Writing in the Now

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My twins celebrate an October birthday while my oldest lights her birthday candles in January. In my family, these birthdays bookend the holidays. When Cupcake and Chunk open their presents, it’s almost as if it’s really time to open the holiday season, starting with Halloween with Thanksgiving on its heels and then Christmas followed by New Year’s Day before Kath blows out her candles and the holidays begin to wind down.

With those holidays come a rush of questions: “Are you dressing up for Halloween,” “Who’s house are we going to this year and who’s making the pie,” “Did you get what you wanted for Christmas,” “Are you going to make a New Year’s resolution,” and “Are you choosing one word for the upcoming year?” For the record, my answers are probably not; (insert groan) my house and if it’s edible, it better not be me; we’ll see; no; and no.

Don’t get me wrong. I love holidays. I love spending time with my husband and four kids, and there’s nothing like family togetherness to help me appreciate my writing that much more. However, I’m not into New Year’s resolutions. I think they focus on a date rather than the intent.

I just did a Google search of most common resolutions. Want to get exercise more? Why wait until January 1st when October 27th is a much better time to start. Want to make a more deliberate approach to becoming healthy? Make that doctor appointment now, not on January 1st. Want to write a book? If you can write during the holiday season with its parties, commitments, school concerts, family gatherings, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and more, you’re determined to write and the rest of the year should be a breeze.

My grandfather loved the expression, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Yes, it’s more of a cliché now than it was in the eighties when he said that all the time. But… There’s a truth in that statement. Today is the day to start writing a book if you want to write. Today is the day to call a local craft store if you’ve always wanted to knit or quilt. Today is the day to find out what exercise is the best for you.

Don’t wait until January 1 to make a resolution. If there’s a change you want to make in your life, make it today. If you can stick to that change over the holiday season, then you’ll thank yourself for it in 2019.

And please leave a comment. If you do make resolutions, let me know what you’re thinking about doing differently next year. And if you have a good pie recipe, feel free to share that, too!

Holiday Thursday: Ringing in the New Year with Writing, Reading, and Family

2015-on-balloons-flying-in-sky-10096019I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions. When I was a kid, I’d always make the same resolutions and never follow through for more than a month. Now that I’m older, I try to change things when I see I need to change something rather than wait for a new calendar to start something new. Nevertheless, there’s something about the date of January 1st that calls out for an examination of what I’d like to concentrate more of my energy into fulfilling. Reading, writing and family (not necessarily in that order) come immediately to mind.

Reading. For a long time, I suffered from abibliophobia, the fear of running out of reading material. Then I became a writer. I’ve attended four conferences. My joke is that the conferences were free, I really paid for the book swag. I now have books all over my bedroom because I can’t put them on my basement bookshelves. The reason for that is our pet rabbit, Gandalf, who is a blog post in and of himself alone, loves to eat my books. So I have a wonderful stack of books to read. And 2015 is a great time to put a small dent in that stack.

And am I lucky or what? New books from Sarah MacLean, Tina Radcliffe, Jennifer Delamere, Jill Shalvis, Kristan Higgins, Sarah Mayberry, Tanya Michaels and others grace my shelf or Kindle. Not to mention I recently read two anthologies whose supporting characters have books of their own. Julie Lessman, Mary Connealy and Ruth Logan Herne are authors I can’t wait to explore more once I make a tiny nick in my to be read pile.

My husband, for one, would be very happy if I start making inroads in my to be read pile. Did I mention I keep all these books in our bedroom?

Writing. A new year calling out for fresh pages to be written. I’m taking a short break from my WIP to write this blog. But when I think of all I learned in 2014 thanks to the RWA Conference in San Antonio, the Moonlight and Magnolia Conference in Norcross, the wonderful craft books I read, and some good craft writing classes I was fortunate enough to participate in, I’m ready for 2015 to learn even more and find new ways to improve my craft of writing. Deep point of view and high conflict are two areas where I seek improvement.

And, once again, am I lucky or what? If you are a writer, I hope you belong to an organization like Georgia Romance Writers. It’s a great place to go and learn about writing, network with other authors, and leave ready to write. To steal a line from the GRW president, Sally Kilpatrick, forget rock stars, I get to meet romance writers who have become my role models: Jane Porter, Tanya Michaels, Trish Milburn, Susan Carlisle, Haywood Smith, Nicki Salcedo, Sally Kilpatrick, Maggie Worth, and so many more talented authors I can’t even begin to list them all. I’ve met some writers who I’m proud to call my friends and beta readers and critique partners.

Family. It’s taken me a while to figure out that not every family supports their struggling writers, but once again, am I lucky or what? My wonderful hubby watches our four kids while I go write, edit, or don my other writer hat and blog or post to social media outlets. He’s even, gulp, offered to watch them once again while I attend my third straight RWA Conference. This year, RWA 2015 is in New York. I’m thankful for my family that allows me time to write and edit.

Now it’s time to get back to my WIP (work in progress) so I can go home tonight and watch an hour of Castle with my wonderful hubby after our kids conk out earlier tonight than last night (two of them made it to midnight with the other two conking out after ten o’clock) and before I try to make a small dent in my piloe of books.

Do you believe in New Year’s resolutions? If you do, what are they? Let me know!