The reasons I have for being grateful this week, including talking to friends and gaining clarity on the direction I'm going in.

Being Grateful: Seventy-Eighth Edition

The reasons I have for being grateful this week, including talking to friends and gaining clarity on the direction I'm going in.Hello everyone! Yet another week and another month is in the books. I’m not even going to bother wondering what happened to October. I have one week left in New York, and then it’s time to return back to North Carolina.

But not before I get a few other trips in! I’ll be visiting Boston to see the amazing Kali!

Besides that, I visited the MagnifyMoney offices earlier this week, which was a treat. Erin, Nick, and Brian are always a joy to see, and it was my first time working out of an office since I quit my last job. To be honest, I kind of miss it!

Other than that, I’ve been busy trying to wrap up the month and get off to a good start in November. Most of my nights have been spent watching this wild World Series. As a New Yorker, I should be rooting for the Mets, but I am a Yankees fan, so it feels a little weird… Anyone else been watching?

Being Grateful for Clarity

I can’t stress how happy I’ve been connecting with people outside of the blogosphere. By that I mean reaching out with a simple email and setting aside time to chat. I got to talk with Tonya and Melanie this week, and the conversations I’ve had have given me some clarity.

It’s no secret I’ve struggled to return to blogging after becoming a freelance writer. Every other freelancer I’ve spoken to, for the most part, has said they’ve experienced the same thing. We have to put paying work first, and if we haven’t prioritized monetizing our blogs, it’s difficult to set aside the time to “write for free” when we could be making money.

However, lately I’ve felt like all my creativity has been drained, and it shouldn’t be that way. Most people quit their jobs to freelance to pursue more creative endeavors, and you should always be happy with what you’re working on.

I think the answer is simply pursuing creativity elsewhere. I lean towards the “don’t ‘follow your passion'” side of things because your passion can easily turn into work. It can become…not boring, but I guess mechanical in nature. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it – I’m enjoying this far more than I enjoyed answering phones in an office! But part of being self-employed, in my opinion, is doing stuff that excites you.

For that reason, I’m making it a point to focus on those things. As I was talking with Tonya, I mentioned getting back into acting. It’s something I haven’t done since middle school, but if the opportunity presented itself, I would jump on it – paid or not. That’s clearly something I should follow, and Tonya suggested I find an acting class to join. I’m still searching for one, but here’s hoping!

On that note, this might sound silly to some of you, but I’d also like to get back into reading, learning, and playing video games. I have a list of books to get through that I’m sure I could find inspiration from, and I’ve been meaning to improve my Photoshop skills. As for video games, it’s like getting lost in a book (fantasy world) to me.

Hopefully by having other creative outlets, I can get back into blogging more. There are many things that have been on my mind that I want to write about, but it’s hard to do that with little direction. The best analogy I can give is that I’ve felt like I’ve been crawling through a tunnel, clearing a bunch of cobwebs out of the way, and am finally seeing a bit of light at the end.

Reflecting on what you have to be #grateful for can give you clarity and direction in life. Click To Tweet

Being Grateful for Discovering I Should Probably Work Away From Home

I’m very much a homebody, especially when I have next to no reason to go outside. I know that sounds sad; I realized a little too late that not prioritizing making friends in a new city was a mistake.

Part of me likes familiar spaces and part of me also just likes convenience. I don’t like driving and dealing with jerks on the road. That has meant my commute has largely been from my bed to my office…which is the second bedroom down the hall.

About a month ago, I moved back out into the living room. My hope was I’d be “forced” to stop working once R got home from work because he usually turns the TV on, and I can’t concentrate on writing when people are talking.

