New Year, New Series

Blogging has always been a form of experimentation for me. There was my stint with doing the journal excerpts, the brief period where I posted poetry, and the general dumping of my life into the internet and seeing what happens. I tried to make a series out of that, with the Hello, I’m…Discovery series, the Game Master series, and so on, and now I’d like to add one more.

The Stories of Adulthood series. Really, it will be just another way for me to clarify my intentions with posts instead of rambling on and on (like this one does).

Blogging, to me, feels like community. I like hearing about other people’s lives, and I think they like hearing about mine, so with this new series, let’s all laugh at ourselves and share ridiculous stories about being an adult, eh?

Here we go.

Annual Writing Review 2017

This is an assessment of all the writing I did in 2017.

I got this idea from Rachel Geisel, a woman whose blog I love, and whose Writer’s DNA course was fantastic. She got the idea originally from Nicole Gulotta, so it’s a long cycle of paying-it-forward. I love when bloggers do that.

My writing year of 2017 was…interesting, as I’m sure could be said about any writing year. Some things went well, some things did not. I did the whole free download separately, but here’s an overview of my year.

Let’s break it down.

What I Wrote

Creatively: This blog, parts of a fantasy novel, a horror novel, a military/historical novel, many poems (10+), journal (almost every day, hurray!)

Work-related: Lesson plans, PPTs, began template and information for teacher handbook, safety protocols, procedures for; summer camp, filling out forms

Edited: Work procedures, work announcements, work newsletter, memoirs for a friend, creative material for a family member, several posts on Scribophile

What Went Well

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NaNo – I won, third year in a row!

Blogging – I launched it, and wrote several posts I was really proud of. Most of all, I enjoyed it. I love blogging. I’m not in this for the money (of course that would be nice) but I don’t market or advertise or worry too much about that. I just love writing and posting and getting in the community.

Poetry – I’ve started writing, for lack of a better word, poetry. I have no reason to do this, but I wanted to, so I made that my reason. I have an idea to delve into the hows and mechanics of it later, but for now, I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. And joy is what writing is to me. How awesome is that?

Craft Study: I read a bunch of really good books on writing. I’ll make a list sometime in the future, but reading about the craft really helped me. I’ve never believed you can just sit down and write well, but that practice and refining and honing writing is a skill like any other. I also did a brief novel-study session that I’m excited to try again; it involves reading novels you love and analyzing them, first broadly and then scene by scene to get a feel for why the story works (or where it doesn’t). Hello, homework that requires reading? Yes, please.

I found out that I write best in the morning and around seven at night. I used Scrivener almost exclusively for creative work, and it’s been incredible.

What Could Have Gone Better

NaNo – I wrote fifty thousand words, but they weren’t all for one story, or even all in story. I counted my journaling as well since I decided to be a rebel this year. But honestly, the health issues happening meant I couldn’t focus easily, and journaling was therapeutic, so I counted that as slightly more important than focusing on one story. But still, fifty thousand words…

Blogging – It could always be better. I stopped entirely after my health crisis, which is to be expected. And I would like a better “author” blurb and my about page always gives me nightmares, but published is better than perfect, and it’s live and published.

Creative Writing: I left all those novels undone. Some half done, some mostly done, some in their infancy. I didn’t finish another book this past year. I’d like to pick some of them back up, but some of them I realized weren’t the story I was trying to tell, so they’ll be let go.

Community: I didn’t use Scribophile as much as I would have liked. I did a few critiques and received a few that were insanely helpful, but I couldn’t keep it up. I also tried getting a partner, but that petered out after a while as well. I wanted to join a writing circle, but there wasn’t a decent one around my area in Korea. This year, I hope to find a writing circle for real, face-to-face feedback and interaction with other writers. I need feedback and accountability.

