27: Through the years.

- May 7, 2017 -

My friends, I am delighted to say that this edition of the newsletter officially marks the one-year anniversary (!) of The Sunday Letters.

With that in mind, I wanted to do something a little different today. In a temporary departure from our regularly scheduled programming, I’ll be dedicating this longer-than-usual letter to something slightly more personal: reflecting on the past, and providing a more in-depth account of what I have planned for the future.

(By our next letter, though, we’ll be diving right back into our usual format.)

. . .

Some of you will have first encountered my work through 100 Mindful Days, a writing project that I worked on during the two-year span between August 2014 and August 2016. The name comes from the fact that the initial goal was to compose a hundred individual pieces of writing on the subject of mindfulness.

Although the last of those pieces was written and published online last August, it was never my intention for that to be the extent of the project. Rather, from the very beginning, my plan was to use those pieces to form the basis of a book.

Since completing that first phase, though, I’ve only been working on the second phase of the project intermittently. Now, however, I’ve set aside an extended period of time during which I’ll be devoting myself to this pursuit full-time: the next four months.

Between now and September, the majority of my time each day will be spent working to complete the manuscript of this book. Once that’s done, I haven’t yet decided what I’ll do with it (i.e., whether I’ll want to self-publish or explore more traditional publishing options), but I’m confident that the coming months will help to elucidate this decision.

. . .

The earliest pieces from 100 Mindful Days are now almost three years old, which means that I’ve had nearly three full years of growing as both a writer and an individual since the project first began. As I work to complete this manuscript, then, there will be a number of decisions that I’ll need to make so as to accommodate the many changes which have taken place during that time.

One of the biggest considerations, for instance, will have to do with writing style.

Initially, my work on 100 Mindful Days was bound by a 2,200-character limit, meaning that each individual piece — including additional information like the title — had to fit within 2,200 characters, or just over 350 words. This is a limit that was imposed by the restrictions of posting on Instagram, which, at the time, was my main distribution channel for the project.

Although I didn’t always go right up to the character limit (one of my favourite pieces comes in at just 94 words), it was nonetheless a constant consideration in regards to how I was able to convey information. Now, of course, in writing the book, there is no character limit, leaving me free to write as much or as little as I would like.

Lately, though, as longtime readers may have noticed, my writing has been progressively shifting towards the longer end of the spectrum as I experiment with longer, more complex sentences, devoting more and more space on the page to expanding upon my ideas.

This, then, poses something of a challenge: in which style do I want the book to be written? Do I want the book to emulate the original format of 100 Mindful Days, with shorter, more condensed prose, or do I want it to lean closer to my current style of writing, with longer, more descriptive prose?

. . .

In short, the next four months will be a very eventful time for me as I devote myself to the ups and downs of completing this manuscript. Aside from any book-related updates, though, you might also be wondering what the future of this newsletter will look like.

There have certainly been some changes to The Sunday Letters since that first edition went out on May 8, 2016, but, for the most part, these changes have been relatively minor and related to formatting. This is how I imagine things will be going forward, too, although I do have some news about a more significant change to share with you in our next letter.

Some of us have spent the entire year together, some of us have spent years together, and some of us have only recently gotten acquainted. In any case, though, I want to thank you for reading, for sharing, for all of your wonderful emails, and, ultimately, for your support.

I’ve loved seeing how both this newsletter and the community around it have taken shape over the last year, and I can’t wait to see where we’ll all be one year from today.


Here through the years,
– J


P.S. One more thing! To celebrate the one-year anniversary of The Sunday Letters, I’ve decided to host my first ever giveaway. For details, see the email version of this letter in your inbox.


This piece comes from Jana Marie’s newsletter, The Sunday Letters. You can sign up to receive future editions below.