home office

2018 Goals {and a FREE printable!}

Last year, Sagan Morrow of Juxta Communications challenged her newsletter readers to choose a word to inspire our 2017. I love reading Sagan's newsletter, in no small part because her ideas and challenges help me really think about where I'm going as a writer. This challenge was no exception. I'd made new year's resolutions before, but choosing a word to focus on ended up being much more motivating! The word "confidence" was a great reminder to me last year as I was growing my freelance business and publishing the first book of my Time Wreckers trilogy.

So far, 2018 looks like it's going to be even busier, and I am thrilled! I'm continuing to take on new freelance clients while planning to publish books Two and Three of the trilogy before the end of the year! As my calendar fills up, I decided to choose a different word to inspire 2018: 

2018 Goals {and a FREE printable!} || www.ellensmithwrites.com

This year, I want to renew my focus on why I write. In the early days of freelancing, I had tons of passion and very little experience. Now that I have five years of experience under my belt, I want to make sure I'm still tapping in to that excitement. I got into education writing because I'm so passionate about creating great materials for teachers to use in the classroom. I love learning--and I want everything I write for my clients to reflect that.

Editing the second and third books of the Time Wrecker Trilogy has given me a fresh perspective on my fiction writing, too. Drafting a book for the first time feels like one big creative rush; editing, on the other hand, is a slow process. While I'm taking my time to get these next two books polished up and ready for release, I don't want to lose my enthusiasm for the story itself. 

Just like last year, I'm going to keep my word for 2018 front and center in my writing life--literally. In 2017 I made a poster of one of my favorite quotes about confidence and hung it on the wall of my home office. Seeing this poster every day as I sat down to work definitely helped me stay on track. A new year calls for a new poster--and Eleanor Roosevelt just so happens to have a great quote about renewal:

Eleanor Roosevelt quote: "With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts." || from the ellensmithwrites.com blog "2018 Goals (and a FREE printable!)"

The bonus of making the poster myself is that I can offer it as a free download for you, too! The 16 x 20 and 8 x 10 versions are available below. 

16 x 20 poster

8 x 10 poster

Thanks for visiting my blog! Here's to a great year!

Do you choose a word (or make a resolution) for the new year? Post it in the comments--I'd love to hear how 2018 is starting out for you!

Revamped Home Office (and FREE printable!)

On the last Saturday of 2016, I opened my weekly e-newsletter from Sagan Morrow. Sagan is a great resource and inspiration for freelancers, so I always look forward to her newsletters! This newsletter was particularly inspiring for me because Sagan asked what word would inspire our careers in 2017.

That question made me pause for a bit. I really like where I'm at currently in my writing life. I've been freelance writing for three years and I've already published a novel and a short story collection. However, I have big goals for this coming year: I'm planning to grow my freelance business and release a trilogy of novels as well.

Finally, I wrote back to Sagan and said "confidence." I've already laid the groundwork for my freelance career and my fiction writing. I just need to keep moving forward with the confidence to take on bigger projects and aim for higher goals. 

The first step in my move-forward-with-confidence plan was to create a space dedicated to my writing career. I'm lucky enough to have a home office already, but, if I'm honest, over time it started to become a catch-all place for household bills, magazines, and craft projects. I decided to kick-start 2017 by reclaiming and redecorating my home office.

Revamped Home Office (and FREE printable!) | ellensmithwrites.com Blue, gold, and silver home office set up for a freelancer and fiction author with a standing desk, inspiration boards, plenty of bookcases, and a FREE downloadable poster

The first step was choosing a paint color, which is always difficult for me. I love looking at paint chips, almost as much as I love reading all the different color names. I wanted a bluish-green, but I couldn't decide on which shade. Did I want an office painted in Tahoe Blue or Ocean Boulevard? Clear Pond or Clear Vista? (If anyone's looking for a freelance writer to name paint colors, by the way, I'm game. What a fun job that would be!) After staring at my top four choices for a few days, I decided that none of them would work. I headed to the paint store to look for more ideas.

That's where the word "confidence" popped up again. Three separate times, I reached for the same paint chip, thinking, "Yes! This is the color I was thinking of!" only to realize that it was Ocean Boulevard. Which I had already decided wouldn't work. It was too bright. Too blue. More "tidal" than "robin's egg."

Then I thought, "Wait. Why am I trying to talk myself out of doing something I love?"

That did it. I bought one gallon of Ocean Boulevard, a new set of paint rollers, and headed home.

And you know what? I do love it.

The newly-painted left corner of my office. Isn't this a happy color? The blue-green tint changes with the light, which is neat to watch throughout the day.

The newly-painted left corner of my office. Isn't this a happy color? The blue-green tint changes with the light, which is neat to watch throughout the day.

I already owned and loved my office furniture, with one exception: my standing desk. I sit at the rolltop desk for smaller tasks, but if I'm working for long periods of time, I work best at a standing desk. For the last few years, I've made my own by balancing a large piece of wood over two filing cabinets, which was almost (but not quite) the right height. My husband surprised me with this beautiful desk for Christmas:

The standing desk on the right side of my office, pulled up to its full height. I don't get a lot of natural light in the office, so I'm afraid this is the best I could do to avoid shadows and glare in the picture.

The standing desk on the right side of my office, pulled up to its full height. I don't get a lot of natural light in the office, so I'm afraid this is the best I could do to avoid shadows and glare in the picture.

The top lifts up to the perfect standing height, and lowers back down if I need to sit. I love it!

With the new wall color and the furniture in place, I just made a few decorative touches. Some things I kept, like my clipboard for inspiration pictures.

My inspiration board currently holds photos from my research trip to Washington, D.C. They definitely help me get into the setting of my story!

My inspiration board currently holds photos from my research trip to Washington, D.C. They definitely help me get into the setting of my story!

Some things needed a little change. For example: like everyone else that had a Pinterest account in 2015, I jumped on the chalkboard bandwagon. My office used to feature a very large chalkboard where I wrote my to-do list. It worked just fine, but I didn't like the mess all that chalk dust created. I decided to change things up and use a dry erase board instead. Actually, make that three dry erase boards:

Did you know you can use a regular glass picture frame as a dry erase board? I happened to have these three frames already from another project, so I just popped some pretty paper into them and hung them up.

Did you know you can use a regular glass picture frame as a dry erase board? I happened to have these three frames already from another project, so I just popped some pretty paper into them and hung them up.

When all that was finished, I had one blank wall left. I wanted a piece of artwork that would make me smile (and inspire me to get to work!) whenever I came into the room. I scoured the Internet for a while before I remembered: hey, I make graphics for my blog and Instagram all the time. Why not make my own poster?

So I did. I chose one of my all-time favorite quotes, and it's perfect for my 2017 theme of "confidence." Bonus: since I made the poster myself, I can offer it as a free download for you, too!

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." - Henry David Thoreau | FREE printable motivational quote poster on ellensmithwrites.com

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You can download the pdf for the 16 x 20 version or the 8 x 10 version below. You're welcome to print it out and use it however you like in your home or office. Just please don't chop off my watermark and sell it as your own. Thanks! :)

16x20 poster

8x10 poster

There you have it: a little tour of my revamped home office, ready to start off a new year and plenty of new projects--with confidence. Thanks for stopping by!