18 lessons at 18


Photo by Anton Darius on Unsplash

I’ve just turned 18! Happy birthday toooooo meeeee… A few notes, though, before I get into the post:

  • I’m sure you’ve noticed that my website looks a little different. Yes, I’ve scored a sweet new domain name! Say hello to rachelellynnm.com. I’ve come a long way in the years I’ve had this website. I’m also writing to you from my shiny new MacBook Air — this is a nod in the direction of Jeff. Thanks, Jeff. 🙂
  • You may begin seeing affiliate links in the next few posts so I can keep this domain open and start saving a bit for college. Just be aware! I do receive a commission for some links, but that’s only if you choose to make purchases based on my recommendations. You are never obligated to make any purchases, and I would never put up an affiliate link if it wasn’t something I didn’t truly like or want on my site.
  • Also, goodbye WordPress ads and hellloooo WordAds! Yep, I took the plunge. I’m a big kid blogger now.
  • And two more housekeeping things before we get to the post: 1. I will now be uploading twice a week – Wednesday and Saturday. Yay! And 2. I am working on an option for a subscription to support the blog. It would involve motivational Mondays, personalized poems, and sneak peeks of my current writing (with each one layering, depending on which subscription you have). This is very exciting for me, and I hope you are excited to go on this journey with me.

Alright, without further ado: 18 things I learned at 18.

  1. Your happiness depends on you. There are so many people around you who love and support you, but if you rely on them to create your happiness, that joy will be cut short. Depending on another person may feel good in the moment, but it is not sustainable.
  2. You don’t have to be friends with everyone. Seriously. Not everyone is your friend. It’s not mean, it’s just the truth! Do you want that much commitment, anyway? No, probably not. Relationships take energy and effort, so commit to the ones that matter and leave the rest alone.
  3. Get organized. When you need to find that important paper or photo or password or book or item of clothing, you’ll thank me.
  4. Hold onto the important stuff. I didn’t want to mention the virus in this post, but I have to because it’s had such a tremendous effect on our world. Everything you know could disappear in an instant, so hang on to it while you can.
  5. Forgive, forgive, and then forget. People do deserve second and third and fourth chances. People do change, and they do make mistakes, and you would want someone to do the same for you. However: if someone hurts you over and over with no remorse or realization, do not waste time. Let them go.
  6. You’re never going to be ready. That thing you just thought about? Yeah, you’re not prepared for it. But it’s going to happen, and you’re going to have to do it, or you will never ever succeed.
  7. It’s not all about you. Yeah, yeah. Life might be crappy for a bit. But everyone has their own shit, and yours isn’t more pitiful than anyone else’s.
  8. Your environment matters. Your home. Your car. Your office. Make it comfortable. Make the places you live livable.
  9. Music makes everything different. Feeling like crap? There’s a playlist that can turn it around. Music is medicine, love.
  10. Success isn’t money. Enough is all you need.
  11. You don’t have to be productive 24/7. Society has major expectations for how much work you should be doing and how much you should be achieving, but you don’t have to appease society. Take breaks.
  12. But you do have to keep working at things you love. No one, and I mean no one is going to do the passion work for you. Writing novels has taught me this. Put in the time before you don’t have any time.
  13. Inspiration and motivation won’t keep you going. You have to have the habits, too. Brendon Burchard’s book saved me on this one.
  14. You can change right now. Sure, you can wait until New Year’s Day or your next birthday or your next promotion or when you move to L.A. to change up your life. Or you could start now, be happier now, and get inspired now.
  15. But you don’t have to change. Again, society really likes to tell us that we need the next big thing! We need to achieve x, y, z! But NO! You don’t.
  16. Stop holding back what you have to say. What is in your mind matters. Speak your truth.
  17. Drink more water. Seriously. This water bottle helps you stay on track.
  18. Breathe. The world waits for you, dear. Don’t speed up.

-ellynn ❤

take care of yourself.

Hey there. Yeah, it’s me, sneaking into your inbox or your WordPress Reader or wherever you find me. I hope you’re alright.

I’m eating breakfast right now, before I have a 12 1/2 hour day at school. Of course I’m stressed, and I know I’ll be tired later, but instead of sleeping in, I took the extra time to shower and make myself breakfast. Why?

Because I’m taking care of myself.

We don’t always need what sounds easy to us. I could have easily slept another hour. But I chose to give my body what it needed, and today, it needed a nice morning to prepare for the day ahead.

I have to treat myself like a toddler sometimes. When a toddler doesn’t want to eat or bathe or sleep, you have to show them to do it anyway. Because they need it, even if they don’t know any better.

But wait a minute, we do know better. You’re right! So why don’t we do better? One simple answer: it’s no easier to do what’s right for ourselves as adults than it is when we’re kids. That’s just the truth.

I understand that it’s better to go to bed early, but I will still stay up later than I should because in the now, I want to watch Netflix.

Self care isn’t always easy! It’s definitely not that face mask, bath bomb, candle stuff the world wants us to think it is. It’s going to school even if you’re sick because otherwise, you’d have to catch up.

