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End of the year!

Well, we’re almost at the end of 2015. I’m still not entirely sure how that crept up on me so fast!

2015 has been a solid year for me. Not bad at all, but not super fantastic either. Just very busy… Or maybe that was only the second half of the year..

Some achievements for the year:

  • Finished my Masters of Teaching, and got pretty decent grades! Finished off with a H2A/Distinction average which I was pleased with.
  • Published my second book. Not exactly a rip-roaring success, but it’s sold over 100 copies, so that’s all right.
  • Got a teaching job. That took up a lot of time and energy, but I’m glad I did it.
  • Moved to a house that has a backyard – I have a veggie garden! This makes me very happy.

The year started off pretty quiet, and I was very, very, very broke. Luckily for me, I had The Lovely Boyfriend at my back and he kept a roof over my head and food in the pantry. I owe him big time. I think I was very burnt out from the crazy year that was 2014, and my brain turned to un-cooperative mush when I tried to do my first assignment of the year.

My initial plan was to do two subjects each semester to finish off the Masters, and do some casual relief teaching to pay the rent and bills, whilst mainly focusing on my fiction. Of course it didn’t really turn out that way. The un-cooperative mush that was my brain went on vacation and I ended up withdrawing from one of the compulsory subjects, and re-enrolling in it for Semester 2, doing my usual thing and making it Future Cebyam’s problem. Yeah. Three subjects instead of two is a great idea. It took me longer than anticipated to become registered with the CRT agency, and then the calls were few and far between – and I also had a tendency to be on the loo without my phone when the calls DID come!

All in all, the first half of the year wasn’t exactly productive. I only made a grand total of $1382.51 of income from January to June, which wasn’t nearly enough to pull my weight, and only completed one subject at university (and if I didn’t have a very understanding lecturer, I would have failed that due to handing in both assignments very late!). I didn’t get much writing done either. I’m not really sure what was wrong with me! We’ll go with burnt out and emotionally frazzled… I have noticed that I find it very hard to focus on my writing when I’m stressing about money, or housing, or whatever it is that I’m stressing about.

Things dramatically improved mid-year. We moved house, officially in with my brother. Dividing everything by 3 instead of two makes everything suddenly a lot more affordable, and allowed us to get a bigger place, and one with a backyard at that! We’ve been really happy at the new house. I feel a lot freer and lighter without people walking past my windows all the time, or being able to hear the neighbours doing their thang. The cat seems to feel the same. She’s really blossomed since we moved (and thankfully, seems to be an utterly useless hunter). It’s been an absolute joy getting to know this cat over the past year and a half since we adopted her.

The calls from the teaching agency also picked up, and then I was lucky enough to land a 3-day a week temporary teaching job at a school 20 minutes away. It was initially meant to be only a 6 week job, but that stretched out to 9 weeks, and then they offered me another 5-days a week position for 7 weeks. Teaching 3 days a week was good. I kept my life balance, had some money left over, and was able to still balance university and a bit of fiction writing. 5 days a week though left me utterly exhausted. It probably didn’t help that the 5-day a week job coincided with a lot of weekend university classes and 3000 word assignments. It was a very busy couple of months! I was very much looking forward to finishing up in early November (right before my final two huge assignments were due) but then I was offered yet another temp position, going back to my old 3-day/week position that would last until the end of the year. I was pretty drained by then, and excited about finishing up, but the financially responsible part of me accepted the offer. Thanks to all that teaching I’ve made almost $16,000 (after tax) in the second half of the year. A bit of an improvement on the first half of the year!!

I also somehow finally managed to finish off my second book. I published that at the end of August.

I am a bit disappointed that I didn’t finish more stories this year, but considering how busy I was with both university and teaching, I’m not going to beat myself up too much.

We’ve still got a couple of days to go of the year, but as it stands at the moment, I’ve sold 274 copies of my books, and been paid $353.04.

To say that I want to improve on that next year would be a massive understatement!!

I feel like I’m in a much better place going into 2016 than I was going into 2015. I’ve got a little pile of money stashed away so I don’t need to stress about that just yet, I’m not feeling burnt out from a crazy intense year, and I like where I’m living.

My plan is to CRT on average 2 or 3 days a week. This will more than cover my living costs and allow me to save some money, meaning that I wont start fixating on money/job-hunting, and still give me plenty of time to build up my library of books, and with CRT work – you leave it at school. You’re done when the bell goes. No meetings, no corrections, no planning, no writing reports, no dealing with parents… much less stressful and time-consuming! Of course, it has a lot of downfalls, but I’m pretty set on my decision that I don’t want to be a career teacher (CRT work can be pretty soul-destroying when all you want is your own classroom) but, I’ll be just using it as a means to an end, so I think it will be much more bearable.

The Lovely Boyfriend is being super supportive of my endeavours. I’m so lucky to have him. I mused the other day that if I wasn’t making at least $1000 a month from publishing by the end of 2016, then I would attempt to get a full-time teaching job. You know, one that pays $63k a year, and just keeps on going up every year. We’d be very comfortable if I was pulling in that much money – he’s currently on about $68k, so between the two of us, we’d be bringing in $130k before tax. Nothing to sniff at, and we’d be able to save a lot of money.
But he said “No. You’ve found what you want to do and what makes me happy – your passion. I will support that.” I got a bit teary, I admit.

I really hope his faith in me pays off.

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