2022 Recap / 2023 Word of the Year: Leap

Launching a weekly creative prompt challenge!

📝 Notes from Jenn:

Hello everyone! Closing 2022 out with rest is exactly what I needed, but at the same time, it made me wonder if I actually needed more. Does anyone ever get enough rest? When do you know it’s enough?

In December, I removed some sections in the newsletter (social media & digital marketing). For now, I’m going to keep the social media section off. Being a Very Online person has not been good for my mental health. I’m also considering broadening the digital marketing section to topics surrounding freelancing, productivity systems, writing, and creativity. And finally, a reminder that voting is open for Sprudgies until January 8. I’m nominated in the Best Coffee Writing category!

Creative Sparks is a weekly, creative prompt challenge

🚀 Launching: Creative Sparks

One of the things I learned in 2022 is that it’s good to keep my creativity well filled. I enjoy doing challenges and thought it would be fun to set up my own! Once a week for 12 weeks, I’ll send out a creative prompt that you can then use in the medium(s) of your choice (writing, photography, illustration, etc.). We’ll use Substack’s Chat feature (in the Substack mobile app) to encourage each other, discuss prompts, and share our pieces. You don’t need to be a creative professional; this is a judgment-free zone. To participate, you need to have a Substack account and opt-in. Go to the tanJennts page > click on your profile photo > manage subscription. Creative Sparks begins in mid-January, you’re also free to join in later.

🔏 Last week, paid subscribers received a short reflection about rest and accepting my body’s need to do so. I also previewed my brand refresh (more colors!).

Rest is a funny thing
Rest is a funny thing. I’m in the middle of my second week of “do whatever my body feels like,” and I did not anticipate that the first week would be all rest. My body is resetting itself to its desired circadian rhythm of going to bed at 2 am and waking up at 10 am. Monday and Tuesday, I didn’t reach my desk until at least 11:30 am, and it took all of my mental energy to convince my inner voice that it was okay to rest.

🛠 Current project: I’ve been working on redesigning parts of my website. I alternate between disbelief (“how does changing this color affect this seemingly unrelated area, Wordpress, wtf!”) and excitement (“wow, this looks great”). I hope to have the changes go live soon.

words "the tanJentt" aligned left and above a full-width bracket facing down

2022 Recap & looking ahead

I had all the good intentions of writing a 2022 recap post for the end of the year, but it just didn’t happen. I’m going to try the monthly format and put in highlights (both good & bad). In terms of writing, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in this newsletter and in my features for Sprudge.

  • January: I was invited to present a talk for Barista League’s High Density online conference. It was called “How to create a cohesive digital communication strategy” and was accompanied by a free worksheet. You can view the talk and download the worksheet on my website.
  • February: Helped launch Go Fund Bean’s mentorship program, Bean for Bean. A number of people and hours went into this and we’re excited for the next iteration (coming soon).
  • March: I was called in for jury duty. The selection process triggered a very bad panic attack, and I spent the next two months recouping my mental health.
  • April: I made the decision to let go of a client. I don’t regret this at all, and my brain has been feeling freer since. And I formed an LLC!
  • May: Began The Artist’s Way! I am still doing my morning pages on workday mornings. I also went on a quick getaway for my birthday and celebrated a decade of freelancing.
  • June: Moved newsletter platforms to Substack, rebranded from Coffee Marketing to tanJennts, and went through the Substack Grow program.
  • July: Spectacularly failed at updosing on an anti-anxiety medication, but that’s how these things go sometimes. I also ended my streak of black thumb gardening edible plants with a harvest of radishes.
  • August: My boyfriend moved in with me! We had a two-week trial period that went well. We even installed Elfa shelves in the closet with zero fighting.
  • September: Made mooncakes for the first time in years and judged in the chocolate category for Good Food Awards.
  • October: I began Mandarin classes at the library, every Saturday morning for eight weeks.
  • November: Twitter stuff. All the stuff.
  • December: Reached a 1400-day streak in Duolingo. Holy crap. And nominated for a Sprudgie!

Word of the year: Leap

I forgot that I chose a word last year until…well, this week when I was considering words. Last year, it was intuition. This year, I’m choosing leap.

I’m a risk-averse person by nature. Freelancing also compounds that because mistakes can become costly. But I’ve been sitting in the familiar for a little too long now, and I feel a need to challenge myself so I don’t stagnate. The word “leap” makes me think of taking that risk, of trying something new, of being confident enough in my ability to handle failure if/when it happens.

I have a few goals already in mind, though they need to solidify in my head first. But I’m cautiously optimistic and excited for this year.

purple bracket, full-width, facing up

📤 digital marketing

👀 interesting reads

A Portuguese island created a village for remote workers, promising community to the newcomers and prosperity to the locals—then delivered on neither.
Librarians across the country are under threat as efforts to ban books about marginalized groups reach a fever pitch
But what if we made an addition to our lives, rather than a subtraction? What if we used New Year to invite in some expansive pleasures, rather than to impose stringencies?
artful leaf outlines on left, "plant update" immediately to the right
My best friend gifted me with grow lights for Christmas! So I’m trying them out on a few shelves. Pictured: philodendron micans.