My One Little Word for 2016

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A friend discovered this concept a couple of years ago and I fell in love with the idea. I’ve chosen a word each year since. Choosing a word for the year, for me, is an alternative to resolutions.

 

The idea is to choose a word that reflects how you would like your year to be. There are so many to choose from. Here is a partial list I got from One Word 365:

Confidence
Thrive
Reduce
Listen
Mindfulness
Believe
Finish
Peace
Love
Truth
Adapt
Unstoppable
Breathe

The possibilities are endless.

Last year my word was Balance and if you’ve read any of my posts, then you’ve seen some of my struggles. Finding balance in life is difficult, yet I’ve grown through the process.

There appears to be a movement surrounding the idea of choosing a yearly word to focus on. I’ve found a couple of sites that I’ve used in my journey.

One is One Little Word by Ali Edwards. She encourages you to focus on, meditate and reflect upon your word and she has created a few ways to help you. There is a group on her site that is supportive as you learn about yourself using your word. She also has monthly creative subscription and classes for exploration. Check it out.

Another site that I found this year is One Word 365. This site is all about community and encouragement. One way for each person to work with their word is to create a vision board. As this is something I do with my clients, I am interested in storyboarding my word.

I’ve never done the creative stuff with my word, at least not in this way. I have, however, created jewelry to help remind me of my word. This was my first word and I wore it as a bracelet.

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The interesting thing I’ve found with choosing a single word to frame my year is that life tends to show me where I need to work. This is a good thing since I tend to stagnate if I don’t have some encouragement.

The cool thing is that the words I’ve chosen for the past couple of years haven’t left me. I feel as if this has a cumulative effect. It seems the growing never stops.

This year my word is Enough. I have begun exploring this word and how it relates to my life, hopefully, I can share some of this journey with you.

So, here is the challenge: Choose a word that reflects a place you want to go in your life and spend some time journaling about it.

Anti-New Years Resolution

sparkler-677774_640Since I was a child and first understood what a resolution was, I’ve felt the pressure each year to make them. This has been problematic since then.

I’ve done all the usual resolutions, such as:

“I will lose weight.”
“I will begin an exercise program.”
“I will….”

There are so many who follow this same path. And, so many who fail.

The statistics aren’t great. According to Statistic Brain, only 8% of people who set resolutions actually achieve them. This statistic was from last year.

These are not good odds.

I am never among the 8%. I can’t remember ever having success with a New Year’s Resolution, usually giving up within the first few weeks, if not days. If I made it to February, that was a miracle and I don’t remember ever doing that.

I don’t know when I stopped with the resolutions. Since I struggle with setting goals anyway, I decided not to make myself feel worse.

What I’ve done instead is to reflect on my life around my birthday, which I did last year. I wrote about it here.

This reflection includes looking back over the previous to see how it went and to think about the direction for the upcoming year. This has made more sense to me and I can see just how far I’ve come.

That doesn’t mean I ignore this time of year. The solstice has just passed which means the light is coming back. It is the perfect time for new beginnings.

What I’ve begun to do in the last couple of years is I’ve chosen a word to focus on for the upcoming year. It’s not a goal per se. More like that little thought in the back of your mind that helps to guide you. The words I have chosen have been ones that tend to show up in my relationships and daily life over and over. The word helps to keep me on task.

In my next post, I will talk about how choosing a word for the upcoming year works.

What I will do now is to encourage you to think about how you approach the new year. Will you make some resolutions that for the most part won’t be achieved? Or will you choose a guiding word and see where that takes you?

I believe in setting myself up for success and I hope you do the same.

Pippa Takes a Walk

 I’ve recently begun to take walks in the morning (when I say recently I mean yesterday). The idea of daily walks has been the focus of my thoughts for a while. Walking is both a need and a want. It’s time I took care of this area of my life.

Earlier in the fall, I took a class on Deep Revision from Katey Schultz and one of the things she talked about was the need for movement. Even when doing things other than writing, getting up and getting physical is important to keep the creative juices flowing.

Walking is good for so many things and I’ve been avoiding it. I have found a yoga class that I really like, but it only meets once per week. I need more than that to relieve stress, to keep my energy up among other reasons. This winter has given us the gift of being mild and I want to take advantage of this.

So, I took some steps:

I found my watch. Exercise is the only time I wear one and I often have to search for it.

I laid out my clothing, including shoes and iPod, to be ready to go.

My alarm always goes off during what feels like the middle of the night. Most of the time I simply ignore it. The snooze button is my frenemy.

I was as ready as I could be when the morning came.

