I’m A Nice Lady, I Promise.

I’m a nice lady, I promise.

Remember me? That nice lady whose email newsletter you signed up for and then stopped writing it.

I promised an essay a month, book recommendations, writing and reading retreat announcements, and a few choice words about things that bug me because that’s what besties talk about.

Not to be dramatic, but I broke my promise to you.

I suspect you don’t care. What I mean is, I bet you totally get it. I bet you’ve broken some promises in your day. I sure have. Here are a few of them:

  1. I promised myself, no more sugar, hahahaha. I mean, what was I thinking, really. I’m not a Gweneth Paltrow who appears to have given up everything but her bone broth IVs. I’m Ann Garvin, who would marry sugar if I could.
  2. That brings us to my marriage. I promised. I tried. I tried harder (multiply this by a lot of trying) so that everyone could live happily ever after we divorced. Fifty percent of you will understand. Another twenty percent of you have considered it. Ten percent of you never married, and the last of you hit the lottery, and, man, I’m happy for you.
  3. I promised I would write a book called Falling In Love Is the Easy Part, then Bob Saget, who I don’t know, died. Somehow, that was the last straw for me (read about that here), and I threw that book away, was forgiven by my publisher, and wrote this one instead.
  4. I promised myself I would do less in 2023, and I fumbled it like the worst butt fumble in the NFL (I’ve seen worse). I put a sticker on my desk that said, No new ideas. Then, I hired a COO, Stephanie Burns. We reorganized the Tall Poppy Writers, ran a huge writing contest, took readers and writers to an Italian Villa for a writing retreat, and hired this company to re-do my website (If you need a new website, I can get you a huge discount if you reply to this email). I launched a book, pitched a new book to my publisher, and wrote it. Bummer Camp will come out on Aug. 27, 2024; more soon…
    • a. If you want to see a compilation video of me trying to find bathrooms all over Italy, it’s right here.
    • I’m obsessed with hydration, and it makes for some funny copy.
    • b. You can see why I haven’t written.

I think of myself as a nice lady, but maybe I should stop promising things, or maybe there’s a better word or phrase to use. Let’s try a couple different ones on for size.

Dear you, I will make a concerted effort to…. (This sounds very alcoholics anonymous)

Dear you, I will give it the old college try to….(Straight out of my dad’s playbook)

Dear you, I will try very hard not to give up my shot…..(Alexander Hamilton, if he were me).

Dear you, I will be overly optimistic but, in the end, probably over-promise and eventually deliver…(My editor might say too many words will reduce the reader’s confidence in the writer).

Hmmmm…Maybe I’m not that nice.

Here’s what I think. I think if you signed up for my newsletter, you might be very much like me. A nice lady who aims high, and sometimes, not every time, has to write a 800-word apology email. And the people annoyed by it unsubscribe, block, ignore, and talk smack about you at the town hall meeting.

Michelle Wolf, the very funny comedian, in her 2017 Netflix special said this: “Nice ladies aren’t in charge of things. And if you’re in charge of something and you think you’re a nice lady, no one else does. There are whole email chains about how much you’re  a nice lady.”

I still think I’m a nice lady even though I don’t always get my newsletter out, even though I got a divorce, eat sugar, and give up on things that are hurting my mental health. In the end, if I don’t always cross every T and dot every I, it’s not because I didn’t try.

It’s because I did try.

We all should try.

I will keep trying. I totally………..

Promise I will be overly optimistic but in the end will probably over promise and eventually deliver and then write a letter to you that I hope makes you feel better about when you gave up on something after giving it the old college try.

Please tell me you have given up on something, then I can feel better too.

I’m so happy to be back,

xo Ann

To see some of these inks you might have to go to Instagram




  1. Audra on January 23, 2024 at 10:14 am

    Yes! Best newsletter post ever! It made me feel better about all my promises to myself that in the course of life seem to fall by the wayside as other things intervene. And I’m so tired of all those people pretending to have a perfect life! Life’s a sh!tshow, and it’s okay to acknowledge that and still enjoy the ride!


    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 3:01 pm

      Right? Let’s normalize the shit show. Thanks for being here Audra!!

