2022 was like a tornado in my world.
I just wrote this sentence quickly in my notebook with a pink pen, after sitting at my laptop for a few minutes beforehand, deleting and rewriting the first sentence of my year-in-review blog over and over again.
In 2022 I searched and found the claim for my business: Written by hand, from the heart!
Business, me? Well, it’s not yet a business with which I earn money, but I have laid the foundation for it.
The most important thing: I have finally found what I enjoy, what makes my heart beat faster, what gives me meaning.
I’m talking (or rather I’m writing) about creative writing.
In January 2022, I submitted my final paper for my writing coach training, and in the spring I finally held the certificate in my hand.
Looking back, 2022 represents pain, happiness, decisions, freedom, loss. 2022 profoundly shapes me and my family!
Table of Contents
My review of my own goals for 2022
- Business Coaching with my friend Amel Derragui from Tandem Nomads. I learned a lot and it was just so important to have an experienced person by my side during this first year.
- Sabbatical (unpaid leave). 6 months of freedom, the best time of my life!
- Long distance hiking on the Via Francigena in Tuscany. Two weeks of hiking and writing, a dream!
- Lots of writing. I wrote a lot in notebooks and I discovered something completely new for me: blogging! How lucky I was to have found Judith Peters and her Content Society!
My review of the year 2022
The year 2022 begins with fog. Fog on the outside, fog in my brain. Since my corona infection in November 2021, I have the feeling that my brain is not sufficiently supplied with oxygen.
The fog in my head doesn’t go away until the end of January. Fortunately, the sun is shining now, it is a very mild beginning of the year, the flowers are already starting to grow.
The desire grows in me to go out into the wide world, the World Wide Web, with my passion for writing. But it is not easy to set up my own website.
Frida Kahlo's last descent
I never learned to ski. When I was a toddler, my mother took me on my little skis between her legs and so we went went down the slopes together.
When I was 15 years old, I tried to ski for the first time on my own, and I managed! That means I can get down all the slopes, on my backside if need be.
Fast forward to February 2022, we are on ski vacation with my mother. My husband and I arrive at the top of the Loser in Bad Aussee and can’t see our hand in front of our eyes: thickest fog. The descent is terrible. We somehow arrive at the bottom and I swear to myself: that was my last downhill run!
In autumn I see this picture of Frida Kahlo hanging in an inn in Bad Ischl. It reminds me of February/March 2022: I am sick as never before in my life. Still at the ski hut I get pneumonia and then a very painful pleurisy.
A few weeks later I publish my first blog about exactly this painful time and how writing helped me: Write and breathe on
In the beginning was the dandelion
I lie on the sofa in terrible pain and would like to say goodbye to my body for a while. Just fly away, like a dandelion; until the pain is gone again. But I continue to lie on the sofa and scroll through the drafts for my logo on my phone. Finally, it’s done! The logo for The Writing Flow!
Now the web designer can start her work, too.
I lie on the sofa and plan the stages of my two-week hike in April: On the Via Francigena in Tuscany. I’m planning but I don’t know if my body will be strong enough to do this tour in a few weeks. My lung capacity is at 65 percent.
Walk and Write on the Via Francigena
The beginning of April is my last working day for the time being: I have 6 months off (unpaid). The timing couldn’t be better! My body doesn’t play along anymore.
My family and I spend a week in Tuscany. Then they drive home, and I stay. I stay to hike and write for two weeks.
I stay overnight in Lucca, and on the first day of my hike, I’m propelled forward: I walk fast, the built-up anxiety driving me. It takes me a few days to come down. The further I go, the better I feel. At the end of the two weeks I am healthy, both physically and mentally.
I got so much written material from those two weeks. Task for 2023: Go through my notebooks and blog about walking.
Pumpkin omen and cliff dive
I have been feeling burned-out in my job for years, feeling that I compromised too much on being with my children while traveling a lot for work. I’ve struggled through, but now I can’t anymore. I want to write a book, about women like me, with full-time jobs and careers and kids. I have a lot of material in the drawer, and towards the end of the year I’ll start publishing some of it as blog articles.
Here is the first part (in German):
I’m not superstitious (or believing for that matter), but I’m deciding to leave it up to an omen whether to quit or not. It’s June and I decide that my omen should be a pumpkin. When I see a pumpkin growing, I quit. In the heat of the moment, I also buy a lottery ticket. Double chance of a wave of fate!
