Family, My Books, Writing

Looking Backward and Forward

I haven’t written a New Year’s post in years, so bear with me. Looking back at 2019, I accomplished a few things and bailed on others. One biggie was getting another book published. That makes four years in a row I’ve put out a new book, but I’m aiming for two this year. Wish me luck.

Speaking of books, my romantic comedy High Tea & Flip-Flops is on sale for the month of January. It has a 4.4 star rating on Amazon, so obviously readers like you think reading it would brighten your wintry day with a little love and laughter. I confess, I’ve been missing Jeremy lately. I might have to read it again myself.

Buy High Tea & Flip-Flops today!

I also crafted a lot of jewelry and designed a website to sell it—The Lady In the Moon. I’ll be doing more beading this year too, providing the tendons in my hands cooperate.

I’m not a fan of this time of year, this dreary lull before spring. Granted I don’t live in one of the coldest parts of the country, but it’s generally too chilly to open the windows, which makes me feel a little claustrophobic. You’ll never see me opting for “tiny house” living.

Speaking of windows, the angle of the winter sun reveals how badly my windows need cleaning, but the temperatures make that something I’ll have to wait to do. And maybe 2020 will be the year I clean and organize every closet in my house, which I certainly did not accomplish in 2019.

Another thing I didn’t accomplish is getting my body in shape. I realize how many of us have eating healthier and exercising more on our lists of resolutions, but I’m getting too old to put it off any longer.

As you can tell from this photo, I’m a very proud grandmother, and that beautiful young lady will make me a great-grandmother next month. It doesn’t seem so long ago that I had her and her sisters sitting here in my “office” drawing and painting and playing computer games. (Their artwork still adorns the walls.) Heck, it doesn’t seem real that decades have passed since I was a young mother myself.

What have you set your sights on for this coming year?

 

Books, Family, Reading, Real Life, Social Media

I’m Back and Wishing You and Me a Happy New Year

I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am to start a new year. If you’re subscribed to this blog or follow me on Facebook or other social media, you may have noticed I disappeared about five weeks ago. Though I hadn’t planned such a break, it came as a relief. Let’s just say 2013 was not my most successful year and I’d had enough of it.

Ch-2013-sm

Please, accept my apology if I missed saying Congratulations or Happy Birthday on Facebook. And I’m sorry I wasn’t around to wish you a Merry Christmas. Today, I’m still under the influence of a beastly cold, but otherwise I’m mostly re-energized. And, since I also took a five-week break from writing, I’m anxious to get back to work, and I entered the WFWA Write-A-Thin Challenge to give me a boost.

What did I do while I wasn’t writing or blogging or socializing on Facebook? I read, of course. During the second week of December, I read two novels and a short story collection! Maybe that’s no big deal to you, but I think the last time I read books that quickly I was in third grade. I’d forgotten how fast the pages add up when you have few distractions. In all, I read five books, abandoned a couple of others after a chapter or two, and then started the one I’m still reading.

Then it was time to put normal life aside to prepare for family Christmas visits. Our out-of-state sons, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren came to town. We had our usual Christmas Eve Syrian feast and though one granddaughter came late due to work, as you can see from the image above, she made it into our annual family photo by magic. (Otherwise known as Photoshop.) We had a lovely holiday. I’m blessed to have such a wonderful family.

I have many hopes for this year, but my main goal is to achieve and maintain a healthy balance in my life. What’s your main goal for 2014?

Doubt, Dream, Goals, Reflections, Writing

This writer is looking forward

Looking back at my life during the past year, I can see losses and gains, but I can’t yet judge the long-term effects. Every year at this time, psychics make predictions for the coming year. I have no such gift. I can only make resolutions, affirming to myself and all, my intent for the future.

New beginnings are hopeful. This year I’m excited about opportunities to advance in my writing and publishing career. One change I hope to make that will affect not only my writing, but my life in general is obtaining—and maintaining—a balance.

