Living with a chronic illness means that you have to be able to change plans based on how you’re feeling. If you don’t want people to see you as an unreliable flake (especially if your illness is invisible, like mine), you have to plan ahead and be ready to get things done on your good days so that you can take care of yourself on your bad days.

Sometimes, all that planning and preparing starts to feel like drudgery. So, when I wake up on a beautiful early spring day feeling like a human being, it’s hard for me to stay inside. So, I don’t.

Yesterday, I threw out all my plans to work on freelance work and do the grocery shopping. I took the dogs out and worked in my garden.

It doesn’t actually feel like my garden yet. I’m starting the second year in this house, but I purposefully didn’t make any alterations to it last year because I had no idea what would come up. Now, though, I’ve seen the garden through an entire growing season, and I know what to expect.

Whoever planted this garden did not read the helpful little tags that come with the plants. Short plants are growing in the back of the beds, and tall ones in the front. Bushes that are going to become absolutely huge (they are still little for the moment) were placed smack dab in the center of both front beds.

And holy crap, there are crocuses everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, I love crocuses. But they are placed in random spots, and often behind things that will grow taller than them (crocuses are short little dudes) by the time they bloom.

So yesterday, in my migraine-free state, I dug almost every single clump of crocuses up. It took me a good three hours of digging. Some, I’ll give away. The rest I plan to resettle at the front of my garden beds, where I’ll be able to actually see them and enjoy them. (The few clumps I didn’t dig up were the ones already at the front of the beds.)

It felt good to work my body, to get my hands dirty. I hardly ever wear gloves, unless I’m working with plants that have thorns. I like the tactile sensations of gardening, the feel of roots and leaves. And the smell of rich earth is like the smell of books to me—I could inhale it all day.

And so that’s what I did.

2015 by the numbers



  • 4 stories accepted for publication (2 that were published this year were accepted in 2014)
  • 10 submissions withdrawn because of acceptances elsewhere
  • 73 total submissions to literary journals and chapbook presses


  • 118 total books read of my goal of 125
  • 20 of those were audio books
  • 8 of those were poetry (2 fewer than my goal of 10)
  • 20 of those were on writing, creativity, or blogging


  • 1 house purchased (my first!)
  • 1 floor of said house completely renovated
  • 1 promotion at work

A writer’s self-care package

My life is chaos right now: I’m busy at work, my home is being renovated, I don’t have home internet access, and I don’t know where anything is.

I’m longing for my college days when my mother would send me a care package full of Bigelow French Vanilla Black Tea and Tastykake Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes—just something to keep me going forward, something to keep me writing.

Because my morning routine has altered drastically due to our new, strange, living circumstances, I haven’t worked on my current fiction project in two weeks.

That’s fine, as I built in some time away from my desk while we moved and settled in, but now it’s time to get back to work. (We’re not really settled yet; if I waited for that, it would probably be a year before I wrote again).

As I don’t want to wait on the USPS, I moved my butt over to Target last night and picked up a few essentials:

  • A new notebook (I have a million, but they’re all packed)
  • Boxes of tea (My loose leaf is MIA)
  • Dark chocolate (I always need dark chocolate)
  • Baby carrots and hummus (The act of crunching down on carrots help me think)
  • Aromatherapy candle (It’s hard to relax in a house that’s under construction)

What items would you put in your writer’s care package?