It’s been more than four weeks now since I began my life without a fallback plan, and it’s been a pretty intense learning experience. Being on your own and working for yourself can be a lot more complicated than one might expect.  I thought in the beginning – “this will be great! I’m doing what I love and I get to make my own schedule and do whatever I want!”

Ha. How naive I was.

Well, I said that I would use this blog to hold myself accountable to document both my successes and my struggles, so here they are. Remember the list of goals that I made in that first post that outlined what I would strive to do every day? Remember that I said I wanted to earn my GED and follow free  online GED classes offered by MyCareerTools? Well, here’s my self-progress report for the first four weeks:

1. Follow the Map – C
Although I begin every day with a list of things to get finished for the day, there have only been one or two days where I follow and actually complete that list. I do a much better job of distracting myself following my path. Because of this, I’ve gotten a little behind, especially with my attempts to score a GED diploma.

For the future: Make a commitment, Heather. You don’t get to quit for the day until you FINISH your list and get as much done as you make for yourself.  Take each task one at a time and see it through to it’s completion before you go on to the next thing or you’ll get distracted!

2. Morning Motivation – F
Yeah, I set an alarm almost every day, but have shut it off more times than I’d like to admit.  Either that, or I’ll get up and dork around, have coffee and waste time until midway through the afternoon.

For the future: You can’t. Press. Snooze. DON’T DO IT. Get up, eat breakfast and get to work. Or you’ll be there all night. 

3. Personal Projects – B
I’ve come up with a lot of good ideas and even started working on a new series called “10 Habits of the Remarkable Minority.” I booked a wedding and a couple other photo-rific gigs (go me!) but I need to make sure to take time EVERY DAY to get out my camera and do something with it. Even something small. And obtaining my GED diploma is really something I need to do to secure further education!

For the future: I will take at least one new image each day. I will try new techniques (at least one per week.) I will get up out of my chair and go do something that might inspire me. I will study at least one hour a day on my GED project. Online GED classes are fun, but I need more self-discipline. Because if I don’t, my blog is going to get super boring really fast, and nobody wants that. 

4. Make Connections – B+
Weirdly enough, I thought this one would be a bit harder, but I’ve done better than I thought! In the past weeks, I’ve become active on a couple awesome photography and art forums, spent WAY too much time on twitter stalking my followers, and even created a totally awesome STA flickr group!

We started our flickr features in the community, I interviewed a fellow photographer, got noticed by some artists I already featured, and much more! You might think bloggers are like a special breed of hermit, but it’s a LOT more interactive than I thought. I’m slowly making friends, and I need those just like I need my secondary education degree! 

For the future: I can’t hesitate to just put myself out there. I shouldn’t feel bad about promoting myself or my work, and if I admire someone or want to know more about them – I should just email them. It’s pretty simple. 

5. Don’t Panic! – F
If there is one thing I am totally awesome at – it is panicking. Unfortunately I’m not supposed to do it. I’ve had pretty regular freak outs since I began this quest, and Chase is baffled on how to handle that sometimes. I’m one of those people that searches for validation that what I’m doing is right, and I have next to no confidence.  So since I dove into blogging with a lot of passion but not much of a clue – I spend a LOT of time second guessing myself, which quickly spirals into bizarre tantrums where I basically turn into the petulant female version of the Incredible Hulk.

For the future: Calm down and believe in yourself, Heather. Not everything is the end of the world, and one little hiccup doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Keep going – you know what you’re doing….sort of. The good news is that the longer you keep at it, the better you’ll get, but remember one thing: if you don’t get your GED diploma, it may all be wasted energy…   

Final assessment? 

Not too fantastic, I guess. I was kind of hoping that after four weeks I’d already be an internet sensation and a millionaire on top of that, but I realized that’s a bit like hoping to become a famous opera singer after taking one voice lesson. But I can look at this and see where I’m excelling and where I need to put in some more work. Hopefully by the next update, I’ll feel a bit more proud to tell you what I’ve accomplished, and that I’m ready to take my first GED test!

Sincerely, to all of you who are following me – thank you. Your support is the nudge that forces me to step up in front of the class. I might just end up crying and potentially wetting myself, but I’ve gotten this far – so I sort of hope not.  One way or another, I’m going to figure this whole blogging thing out and make a positive impact with what I have to say.