First theme review of 2024, and time to set a new one for spring!


CGP Grey – Your Theme


My winter theme was “Screenless,” although I never felt the wording was quite right. I didn’t completely abandon screens, but rather I wanted less screen time overall and for screens to feel like a reward. Fortunately there was plenty to explore: I did all kinds of arts and crafts, like making things out of my Christmas tree. I even whittled a spoon and made incense from the needles! I discovered that jigsaw puzzles are a perfect replacement disassociation activity for scrolling through TikTok or playing Candy Crush.

The theme also got me outside more, even in the wet, unpleasant winter, and I explored the slough and made new journal entries. And often I would participate in social outings when my instincts were to stay at home and play Elden Ring all day. But don’t worry, at night or at the end of a long day of screenless activities, I felt perfectly comfortable indulging in some adventures in the lands between.

I think there are certainly parts of this habit I’ll retain long term. Even right now, in the middle of binging on Balatro, I took a break to work on seedlings for my spring garden. I also picked up the ukulele again, and it turns out my cat likes me to play and sing for him.

Onto this spring, I’m choosing the theme “Community.” I’m not exactly sure it how it will manifest, I just know that I want more of it in my life. So many of my themes have been about changing myself, so it’s time to reach out and get involved with others.

It’s Theme Time!

CGP Grey – Your Theme


Apparently I completely forgot to do a summer theme review, so I’ll bundle summer and Fall up together. Summer’s theme was Joy, and it was deeply successful. Every moment a decision came up, I thought, “what will give me joy?” and boy did I experience a lot of it. I spent lots of time outside, enjoyed lots of events, got to go to events where I could perform in my masks, went BOWLING, went sailing on a tall ship, had many visitors, and just basked in my new home. The one downside of the Joy theme was the answer to the question of “should I get ice cream” was always “yes.” I REGRET NOTHING.


Moving into Fall, I decided I wanted to become more in tune with my body, listen to it more, and just be more physically present. Thus theme was “physical presence.” This was an interesting one, because it manifested in ways I didn’t expect. I expected it to get me to exercise more, and while there was a bit of that (I was more apt to get up and go for a walk because I realized I my body needed it), the biggest new habit to come out of this theme was…peeing when I actually needed to instead of holding it for a more convenient time. Honestly, it’s probably a habit I needed to develop anyway now that I’m getting older! It’s the little things.


The other big one was that I started taking a dance class. I wanted to improve my internal sense of rhythm, and it’s something I’ve always meant to do. It’s a beginner class for adults and lots of fun, and I feel like I might actually be getting a better internal metronome! 


On to Winter. My last set of themes have been all about what I want more of in my life, but this time I want to work on something I want less of. I want to try and do more screenless activities. Winter is a time where I tend to give my brain a huge rest and spend a lot of time disassociating into the phone and playing Elden Ring. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, I want to try and find more ways to use that time up in non-screen activities. To start off, I brainstormed a big list of potential screenless activities that I could engage in, and bring it up whenever I’m at a decision point of what to do next with my free time. They are:

1. Cookie decorating! I picked it up as a new hobby since I had a bunch of icing supplies from decorating sugar skulls for Día de Muertos

2. Working more on my slough journal, where I’ve been experimenting with different physical media

3. Arts and crafts

4. Wrapping presents

5. Writing physical things (like the postcards I occasionally send out to all my friends’ kids)

6. Going outside more in spite of the cold and wet

7. Reading

8. Recording more mask tiktoks

9. Mending broken things


That’s just a small brainstorm, but my hope is that I’ll find more ways to fill up little moments with more screen-free activities.

This year’s spring theme of “Movement” was a WHIRLWIND. Here’s a review and a reminder to start thinking about a summer theme.

CGP Grey – Themes

As I mentioned in my winter review, “Movement” was pushing me ahead into buying a home, which I did, and the theme carried me along through the entire process and all its associated chaos. However, this season’s experience gave me a new insight about this whole theme process altogether…


Usually I try and give a mid-season update on my themes, but not this time. That’s because my winter theme was “still.” Here’s a review of how it went, and a reminder to start thinking of a spring theme of your own.