Of course, that hasn’t happened. One thing I’ve been noticing since working here in NY is that my concentration is better when I’m not at home. This past month, I’ve worked at:

  • A college library, which was interesting as it brought back some memories (I sound so old and nerdy, wow)
  • A public library, which was extremely cold, but still had a nice atmosphere
  • Starbucks, which I never thought I’d type, but I needed to get away and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would!
  • An actual office

As I was leaving MagnifyMoney, Erin asked me how it felt to work in an office and suggested I look into coworking spaces. After noticing how my productivity increased outside of the home, I think it could be a good solution. Additionally, I think it will help me separate life and work more. If I could establish “office hours,” that would be a miracle.

If I can’t find an affordable option, I’m going to try making a habit of going to the library at least three times a week. I have two in either direction of the apartment, so I don’t have much of an excuse!

Being Grateful for Spreading the Love

Okay, I’m ninja-editing my post just for this. I’ve been trying to reach out to more people to let them know how much I appreciate them, because why not? I definitely don’t do it enough, and I think many of us take it for granted that people know they’re awesome or that we support them.

But nothing, and I mean nothing, beats actually hearing it. I don’t get many emails or comments from readers who aren’t bloggers, and when I do, it really makes my day. Anyone who creates content is always downright happy to hear their work has, in some way, had an impact on someone else.

Knowing this, it made perfect sense to start practicing what I preach. I’ve made it a goal to reach out to at least one person to let them know how great I think they are. This past week, I contacted two content creators I admire a lot. Guess what their responses were? (Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a response!)

…know that this email absolutely made my night, my week, and all the work I’ve done over the last three years mean so much more.

You seriously made my year…I cannot begin to express the gratitude I have for the unbelievably kind words.

How amazing is that? Words have a powerful effect – choose to add positivity to someone’s life by letting them know how they’ve influenced you. I’m absolutely sure you can find one person to reach out to. DO IT. Their responses have made my week and I’m always happy to give back.

Writing Around the Web

On Young Adult Money, I researched and wrote about some of the best personal finance apps and tools out there (a few were new to me!), and the differences between credit unions and big banks.

On Frugal Rules, I reflected on how fast to pay off debt, something I’ve been struggling with for a bit with my student loans.

On GenFKD, I shared my experience saving money from the time I got my first part time job until now, and how other millennials can start making saving a habit.

That’s it for this week! I hope you all enjoyed Halloween, and happy November!

Has there ever been a time in your life where you struggled to gain clarity on the direction you were going? How did you make sense of it? If you’re a freelancer, do you find working outside your living space helpful?

Erin M.

Erin is a personal finance writer and virtual assistant who loves talking about money and how to use it as a tool to get what you want out of life. When she's not obsessing over numbers or working (which is rare), she can be found messing around in Photoshop, laughing at her cat, watching YouTube videos, playing video games, chair dancing, or any random combination of the above.

16 thoughts on “Being Grateful: Seventy-Eighth Edition

  1. I’m glad we had such a nice chat in and one week I’ve gotten super fired up about stuff, so it must have worked! Enjoy your last week. I think co-spaces are cool, but I think just about the same thing can be accomplished at a library, so long as there is free wi-fi! :)
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted: Luck & SacrificeMy Profile

    1. Hell yeah!! I’m definitely feeling more excited as well. I’ve gone back and forth on coworking…but, I do think a large factor, for me at least, is being able to connect with others (which is why I’ve been trying to schedule more chats!). I miss being able to turn around and propose an idea to a coworker and getting immediate feedback. I figure it could be worth a try – most are month-to-month, so it’s not a huge commitment if I find it’s not for me.

  2. I’ll be honest – one of the reasons I really love my FT job is that I get to connect with other people! If you like what you’re doing, I don’t think being in an office is all that bad :) Prior to my current job, I hated all my office jobs, so this is a nice change.

    However, I do work from home very often so this is, in a sense, the best of both worlds. With freelancing, I do enjoy working from Starbucks but have only done it once or twice. I should try to do it more often, but like you said it can be hard to leave the house!! A coworking space would be neat and that is definitely something I would do if I was freelancing FT again!