On June 29, I get out of the car in our house driveway. The neighbor waves, I go over. What is that? What’s growing there between her property and ours, right on the street? A pumpkin plant and a tomato vine! Where did they come from? From the compost we spread here.
The lottery ticket wins nothing, but I have my omen! The same day I get an e-mail: A friend has signed up for my first writing workshop!
A week later I take the train to Vienna, for lunch with my manager. I’m as excited as before a job interview. It feels like I’m jumping off a cliff. Giving up everything I’ve worked so hard for.
Two hours later, I leave the office with a promise of part-time work and a completely different job description that doesn’t require me to travel. I’m walking on clouds. I have won the lottery after all!
The Writing Flow goes live!
For my new website I have a professional photoshooting with my friend Romana Maalouf in Vienna. The photos are so incredibly beautiful that I get a lot of reactions on my very first blog article, which I publish in June: What is equality? In German: Was ist Gleichstellung?
The beginning of July is here! My website The Writing Flow is live! I’m celebrating with dear friends in our backyard. And I’m saying it out loud: I want to write, and I want to do it for a living!
Summer in Denmark
Did you travel?, I am often asked when I mention my sabbatical. Yes, I traveled. Not around the world, but to Denmark. Three out of five weeks are spent at my parents’ summer home, south of Copenhagen on the Baltic Sea, and two on the island of Bornholm.
I am in my element! Wind, sea, sand.
A long-cherished dream of my husband’s comes true: we go to eat at the world’s best restaurant, Noma, in Copenhagen! It is unbelievable.
On Bornholm I hike a lot while my family is still sleeping.
The book of the year (or rather: of the decade!): Female Choice
I finally have time to read again during the six months off from my job. While my bookshelf is three-quarters full of books I haven’t read yet, I can’t resist the wonderful bookstores and have bought more books. In doing so, I’ve noticed a pattern: They are all books by women about women. Even more precisely, books by women about the role of women.
I’ve read Female Choice by Meike Stoverock and I’m hooked. After just a few pages, I know I’m in for a goldmine. My husband thinks so too, by the way. We’ve had an inside joke about my spatial sense of direction for more than 10 years. I made the mistake of telling him that, according to Stoverock, spatial awareness changes with estrogen levels. Since women’s estrogen levels change dramatically over the course of their menstrual cycle, so does … That’s right! The sense of direction! Now at least the survival of our couple insider joke is secured for the next 10 years 😉
The same evening we sit with my mother-in-law at dinner and I tell her about the principle of Female Choice in biology: While the males go for mass, the females go for class, with the result that the majority of males do not find mates or only very rarely. So far, so good. But Stoverock draws the bow to our civilization: Besides the search for a mate, the males have just enough energy left to cover their other basic needs (finding food, fending off enemies, sleeping).
With an ingenious trick, man has limited the principle of Female Choice and thus laid the foundation for progress and development: With the dawn of agriculture and sedentarism, men succeeded in denying women the right to own property and relegated them to the privacy of the household with their children. This left women completely dependent on men, who, by controlling the resource of sex, had free energy to put into shaping civilization, including labor, economics, and politics.
“The thing we’re struggling with right now is the realization that civilization can function for almost only one kind of person: the man. It’s only in an evolutionarily short time that women have had the opportunity to acquire economic independence (…). And they are making giant strides into the androcentric system.” Meike Stoverock.
The androcentric system, a system made by men for men. I look at my mother-in-law and suddenly it dawns on me: I now know what the thesis of my book will be. I see it crystal clear in my mind’s eye. Now I just have to formulate it.
Wedding suite instead of first writing workshop
With a month to go before my sabbatical ends, I’m starting my 30-day book writing challenge. I aim to write on my book for 25 minutes each day. I am writing less on my book than planned, but I am documenting each day on my blog: https://thewritingflow.com/book-writing-challenge/
This month’s highlight should have been a three-day writing workshop in beautiful Traunkirchen am Traunsee in Upper Austria. Life Writing in Traunkirchen.
Excerpt from my book writing challenge blog, Day 22: Don’t cry over spilled milk.
Remember last week’s blog article? Spilled milk. Crying child. Inner child. Love. (The blog article is one of my most read and I mention it again below).
“Milk and citrus don’t mix!” I remember my grandmother saying a lot. Well, I never really listened to her wisdom. “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” they say. What happened, you may wonder.
