robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
2014 is the start of a 3 year plan for me to become self supporting before my SSI turns into Old Age version of Social Security. If I retire early, I will get a smaller check. Much better to be self supporting and just never retire. That's the long term goal.

In a comment on an artist's blog that I wrote about 4,000 words and deleted all but about 200, I worked out just exactly what it means to "Work toward self supporting in 2014."

I have a slight chance of success at it. My guesstimate at the moment is 10% to 20% that I will actually reach a point where I could draw a salary of a thousand a month and not change my lifestyle. Just quit SSI and take the limit off my personal savings.

What I really need to do in 2014 is work out my schedule and the rhythm of the year. November 2013 was a very bad time. I barely got in 50,000 words. Lots of sick days and two weeks of flu did me in. I will always have Too Many Sick Days. I always have. Net result of disabilities, day job as a cripple schedules itself.

December 2013, I didn't do much at all. I took a freaking vacation after the intensity of the most difficult Nanowrimo that I ever won. I'm serious. It was harder getting 50,000 words of Arts and Aspirations than it was to write 450,000 words of seven fantasy novels in a previous year. But I succeeded in my big goal - it is a better book that will take less editing.

I also signed up for The Sketchbook Project. I paid for it to be digitized and posted online. This is using my art to sell my book. I did it so that I could publicize my steampunk novel. I thought that I'd be self illustrating while writing, would have a lot of time to do 32 decent sketchbook pages with teasers.

Now I've got ten to fifteen days to complete the whole thing, with three pages penciled. Those need to be inked. It's not quite as bad as I thought - I thought I only had one page. But it still means doing more than one artwork a day till it's done. Getting back to a schedule more like when I lived on my art. Managing to work on it on days when I've got home care or medical appointments.

It's going to be possible but difficult like Nanowrimo was. It will only serve its intended purpose if I can do a good job on it. Penciling first is probably a good idea! It might let me lay out many more pages and it's not something I'm doing just to goof around. I paid good money for it as a publicity tool for the book's launch. I'll design the cover last, because I could do the cover very simple if it comes to that. An easy cover would be a portrait of the cat and the title in calligraphy.

So this year is starting off with a bang.

December will always be my vacation. A pro writer I knew a decade ago did that, took December off entirely as vacation because the holidays and her kids took up too much of her time. I don't do that kind of thing. I don't live with my kids and grandkids and when I did, they did most of the work. For me it's just that is the low end of the year when I'm exhausted physically and emotionally. I either get depressed by pain and fatigue or distract myself with holiday cheer and soppy old holiday movies. I did the lazy holiday cheer this year.

It was great!

In fact, it might have been the first real vacation I've had in my life. I don't count the miserable two week trip to San Francisco in the 1980s when I went with my ex, blew a lot of money saved up for it and bought a lot of tourist junk, ate out a lot, stayed in an expensive transient hotel and made myself miserable with homesickness. That trip was a bitter exercise in pressing my nose hungrily against the window of my life. Now I live here.

This time, for once, taking a month off left me feeling excited again about my writing and my art. I want to sketch. I want to play with colors. I want to get back to the book and read about those characters and keep going when I hit the point where I left off. Writing rough draft is a lot like reading the book before it exists. I turn the page and get the next sentence, paragraph, page and enjoy all the twists as surprises.

So why not combine rereading the book to catch up with myself with doing the Sketchbook Project? I'll ink what I have penciled, then start reading the book again. Stop and pencil when I see something that'd make a good picture. Doodle my way through the reread and then turn "Rereading" into "Drafting" when I run out of chapters already written.

Maybe it's not so daunting after all. :D

I want to be able to build up to 40 hours a week at productive work on my career. 2014 is the year of discovering my schedule, what gets done when. What works best which days of the week, which weeks of the month, which months in the year. I need to find just the right level of push between "pushing myself too hard and falling over" and "could actually be doing more if I made the effort to start." That's always tricky in both directions.

If I find out by December 2014 that I can't do 40 hours a week year round, fine. I'll readjust my income expectations to the reality, whether that's 30 hours or 20 hours or 10. It will probably be different in different months and some months I might go over 40 hours a week because some tasks work better by immersion. I mean average 40 hours a week for the next 11 months, not keep to 40 hours a week every week but December. Most of all, know the seasons and my climate. I've had two years here to know when I'm up to going out just for fun, when it's hard just making it to medical appointments, when I'm going to fall down on basic necessities of self care and when I've got time to relax.

So... resolution: CHART what I'm doing in 2014. I need to start logging my hours every day and week, what I do that's productive. I'm not going to count hours spent doing medical appointments or other necessities like supervising home care unless I did something productive during it. I've taken to using the hour of waiting for the van or after arriving early for sketching, which got me sketching even when I wasn't doing anything else. So that hour counts on an appointment day.

Two new treatments in 2014 might also improve my net function. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) treatment for my PTSD may eliminate flashbacks and symptoms that trigger fibromyalgia flares. That is a nasty combination. Knocking down my PTSD may give me a lot of energy locked up in flashbacks. Once that's done, I'll look for a physical therapist with geriatric and/or pediatric experience.