In 2011, I neglected not only the usual housework, but gardening as well. I don’t think my roses will survive another year of the same kind of neglect. In general, I spent too much time in my cave. Since my 2012 plans include publishing one book and writing another, it’s imperative that I improve my time management.

This doesn’t mean I’m creating spreadsheets, but it does mean I’ll be working to conquer my habit of letting doubt (fear) derail my writing. In 2011, I probably wasted a good 30% of my writing time hand-tied by indecision. I vow not to let that happen in this next year. I will boldly write what no woman has written before.

In her recent blog post When You Allow Others to Decide Your Dreams, Michelle Davidson Argyle said:

“Nobody’s goals and rules are ever going to match up to my own on the unique path I’m on. Even if I met all those goals I see floating around online on so many blogs and Facebook statuses and Twitter feeds, I still wouldn’t be happy because I would not have met the deepest desires of my own heart …”

And this:

“I think we authors often forget what we really want. I think we often delude ourselves into thinking we want what everyone else wants, and it’s creating this insane sense of urgency in our heads. We pump out our work faster and harder and less carefully than we would otherwise. We feel pressured, more than anything else, to meet certain criteria, follow the lists and rules and advice others post, and it hurts us deeply when we can’t meet that criteria at breakneck speed. For me, at least, this urgency transformed itself into an energy-sucking, emotionally-draining need.

Until I realized that for me it was an illusion and unnecessary.”

Michelle expressed my dilemma. My lack of self-confidence leads me to compare everything I do to what other writers do, seeking a stamp of approval. At best, that works only temporarily. Sooner or later, doing what others did leads to frustration, doubt, fear because their plan, their path, their dream doesn’t “fit” me.

Let me toast to the New Year. New beginnings. New opportunities. Another chance to get it right.

In 2012, I vow to follow MY dreams. What about you?

Blog Stuff, Goals, Writing

I’m back … sort of

Just dropping in from the longest break I’ve ever taken to let you know I haven’t given up blogging. I didn’t plan to leave the same post up for ten days. I just couldn’t find enough quiet moments to sit down and write something new. I’m rushing now to get this written and take a shower before the crowd returns again.

I hope your year is wrapping up well. This year was certainly the worst of times and best of times for me. This time last year, I was struggling with a choice between continuing to seek a traditional publishing career and going the self-publishing route. I chose the latter, of course.

Because I only have one book out there, it’s too soon to tell if I made the right choice. It’s certainly been a learning experience though, and that’s never a bad thing. Now, I’m reevaluating everything concerned with writing, so I can make better progress in 2012.

Right now, 2012 is set to start on a positive note concerning my work, so I’ll claim that as a good sign. I guess I should start working on something for February. Goal setting has never been my strength, but I’m determined to “hit the gym” on that this next year.

Your turn: Let’s end on a positive note. How was 2011 a good year for you?

Agent, Editing, Fiction, Goals, Novel, Query, Writing

New Year Stress

I feel like I lost my train of thought in October and still haven’t found it again. November was all cleaning, little writing. December has been all traveling and holiday preparations. Now, it’s time for a new year to begin and I’m scrambling to get my mind back on track.

Why? Do I LOOK stressed?

Nearly all of my October posts were about editing, literary agents, and query letters.  January will be about major editing. No agents and querying, but a thousand other things are in the works. And, as my friend Kasie reminded me yesterday, I have to write something in the next week for critique group. First chapter of my next novel?

So, yeah, three days left in this year and I’m already stressed about the next one. In some aspects, you can take one day at a time, but in most, you can’t really do that. The business of writing takes planning. I now have certain tasks to be done in a certain order by a certain time.

I’m trying to ignore the actual number of tasks though. Overwhelming leads to inaction. When the new year starts, I’ll keep my eyes down and edit my heart out.

Your turn: Are you winging it with your writing in 2011, or do you have a plan?


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