It started last Monday. My son and I are walking hand in hand to kindergarten, laughing in the sudden rain. I’m on my way home and stop to buy ginger tea and gluten-free cookies for my three workshop participants. My first three-day writing workshop in the most beautiful setting: a monastery in Traunkirchen am Traunsee. A magical place where my husband and I had been married nine years ago.
As I step out of the store with a bag full of writing utensils for the workshop, I get a text message: one of my workshop participants is sick with Corona. I call her and wish her a speedy recovery. Then I go home, not knowing that this is only the beginning.
The next day, my mother sends me a text message: she is sick. I tell her to rest and drink tea. Two days later, she is still too sick to travel. Luckily for me, my mother-in-law is home that weekend after all and can watch the kids (my husband is also out of town).
You might have an idea where this is all going. Friday morning, the workshop is to start in the late afternoon. I am ready, I am prepared. I am so looking forward to the workshop where we will write about our lives, memories and dreams.
Two out of three participants are out.
I take my cup of coffee down to my mother-in-law and take a deep breath. Then I call the hotel, the wonderful staff lets me cancel the writing room at the monastery on short notice. But my hotel room is booked solid. After consulting with participant No. 3, we decide to postpone the workshop date until spring.
I take the train to Traunkirchen and as I walk down the hotel corridor with the key card in my hand, I am happily surprised. Room No. 7 at the end of the corridor. I know this room. I was in this very room nine years ago: in the bridal suite.
And just like that, I’m holding a glass of lemonade.
It was a wonderful weekend in Traunkirchen, with lots of time to think, read and write. And to take a sauna and dive into the ice-cold Traunsee.
But I’m very disappointed that my first longer workshop didn’t happen. I feel a bit like I fell off a horse and now have no idea how to get back on.
The Writing Flow Circle
In October, I start working again. Part-time for the first time in my life. It is wonderful! I’m enjoying work again, I’m happy to see my colleagues again.
On my two “off” days I sit at my desk and work on my business. I’m translating my entire website into German and starting to blog in German as well. But, I don’t manage to blog weekly anymore.
At the end of the year, I still have a nice writing workshop experience: I hold two workshops in my new hometown Schwanenstadt with many dear friends and acquaintances. After writing, we sit and chat. These are wonderfully inspiring hours.
And now an idea comes to me: writing and chatting, having a good time. That’s what I want to convey! And so the idea of The Writing Flow Circle is born.
My 3 favorite blog articles of the year 2022
I have published over 30 blog articles in English and German since June 2022. My favorites are:
- Write and breathe on from 17. June 2022: My first blog article in which I write how bad I felt in the spring, and how much writing helps me.
- 7 reasons why I love teaching creative writing from 4. July 2022: In this article, I’ve listed everything that makes creative writing work for me and why I’ve lost my heart to it.
- A woman’s right to morning pages from 21. September 2022: In response to this article, I received so many messages from women who feel the same way I do. One of them was my dear friend Eli. It was one of our last conversations. She passed away on November 15, 2022, which I also wrote about. It is a sad end of the year: Yesterday a bird flew against the window, and now my sister is dead.
My year 2022 in numbers
- LinkedIn contacts: 1,268 followers
- thewritingflow.stefanie: 147 followers, 96 posts
- Stefanie.brodmann.writer: 94 followers, 21 posts
- Published blog articles: 33
- E-mail subscribers: 154
My goals for 2023
- I want to offer a The Writing Flow Circle online and have fun doing it.
- I want to start a Writing Flow Circle in my new home and have a good time with my girlfriends.
- I want to write the first rough draft of my nonfiction book.
- I want to listen to and take care of my body, i.e., more exercise, less alcohol.
- I want to continue to work part-time and blog on the side and continue to build my business.
- My motto for 2023 is: I’m going my own way!
Starter Guide Freewriting ABC: How to get started with Freewriting so you can discover what is truly important to you in this present moment!
Do you sometimes feel an impulse to run away from it all? To escape from your stressful job? From the endless demands of your family?
I know from my own experience as a working mom that we don’t spend enough time nurturing our own minds and souls. We tend to prioritize everyone else’s need above our own.
I am so glad that you are willing to say Stop! Take a deep breath and get ready for this wonderful experience.
I have prepared this Starter Guide with 3 simple steps for you to experience freewriting. There is no pressure to write well, it is all about letting go of thoughts, clearing your mind, and discovering what is truly important to you in this present moment.