel like I’m ‘on’ anyway, whether it’s scanning crowds of people for character descriptions, accidentally listening a bit too hard to that conversation on the subway for a funny line I could put in a story, or running over whatever plot-line I’ve been stuck on when I’m supposed to be not thinking about work – I feel like writers/singers/artists are in a weird state of limbo between working and not working that ‘regular people’ just don’t understand. Our jobs while amazing, make it hard to truly turn off Work Mode.

We’re constantly scanning our life for inspiration, which makes it hard to truly be done at 5pm like most other jobs. Most other jobs you go to the office, work on whatever and then punch out at a certain time. For artists that’s not really an option. It also makes it hard to find the line between ‘I’ve worked enough today’ and ‘I should be cramming as much work as I possibly can into each day because I work from home’.

Is there any fix for this? Not really. It’s always gonna be hard to detach from work, but one thing that might help is trying to put some sort of organization/structure to your work.

For example, I post on my website every two weeks, on Fridays and Mondays, so I try to break up my weeks like this:

Week 1 (Non-Post Week)

  • Search for/work on freelance work
  • Begin new articles/stories for next week
  • Finish at least 2 (other) short stories/articles (to throw in The Vault [so their ready for other weeks])
  • Work on upcoming novel/books
  • Think/Begin new designs for merch
  • Schedule posts for social media (usually done on weekends)

Week 2 (Post Week)

  • Make sure article/short story for this week are done
  • Schedule posts for respective days
  • Finish merch design/s from previous week and add to store
  • Keep working on/finish other short stories/articles from last week
  • Schedule social media posts

If you give yourself some sort of structure like this, it should help ease your guilt when you decide to call it a day, because then you can at least say you ticked off everything you wanted to get done. If you organize everything you need/want to get done, it can also help manage your stress, instead of trying to do everything at once, once you write it all out, you can sort it into whatever you feel are your top priorities and work on those first.

And, this of course you should make sure to schedule days off for yourself as well. I like to keep it simple, and stick with having the weekends ‘off’. (I do ‘easy’ stuff on these days, like photoshop) You can’t constantly be working all day every day – seriously, look it up, it’s bad for your health. Make sure to cut yourself a break every once in a while. You’re the boss, you’re allowed. (Just don’t give yourself too many days off)

#3: Ignoring The People Around You

In this same line of reasoning, with it being hard to detach, it’s not just hard on you. The people around you can feel jaded when you’re constantly blowing them off to work, or, if they work all day, come in and you’re still working. It can feel like you’re actively ignoring them in favour of work. While that might not be your intention, it can (and will) start to wear on those around you if you can’t find a dedicated ‘stopping time’.

I personally have had conversations with the people in my life about this issue. Now that it’s been brought to my attention, I try not to do that, but it’s not always that simple. Sometimes it’s hard to stick to my self-imposed ‘quitting time’, especially if I’m on a writing roll, or, if it’s someone’s day off. That’s when I feel really guilty.

Also, I feel like sometimes they assume since you work from home and you can do it whenever, (especially when you’re just starting out) and they might not see why it’s so important this thing gets done on a certain day. Stick to your guns on this. Sit them down and explain why this is important, and what you need from them first.

While it’s tempting to give in, it’s also important you talk to the people around you so they understand exactly why you have to do things the way you say, and why it’s important you don’t skip the work days.

#4: You Can Focus On What You Want

A giant plus of being your own boss? You get to push your blog/business in whatever direction you want. You want to write about why puppies aren’t really that cute? You can. Why ‘not all men’ say ___? Go for it. You don’t really like cake? Sure, that works too.

One of the biggest pro’s is that you don’t have to write/focus/dedicate your time to someone else’s vision/dream – it’s all you all the time. Whether or not you’re 100% sure of where you’re going doesn’t matter, as long as you’re pushing forward.

Nobody likes writing about a topic they don’t like (or worse, have the opposite view-point on) and working from home gives you the freedom to write what you want, how you want.

#5: You Can Work In Your PJ’s

Definitely one of my favourite things in life is getting to get up and not have to wear any uncomfortable ‘work’ clothes to get my sh*t done. Nobody sees me so if I don’t wanna get dressed? No problem, I can type in just about anything, pj’s included.

I don’t recommend doing this all the time, but every once in a while it’s nice to literally roll out of bed and then get to work. I usually do this once every few Fridays, since it’s the end of the week, it’s kind of like my version of Casual Fridays. It also helps to get some of the stress of the rest of the week out of my head. Pj’s are comfy, so they fit perfectly with the ‘do some work’ vibe I get on Fridays, instead of the ‘try to do everything in the universe’ of the rest of the week.

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