Holidailies? Is it that time already? Bless it, that means this year is almost over! As is traditional for my first post of the year, a bit of a catch-up.
I only made it about three posts into the challenge last year because I was in the midst of a somewhat hellish year of teaching middle school. All those times I was training as a teacher and was like, "I will teach any grades except middle school?" Yeah... I took a job that was a high school job - based on the research into the school I'd done - then was told the district had switched it to a middle school over the summer and the websites just hadn't been updated yet. What are you gonna do?
To be fair to all involved, I did the best I could with the situation I was handed and I had a ton of really spectacular support from the admin, my other teachers, and my induction coach. It just was not enough to help me deal with an age group that I only love in small doses; less than 10 kids? Absolutely, totally fine. 30+? Lord help us all.
Added to the mess was the slow realization that this was a trend in my career, to start off okay and then quickly drop all of the balls as the year picked up speed. On the one hand, hard to deal with emotionally. On the other hand, it led me to finally get an ADHD diagnosis that made many things about my life to this point make so much more sense. Only took until I was 31.
I was aware of my impending unemployment in February, and I thought, "no big, for the first time in my adult life I have multiple certifications, plenty of skills that can be transferred to other industries, and I won't be job search in a recession! I'll be fine!"
*cue the universe laughing*
March happened. And y'all don't need me to tell you about that hot mess. I was just scrambling to get distance learning set up, and reveling in the extra sleep cause I was freed from the commute. I was happy to stay home, and Chris had a minor COVID scare in April but couldn't get tested so we worked through it and they've been fine since.
I was paid through the summer, so I spent the majority of June-August job searching, briefly trying a door-to-door marketing job until California became blanketed in smoke. I've been tutoring online, trying to find other remote work, and generally not making a ton of money since September.
I have continued to grind with job applications and all, but I'm looking for remote work especially since my ADHD diagnosis meant that I finally took myself seriously when I had the thought, "I function better when I have some flexibility on when I do tasks, and also when I can control my environment a bit more." So that's been my focus in job hunting. Unfortunately, many other people are having the same thought so there's a bit of a glut in the market.
[Shameless self-promotion break!] If you have kids, check out my creative writing, academic writing, book club, and ukulele lessons on Outschool: Link here. I am also available to tutor privately in English at all ages, edit short stories and novels, or work as a proofreader if you happen to be able to pay for such services! Email me at email@example.com for more info. [/shameless self-promotion]
Now for the fun, not-dumpster-fire part of the year!
At the end of October, I realized it was almost NaNo time and I had no clue what I was going to be writing. On a whim, I decided to revive a bit of my 2013 (and 2016) novel because I'd spent the last couple of years working on turning one half of it into a standalone novel. I figured the other half was due for a similar re-working.
I spent the last few days of October hashing out a bunch of the details of updating the story with some friends, and figuring out how I was going to add to it since I was adding an entire POV that didn't exist before - the original novel had too many characters to give them all dedicated POV time - and significantly adjusting the characters so they were a little more believable and endearing.
Then November. I'm not even fully sure how, but I started off the month with an 11K first day, hit 50K by the 8th, and kept going. There were a few lulls where I only got a few hundred in a day, but they were all after I hit 80K. My goal was to finish the first draft of the newly conceived book, and I did achieve it, even if the last few scenes were just exposition of what will happen when I've recovered enough to write prose again.
And that's about it! We're moving during the month (because the aforementioned lack of solid work does not allow us to keep up with a rent that made sense when I was on salary), so some of the days might be short. I have a few drafts that I've collected over the years of attempting to write on this blog that I may repurpose so I can get them out in the world. I also have a few ideas for listicles because I've been doing much reading this year, of old books and new. It'll be fun!