Writing #9: Ha! What free time?

Wake up.
Put on some clothes and grab lunch.
Get to work -why should I have to sell time for paper?
Put on work personality for 8 hrs.
Go home.
Eat.
Blog and watch tv.
Sleep.
Repeat.

By the way, the above sounds best when muttered to the tune of B.Y.O.B. by System of a Down. It captures the true frantic pace of my regime. 

Fun time in the Free time

I define free time as the realm and ability when I can do what I want within that duration. But how rarely I get to do what I want when I want!!!

I turn to three major creativity outlets when I have free time: music, art, and writing.

  • Music I play the piano and compose music (see Music Portal tab)
  • Art: I draw/sketch, oil or acrylic medium painting when I feel active (it’s a lot of work to get the materials together…), and I’ve recently gotten into digital painting through FireAlpaca (see My Artwork category).
  • Writing: I write short stories, poems, and outline longer novels still in my head.

These are hobbies I’ve been engaged in for YEARS. Piano since I was 8 years old, art and writing almost as long. They were my salvation in the crazy seclusion of college -I was the nerd who constantly studied and was awkward at making friends, so much of my novels were created during that time. Stacks of sketch pads and notebooks with emotions, dreams, anger, life, reconciliation.

Hundreds of typed pages.

When there are three primary passions competing for an outlet, I often struggle to determine which I will channel my passion into for that moment. If I only have an hour, should I write, draw, or create music?

It’s hard to choose. Sometimes I think it’s a music day, buuuut it turns out it was really a writing day. First world problems…

Passive fun activities

In my free time, the nerd in me also enjoys engagement in passive fun activities, such as:

  • Watching TV shows/movies 

My sibling went to college in film and animation and infected me with a love for the technical aspects of movies/films. Which is why I will occasionally scream excitement at camera angles, color palettes, CGI techniques, acting methods, voice acting emoting, and story-boarding throughout the duration of a film.

And, yes, I hold constant dialogue at my TV.

I yell at stupid decisions characters make, I predict what  will happen – sadly, writing has become rather predictable to me-, will make snarky comments back at characters, and otherwise spend a considerable balance of my daily words on this activity.

It’s very cathartic.

Genres of preference – thrillers, action, psychological, comic based, revenge.

Fav Actors: Liam Neeson, Vin Diesel, Jake Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, Samuel Jackson, Ryan Gosling, James Spader, Kevin Spacey, Christopher Walken, Ryan Renolds, Sylvester Stallone and Christopher Bale, to name a few off the top of my head (in no particular order).

  • Balancing my budget in a spreadsheet
  • Calculating monthly income/expenses

So, I went to college for economics, finance, and statistics. I love numbers just as much as I love words, and all those classes had us spending a considerable amount of time in Microsoft excel.

My budget spreadsheet is beautiful. I’m a colorful person, so my headers are colored -green for revenue, red for expenses, and white for balance.

Budget pic
PLEASE NOTE ALL AMOUNTS ARE FICTITIOUS!!! This is only a sample, lol, I wish I got paid this much. I’d retire!! The excel formulas are not shown, but are available upon request. 🙂

Isn’t it awesome? Makes me want to go budget again, but I need to get paid first…

Basic rules of thumb when I budget:

  1. Pay yourself first – 5% of earnings or more if possible to “rainy day savings”, retirement, emergency funds, etc.
  2. Pay monthly expenses – rent, utilities, loans, car payments, card payments, etc.
  3. Pay extra for loans on principal (beyond standard monthly payments)
  4. Put towards other accounts – i.e. saving up for a BMW, a dream vacation, a new iWatch.
  5. Pull out some spending money
  6. Any remainder goes into emergency funds

Es so sim-puuuullll!

  • BRIEFLY say hi on Facebook

Seriously, if it weren’t for distance between all my compatriots, I’d get rid of my Facebook account. On the upside, I can share hilarious pictures and posts with my friends.

  • Listen to music – I like all genres except country.

I don’t always know/understand/care about what the genre is called, I just care about what it sounds like. I even get movie soundtracks -amazing stuff!

When does this happen? On lazy weekends, whenever the gods gift me with an hour or two squeezed in between tasks.

I’m always busy, on or off the blog. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I can’t always fall asleep -damn insomnia- so much of this is done while waiting for Morpheus to arrive, lazy bugga!!

And thus, we shut the page on a day in the life of my free time.

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Published by

opalflame

I am artist, analyst, author, poet, composer, musician to name a few aspects of myself. A bit of a jack of trades, I dabble into many fields that encourage the blossom of imagination and allow me to channel my creativity. I dream vividly and view the world through the lens of optimism and opportunity while acknowledging the ink and shadows.

13 thoughts on “Writing #9: Ha! What free time?”

  1. Wow! I really appreciate your generosity for sharing your experience regarding budgeting. I’m pretty sure that you can help lots of people who struggled budgeting like me. 🙂 . I was terrible in savings because I earned less and spend more.

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    1. Thank you for reading, I’m glad you found it enjoyable. 🙂

      To be honest, when it comes to budgets, it should be useful and easy for you. Budgets should help ease the stress of facing the financials. Not everyone loves excel like I do, so finding other mediums that you are familiar with may be more helpful. I’ve seen budgets made in word, onenote, and other programs, so don’t feel locked into excel servitude. Even tracking with pen and paper will do the trick.