Self care is taking two seconds to take a break from something you really love because you’ve been staring at a screen too long. You do need to look away from the screen every once in a while. Right?

We know better. But do we?

Let’s make a pledge: do better, not just know better. You deserve it.


6 years on wordpress.

When did this happen? Have I really been here this long? Did I seriously open this account as an 11 year old?

When I was seven, I decided I would be a writer. Ten years later, here I am. Poetry published in six places, three other books in the works, planning for college.

Did little me know this was where I was headed? Do the people around me know how much it means to be living in a dream? There are people who have followed this blog for as long as I’ve been posting. Wow!

I get people asking me why I don’t care that I’m not monetized, or why I don’t get sponsorships or reviews. I get questions about why, being so young, I waste my time writing. It’s not a waste.

I get to engage with a community of writers who care about what I have to say. It’s rare that young, LGBTQ+ women are listened to on any platform. It means so much to see responses and engagements on this website. It’s amazing.

Six years of just learning who I am. Two years of sharing what I love. Three months of being a published author. I know what I want to be when I grow up: a writer. I can’t wait to keep growing and sharing my world with you lovely people. Thanks for sticking around.


i’m writing a novel. again.

Hello, my lovely readers! I wanted to reach out and post something, as I haven’t for a while. Many of you know I’m a high school student, so blogging isn’t always my first priority (although I wish it could be!). You may be familiar with what we writers call “NaNoWriMo,” or National Novel Writing Month. Yeah, I’m doing that again.

Last year, I made 35,000 words of headway on my novel, “Guilty.” This year, my plan is to win. Winning means 50,000 words of pure writing! This means I’m doing lots of character work, and I’m trying all sorts of prep tactics so I don’t fall behind.

My novel plot this year is about a young boy named Kasey who disappears after celebrating a successful Pinewood Derby race with a buddy. His older sister and parents are forced to move on because the police and the town both stop searching for him. It gets to be a year or so, and his older sister decides to suck it up and sift through all the boxes in the shed where they used to hang out. She finds her great-grandmother’s Book of Shadows and becomes a witch.

I think it’s a very strong plot, and I’m hoping that one day, you all will get to (or want to) read it! I’ve never written horror/supernatural before. There’s a first time for everything. 🙂

So how am I prepping? I’m listening to “How to Win NaNo” and “Write-Minded,” two excellent podcasts I found on Spotify. Spotify, might I say, is an excellent place to find podcasts…they’re free, you can download them, and you can set them to nighttime mode so they only play for a certain amount of time. I don’t have Spotify premium. Totally recommend these two podcasts (and Kalyn’s Coffee Talk if you aren’t into writing).

I’m also going through NaNoWriMo’s free prep book on their website. It’s helping me with world-building (although it’s set in upstate New York), character building, motivation, plot holes…the whole nine yards. NaNo’s website also holds a bunch of forums and exciting community things to keep you motivated and working all November long.

I’m pre-writing a little of my novel. My plan is to have the first 5,000 words done before November. I realize this is cheating, which is why I labeled myself as a NaNo Rebel on my account. Which, by the way, if you’d like to add me as a NaNo buddy, my username is @rachelellynnm! I also have a new author instagram called @rachelellynnmauthor. Follow me everywhere. 🙂

While you’re here, check out this link to get 4 months free on WordPress Engine’s annual shared web hosting plans!

anyway, that’s my quick update. comment below if you’re NaNo-ing too!

re-blog: stop comparing your efforts to others.

“Hello. Ima get real with you all.

Being a bullet journalist, it’s often a struggle to be confident about my own skills. There are so many people out there who can do it better, easier, prettier, faster, more elaborate… You get the point. Eventually, the insecurity I have about my art skills becomes all-encompassing, and it actually does worse than damages my motivation to make art… It deprecates my self-esteem.

Now, I see this happen all the time in my daily life. I see my whole world as how successful I can be, how impressive I can be, how ___________ I can be. Just fill in the blank. It’s so easy to slip into these modes of ultimate depression and self-hatred with any competitive activity; it doesn’t have to be art.

There’s just one thing that keeps me sane. Just one thought. You are here to create art; the art does not create you. Yes, you should never compare yourself to others in order to shame yourself. No, you shouldn’t hate yourself because you don’t think you stack up. But when all hope is lost, when you just can’t find a reason to stay positive about how your work is, just say to yourself, “I’m here to invent/create/do this thing, but this thing is not me.”

Boom, over. done with. Automatically you realize that what ever you’re able to do, it doesn’t define you as a person. You are disconnected from that thing. You can now start to fill it with things that do define you.

Are you smart? Beautiful? A good listener? Do you have a good taste in music? Whatever it is, go after it with all your heart and put that idea in place of the thing you think you’re not good at.

So on this lovely Sunday morning, I ask that you take advantage of this mini mind shift. I honestly use this daily, and if helps me. Try it throughout the week and let me know if you notice any differences!

Happy succeeding.


-rachel ❤”