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I feel for high school English teachers. I really do. I have always loved reading. All through elementary and middle school, I gobbled up every book in the library, every book assigned. I raced through books like Number the Stars and The Giver and Bridge to Terabithia.

It’s great that I gained a love of reading so young. Many of my classmates hated those books. And then we got to high school. I still loved to read, but a lot of the fun was gone. …

AKA how to make the most of your staycation

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I recently took some much needed vacation time after almost a year of no time off. I felt that I was hurtling towards burn out, and I knew that I needed to do something to salvage myself and, honestly, to find clarity in my life.

It is no mystery to the people who know me that I have been unhappy in my work for some time now. I am doing exactly what I thought I wanted to do — creating and running programs that help others. I am passionate about the work that I do. I feel strongly about the…

and why no one can relax anymore.

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As I write this article, I am beginning a week and a half long vacation — the first time off I have taken in almost a year.

I have also been staring at a blank screen for the past 30–45 minutes, wondering in no uncertain terms what the hell I am doing with my life.

Today on my first day of vacation, I mostly read, listed clothes that I don’t want anymore on Poshmark, went to the grocery store for some things I had forgotten, and completed a workout video. (It was raining…

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It was a Sunday morning, my “long run” day. I was taking a detour through a small park, adding a little extra loop to extend my mileage. The sun was out, but it was still a cool and crisp mountainous April morning.

I decided to make a right turn on a whim when leaving the park. I’ll just loop around this block, I thought.

The thing about running in Asheville, NC (where I live) is you can never just count on looping around a block. Streets can make crazy turns, dip into other sections of town, and circle surrounding roads…

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Runners thrive on a routine. We choose our ideal workout time based on when we feel best, when we eat, when we hydrate, and when our body and mind are ready to take on our training plan. The rest of our lives depend on this routine, but sometimes other aspects of life interfere and we have to learn to adjust — either temporarily or altogether.

My favorite time to run is in the morning. There have been times, though, when my work schedule has made it impossible to run in the morning. When I was getting to work at 6:30…

And the ones I’m looking forward to this year

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If you’d have asked me how many novels I read four years ago, the answer would be around none. It’s not that I didn’t read, but I was studying poetry relentlessly and mostly only read poetry. I know that any writer should not be limiting themselves to reading one genre, but I was mostly drawn to poetry and struggled getting into some novels.

There was more at play here: I had just completed my M.A. in Literature, and I was picky about the books I chose. I would try to read novels and a few chapters in would just feel…

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I love running, but our relationship has been stiff at times. I started running in high school when I joined the track team in my sophomore year. My main motivation was to stay skinny, but I had also always dreamed of growing up to be one of those polished happy people who wake up at 5 am and run six miles before breakfast. They travel to marathons and have big beautiful homes and are successful at work and everyone loves them.

That isn’t how it has really turned out for me. I’ve battled with depression and anxiety for most of…

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It can be difficult sometimes to approach a blank page — whether a blank word processor or an old-fashioned sheet of notebook paper. We do all have our favorite approaches to writing — environments, time of day, pen and paper vs. electronic. I find that I am flexible in generally all of these matters but know what I need when I need it.

I find that the same goes for using some of my favorite go-to prompts. I love to freewrite as much as the next person, and I often start a writing session with some freewriting that can be…

Exercises in Poetic Form.

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Poets of all professional levels turn to writing prompts to practice and to explore new ideas. There are dozens of books available that can suggest writing prompts, and these can be valuable to turn to whenever you find yourself in a writing slump, or when you are looking to write about a new topic or idea.

Personally, I have never been great at “write about x topic,” which is why a lot of prompts don’t generally work well for me. …

To Track or Not to Track Your Work Hours

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At the end of 2018, I was moved to a salaried position for the first time. Previously, I had always been in hourly or contract positions — you are paid for what you complete (or hours worked). I was stoked because previously I was always frustrated at having to stop working at 40 hours when important work still needed to be done, or when an emergency situation popped up. I work in animal welfare, so the emergency thing happened a lot.

In 2020, I started tracking my “working” hours. I started to do this because I wanted to hold myself…

Holly Amann

Poet. Runner. Adventure enthusiast.

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