Shilalekh

What Life Teaches Me Everyday

My Goals For 2018

2018 goals

In my last post of 2017 I talked about how I spiralled deep into depression after a book project I had been working on was shelved by the publisher. It was a first for me – talking about my mental health problem. And I must acknowledge that talking about it helped me in overcoming it.
But the effect remained in my subconscious. I could not bring myself to pick up a pen and paper and set out my annual goals.
I was aware of what was happening. My mind was was avoiding setting goals for fear of another failure. Fear of not meeting my target. Again. Like 2017.
The book project threw everything awry, be it personal writing goals, financial goals or personal fitness regimen.
Anyway, when I woke up one fine morning to realize 15 days of the new year had already passed. So I sat down to plan the rest of the 350 days.
And this is what I have set myself to do.

Write Books

I have set myself a very ambitious target – write and self-publish at least 2 books this year. It’s not about money or name. It’s just so that I can fulfill my dream of writing a book.

I have had two book ideas for quite some time. Now I want to convert those ideas into actual book

Grow Financially

I have realised that I can not have creative freedom till I gain financial independence. I started setting financial goals two years back. Till then I believed that a writer was destined to starve!!
I have set myself a monthly target of USD1000. It’s a tall order, but I want that to be the target.
I still haven’t planned how I will get the necessary clients but I have faith that I will get near it.

Read More

It’s true that the more you read, the more you are able to write.
Reading has been a passion for me since may be I learnt my alphabets. I remember walking the school corridor with my Perry Mason open, because I couldn’t wait even 2 minutes for the next twist in the saga.
I always plan to spend a certain monthly amount on books every month, but never stick to it.
2018 is going to be the year when I do this. If the finances are tight, this budget head would be the last one to be slashed.

Learn More

I have always been academically inclined, and I still love studying. Since I discovered coursera, I have been taking lots of courses there, even if sans the certification. But it is still not as much as I would want to. This year I plan to devote more time to acquiring knowledge about new technologies, especially cryptocurrencies, artifical intelligence and machine learning.

I want 2018 to be the year when I learn more, write more and earn more. I have shared my dreams and goals here so that I am accountable to you all.

Wish me luck my dear readers, and I will keep you updated on my achievements.

 

2017: A Year in Review

This time next week I shall be on my way to family vacation to Shimla to enjoy the snowfall. My elder daughter had been pestering us for a couple of years to vacation in Shimla during the winters so she could see snow. Since we had honeymooned there, and she has been fascinated by the photographs, she wants to make up for the lost opportunity!! And go one step better by hoping for a snowfall, not just snow. We decided not to let 2017 go by without fulfilling this wish of hers.

I keep telling her that we cannot predict snowfall, so she should not have high hopes and then feel disappointed. But she remains optimistic. Which reminds me of another thing we lose as we grow up – looking at the brighter side of life.

2017 is coming to an end, but I have been putting off my yearly review because I know it’s going to look very bad. I refuse to acknowledge that I had willingly taken up work that would not pay immediately, I refuse to accept that I lost more than a month to acute chicken pox and I definitely refuse to come to terms with the fact that even if my dream project came to a naught life has not come to a stop.

Magical May – How I Bagged a Lifetime Opportunity through LinkedIn

2017 started on a very high note for me. May be that’s the reason I feel so depressed that it has ended on such a low note.

Around May, I winded up a series of three video tutorials successfully and bagged a long term contract for text tutorials from the same client. I began looking around for more clients. I decided to give LinkedIn a shot, because even though I have had a LI profile for long, I was not much active till then.

A week into being active on LinkedIn, I saw a post from a prominent publisher looking for Computer Science freelance writers. I sent a connection request to the person sharing the requirement, who happened to be the CEO as well. The request was accepted quickly and before I could think of messaging, I received a message – Would you write a book for us.

My heart gave a whoop of joy.