  2. Rita Dragonette on January 23, 2024 at 10:14 am

    I signed up because you are entertaining.
    Promise kept.😚

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 3:01 pm

      wipes tears 🙂

  3. Andrew Rose on January 23, 2024 at 10:21 am

    You have a new fan in Sac!!

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 3:00 pm

      Thanks Andrew!!

  4. Kirsten Goetz on January 23, 2024 at 10:22 am

    Whew, I’m glad you’re human!
    Unsubscribe? Not a chance. Thanks for the chuckles and keeping it real.

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 2:57 pm

      hahaha I am as human as they come.
      Thanks for being here xxxx

      • Shela Rikka on January 23, 2024 at 4:42 pm

        I’ve been so busy myself I didn’t realize your slip. Welcome to the human race, eh
        Shela Rikka

        • Ann Garvin on January 24, 2024 at 10:52 am

          Welcome to the human race is right. LEt’s keep it a slow walk without a finish line.
          x A

  5. Deanna Gast on January 23, 2024 at 10:25 am

    As always, thanks for knowing me better than I know myself, and thanks for the laughs!

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 2:57 pm

      I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. Everyone! Deanna and I were roommates in college. We pushed our beds together and giggled all night.
      xx A

  6. Nicole Reiter on January 23, 2024 at 10:27 am

    Ann, I always look forward to reading your newsletters, no matter when they show up in my inbox. No worries there! You’re as real as they get, and I appreciate that. I appreciated you as a college professor back in the day in UW-W, and I love that I’ve come across your work and books now. Sorry, didn’t mean to sound stalker-ish – HA! Keep being your real self.

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 2:56 pm

      I’m so glad you’re here! I love it when people find me again.
      You aren’t a stalker at all, I’m so happy you’re reading what I write.
      I apologize if I was scattered as a professor but I loved teaching.
      Good to see you again,
      A xx

  7. Lynn on January 23, 2024 at 10:31 am

    Dear Ann, I could have written this letter, but not as eloquently as you have. I am thrilled when you are able to send a newsletter and equally not offended or bothered when you don’t. Other than hoping all is well with you, I assume you are busy writing the books that we so love!
    No worries, sweet lady!
    P.S. Also divorced (after 49 years, don’t ask) trying to keep the peace.
    P.P.S. I would marry sugar in a New York minute. I get it!

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 2:55 pm

      Thanks so much Grammy Lynn (what a great email handle).
      Holy crap 49 years. Yikes. Go you.
      Thanks for being here.
      xx A

  8. Stephanie Gaal on January 23, 2024 at 10:44 am

    Part of your brilliance as an author (and a human) is letting the rest of us know that we can make promises and not keep them. We can still be brilliant and human and break promises. There’s always an opportunity to make good on promises even when broken and here you are doing so. You care and that’s why I’m here. And yes, that other lady said you’re entertaining, which is like an understatement. You are friggin’ hilarious and so witty it makes me want to vomit happiness and feel good about it. I’d get an ab workout too.

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 2:54 pm

      Vomit happiness
      Should I put that on my website. hahaha
      Love you Steph. keep on keeping on.
      xx A

  9. Nancy Floeter on January 23, 2024 at 10:45 am

    Ann, I still think you’re nice 🙂 Your honesty and sense of humor about daily life is a comforting reminder to not take myself too seriously. Can’t wait for “Bummer Camp”!!

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 2:53 pm

      I can’t wait either.
      Also, I LOVED the pink dresser. I loved it when it was piled high with stuff too.
      Thanks for sharing that!
      A x

  10. Louetta Waters on January 23, 2024 at 10:47 am

    Wow, so get the sugar thing. Daily battle for me. I subscribe because I like you, your funny. When I like something I (try to) stick with it, even if is as flawed as I am, lol. Want to have life kick you in the teeth? Make plans. Everytime I say, ” I am going to….” , life steps up, laughs at me, and screws it all up.

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 2:53 pm

      Isn’t that the truth. I say my life is a constant workaround. And, I think I might like it that way.

