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Clean and Ready

Like a piece of paper with three hundred sixty-five invisible lines, the year 2023 has only two little squiggles in the corner. The possibilities for the year stretch out beyond our imagination.

Do you have anything grand planned? Graduation? Wedding? Vacation?

Smaller goals and plans? A change in diet or exercise? New clothing? Garden or flowers?

Clean and delicate, these metal and glass flowers are really sturdy. Strong enough to withstand the breezes, precipitation, and temperature changes of a typical year.

Have you prepared yourself for change? While keeping supplies of food, water, and clothing on hand is a wise thing — you also need to prepare your mind. Are you open to new ideas? Will you accept something unexpected?

In the sweet romance, COMFORT ZONE, the heroine lives out a year with several unexpected events and opportunities. Is she ready?

More information here: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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Bouquet of Milestones

In my current career, I’ve met a number of authors. Some successful. Others struggling with various steps on the writing path. What I have not met, or even heard referred to by these author friends and acquaintances, is an author who wrote an entire book without encountering obstacles and then continued unobstructed to be published and make thousands of sales.

A more common experience is a mixture of days of progress and hours, or days, of mired down in writing or publishing problems. If you think in graphs, do NOT draw a smooth, ascending line from start to goal. If an author is lucky, the graph would be jerky steps in a generally upward direction. Other time, the trend goes down, perhaps as far as needing to start over.

How does an author cope? Well, it varies by the person — but a common way is to set small goals and celebrate when each is achieved. Did you meet your word count for the week? Treat yourself to…a manicure? Ice cream? Visit to a museum?

One of the writing groups I belong to celebrates specific milestones once a year. Each color representing a different achievement in the writing and publishing process. When I’ve had a “down” day, perhaps where chapters had to be discarded or a publisher sent a rejection — this bouquet offers a little comfort. “You’ve done this before. You can do it again.”

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Learning Limits

Have you made and kept a New Years resolution for 2022?

Have you set one or more goals?

The experts (I have no idea how you get to be an expert in these sorts of things.) counsel a person to set goals that are attainable. That’s right — if it’s impossible and you know it — don’t bother to claim it as a goal. You’re only setting yourself up to fail.

Not sure about you — but I don’t need to go looking for more failure.

Sometimes, a person doesn’t realize the goal is unattainable — you know, you think you can, you give it your best effort, and …ooops. Flat on your face.

Like thousands of other people — I reconnected with assembling jigsaw puzzles during the pandemic.

Most of them have worked out fine. More pieces usually means more days to complete. My table is 19″ wide so I’ve learned to check dimensions before starting. However, this one was a puzzle too far — or too dark. After just over two weeks of working during TV news, football games, and drama re-runs, I decided to let the puzzle win. It came from the library and they always include a slip of paper asking if pieces are missing. I’m sure I don’t know — perhaps the next patron will be more patient, or have better eyesight.

Have I learned a lesson? Well, the next puzzle I assembled had bright colors.

When setting goals — ask — Can I actually do this? I’d hate to see all your plans turn into a “puzzle too far.”

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Top Picks

As the year gets ready to turn to a fresh page — I thought I’d take a minute to give you (my readers) a short list of my favorite reads this year.

One of my reading goals this year was to increase the amount of non-fiction. I managed to find some good ones. My three top picks:

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

Followed by: Heirs of the Founders by H.W. Brands

White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

On the fiction side of the reading spectrum. My intention was to read a more diverse group of authors. My first choice is a re-read: The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne.

Other top picks include: Betrayed by Sharon C. Cooper

Heart of the Matter by LaQuette

First Comes Scandal by Julia Quinn

Did you have reading goals? Did you reach them?

I’ll be setting goals for the new year in several facets of life — but reading is among them.