There’s a stack of Field Notes ready to be marked up for the New Year nearby.

I decided to make the change to my #BulletJournal method and, instead of having one huge notebook, I’ll have a Field Notebook per month. 48 pages. 2 dedicated to Index. 46 for the days. 1 page per day for To-Do Tasks, Appointments, etc. An extra 16-18 pages for story ideas or reminders. Should work out okay, in theory. We’ll have to see.

2018 is ready to die a diseased and horrible death, limping to its final hours, deserving of the year that took Stan Lee from us.

Still not sure if I’ve gotten over that.

Don’t mean to come off sounding too bleak, though to be perfectly honest the only reason I’m writing this now is because I promised myself a new video game if I wrote something today. My brain is still very much on “Winter Break” mode and, as such, I need to bribe it like a small child. Get going! Write!

Honestly, it has not been a bad year in any regards when you look at my successes. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? When you’re only focusing on the things you do right, it’s easy to be take completely off guard when something wrong happens. Jobs lost. Futures that never were.

I suppose I’m burying the lede with the above picture. My time writing freelance articles has taught me not to do that. *slaps wrist

My wife and I were pregnant.

Then we had a miscarriage.

Not that it caught us by surprise. 15-25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage so, mentally, we were ready for the potential of it happening. Then again, if you stare down the barrel of a gun and someone tells you they’re going to pull the trigger in exactly 5 seconds doesn’t mean it’s NOT going to hurt.

We had a miscarriage.

We returned from our November Japan trip high on the experiences and sights we saw. We took the test because she hadn’t been feeling right for a few days. Sure enough, it came up positive. Then we took it two more times because, holy cow, is this happening? Is this real? Again, positive tests.

Now, we had discussed starting a family as soon as this trip was out of the way so it wouldn’t have been an inconvenience. We weren’t upset. We were anxious. Excited. Anticipating the changes and alterations coming to our life.

The time since our doctor told us that the fetus didn’t have a heartbeat has been rough.

Another thing you hear from those who’ve been through it but don’t fully comprehend until it happens to you is that it’s one of the most painful experiences for the woman. I had great respect for my wife before, but I can’t imagine being her now. She’s amazing and will make it through this and go on to comfort others she meets that go through it too.


I played support while keeping it all together on the surface. On the inside? Still not sure. It’s so odd. There was something there, and now there’s not. I don’t know what I really feel but I know it hurts.

Telling our families at Thanksgiving was a joy I don’t think I’ll forget anytime soon, and telling them it didn’t work out this time around is a pain that’s slowly driving into my heart.

Pain is real.


Cat Looks
Here’s a picture of Leon figuring out how blinds work to break up the sad vibes.

Too much focus on the end of the year can leave you blind to the beginning.

Not every year can be defined by one event, not if you don’t want it to be. This year blessed us with a lot of positive things and it’s important to look at those. Take the baggage with you, store it away, but don’t let a rock of sadness be the thing to take you out.

Family Time
Christmas in the Acosta house.

I managed to continue getting paid for freelance writing jobs. Over 200 articles published online. Not many writers online can say that, so right away, I call that the “Alpha Gold Medal Win.”

My tutoring business continued to grow and do well.

That’s a tricky thing. The whole point of leaving the classroom was to open up my time and allow more writing to take place without the hindrance of grading and lesson planning 5 days a week. However, as the business grows, suddenly that becomes the time sink. Balance is key, and it’s one of those terms you hear a lot from online professionals, but never fully understand the weight and gravitas until you’re pressed underneath it.

How do I write my manuscript around my freelance writing? How do I write my blog around my tutoring time? How do I not burn myself out from overexertion?

I think the wrong mentality is to tell yourself, “Screw the rules! Do everything! Write everything! I am an unstoppable thunder-god with the mind of Hephaestus and the soul of Apollo and I burn with the passion to create!” because that kind of thinking will cause you to have an aneurysm at 34 and an addiction to some sort of mental stimulant.

Continued writing “The Juan” alongside the mega-talented Arnie Bermudez. While we took 2017 off because we didn’t know what this comic was, we’re back on the horse and getting out pages when possible. The story of Tucson’s only superhero will be told.

I want to do more next year.

I want to write more next year. My plan is to continue getting out weekly blogs on here, chronicling my path to becoming a published author. On top of that I’ve been looking into Weeknote formats, writing about the week that was and forcing me to slow down. I’ve gotten my gym routine down (When I can go. Stupid holiday season with it’s delicious sweets). There’s books to read, projects to continue

I have the pieces in front of me to do everything I know would make me a better person. While we may not have had a child this time around, there will be one eventually, and I find myself asking the question I always did when I stood in front of a room of kids. “What can I do to set a proper example?”

Except for now, it’s for me.

The end of the year holiday season has transformed from being about presents and cookies to more of a reflection on the year that was. We engage the darkest, coldest time of the year with bright lights, loud people, and as much food as we can. It’s necessary, because not everyone makes it through till the end. Celebrate with those who have.

2019 is coming soon.

Be ready, however you can.

Thanks for reading,

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Twitter: @robacosta

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Check out mine and Arnie Bermudez’s webcomic, The Juan!