A Year’s Progress

I often think about how far I’ve come. Progress can seem SOOOO slow, and taking time to reflect in different ways helps me realize I’m further along than I think I am.

5 Year Journal Example
5-Year Journal Image via Amazon


One of my favorite tools is a 5-year journal – where you enter a few lines each day, and you can see up to five years on a single page (p.s. – here’s an affiliate link to the one I use on Amazon, but there are lots of versions out there).

I was recently looking through it and it struck me how far I’d really come. Last March for me was AWFUL. I had an incredibly traumatic experience that I am still recovering emotionally from to be honest, and I felt so lost and alone. Because of the stigma around trauma (whether emotional or physical) in my culture (I’m SE Asian for those who don’t know), most people in my life still don’t know about it. I’ve only talked about it in depth with less than 5 people.

Thinking about my mindset from a year ago, I couldn’t even write. I pushed myself to finish editing and publishing the Brazenbourg series, but I just didn’t feel all that interested in starting something new. Even the Vollywood series didn’t entice me (though I’ve gotten the first book back from my editor, and am close to finishing the first draft of book 2). It actually wasn’t until the end of last year that I actually really felt the desire to write again, and I started with a new story featuring Prince Alex & Rebecca going on a royal tour (this will be an exclusive story for Patreon subscribers at first).

As I started writing though, I started to think about Alex & Rebecca’s overall journey. As I’ve been prepping the Royals books for the Radish reading app, I’ve been re-reading them too, and falling in love with them all over again, in a way. I started to think about Rebecca at the beginning of Royals 1, who liked Alex but was reconciled to the fact that she couldn’t be ‘more’ than an employee at the palace. Then there’s Alex, who had dedicated his life to duty, but didn’t want duty to stand in the way of his love for her. At the end of Royals 10 (Permanently Princess), they have evolved so much as a couple and have been through a lot together.

So where do they go from here? Where do I go from here?

As for Alex and Rebecca, if you’re signed up for my newsletter, you received 2 free short stories featuring them – Delusional (which takes place after their love story in Royals 1) and Loved (which takes place after Royals 10). But their journey isn’t over yet, and they’ll face many more challenges as a couple and individually. (P.S. – for those wondering if they’ll have a baby – please see my FAQ answer to this question.)

People change all the time. In little ways. In big ways. In relationships (at least in my experience), the challenge is to grow together and flow with the changes instead of against them. Alex and Rebecca are both strong people with strong ideas that want to be heard, and we’ll see that in their upcoming story.

As for me, I’m going to keep moving forward. This is my 4th year into my 5-year journal and I look back at my entries in 2019 in amazement. I think of all the books I’ve written and/or published since 2019, the bullshit I’ve dealt with, and the shit I’ve waded through and come out the other side. I think of all the beautiful moments (my new nephew!) and making it through a seemingly never-ending pandemic and finding a doctor that finally diagnosed my chronic illness. Even as I come upon the anniversary of something I want to stamp out and forget, I feel hopeful for the future and grateful for the present.

I am definitely grateful for all you! My amazing readers who have helped me through the dark times and stuck with me. Thank you for letting me be me, and process trauma and everything else as I need to.

Now, I’d love to hear from you! What’s one change you’ve made (big or small!) in the past year?

~xoxo Marianne

6 thoughts on “A Year’s Progress”

  1. Learning to accept that I can say no and not feel guilty while freeing my mind of the demons of my past and moving into a healthier future. Cancer changes your point of view dramatically

  2. I lost my Dad last year, in March, so that has messed up this last year with all the ‘firsts’ without him. Just wishing you all the best on your journey forward and offering up a big hug 🤗.

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