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  • Writer's pictureCelise Downs

The 2023 Foreword

If you read The 2022 Afterword, then you know I restructured and relaunched my business last year. You’ll also know that it was a time of tweaking and fussing around, trying to get my “business” feet under me. I was late in the game when it came to all things marketing, so hopefully this year will be different.

I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions.

I don’t like setting goals (they’re like unicorns, to be honest).

And I don’t like the trendy “word of the year.” <eye roll inserted here> #sofiveminutesago.

I prefer To-Do lists. That way, the expectations to succeed or fail aren’t as heavy.

Read on to see how I’m going to move “foreword” in the year 2023.


369 damn you fine

That Lil’ Jon lyric came to mind when I wrote that headline. LOL I’m not about to get low in the way he’s referring to, but I’m going to get low in my feels and learn how to manifest wealth, abundance and prosperity. I discovered the 369 journal in an IG ad (curse you, IG ads! <shakes fist>) and I was curious about the concept of writing with intention.

I’m not a stranger to releasing my thoughts on paper. I’ve been the owner of stacks of diaries and journals, but it was just that: releasing my thoughts and feelings in a non-verbal way. I actually prefer that form of communication over talking. Which means I’m in the right business then, huh?

This journal teaches you how to write (and visualize) with intention twice a day. This should be interesting.

TO-DO: morning affirmations before going to work and before bed

Stop fucking working after 9:30 p.m., bitch!

I dropped out of college in the early 90s, then decided to go back in the early 2000s. To say that the first few months kicked my ass was an understatement of the universe. I was working in Corporate Hell full time and going to school part time. But by the end of my three years, I’d had my routine down pat:

  • Go to work

  • Come home and take a shower

  • Do homework until 7 p.m.

  • Eat dinner with hubby (now ex)

  • Go back to doing homework

  • Stop at 10 p.m.

  • Read for pleasure for an hour to calm my mind

  • Go to bed at 11 p.m.

Fast forward to 2022 when I decided to relaunch my business. I purposely gave myself boundaries due to the time constraints of Corporate Hell:

Hours of operation are Mon-Thur, 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., MST.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t sticking to those boundaries in my personal life. I’d still take a shower when I got home but stopping to eat at 7 p.m. was a crap shoot, and I’d be up until 1 or 2 in the morning working on business stuff. And paying for it when I had to get up at 6 a.m. the following day for Corporate Hell. Sometimes, it would be very hard to turn off my mind and I’d be thinking about stuff even after I’d gone to bed, tossing and turning for half the night.

TO-DO: stop to eat dinner at 7 p.m., then stop working on business at 9:30 p.m. FOR REAL!

ZOMG, exercise! You look like you’re five months pregnant!

Years ago, at a gym downtown, I was taking a Zumba class one day and a Hip-Hop Cardio class (taught by the Phoenix Mercury dance choreographer) the next day. I was enjoying it for a while until my body said, “Bless your heart, Celise, but this isn’t a twenty-three-year-old body anymore.” I wasn’t giving my body enough time to recover between sessions, so I just let my gym membership lapse. Ever since then, I’ve had every intention of finding something that I can do at home. I don’t necessarily want to find myself back at a gym.

I’m not a fan of yoga or pilates, but prefer some form of dance that doesn’t feel like exercise. I’ve stopped and started so many things, but I know I need to get back into something because I really do need to get rid of this tummy. I’m going to try Nia (they’ve got little fifteen-minute sessions that I can do quickly) and Body Groove.

TO-DO: 15 mins Nia sessions Mon-Thur after work, and Body Groove on Fridays and one weekend day

Transition is a marathon, not a sprint

Two years ago, when I turned fifty, I made the decision to switch to a plant-based diet. I’ll be turning fifty-two this year and I’m still in transition, but I’m not making the progress I’d like. I’ve bought vegan cookbooks, but have yet to crack them open. In 2021, I had moved back in with my parents to save up money because I thought I was going to relocate to Austin at the beginning of 2022. That plan fell like a house of cards and I’m still living with them (which has helped them because mom is showing the beginning stages of dementia).

Then I started another temp job, where, after two years of working from home with little to no “people” contact, I’m now thrust into an office job and dealing with customers over the phone on the daily. I’ve been doing it for six months and it leaves me mentally and physically drained. I wasn’t feeling motivated to work on my biz or exercise, let alone cook. I’m feeling all sorts of guilty right now. A few months ago, I’d contacted my naturopathic doctor and asked for detox ideas. After prescribing something—and buying it—I have yet to do anything with it.

I had an appointment with a nutritionist who set me up with a meal plan and the idea to “try getting used to doing one thing for three weeks.” In this case, it was smoothies for breakfast for three weeks. Once I got that down, try going plant-based for lunch for three weeks. The one thing I didn’t anticipate? Getting sick of smoothies for breakfast after about a week and a half. #Blendjetisawesome I recently decided to try these on-the-go packets from Athletic Greens. It doesn’t taste as bad as I thought it would.

I just have to keep remembering that transitioning is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep going. Don’t give up.

TO-DO: Try Forks Over Knives meal planner

Leaving on a jet plane…

Apparently, it’s all about song lyrics in this blog post. LOL I want to move overseas, and I’ve been eyeballing Costa Rica because, according to International Living magazine, it used to be the #1 place to retire to. The country of Panama has since taken over the number one spot, but Costa Rica is number two, which still makes me curious about how to move there… before retirement age. When my dad decided to ixnay the family reunion in Nashville this year, I suggested Costa Rica for two weeks during our (me and my older sister) birthday month in June. I follow a woman on IG who offers relocation tours for people of color wanting to move to Costa Rica.

TO-DO: Finalize this damn trip


  • Increase revenue - Five regular clients at the BossQueen package level by the end of 2023

  • No more unnecessary impulse buys - If it’s not in the BUSINESS BUDGET, I can’t afford it!

  • Work with dream clients - Romance authors and fempreneurs in my areas of interest

  • Launch blog, Editorialess - Try posting at least once a week

  • Launch weekly newsletter, Editorial*ish - Publish weekly, on Sundays, once I get five subscribers

  • Attend book or industry-related conference/event - Romance Writers of America conference - July 2023 or LA Times Festival of Books - April 2023?

  • Join the local Chamber of Commerce - Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce seems to be the better choice rather than the one in my local area

  • Check out live book/author events - Changing Hands Bookstore and libraries

  • Connect with local romance author association - Valley of the Sun RWA

  • Order business cards - Canva

  • Other - Register business in Black Women of Arizona Directory and Black Oceans Directory

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