After much discussions and negotiations, he contracted me to write a series of Computer books for classes 1 to 8, to be launched in the coming session of 2018-19. As time was less, I threw myself completely into it. Thankfully the tutorials project that I was working on was a lighter one that could be easily done simultaneously.

Agitating August – An Attack of Chicken Pox

I was quite on schedule doing the books when I contracted chicken pox in first week of August. It was pretty severe – kids were packed off to my parents’ place and my husband was almost quarantined as a caregiver for a week. My temperature in that one week was never below 105.

I got so weak that it took me more than a month to be able to sit on a chair for 30 minutes at a stretch. I started working but I had to take a break of at least 45 minutes after every 30 min. So much so for Pomodoro technique!!

My other projects got delayed; thankfully the editors were understanding and gave me time. And I concentrated on my book project.

Nerve-wracking November

As November began, I started getting negative vibes about my book project; there had been innumerable delays in review process and the publisher seemed unwilling to take my manuscripts. Finally, my gut feeling proved right when around 15th November he told me that they were shelving the project for the time being due to lack of time and preparation.

Around the same time my other regular project was put on hold as well; the company had shifted its gears. As I was not in regular touch with them, only delivering the articles on due dates, I did not see this coming.

Now I stared at a stark reality – no regular clients and my dream project gone for a toss. It plunged me into a bout of acute depression. I hardly wrote anything, though I had time. I started the day enthusiastically, looking for clients, but would soon find myself sitting in front of the idiot box, surfing channels aimlessly and munching any junk food I could lay my hands on.

Looking Ahead

Slowly, by talking to myself continuously, I have been able to pull myself out of my mental state. I have even got a few short-term jobs that will at least keep the ball rolling. I have joined my regular client on their new project. The pay is substantially less, but the content goes under my name, which I consider a big plus. Also, they pay regularly like clockwork, which will help pay the bills.

So things are looking up. I even did a financial review for 2017 and realized that I earned 80% of my total income this year in the first 6 months!! I was meeting the monthly targets too till I started working on the Computer books.

As I write, I realize there were so many learnings for me from the book project. I must write a post on that some other time.

For now, I am on a path to both mental and financial recovery. And after my vacation I hope to be rejuvenated enough to be able to go ahead full throttle.

This is the first time I have talked about my depression on my blog, though I have been struggling with it for more than a decade. It already feels liberating to be able to share my innermost thoughts with you all.

Happy Holidays!!

What has been your struggle with mental health? How have you coped when a dream project failed not because of your own fault?

Share your views in comments below.

And Happy Holidays!!

Perspective

Lady in emotional trauma

At times Rohini wishes her husband would hit her. Because the emotional torture becomes too much to bear. You can show someone the physical scars, not the emotional ones, which deepens them further.

Rohini and Amit have been married 15 long years, have two lovely kids, own a house in the most upmarket part of the city, party at least two days a week and lead a happy life. On the face of it. And as far as the whole world and Amit are concerned.

If one was to ask Rohini, she has a slightly different version. Yes, she has been married 15 years and has two lovely kids. But she owns a house she can never bring herself to call her home, attends high society parties where everyone bitches about everyone else behind their backs after consuming trendiest of the cocktails, and she spends her days planning how to avoid her husband’s bad temper.

It’s all about perspective. The way you choose to look at things.

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Today is Children’s Day – the birth anniversary of independent India’s first prime minister, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. Just over 50 years after his death we seem to be forgetting our first prime minister. The buzz around this day has drastically diminished over the last couple of years. Why? Just because those ruling the corridors of power do not agree with his ideologies?

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9 Life Truths I Want to Share With My Daughter

9 Life Truths

9 Life Truths

My elder daughter turned 10 a month ago. These are interesting times for her, but confusing and scary too. Being a mother, my heart goes out to her when I see her trying to comprehend the emotional changes she is undergoing. Nowadays, I am her biggest friend as well as the bitterest of enemies. So there are so many things I want to tell her but am unable to.

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