First month, worst month?

You'll be pleased to know that I wrote (drumroll, please...) ZERO new blog posts in January.


I know, I know, I'm impressed with myself too.

I'm blaming it on Advent blog overload from December, though I also chide myself that since I now know I can write 24ish posts in a row, I should just keep going.

But there's another piece to the puzzle: I've actually started writing pieces and submitting them to other publications besides my blog.

This has been an abstract goal of mine for awhile--well, solid in the sense that I can envision my name and words at the top of a screen, but abstract in that I hadn't put in the work to make it happen (funny how common that is). And even now, I'm not sure that it will--happen, that is.

As I've started this process, it feels like 3/4 of it is work, while the other quarter is this weird, floating wait. First, I re-realize how much time and effort it actually takes to create a new piece from scratch, one that will be examined by others before it ever lives anywhere besides My Documents--not simply one that I can dash off and send to the blog (though this is a great option to have). And then, once I hit "submit," there's the lovely auto response that appears from whatever publication I've chosen, thanking me for my submission, and if they decide to publish my piece, I'll hear from them in 3-4 months. (Or... never.)

I'm not sharing this to intimidate fellow writers or as a full excuse for my state of non-blogging so far in 2018. I'm sharing this because sometimes, we have to wait (and not just during Advent). We have to float, and not the dreamy ethereal kind of floating either--floating that feels more like slipping and stumbling on unforgiving air. Unable to turn back or move fully forward.

I've loved this January because it has been a return to my favorite parts of routine: exercise, meditation, journaling, hot tea and toast, group gatherings that I enjoy. I've added a few healthy things, like carrots and hummus and hardboiled eggs at lunch, mouthwash in the mornings, and more water all day long. And the month has had a bit of extra whimsy--a successful shopping trip, two snow days in PJs, a tradition-rich wedding.

But the start of 2018 has also been really rough. People and family members I love have been stricken with illness, with vocational uncertainty, with grief and transition. I feel that stumbling Muggle float very keenly right now. And I'm sure I'm not alone.

So here's what I want to say to you, to myself, and to all of us as we bid farewell to January and (please God) inch closer to sunshine and flowers and leaves on trees:

Do what you can. Hit "submit" on the piece or the project. Whisper the prayer, say "I love you," make the meal, drink the fluids, hold their hand, tell your truth. Do what you can. It may not feel like enough in the moment, and yet it is--and it will be down the road.

Onward, friends, and into February.

This was my message in my February e-newsletter that went out yesterday, along with some of my favorites from the first month of the year. Want in on next month's? Subscribe here!