  11. Yvette Marie Johnson on January 23, 2024 at 10:57 am

    Totally relate!
    The Bob Saget thing makes sense to me.
    So, I run a writer’s workshop… does that mean I’m not a nice lady?
    Sometimes I am, I think.
    Or at least I’m TRYING to be a nice lady.
    Keep it coming Ann, even if it’s just so we don’t feel all alone in our attempts to conquer the world, or at least our day.

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 2:52 pm

      I think that means your not a nice lady….like me.
      I will keep going, I will!
      Thank you for being here. I’m so happy you are.

  12. Helen Sanford on January 23, 2024 at 11:11 am

    I totally enjoy reading comments that I agree with and wish I had written–I find what you write entertaining; thoughtful–full of being human–(I like that about you). and after reading all of these comments–I agree with them all–please just continue writing–and living–no apologies needed.

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 2:51 pm

      Oh HElen, you wrote true to your handle. A touch of whimsey. Thank you and with your permission, I will.

  13. Beverly Turner on January 23, 2024 at 11:28 am

    Ann…I have always said I never wanted people to say I was ‘nice’. I’d rather be unique (sounds better than weird).And ‘nice’ always seems…blah. So no, Ann, you’re not nice. You’re real. You’re unique. You’re one of my people. Don’t ever change. And I’m not tracking how often your newslettter appears in my inbox. You make me laugh and I need that. Whenever you get time to write a newsletter, I’ll be reading it.

    And as for giving up on something? Oh, yeah, Gave up on first two husbands. You gotta know when it’s better for your mental health to cut and run. And, yes, I’m married to husband number 3 and have been for 20 years. So I chalk up the first two to learning experiences.

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 2:45 pm

      Yessss Beverly.
      You gave up 2 for the third.
      I’m so glad you’re here. You get me.
      xxx A

  14. Evelyn Krieger on January 23, 2024 at 12:12 pm

    This unexpected not-missed newsletter made me miss what. you had promised! Very entertaining to read (all the way through) and relatable.
    Still working on that sugar habit….one day at a time.

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 2:38 pm

      hahaha That’s so great! Thank you so much. I’m so glad you’re here reading and eating sugar.
      xx A

  15. David R. Roth on January 23, 2024 at 12:17 pm

    I’m not a nice lady, but I have on occasion been accused of being a nice man. I consider it a backhanded plaudit. I’ve never considered niceness – mushy agreeability – to be an admirable trait. I’m much prouder of being called “too direct.” It means I’m communicating. Which is what you do. And with wit, to wit your use of amplification, antiphasis and hyperbole in your impassioned send up of niceness and promises. (Though I never considered your newsletter a promise, so no harm no foul.)

    In closing, a few line notes on the 800 words: 1) Why would anyone ruin a great relationship by marrying sugar? Much more appealing as a torrid, unapologetic affair; 2) Capital I’s require no dots (stick with those); 3) A wise puppet once said, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Write on.

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 2:37 pm

      hahaha a torrid, unapologetic affair. Perfectly said.
      And for the rest …. thank you kindly, direct Sir.

  16. Diane Lee on January 23, 2024 at 12:18 pm

    You are awesome, and everyone can relate! Keep writing and GO SUGAR!

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 2:35 pm

      Thank you so much Diane!!
      Go sugar!

  17. Jenn Belden on January 23, 2024 at 12:49 pm

    Ann, I 100% can relate to this (except for the divorce part, but my husband is working in another state and coming home weekends, so that might be how we’re doing as well as we are.)

    I signed up for the newsletter because you’re so damn entertaining, and this delivers.

    Also, giving up sugar completely is a BAD idea.

    (And thanks for the reminder that I should probably go leave a review for THERE’S NO COMING BACK FROM THIS because I FINALLY got to it over Christmas…

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 2:35 pm

      Oh Listen Jenn, that fact that you read my book is amazing. I’d love a review but I get it.
      I’m so glad youre here to be entertained.
      The husband working out of state is better than giving up sugar.
      xx A

  18. Donna on January 23, 2024 at 12:50 pm

    Ann, I love your newsletters, whenever they arrive. AND, I’d love to learn more about the discount on building a Website — I need to start an author website for the book I’m still promising to write. Also, I once was at a fancy spa with a guest monk who told me “No Try” every time I tried to say a sentence … apparently I use the word “try” in its various forms in almost every sentence, and according to this monk I am not ever to do so. Don’t try, do or do not do, I suppose was his advice? Haven’t been able to follow that one…yet.