      On the other hand, if you are familiar with or learning excel, it can be helpful and easy to use. I like it mostly because I can enter formulas (rev-exp = remainder) that I can use over and over. The demo spreadsheet I shared is for one month, but I could copy-paste for subsequent months. Youtube videos are great for getting started with excel, or for learning more complex capabilities and this website, https://exceljet.net/excel-functions, covers some of the basics.

      Warning: Excel can cause anxiety, frustration, dizziness, nausea and other symptoms. Excel is not for everyone, please consult your doctor before committing to excel. 😛

      Whatever you decide, definitely go with what you feel most comfortable with. Money can be stressful enough without worrying about the way you’re tracking it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Understandable, it can be a lot of work in the outset. When I started working, I didn’t bother having a budget, but it became very confusing to keep track of how much I had received and how much I paid out. Then when I went shopping, this lack of clarity would cause me to overspend money I didn’t have (thanks credit card).

        I ended up with a budget out of necessity, and I tried several types of budgets before I just went and made my own from scratch. Like anything else, your budget should be uniquely yours- no one will have the same financial outlook as you. Whatever works for you, it could be a binder full of receipts, a folder with downloaded banknotes and credit card bills, or a manually typed monthly summery of what was spent subtracted from what you earned in your paycheck. In the end, the goal is about making sure that it is less of a trial and more of an aid.

        If you struggled with a budget before, try examining why it didn’t work and what your goals/expectations are for your financial state. For example, a goal could be “travel to Australia for 14 days”, “retire by 62”, or whatever. Then construct a plan to make it happen: “If I save $150 every paycheck, I’ll have $300/month and meet my vacation spending goal within 8 months”.

        The rest can be more straight forward once that goal is in place, but I find it helpful to identify the why behind the budget, otherwise, I’d care a lot less. 🙂

        One good thing about budgets, is that it makes it very easy to spot when “mistakes” happen. I’ve caught a couple of errors when I was overcharged, or charged for things I didn’t purchase.

        Would it be helpful if I wrote more extensively on this in a post? I learned a few tips over the years and if this is something you’re interested in, I could expand on it more. Feel free to detail what your questions might be, some things I could focus on, or other relevant points within my “contact me” tab up above. Or, just add below. 🙂

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  2. I also listen to frantic songs in my head, too. System Of A Down is a classic band to listen to when you need to just get s*** done. 🙂 What are your favorite artists right now?

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    1. Oh, gosh, I switch between artists depending on mood. Right now, I’m listening to Soilwork, and I’ve been dipping into Korn, Spineshank, Cloudkicker, Hal Zimmer, The Crystal Method, Disturbed, DeathStars, and Nothingface. My library keeps exploding, because I’m always finding new music. Yesterday I stumbled on Mushroomhead and I’m planning to import their music into my playlists in the near future. Nice to meet a fellow music connoisseur. 😛

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      1. I’m a fan of Disturbed and The Crystal Method. Right now for me, it’s The Prodigy, Beach Boys, and Rhye. But hah! I’m not a connoisseur. Not like you! You’re quite impressive. 🙂 I just found what I liked in high school and college and stuck with them, occasionally adding new artists to the arsenal.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Noyce! I like The Prodigy’s music -granted I haven’t explored them as thoroughly after their song “Omen” which I’ve been hooked on to death. I haven’t heard Rhye before, but I just youtubed their song “Open” and it’s beautiful.

        Lol, thanks, I’m constantly exploring and I’m always looking for suggestions to artists I haven’t heard before. YouTube is awesome for me, because playlists will pull up similar artists and genres, which is how I find so many new and different artists. And when I find one I like, I download all their songs. Also, my sibling is great at finding good songs and is largely responsible for expanding my library while constantly sending me links to good music. We have similar taste so it works out well.

        Hence my ever expanding listening repertoire. 🙂

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      3. That’s awesome! I got heavily involved with the Beatles towards the end of high school, and some electronic music during college. My stepdad was responsible for my Beatles obsession, and well, electronic music is just cool to discover during college. B)
        I discovered the best music website, if you’re interested. It’s called allmusic.com and they classify artists and albums by mood! And you can find other artists who have that same mood! And they have themes, too. I love that site, it is such a unique way to discover music. Actually, I have a post about it, because I’m such a geek. 8] you should check it out!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Awesome, thanks for the resource and recommend! I like your blog and fun writing style, plus the blog you mentioned is a great introduction to the website you mentioned. Geek is awesome- for the win! 😀

        I agree, electronic music is an awesome creation. There are so many varieties: synthpop, trance, trap, house, dubstep, chillstep, metalstep etc.. All so fun and crazy!! My only regret, is that I’m rather ignorant of music beyond the 80s. I’m discovering jazz this month, and blues, and I’m just blown by the beauty of it all. I listen to it while at work and it’s refreshing. Beatles is on my list of to-listen for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. >>If I only have an hour, should I write, draw, or create music?

    Ahhh, yes! I do crafts – making pendants, charms, etc., and I do mail art/exchanges through SendSomething, but I’m also making it a point to write everyday, so it’s always a battle of, “hey, you only have so much time in a day, what are you going to do?!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The struggle is so real, lol. What kind of craft materials do you use to make your jewelry? That is so awesome!!

      Writing every day is true dedication. I’m challenging myself to do that this month, and I struggle with dedicating that space and time to do so. But it definitely helps me be more disciplined and inspired on a regular basis.

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