Musings

2019 in review: Looking back to balance

2019 began with a word: Brave. But that word very quickly changed to: Balance.

I was burnt out from all the 2018 hustle to publish IKYLAM, I’d put aside everything else, including rest.

So I approached 2019 with my only goal being “to return to balance”.

Normally I’m all about the “SMART goal” thing, where it’s measurable and such, but this year I intentionally did not make it measurable. This type A planner personality would have been all “Okay, to achieve balance I need to attend the gym 2x a week, write 3x a week, cook a homecooked meal at least once a week, finish reading 2 books a month, and have 2 lazy evenings a week. Annnnnd, go!” Haha I’d be hustling to achieve it and miss the point. So for the first time ever, I left the goal intentionally vague and amorphous.

Looking back: Did I do it? Did I return to balance?

Maybe not in the way a type A planner personality would want, but overall, yes. Here is a few of the ways I see improvement:

  • 2019 started with hardly touching my writing-related life. I was too burnt out. Now it’s a steady part of my week again. I am moving forward on my next novel, as well as regularly blogging for you fine folks and improving my business practices through training opportunities.
  • In 2018, I only read 4 books. That’s how “in the zone” I was with the publishing process. In contrast, 2019 I was able to read 54 books. What a jump! I was finally able to relax and refuel my inspirational well.
  • I had stopped attending the gym almost entirely, but throughout the year I was slowly able to build that back in to my routine. Not all the way as far as I’d like, but a whole lot closer.

Many times throughout the year I’d tell fellow writer Jenn “I didn’t write before work, I slept in” or “I didn’t write when I got home yesterday. Instead I binge-watched Lucifer, oops.” And she would faithfully remind me “Your goal for the year is balance, and it sounds like you’re achieving that.” Having that reminder, that permission to rest, was crucial.

And now, looking forward to 2020, my new word is: Brave.

It feels like the right time to choose Brave. Stepping out into big things while keeping balance in mind. Here goes!


Now you tell me: How’d your 2019 go? And what’s next for 2020?

for the Creatives

4 steps to the creative process

  1. It starts with an idea. A spark. Inspiration. Like attending a creative arts conference or a lego art exhibit. That was my summer. 

  2. Then it’s about building in the routine. Not daily necessarily, just consistently. This year, I have a friend building her writing routine alongside me, you might remember her from the prior blogpost: Jenn. 

  3. And always, it’s about growth. Learning from those ahead of you. I want to use the gifts I’ve been given well – I don’t want to take the responsibility and the trust lightly. I always want to tell the best story I can and get it in front of those who will truly connect with it. 

    That’s why this year I’m investing in the Created to Thrive mentoring program of Matt Tommey’s. I’ll be studying and improving every week, and hopefully you’ll get to see it. 

And amidst all that, and amidst “regular life” stuff of chores and errands and dayjob and family and friends…there’s the 4th step: rest. When I really get going, that’s the piece that I can let go too easily. 

9 months. No, I don’t mean to birth a baby or a book. 9 months to recover from birthing a book. On October 23, “I Know You Like a Murder” will be 1 years old. A couple months of post-publication work, then the beginning of this year I was burnt out. I had no bookish goals for the year because I didn’t want to push myself again.

But I can now say it takes 9 months to bounce back and try to spend every waking moment working on writers life again. This time, I’m trying to build in rest better. Friends are helping me gauge when I’m slacking and when I’m resting. Next time I proceed more carefully, find rest throughout the process, and bounce back quicker.

What’s your best tip to building rest into your hectic life? Comment below and teach me your secrets. And which step of the creative process are you working on?