    Hope you enjoy your last week in NY! Charlotte has been very rainy the last few days :/
    Sarah recently posted: October Freelance & Blogging IncomeMy Profile

    1. I definitely wouldn’t mind having the “best of both worlds” option! Jobs with that much flexibility are in such demand for a reason. Like I said to Autumn, most of my office jobs sucked, so I am far happier with my situation right now. I just wish it was easier to connect with people over freelancing “in real life”. ;)

      Thanks! Aw, I heard – my parents have been getting a lot of rain, too. It’s been overcast here. I’m hoping the weather is nice when we go back down, as the downpour we hit on the way up here was NOT fun!

  3. I never thought that I would miss going into an office, but I sort of do. I do better work at home, but I miss the silly little interactions with people and working from home can be isolating. I can go weeks without talking to the people I work for. There is a silver lining though – I’ve gotten much better at making small talk with strangers when I do leave the house – the mailman, librarian, random people on the street. I’m at least 3% less shy than I was a few months ago. Hopefully you can find something that works out better for you :)
    Autumn recently posted: 2015 Goals UpdateMy Profile

    1. Haha, I love that! I’ve been working on becoming less shy in general, but I’m still not the best with small talk. It really is the “silly little interactions” you have with your coworkers that can make a workplace more fun. Granted, the drama usually outweighed that, and of course I’m looking back with rose-colored glasses; I went home miserable almost every single day.

  4. It was so lovely chatting with you, Erin! I would love a co-working space, but find they are too expensive. Instead, I’ve increased my coffee shop budget. When I travel, I have to work in coffee shops and I rather enjoy it! I do miss being around people. I didn’t know you were into acting — you should totally pursue it! I actually want to get back into community-based theater. It’s been two years since I did anything in theater. But we used to do theater based on community issues and I’d love to do something related to finances and teach kids that way. Just got to do it!
    Melanie @ Dear Debt recently posted: A New Season (and a Debt Repayment Update)My Profile

    1. I found a coworking space that’s around $99/month, which didn’t seem too bad. I’ll have to give everything a try and see where I work the best. =) Working in coffee shops is completely new to me, actually. I usually prefer making my own coffee and I was afraid the atmosphere would be a little too loud. I went at night and things were winding down, so it wasn’t too bad.

      Yep, random fact about me, ha! We should totally do a live action skit for FinCon…

  5. I recently went through a period of trying to find clarity, especially around my blogging. I felt like I was writing because I HAD to write and not because I WANTED to write. When I feel like I’m in a funk like that, I usually go for a long walk in a state park near me and try to gain clarity. I realized that I had to give myself a break and allow myself the space to feel inspired and since then, I feel like I have not only written some of my favorite posts lately, but I’ve enjoyed the process of writing them. A break from anything is not only healthy but clarifying.

    1. Walking in a park is definitely good for that! Or hiking. Anything scenic. =) I completely agree with you on that, though. Breaks are definitely necessary to gain direction. It’s hard to take a break in-between freelancing, but I think I’m starting to gain a better understanding of where I want my blog to go, at least. So glad you found your way – I always enjoy your posts!

  6. I love to read, but it’s hard to find the time with my full-time job, the kids, a blog, and sidehustling. I have that same hestiation about doing things for enjoyment when I could be making money to pay off debt. The trick that has helped me to start reading again is the use of audiobooks. I listen to them on my commute, cleaning the house, or anytime that my hands are busy, but my mind can escape. Just a thought :)

    Good luck with the co-working space – it sounds like a good option.
    Harmony @ CreatingMyKaleidoscope recently posted: Our Frugal Halloween: DIY Dinosaur CostumeMy Profile

    1. I’ve thought about audiobooks, but I really like reading at my own pace. I think I need to start by carving out one hour per night to dedicate to it. I’ve always found reading addicting, so if I can get into a good book, I’ll probably be good to go. It’s horrible when you can’t find time for something you love, but I’m glad you found an alternative!

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