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Grown-Up Decision for 2016

At my last writing, I bemoaned my slow writing pace and that hasn’t changed much. I’m still squeezing it in when I can, trying to write every day. But other life things have sometimes pushed it to the back. Some I will discuss here. So if you just want to read about writing stuff, I’ll write about that first. And then get into the other pressing life stuff.

On the plus side, I have gotten some writing in and managed to submit a few more stories out into the world. On May 1st, I got my #50 rejection. Not bad. Not bad. I still wish I had more submitted, but I’m still trying.

I also finished a few books, so I’m reading too. I never understand why some writers aren’t reading books. It sounds crazy, like a musician that doesn’t listen to music, or  an actor that doesn’t watch TV, film, or plays.

Make time to read. Make time to write.

But sometimes life just has a way of wiping out those goals.

For me, it started last winter. I focused on writing, submitting, and getting my chapbook together. I renewed my lease on my apartment and didn’t think too much about it. After all, my rent only went up sixteen dollars. Not much. Not enough to worry about.

And then all of my other bills started to got up. Not huge amounts, but enough that I felt the squeeze. Twenty dollars here. Ten dollars there. I’ve always been a very careful, budget conscious person. Working in publishing will never net me riches, but I always did the best I could. I worked through grad school and did my best to be frugal.

But when I sat down and did the math, I was shocked. My rent and utilities were sixty-percent of my take home pay! No wonder I was feeling the squeeze.

I’m just one of the many people who are stuck in this economy. My salary has flat-lined, but my expenses keep going up and up. I decided that if I was paying this much in rent, I damn well better own something. I want to buy a house.

And the thought of owning a home scares me. It’s a big, grown-up, adult decision that I have managed to avoid. Renting allowed me to cut and run, if things got hard. Don’t like the neighbors? Move! Sick of the area? Move! Not so easy when you own the home. No leaving when things get hard. You have to stay and fix the problem (or I guess you could abandon the home, but that never ends well).

But I am also excited by this decision. For the first time, I will be in control of my living situation. All the decisions will be my own. I don’t have a husband, or family help (in terms of money) to make this purchase. I will be doing this all on my own. Already, I have met with a realtor and mortgage broker, seen my finances laid bare, and taken the plunge to -GASP- go to open houses.

(Side note: I find open houses weird. Some people I know love them, but I guess I’m not that curious about how others live. )

You know what? Buying a house is exhausting! I understand now why people say, “It took me a year to find a house.” or “I looked at a hundred houses.” You really do have to look at a HUGE amount of homes. For like months and months. I’ve only been doing this a month and already my weekends are booked up and I find myself watching Youtube videos entitled “House Hunting tips” and “5 Mistakes home buyers are making.” Are we in a housing bubble now? Should I buy in an established area, or up and coming? Condo or single family? Wishlist? Dealbreakers?

So yeah, I’m tired. I still have a day job to do, regular errands to finish, and find time to write, read, and look for a new home. That’s all. Simple, but never easy.

I hope I hit this 500K goal of writing for the year, but I can already tell that I’ll be lucky if I hit 100K. Not matter, what gets done, gets done. I’d take a baby step forward rather than stand in place. 2016 is going to have some major shifts for me, more than I thought.
Now excuse me while I search for some more videos on finding a dream home on a writer’s budget.

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