When I finish that, I'll get a physical therapist for massage therapy, possible hippatherapy and water therapy. The sorts of physical therapy that really do reduce the damage and give me more energy walking out than I had walking in. Chiropracty always does that too. When I'm no longer living on the survival edge, paying out of pocket for treatments that really do help is worth it. I just need to have enough left after necessities to afford those treatments.

So... 2014 is starting the run. I'll start by doing the Sketchbook Project and see what comes of it. Hopefully a finish to Arts and Aspirations.
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
Readers who follow my LiveJournal (where I am also robertsloan2) know that I've lived all over the country in every major region, moving out of state every two or three years due to circumstances beyond my control. Until now. I spent five years living with my adopted daughter "Kitten" and her family - two cool grandkids, world's best son in law big Norse guy carpenter/anthropologist, their dogs(!) who are very well trained and their cat Gemini, a tiny tortie.

I moved to San Francisco on August 1st. I've been settling in ever since. I did it on a shoestring. I had been saving up to come home to my beloved city but my savings got shot down by a couple of other emergencies and having to move sooner was very rough. I did it. That was an enormous effort. I wound up collapsing in December after running on empty from the middle of May when I started packing. But I got it done.

Not fast and not well, it cost a lot of money making up for not being able to do all the running around and dealing with services and banks and things in the first month the way I would have if I was abled. It all got done though. When I finally got around to starting an account at a local credit union I was so happy.

Credit unions are always better than banks.

I support the Occupy movement. "Move your Money" is a great protest. Do not shaft yourself using the big giant banks that got bailed out. They're for-profit. They are there to shaft you and unless you're past your first million, they'll scrape you off their shoe. I've used several of those big banks back when I did work and always had trouble with them. Any problem would take forever to solve if they even solved it. Any problem on my part was penalized rather than sorted out. Just getting to talk to a human being at one of their branches was a nightmare and they'd patronize me as if I was some kind of lesser being. I also paid a ton more for services than I would've if I was wealthy.

Credit unions are the opposite. You own the place. You are an investor. They mean it when your account is a Member Account. Your savings gets invested in other members' homes and cars. It's like that little savings and loan in "It's a Wonderful Life" - it's all human scale and flows into your local economy. It helps keep that cool deli or bakery you like to eat at going too.

I pay less fees than I ever did at a real bank. There's always help on the phone or online. Even the website for my credit union is easier to log into and use than the one for my previous bank - which I do have to say was a good bank. It was a little local one, not as nasty as the big ones but it got merged with another bank before I left. Actual banks are always at risk of that.

So if you're using one of the big banks, think about finding a local credit union. You'll pay less, get treated better, get better services and do good for your neighborhood while helping to reduce the giant monopoly banks by one less customer.

Why I'm writing about it today... I got in a Google check and had an old DeviantART prints check that I couldn't cash at the check cashing place. It wasn't not valid, it was good for a year, but it was too old for the check cashing place. I didn't have deposit slips on me so didn't mail them in to deposit them. Been worried a bit over how to take care of it and finally decided to go in person and pick up some deposit slips when I do.

Turns out I don't need them. Today I called them and asked. I was able to send my home care worker on the deposit errand by writing my member number on the back with my signature so it goes into the right account - and specifying "savings" so they know whether it goes in checking or savings. That was it. No trouble. She went, my checks are deposited, my finances are solid and I actually have a bit of savings again.

I let my Street Artist Program license lapse without using it because winter weather knocked me over. I didn't have the body energy to go out and get started even once, though one good day would have paid to renew it. My good days were taken up with necessity trips like medical appointments and grocery shopping and so on. Now that "depositing checks" is something I can have IHSS home care workers do, it's not a problem. I'll renew in the summer when the weather's better and I can get something out of it beyond just paying for itself.

I still have a lot of other things to do before I'm completely moved in. Half my stuff is still in Arkansas, most of the boxes are books or art supplies that have to do with the business. The personal stuff, I decided to let Kitten go through it and reduce the quantity. I'll tell her what few things are important and let her get rid of most of the rest. Books and art supplies have priority along with a few religious objects and crafts items for personal hobbies.

So I feel good about it. Once again my credit union makes life easier and treated me so well in person that I feel great. I don't need to be nervous about financial stuff any more with them on my side - it makes a huge difference. With the big banks I was always justifiably nervous of any transaction because they'd be patronizing, insulting and sock me with unexpected fees for anything and everything. Credit union is the opposite. Its motto ought to be "We don't charge that fee." lol

There's a cat foot on my shoulder. Ari is sleeping on the back of the chair. He just stretched out to lean his hind foot on my shoulder. That's a beautiful feeling - soft little cat foot, gentle pressure, silent reminder "I'm here and I love you." I enjoy being cat furniture but that's normal for any cat lover. If you don't find the sight of a sleeping cat endearing, you're probably more of a dog person.


robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)

March 2016



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