CGP Grey – Themes

I chose “still” because the Long Dark was weighing heavy upon me, and I knew that I needed to lower all my expectations of my output. Here’s how it manifested:

The winter dreariness is setting in, so it’s time to review how my Fall theme went. As a reminder, here’s the video about seasonal themes:

CGP Grey – Themes

My Fall theme was “focus,” and I wrote a bit about how it was going in Focus – Fall Seasonal Theme Update. In coming up with a special ritual to get myself into a state of focus, I learned about how it works for me as a replenish-able resource, and a slowly one to replenish at that. Here are the ways that my theme manifested this Fall:


My novel is live and available for purchase on Amazon! It’s available in e-book and print. Go get it now to join Growt on a cozy, slice-of-life adventure of making new friends and learning to be okay!

As per usual, if you enjoy the book, consider leaving a review, because algorithms.

This is my first published novel, and a huge milestone in my life. I didn’t explicitly set out to write a fantasy novel, but I figured it would happen inevitably at some point or another. Thank you to everyone who’s supported me along the way! I can’t wait for you to read it.


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Also, if you’d still like to be kept up to date with any other author news, my newsletter is still active!


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Tonight I was talking with a mentee who is just getting started in the world of game design, and ended up digging up some old demos I had made to illustrate some basic game feel concepts. I thought they were still pretty useful, so I’m reviving the article they were part of. Although this is specific to GameMaker on the implementation side, the demos are much more broadly applicable. Enjoy!


I want to tackle some game-feel issues with jumping that I often see in beginner GameMaker platformers. If you are a student learning about game development, or a hobbyist learning GameMaker to prepare for your first game jam, or just interested in trying demos to better grasp ideas like ledge assistance and input buffering, this article is for you!  

October is here already and my Fall theme is underway! I chose “Focus” as my theme because I was feeling full of fuel from my replenishing summer, and thought I could use it to close out a few projects. In practice I’m already re-learning my limits when it comes to focusing through on a project. In a way, I’m glad I recently reposted my Time Management for Sick People overview. It was good to have it fresh in my mind as I was reminded at how much energy focusing uses up for me nowadays.

Rather than making myself sit down to focus on a task or project x times a week, this theme is manifesting more in treating focus as a valuable resource. Basically, I have to be choosy about what I focus on, because the cost is severe compared to my past life.

The cover for my upcoming fantasy novel is complete! Designed and created by Jessica Hayworth.

Growt doesn’t remember who they used to be before the Pit. They were lucky to fly out, but Growt can’t fly away from what it left inside them.

When they inadvertently become entangled in the lives of the feather-winged, science-loving Prokkota — a people who are at war with Growt’s kind — Growt finds safety in the most unexpected of places, and finds family in the most unexpected of people. 


But between staying hidden, unraveling the mystery of their former prison, and avoiding an ominous warrior, Growt’s biggest challenge comes from within. Escaping the Pit is one thing, but escaping its trauma is another thing entirely

Join my mailing list to be notified when it releases this Fall

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It seems that Patreon redid how deactivated accounts are viewed, so I was able to get access to a bunch of my old posts! My “time management for sick people” post seemed to help a lot of folks back then, so I’ve salvaged and updated it.


Here’s a story about how my body betrayed me and I had to totally restructure how I managed my time. Come along for the ride! For some background, I used to be a highly efficient person when it comes to tackling the to-do list. I’d been an adherent to a modified version of GTD  for years, and it enabled me to manage numerous projects at once and milk my free time for everything it was worth. I got very used to being extremely productive over the early part of my career.

From 2015-2017 I got deeply sick. My fibromyalgia was flaring up out of control, and at the time I was still trying to just push through it (stupid). I wasn’t able to operate at the productivity level that I’d been used to (and when I did try to operate “normally”, I ended up just making myself more sick).

In 2016 I did an academic residency at Harrisburg University, and the schedule was flexible enough that I was able to work out a time management system designed to focus on healing and get out of my bad “do all the things” habits. The method was designed with help from Jason Vandenberghe, and the goal was to adapt my schedule to my limitations at that time.

Specifically, it was designed to both allow myself room to heal AND to keep myself from overdoing things and taking on more responsibilities than I was capable of handling. The system worked out really well for me, and helped me get back on my feet.

If you are used to being a productive overachiever and have found yourself in a situation where you can’t juggle as much as you are used to (sick, depressed, injured, burnt-out) then perhaps this method will help you in the same way it helped me.

I called it “Block Scheduling” (which is funny to me because that’s what my high school scheduling method was called). 

Continue reading “Time Management for Sick People”