Looking Ahead

For 2018, my main writing goals are:

  • Write every day* – blog AND creative
  • Feel good about what I write, even sucky first drafts
  • Join a writing group
  • Get more feedback – via group or some site like Scribophile or Fictionpress
  • Edit a story in full, on paper (didn’t have access to a printer in Korea so this one will be fun!)
  • Finish more stories
  • Write more short stories
  • Write more poetry
  • Read more about the craft

If you’re a writer, I strongly recommend doing Nicole’s Review. It’s been enlightening and uplifting to actually assess my writing year, even the parts that didn’t go as planned.

Happy writing!


*I’ve set my goal at fifty words a day, a very small number by most standards. Usually, I end up writing anywhere from 500-1000 naturally, but I’ve been doing mini-habits, the technique created by Stephen Guise in his book, Mini-Habits, and this way, on the days when I can barely function, I know I can succeed at my goal by writing just fifty words. Always go for the win.

Read my review for Guise’s latest book, How to Be an Imperfectionist, here.

I desire…to feel good: Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte

I’m going to share with you how I want to feel. All my goals and dreams I make because I’m hoping they will make me feel a certain way. I’m going to share those desired feelings. And I’m going to share why I want to feel that way, and how I can do it. I like action plans. I get all giddy thinking about them.

This isn’t my first Desire Map. But this one I did right before I moved home and in the midst of crippling anxiety; it felt much more needed. It felt like a cool breath on my fevered brain.

If you haven’t checked the book out, do so. Now. Whether you like her style or not, you can’t argue with the technique. We all make goals. We all make resolutions. And we know they mostly don’t stick.

Danielle knew this too, and realized where we were all going wrong. We all make goals to feel a certain way, but most of our goals are results-oriented, not feeling-oriented.

If we can figure out how we want to feel (good = confident, safe, understood, heard, vital, driven, blooming, etc.), we can tailor goals and New Year’s resolutions to aim for that. Instead of “host a dinner party every week,” you turn that into “feel hospitable,” and realize you can get that feeling by taking food to a sick friend or inviting a small group over once a month. That way, you won’t look at your goal and see how you missed it, or see how it isn’t quite right but, hey, you wrote it, so you have to follow it…

Of course, there’s much more to it than that, but hopefully, you get the idea.

This has been life-changing for me – a perpetually happy and failure stricken goal-maker.

My Desired Feelings

Serene – calm, peaceful, and untroubled; tranquil. an expanse of clear sky or calm sea.”

Why? I chose this word over peaceful, over tranquil, because the idea of serenity runs deeper. Like joy that is deeper and steadier than happiness or bliss, serenity, to me, would be the ocean of my soul having a clear and free depth, no matter what troubles pass over. It does not mean I don’t get angry in the face of problems or don’t get boundlessly excited. It means that I can feel those things without them taking hold, and that no matter where I am in my day, in my feeling, in my energy, I can reach the clear blue sky overhead, the dark soothing depths below, and return whenever I need to. It’s an outlook, more than a feeling, but it’s an outlook I need to reach down to my soul.

How can I feel this way? Since I’m not there, I don’t know. The closest I’ve come to it is in certain moments in meditation or prayer, or certain times when everything in my life has been going right, and just for a moment, I look out the window at the sky and feel it. But I don’t have it in my grasp. It’s a fleeting thing, so I’m not sure if that’s really serenity or just peace.

Creative – “relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.”

Why? I am always creating, but while I was a teacher, most of my creative energy went to where it was needed in my job; lesson planning, teaching when I had no lesson plan, fixing lesson plans in the middle of them when it wasn’t going the way I’d hoped, solving tiny, huge fights between students, figuring out how to deal with admin issues and coworker issues that crop up from moment to moment, and balancing all that with a life outside of teaching. Teachers don’t get paid enough for all the work we do. It’s utterly and completely exhausting, even on the best days.

I’m home now. I probably won’t be a teacher anymore. Multipod strikes again. Now my creative juices are flowing so much it’s all I can do to think of projects. I want to feel that I have time and energy for these ideas. I want to feel that I am making what I want, when I want, in the way I want. I want to feel that I’m writing all the time, and going somewhere with it.