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 2:33 pm

      Oh boy, I guess that’s why I’m not a Budist. I get what he’s saying but where would I be without trying?
      I’ll send you an email with the contact info for the website information. He does a great full site but also a landing site if your not ready for the whole thing.
      So glad you’re here trying with me.

  19. Sally Schmidt on January 23, 2024 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks. Felt good to read. So much hit home. Now we have another year to promise, not promise, succeed, sometimes not succeed – but keep trying.

    • Ann Garvin on January 23, 2024 at 2:26 pm

      If it felt good to read to you, then it felt good to me too. Thank you for being here :). A

  20. Del on January 23, 2024 at 2:28 pm

    “I would marry sugar if I could…” I know we all throw in an lol here and an lol there… but really, I did laugh out loud at that one. Thanks for keeping it real.
    The rest of your newsletter was icing (no artificial sweetener) on the cake.

  21. Samuel Aubrey on January 23, 2024 at 3:07 pm

    Acknowledged. Many thanks for the words you have delivered selflessly to the surface—impressive. Looking forward to your next chapter and the stories that will accompany.

    • Ann Garvin on January 24, 2024 at 10:55 am

      Thank you so much and i’m glad you’re here for the next chapter.
      x A

  22. Mary Beth Schwarz on January 23, 2024 at 3:20 pm

    GLAD you are BACK!

    • Ann Garvin on January 24, 2024 at 10:55 am

      Thanks for being here when I returned!
      x A

  23. Lori Greenstone on January 23, 2024 at 3:20 pm

    and 2023 also included that time in Marseille…. and that wonder-filled writing workshop with you in Paris… nice lady who tells it like it is. Keep it up

    • Ann Garvin on January 24, 2024 at 10:54 am

      Are we the lucky ones? We so are!
      I still have my ring and I think of you when I wear it.
      x A

  24. Vicky D'Agostino on January 23, 2024 at 4:19 pm

    Who am I to judge? I have a blog I love that I haven’t written a single word in for ~ two years. My fulltime job drains my creativity as I navigate the perils of project work for a Fortune 500 company, managing an incompetent design partner who needs spoon feeding. And executives who think good creative material magically appears. Maybe there’s a blog post in that…but not until I stop working for the company. Anyhoo, I read “There’s No Coming Back from This and I LOVED IT”–as I do with everything you write Ann. Your humor simply slays me and inspires me to be a better writer. And to redesign my blog. Also BTW, not to rub salt in a wound, but I am one of the lucky 20% who won the husband lottery. I offer this to let you know that true love is possible. And you don’t even have to give up sugar to find it. –XO

    • Dana Moore on January 24, 2024 at 9:04 am

      I am LOL reading your comments! Start the Blog!! DM

      • Ann Garvin on January 24, 2024 at 10:47 am

        hahah I know, It’s an online party over here!!

    • Ann Garvin on January 24, 2024 at 10:54 am

      Listen, if you won the love lottery you’ve done more than most of us. I’m happy for you, the writing is happening in your head while you work. It will be there when you take a break an get a little rest.
      Thank you for loving my book. I’m so happy we found each other.

  25. Kathy Taylor on January 23, 2024 at 10:21 pm

    God I love you, I needed this…I have HUGE goals and dreams and beautiful intentions…I get more done that some but holy shit what am I thinking??!
    I adore you Anne Garvin

    • Ann Garvin on January 24, 2024 at 10:52 am

      I see you Kathy Taylor, we are one and the same. So many ideas, so little energy. hahaha
      Much love,

  26. Cheryz on January 23, 2024 at 10:41 pm

    Your news letters are welcoming whenever, any day, anytime they pop up. Never thought to time you on them. I just enjoy reading them as a gift from you to me. Thanks Ann.

    • Ann Garvin on January 24, 2024 at 10:51 am

      They are a gift from me to you. I”m so glad you’re here to read my thoughts.
      Thank You!