Shoes on, jacket zipped, and flashlight in hand I head out forgetting one thing.

Pippa likes to go outside.

 As long as it isn’t raining or too cold, she wants to be out in the fresh air. The morning air was damp and cool but no rain. She was raring to go.

I stood at the door and she positioned herself in a straight shot for the door. As soon as I opened it, she was outside. I thought she would run off to see what she could see.

Nope.

I started my watch and began my 30-minute walk. She followed me.

She has a collar with a bell which she hates and tries to take off whenever she can. On this particular morning, I was glad she was wearing it. Because she followed me – the entire way.

I took my music but never turned it on. My only music was the tractors, the creek that remained unfrozen and the tinkle of Pippa’s collar. It was quite enjoyable as I walked in the dark.

She stayed with me the entire way. Sometimes she would stop and sniff, do a bit of exploring but soon she would be right near me as I walked. She did slow down as we got closer to home.

 Pippa followed me all the way inside. She needed a snuggle and a nap. It was a long walk for her and she’s not very big. She earned a long sleep.

I wonder if she is part dog.

The walk was amazing for me and stirred the words within. Amazing how that works.

The Longest Night

Today marks the shortest day of the year.

And, the Longest Night. This is one night of the year where the darkness seems to overtake the light.

But not for long. From this day forward, at least for a while, the light is coming back.

This is turning out to be a time of reflection for me. I’ve been thinking about the past year and am looking forward to next year, but that is another post.

For this post, I want to share some of this year’s holiday moments. Things are calm now but have been crazy busy. I hope the pictures help to slow things down a bit.

Apparently, it’s been a season of selfies. At least, I had some company.

I received a gift and just in case you can’t read the hat; it says ‘ba humbug.’ My holiday spirit is showing.

He likes getting his picture taken.

Caleb was amazed at the horse and wanted his picture taken.

Abel’s new ride.

More selfies with company; he likes to make faces.

More faces.

They are all in the same room and wanted a picture.

Finally, I realized I could turn the light on and get a decent picture of my tree. I guess I’m never too old to learn something new.

Presents are all opened, and everyone’s gone home. Though the party is over, there are still things scheduled, like Star Wars (no spoilers please) and Rick Springfield. Both should be fun.

What’s Next???

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Where do I go from here?

This is the question I’ve been pondering for the past couple of days?

I’ve just finished my NaNoWriMo 2015 project. While that one is resting, I’m thinking ‘What’s next’?

I could work on Anger Road, my 2014 NaNo project. This was my first novel and is currently in need of revision. Desperately!!! I still like this story and would like to finish it.

Brenna’s story, based on a flash fiction piece I wrote a couple of years ago and can be read here, is in need of planning. Is this my next project?

While I was working on my most recent piece, the ideas came for a sequel to the story. Although this is in the very early stages of planning, this is something I could get into.

Or, I could jump right into revisions for my current, as yet unnamed, novel.

Oh, and then there is a “short” story I wrote during October. I laugh at the word short. My normal “short” is anything under 1000 words and this one sets at about 15,000. It is in the rough draft stage and needs editing.

I’m not sure if you were counting, but that is five projects. What am I thinking?

All I want to do is this:

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I think I am on a mental vacation after being so focused on my novel. It probably isn’t helping that the holidays are here and my family will be arriving soon. There is so much to be done that I’m feeling scattered and am not sure what to focus on.

How do writers, or anyone, choose their next project?

I’m sure that everyone has their own process in choosing their next project. Part of my process is to open a journal and begin by making notes. I have a notebook for each of my larger projects when I am ready. Today is not that day, I think.

What I am not stopping is my daily word count. When I am not working on a novel, that goal is 500 words. This is doable even while things are so busy.

Of course, I still have blog posts to write and flash fiction to write, edit and send out to markets.

Yeah, I may have bitten off more than I can chew.

I think I will begin by printing off both my novel and the short story I wrote in October. That way I will not have any excuses as I move on to my next project.

Which I will decide on after the holidays. I may even set some goals in January instead of waiting until my birthday, as is my normal habit.

I’m excited to find out “What’s Next.”

First Draft Blues

typewriter-801921_1280So, I did it. I managed to complete the first draft of my NaNoWriMo novel. The thing ended up being just over 91,000 words. I can now rest.

Oh, wait. It’s Christmas time. There is no resting.

We did manage to get the majority of our shopping done this weekend. That just leaves the rest of the shopping, including food shopping, wrapping presents, cookie making, and house clean up. Somewhere in the middle, I need to work and to sleep.

