Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday High Five

Every once in a while, I post a list of five things currently making me smile. This is the latest installment. For past High Fives, click here.

1. Revising like a motherfucker. It's a long story (pun intended) but I'm in the middle of revising my novel-forever-in-progress for the ninth time. I got new feedback from some brilliant people and finally saw the holes I knew lurked beneath the surface. I took the book apart and put it back together, moving scenes from the end to the beginning, adding some stuff in the middle, and I'm currently feeling really good about this draft. Yesterday was particularly productive, and not just because I wrote for three hours in a brewery while drinking delicious, local red ales. (Though that might have helped.) Someone once said being a writer means having homework for the rest of your life, and if there is one thing I believe to be true about the writing life, it is this. Good thing I like homework. 

2. Daylight Saving Time. I know all my parent-friends hate the changing of the clocks, but I am child-free for a reason. One of those reasons? So I can celebrate things like getting an extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day. Let the record show that I LOVE DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME. 

3. Spring Break! Since I am no longer a student and am only teaching one class, this has been an admittedly low-key Spring Break. ("Shouldn't you be in Cancun?" the guy at the coffee shop asked. "I graduated," I replied mournfully.) On the bright side, I didn't have to teach my class all week, caught on grading, enjoyed the lack of traffic in Wilmington, and soaked up plenty of warm, sunny weather right here in my backyard. Growing up isn't all bad. 

4. Toggl. For the last few weeks, I've been using Toggl to see how much time I spend on various tasks. It's been great for me because, like many freelancers, I have a bunch of different clients. Keeping track of minutes spent on each project helps me stay on task, but it also helps me make sure that I'm being paid adequately for the work I'm doing. If, for example, I realize that a project took me three times as long as I thought it would, I can use that information to negotiate a better price next time. (I have yet to do this, but it sounds good in theory.) It's also really easy to use, pretty, and free which is always a plus. Now if only the Internet would tell me where it's been hiding all those missing vowels... 

5. Filing my taxes. This might seem like an odd thing to be excited about, but allow me to explain: I knew my taxes would be a mess this year, so I hired someone to prepare them for me. I'd been dutifully saving 30% from every check I received, since I'd been working mostly as an independent contractor, and filing away a few receipts. With the help of my tax lady and a nice pile of deductions, I only had to pay half of what I'd saved. Which means I got to give myself a refund... which I immediately sent to my credit card. Still, it was very exciting and if you need a tax person in Wilmington, let me know! 

That's it for me. What are five good things happening in your world?