  27. Tina Redmond on January 23, 2024 at 11:34 pm

    I don’t keep track of when newsletters are supposed to arrive. Marry sugar? Not if I get there first! (Said as I am ladling sugar into my tea.) Give something up? Yes, 13 years ago a job that was stressing me to the point that I was put on high blood pressure meds. The other thing I gave up? Trying to be perfect and feeling guilty for what I’m not accomplishing. I’m 65 years old and I am enough as I am. You do you; we love you as you are.

    • Ann Garvin on January 24, 2024 at 10:50 am

      Tina, this made me so happy. We are in the right place together here.
      It takes a long time to figure out that we don’t have to be perfect. And, it takes a little bit longer to truly feel it.
      Thank you for being here!
      x A

  28. denise on January 24, 2024 at 12:32 am

    You know I love you.

    • Ann Garvin on January 24, 2024 at 10:48 am

      And I love you right back, Denise 🙂

  29. Patty Warren on January 24, 2024 at 8:46 am

    Human is as human does. I said I was going to start a newsletter for a year (or more) and I’ve finally written three posts. 😂😂
    The important part is you try and try and try. Thanks for this affirmation and the laughs! 💜

    • Ann Garvin on January 24, 2024 at 10:48 am

      Three posts is three posts! That’s a win.
      You are so welcome. I’m glad you’re here!

  30. Cara on January 24, 2024 at 9:51 am

    OMG I love you, Ann! So great to read your “news.” I agree with all the sentiments that no apologies are needed. If anything you just gave a big ol permission slip to break promises while keeping it real! Thank you for that!

    I’d love to be a “lifer” in your tribe, with all its ups, downs, spins, twirls, and cartwheels! You continue to teach me self-compassion and unconditional love, just like we feel for our precious doggies.

    Thank you for creating a community where we can celebrate our human-ness! And so it is… 🙂

    • Ann Garvin on January 24, 2024 at 10:47 am

      It’s soooo good that you are here and we can keep in touch, even if it’s just a little touch-in.
      Thank you for being in my life, I hope you are well.
      Much, much love,
      x A

  31. Evelyn Ann Casey on January 24, 2024 at 10:41 am

    Oh Ann, anytime I get a newsletter from you is a good day!

    • Ann Garvin on January 24, 2024 at 10:46 am

      Evelyn, that is exactly what I want to hear :)!
      x Ann

  32. Lorraine on January 24, 2024 at 11:53 am

    Hi Ann,

    You’re so real and feel-good even in your newsletters — whenever they come. So, I wanted to add my voice to your legions of fans to say thanks for speaking truths. You always come through as way beyond a “nice lady,” as in someone you’re glad to know, whether personally or through your creative work. A new book! A cause to celebrate.

    • Ann Garvin on January 24, 2024 at 12:54 pm

      Thank you Lorraine!!
      I so appreciate you voice in this conversation!!
      I want everyone to feel human and better about their human-ness.
      xx A

  33. Renee on January 24, 2024 at 3:56 pm

    Ha! You are refreshing and hilarious! You gave me the best advice ever when I had a baby a little over 26 years ago (something about “ignore all unsolicited advice and hold your baby as much as you want”). I was so delighted to be able to sign up for your periodic newsletters! Whenever you post, whatever you write, I will read!

  34. John Schwartz on January 28, 2024 at 12:56 pm

    Hi Ann, I won’t forget you, despite the fact you once dropped me from your love list. Most of your replies seem to come from “nice ladies.” Well, I was this guy with whom you went on that pitch training session in New York with that youngish woman editor who said I was writing a tearjerker. Not so much a nice lady. Well, Enchanting The Swan got a welcome from Romance Writers of America. Now I am writing my Memoir “Lucky Guy,” just finished Volume 1. So, thanks to you, I’m still writing. I’m 87 now, lost my darling wife 2 years ago and am deeply in love with a beautiful Queen of Sheba from Ethiopia.
    Wish you the best with crawling out of your lows. I do that every day.

  35. Carol on January 31, 2024 at 10:26 am

    Ann – thank you! Loved this post! I’m in the Queen’s court of overpromising and eventually delivering. Kudos for helping those of us feel validated!

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