Okay, just breathe.

This is normal for me. Christmas happens every year and as much as I try I am still unable to make it as simple as I want it to be. Again, this is just normal for my life.

I made some plans for the week since my kids will be coming up for the weekend. I took a day off to allow myself time to complete some things, like the cooking that I will be doing.

That leaves the rest of the week to complete my to-do list. There is just a holiday party that I am going to attend. I also have a yoga class that I need to attend, as part of my own self-care. So, I’m down a couple of days to get everything done.

Okay, just breathe. You can do this.

At this moment, I am basking in a finished novel. I’m trying not to think too much about my to-do list or the revisions that I will need to do. I have a completed manuscript and that is worth celebrating.

I will work on the rest tomorrow.

 

My helper in finishing my novel.
My helper in finishing my novel.

 

Friday Five: Cookies, Cookies and More Cookies

christmas-cookies-947303_640I like to bake. Not just at Christmas time but all the time. During this season, I prefer cookies but I would be willing to make just about anything.

The only problem is leftovers. If I go crazy with the baking of cookies, we either throw some away, or we eat them. I’m not sure my clothes can handle that this year. I tend to try to curb my baking activities to a few favorites requested by my family.

Today’s Friday Five is all about cookies. These are the some of my favorites and the ones I traditionally make.

1.  Sugar cookies – this is one of my absolute favorites. The recipe I use is an old family recipe, originally using lard. I haven’t done that in many years, and they are still fabulous.

2.  Peanut Butter Blossoms – this is most requested by my family. They aren’t hard. Sometimes I think the most time-consuming part is unwrapping all of the chocolate kisses.

3.  Buckeye’s – the Christmas season isn’t complete without these peanut butter and chocolate gems. Every box of cookies from my Grandma has a few in it, and everyone fights over them. To keep the peace, I must make them.

4.  Magic Bars – these cookies are amazing, and I need to make them at the last minute or there won’t be any left for anyone else. The recipe I use is from the Eagle brand website although I add butterscotch chips to it.

5.  Peanut Butter No-Bakes – these aren’t technically baked, and I don’t make them, but they make my list, at least for this year. Hubby’s makes this recipe, and they don’t stick around long.

As I look back on this list, I see a pattern. We like peanut butter and chocolate in our house. That is okay. No one complains.

I will be making all of these (except for hubby’s recipe) by next weekend. I’ve already got boxes lined up to send them home with the kids when they go.

No leftovers for my house and my jeans will thank me.

The Post November Hangover

typewriter-377042_1280I feel as if I am hungover and need to recover from a long night of drinking. I’ve never made the correlation between NaNoWriMo and a really good party, but there it is.

It’s the end of NaNoWriMo and the beginning of the holiday season.

There is a let-down after all the hype of November, at least in the writing world. The build up begins during October and, if you are lucky, lasts all the way through the end of the month.

It did for me. I spend the month of November, happily typing away on my novel reaching my required 50,000 words before the end of the third week. I kept going because the story wasn’t done. Finishing the month strong, I still had nearly a quarter of my novel to complete.

Then came December. I’m still in novel writing mode which means I have a goal of 2000 words each day until I’m done. Fast forward to today and I’m feeling the downward swing.

I’ve just had my second day of not working on my novel. I can see the end, I have about 10,000 words to go. Only I seem to have lost any drive to go on writing.

Welcome, to the NaNo Hangover.

There is such a community of writers coming together during the month of November. The excitement tends to wane throughout the month, but there are always a group that hangs on until the end. It is a wonderful experience.

Once it is over, the community doesn’t go away but the excitement tends to. Everyone has the post-November hangover.

The energy is gone and all that is left is to finish all the words. Now, I just want to sleep.

The end is in sight. I can see it, I can even taste it. My intention is to let my novel rest when it is complete and I can type “The End.” Only making it to that point seems to be moving further and further away.

At this moment, the most difficult thing I am doing is walking to my desk and putting one word in front of the other.

I want to recover from all the excitement, energy, and focus that November requires.

I want to print out my novel and put it on my bookshelf so I can get some distance.

I want to skip to the end to be able to begin putting that distance between writing and editing.

I want to focus on the holidays, which are approaching faster than I want them to.

I don’t remember last year being like this. Of course, I finished my story within the 50,000 words and was able to let it rest. I could then move on to a new project, namely this blog.

I had hoped to finish my story by this weekend, but that seems to be a bit delayed. It may take a few more days but I this is my goal.

Of course, I have a couple more novels to plan but that is another post. That’s what being a writer is all about.writer-605764_1280