The Year of the Work is a epistolary project created and facilitated by Kayley Vandenberg.


Kayley came to this project with a history of personal style blogging and four years of ups and downs in her personal life. After a divorce, a move from Grand Rapids, MI to Los Angeles, CA, and a slew of new experiences, she re-evaluated her priorities and her contributions. During this process she came to the realization that she possesses a deep need to inspire others through writing. 

Kayley imagined a community of similarly minded women (and maybe a few men) connected by their love of language, their desire for purpose, and their striving for growth. Somehow, though, updating a blog or sending out an email didn’t feel meaningful enough. It took a chance letter from a friend to complete the vision: an intentional year recorded not just on a glowing screen but on something more tangible. A letter. 

Each month, Kayley would compose a letter exploring themes she was confronting in her own life. She’d share experiences and memories and feelings and lessons learned. Each letter would be woven with honesty and positivity. Each would have the specific intent of encouraging a life of meaning and purpose for the reader. Twelve letters to trace a year. A kind of epistolary memoir. The Year of the Work.

On New Years Day in 2016, Kayley shared the idea on her Instagram (@kayleyvandenberg). Immediately she knew she wasn’t alone. The mailing list grew and so did the need for more community engagement. A members-only Facebook group, a monthly live chat, a hashtag, occasional meet-ups, the dream of retreats, and, of course, letters.

Beginning in 2017, additional rewards for donors were introduced, as well as sponsored letters and a re-registration policy for non-donors. To read more about this please visit the donate page

Sign up here.