How can I feel this way? Knitting. Writing. Planning in my bullet journal. Making my office pretty. Organizing my parents’ home. Paper crafting. Playing D&D.

Radiant – “sending out light; shining or glowing brightly. Emanating clearly, powerfully from someone or something; very intense or conspicuous.”

Why? This is one of my long-term feelings/goals. I want to be comfortable in myself. I want to be healed, so I can start helping others. I’ve tried helping others so much before without working on me at all, and that’s what this journey of healing is all about. But after the healing, I hope to share my story so that others can find hope. I want to be a light for hope, for inspiration, for living authentically and holistically. I want to share the Good News, the Best News, of my faith, my beliefs, and share love. I want people to look at me and feel happy. I want them to be around me and think I’m a comfortable person, a good listener, an honest soul. I want to emit that. I believe people do. I’ve met people who do – like an aroma, they exude positivity, or warmth, or joy, or even not so nice things. I want to be one of the good ones.

How can I feel this way? Start with me. Help me. Put on my oxygen mask first before helping others. It isn’t selfish. It’s the most selfless thing I can do in the long run if I want to help people.

Authentic – “of undisputed origin; genuine. (sincere) free from pretense or deceit; proceeding from genuine feelings.”

Why? Part of my stress and anxiety problem has always been living inauthentically. Living the way other people want me to, living the way I think I should. Dressing how my friends do, or how work says I must, or how so and so says is most flattering for my figure. Believing and having a faith that doesn’t offend, that is in line with my family’s, that doesn’t make me stick out, but doesn’t make me doubt (but, oh, it has). Thinking how others think, in books or on TV.

I’m an empath. I know how people feel, and can guess what they’re thinking. About me. And I’m an INFJ/HSP, so I care. Deeply. I would like to go through life making no waves, no one uncomfortable. The flipside is that I’m uncomfortable all the time. So no more. NO MORE, wrote the Doctor, and saved my soul.

I’ve lived wondering and caring what other people think for so long I barely know what I really like anymore. I doubt my choices, even ones I think I’m making in freedom. Do I really like this outfit, or does it just fit the image of what I think I want to be (free, cool, comfortable, hipster, edgy, whatever girl)? Do I really like this pattern, or does it just reinforce the idea people have of me that I like? Are these dumb questions? Like Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching, I have First Thoughts, Second Thoughts (watching those first thoughts), and Third Thoughts (watching the second thoughts think about the first thoughts). It’s terribly confusing. I would like to not feel that way.

I would like, very much, to live in a cabin in the woods for a month with no media, no people, no internet, no books, and get to know me for a while.

How can I feel this way? Maybe do the cabin thing. For a couple days though. I can’t bring enough food for a month. Make decisions without worrying so much. Just make it. If it’s the wrong outfit, buy another one. Make clear boundaries. This is me, mine. That is you, yours. You are not me. Your ideas are valid and great, and they are not mine. That’s okay.

Present – “existing or occurring now. (here) in, at, or to this place or position.”

Why? In high school, in college, I always lived for the future. After Korea, I was really present for a while figuring out how to live and teach. But then once it got old and I started a new dream of being a writer, again with the future living. It’s not comfortable. It creates tension, living in the present and being dissatisfied with it. Many people have this problem. I don’t think I’ve ever really lived in the moment. Not fully. Always one foot forward.

I want to be okay with my everyday. I want to feel that I’m living how I want RIGHT NOW and don’t have to look forward to tomorrow because I’m enjoying today.

I want to eat and taste my food without watching TV. I want to drink a cup of coffee and savor it, staring out the window, not chugging it to get through the morning. I want to do everything mindfully. Now I am journaling. Now I am with this friend. Now I am waiting.

How can I feel this way? Meditation has helped. Focusing on sensations or the breath really keeps the mind from jumping around all the various plans. Also, making the choice to do things mindfully has helped. Making the choice to eat sitting down at the table, instead of wherever.

Nourishment* – “provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition. (cherish) protect and care for (someone) lovingly.”

