“1 Year Ago” New Writing Challenge Explained

Why I’m starting this series and how you’re involved.

Alec Zaffiro


Photo by Polina Kondrashova on Unsplash

How it works

This is a new series I’m starting for the duration of 2023.

The concept is simple: I’m going back to share, analyze, and critique the most authentic personal narrative known to man… his own journal.

Every week, I plan to share real, raw, unedited journal entries I wrote over the course of 2022. Let me explain why.

Why I’m starting this series

I have a relentless belief that this year matters.

Maybe it’s because I moved across the country a few months ago.

Maybe it’s because I made a lifelong commitment to another human being at the start of last year.

Maybe it’s because I’m 26, turning 27 this year, and I finally feel both feet planted firmly in adulthood.

For whatever reason, I’m uniquely optimistic about 2023. I feel like this every New Year, but this year is different. Seriously.

This year matters.

Why? Because I have a vision.

I’ve been envisioning the next 12 months — what I want them to look like, what I want them to mean, what fruits I want them to bear.

To spark that vision, I need to be real with myself. And I need to pay close attention to where I struggled in 2022. I need to remember the faults that plagued me last year in order to bring about tangible change this year.

My hope is that out of this vulnerability a more truthful future will emerge.

That’s why I’m beginning this series: “1 Year Ago Today.”

How you’re involved

I need you to hear what I’m saying. You’re what makes this series, this “challenge,” a cathartic process.

Cathartic: providing psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions.

The journal entries I plan to post are real, raw, and unedited. When I wrote them, I didn’t know I’d be posting them online. They’re transcribed directly from my brain, which should terrify us both.

My dream is for positive self-transformation to take place in 2023.

Obviously I want you to be a part of that and if I can inspire others to participate, that would exceed my expectations entirely.

See you for the first entry!



Below, I’ve tagged some writers/friends I’ve been reading from on Medium. I appreciate any feedback or ideas to improve this series. Thank you in advance.

Trevor Rivet, Ben Heim, Ali Anne, Lisa Martens, Benjamin E, Jade Whitfield, Bebe Nicholson, Grace Bianco, Rosie Stott, James Tyler Ball, Eve Arnold, Steve Klubertanz, Rita Alexandra, Mark Starlin, Tom Kuegler



Alec Zaffiro

I write to think and organize my ideas. I like psychology, philosophy, and self-improvement—em dashes are my specialty. Not an expert.*