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January Reflections: One month of Creating & Reading Daily

January Reflections: One month of Creating & Reading Daily

My 2020 goal is 1 hour of creating, 5 days a week, and 30 minutes of reading, 5 days a week. How did I do in January?

Hours spent reading: 32 (avg of 1 hr/day)

Hours spent creating: 36 (avg of 1 hr 10 min/day)

(tracked using toggl)

Most common times to create: 6pm, after 9pm

Most common times to read: 7am, 4pm (on the bus to and from work)

10 days ago, I did a first-look at my numbers and saw that I was reading a lot more than I was creating. I think this is because reading is 'less scary'; I already know what I need to do and how to do it. I realized that I was scared of creating something that 'my audience' wouldn't like, but then I reminded myself that I don't have an audience to lose (haha!) and that helped me create a ton more in the last 10 days of the month, leading to my creating amount beating my reading hours at the end of January.

I also noticed that my reading skewed away from books and into newsletters and blog posts, and my creating was skewing towards easier, less impactful stuff. Maybe my goals incentivize the 'junk food' version of reading and creating; easy, easily digestible, unimportant stuff. In February, my reading goal will be books only.

Projects completed and shipped: 1 (Bangkok Street Food soft cover book)

I thought making a soft cover ver of my BKK Street Food book would take two hours, tops. It took over 10 hours 😩. But I got it in the mail this morning, and there's nothing like seeing something you've created out in the real world; I got a bit teary eyed!

PS- A huge thank you again to fellow makers who bought my original kindle version: Mike Holford, Anne-Laure, and others! (Amazon doesn't let me see who buys my books, so if you did, let me know, I would love to thank you!)

What have I learned, one month in?

My goal in January was to explore and be curious, but exploring and being curious felt like it wasn't bringing me closer to my goals, even though I didn't delineate my goals clearly... talk about a catch 22!

I need to be kinder to myself. It's okay to have a couple of months where I discover what brings me joy again.

In fact, I think I HAVE to learn how to lighten up in ORDER to have a successful business. Whatever I do, I need to really enjoy it! I tend to be a heavy, serious person these days. There used to be a goofy Madi that would dance in the rain and laugh at her own bad jokes and explore for the sake of finding the magic in the every day. I need to find her again.

Other Updates


Exploring my Mom's neighborhood

I visited Arizona this month to take care of my Mom after a knee replacement. She recently moved to a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, and her neighborhood is like being in a Wild West postcard. There is nothing but huge mountains and sheer cliffs and saguaros everywhere you look; it gave me goosebumps every day, and I'd consider coming back for an extended period next winter.

This trip helped me realize I am not a city person. Or at least, if I am in a city, it needs to have ample access to nature. Surrounding myself with the great outdoors on the daily, I could feel the stress melt off of my shoulders.

Arizona is pretty much the exact opposite of Washington; it's bright and sunny all the time, dry and deserty, sparse and open. Washington is rainy and dark and green and lush and dense. But both places make me equally happy when I'm out in nature. It's not where you are, it's who you are that matters most, and the trip made me consider moving to a nature-filled area with a much lower cost of living after my lease in Seattle is up.


Recently, a coworker (shoutout to Mason!) chatted with me about my business and project ideas. He was really supportive and encouraging, telling me I should start something soon and that I'm bound to succeed!

It was really nice to have someone positive and motivating to bounce ideas off of, and it made me realize that I don't have any IRL friends in Seattle who are makers. I don't know where the Indie Makers are in Seattle, so if you're one of them, reach out! Otherwise, I'll be focusing more on online groups; if you're reading this and want to say hi, please do! I'd love to know more people who 'get it.'

Altering My Goals For February

Based on my January learnings, I am going to try:

  • Only counting actual book-reading towards my reading goals. I'm hoping this will take away my 'junk-food' reading and allow for more deep learning.
  • Making my February creating goal as open as possible. It's okay to not start a side-hustle right now. What's important is finding my zest for life again. I am full of ideas, so when I'm in a good place, the right one will become obvious.
  • Connecting with more optimistic makers. I have great friends, but they don't understand what it's like to have this deep need to create all the time. I think it would be really good for me to be around others who feel this way, whether it's IRL or online, in an environment that's friendly and encouraging.