Why? I want to feel cared for. By myself first, and by others. I’ve let people walk all over me, including myself. I’ve never invested in honesty about what hurts me or helps me. I’ve never been intentional with friendships or boundaries. I’ve never eaten well for longer than a few days. I’ve never exercised for longer than a few months since college. I’ve never cared about my mental health because I always thought I was fine. I’ve never known what it’s like to be cherished in a dating relationship. I’ve never fought for anyone, or against anyone. I want to be fought for, I want to fight, I want to live out my emotions.

I want to eat good food that comes from the earth, not a lab, and the closer it’s grown the better. I want to grow my own food so I see where it comes from. I want to connect with our earth in that way. I want to raise animals, to see the cycle of life. I want to stay away from toxicity; in media, in work, in politics, in friendships, in thoughts, in feelings, in desires, in absent-mindedness.

How can I feel this way? Eat local, visit farmer’s markets. Have clear boundaries with people. Date better. Accept better. Accept no mistreatment. State clearly what I need. Give others what they need, when I can give it freely.

(A note on this one – I originally had “nourished” on here, but that was too other-driven, meaning it sounded too dependent on others to give it to me. LaPorte makes a point of saying not to pick words or feelings that you can’t give yourself. Not “loved,” but “love” or “loving.” So I picked nourishment. I want to feel that that’s what I’m giving myself and that’s the state I’m in.)

For 2018, in my Season of Healing, these six words encompass how I want to feel. Six is a lot, but I worked through a lot of words and feelings before picking those, and those are what fit me right now. Those are the ones that make me say YES. Desired feelings can and should change. In six months I may have six new words, or just three old ones.

Either way, Desired Feelings give me, and could give you, a better direction to aim for this New Year’s season.

Happy New Season!


*Definitions in quotes from

Dear 2018: The Year of Healing

Dear 2018,

I don’t expect a lot from you. Actually, I guess I do. I expect you to make me better. Well, I expect me to help myself get better, with the aid of some doctors and things. But really, I’m hoping I won’t have to go for your big sis 2019 too. That would kinda be a bummer.

I’m hoping I can find peace.

I’m hoping I can find a direction.

I’m hoping I can feel all the things I want to feel: serene, authentic, creative, present, radiant, nourished.

I’m hoping I can make all the things I want to make: cosplay, paper art, knitted things, a beautiful garden, the best bullet journal, and ten more novels. (I’m aiming high.)

I’m hoping I can get all the habits started I want to: cook every day, meditate every day, write every day, eat and exercise in a way that fits my body and health situation.

I’m hoping I can find a tribe of people to support me, to love me, to accept me, to push and scold me when I need it.

I’m hoping I can play D&D every week.

I’m hoping I can read all the books I want now that I have a library at hand again (praise the LORD Y’ALL).

I’m hoping I can write more poetry. Poetry is the bomb.

I’m hoping I can find a career that suits me, or a good-enough job to help me live a life I love.

I’m hoping for…hope.

I’m hopeful.

I’m hoping 2018 will be a year of hope realized, of desires fulfilled, of feelings expressed, of love and other emotions felt and allowed.

Dear 2018, you will be awesome. Because 2017, while it had a lot of lows, had a lot of highs too, and I know they are in every day, every moment. That each second is all eternity, is a wavelength of dips and spikes and we can ride the crests or flounder in the shallows and I know where I want to be.

I want to be here, where I am. In who I am.

Dear 2018, I love you already.

And Dear 2017, good-bye. You taught me some of the best lessons I’ve had in my life so far. And I did a lot, too.

  • Went to Middle-Earth (a huge bucket list item)
  • Wrote 50,000 words for NaNo
  • Became a better, more confident teacher
  • Attended two very important weddings
  • Launched this blog
  • Read 100 books
  • Reconnected with an old, dear friend
  • Got clear on how I want to feel
  • Had a health crisis that invigorated me to start getting better

Thanks for those, friend. It was great, it was tough, and it’s time to move on.

Happy New Year!