New Year / New Goals

Seasons of change. Since my last post in 2015, there have been a few major changes in my personal life which, in turn, affected my writing life. In June that year, the WGH made a job/career change that forced us to take a step back and re-evaluate our household budget. We addressed the possibility of leaving what we thought was going to be our forever home. I accepted the idea that I might have to return to work full-time. On the heels of that upheaval, my mother was diagnosed with stage IV adenocarcinoma of the lung and passed away less than two weeks later.

As you can imagine - and I hope understand - I shut down. For quite some time.

Fortunately, by the grace of God, things worked out so that we were able to stay in our beloved house, and I am still working part-time (and still affectionately call it "the day job"). Thanks also to a whole lot of moral support, the official labeling of my seasonal affective disorder, and a little bit of extra medication, I began to emerge from what was threatening to become a deep, dark pit. I started taking the small steps necessary to bring myself back to ... well, myself. I fell into the practice of reminding myself on a daily basis of how blessed I am and how many, many, many more people are worse off than I am. The broken record found its way back to the gramophone. I learned to take time for me, to decompress, and to let myself set goals that were more realistic.

Back to the bookshelf. After leaving the rabbit hole behind, I determined to continue my reading challenges, but I didn't want to pressure myself. Reading for me is reading for pleasure. So "a book a week" became "as many books as I can read in a year" and as a result of lifting the top off the goal, I managed to read 72 books in 2016. Yep, seventy-two. Crazy, right? I found some new authors I like and was able to read more new books by authors I've loved for years.

The next step on my journey back was that I started getting out and about, doing author things again. I went to a couple of fellow writer friends' events, had a couple of productive writing days with my sister from another mister, and even joined a local, newly-formed book club.

Aaaand ... the writing. There comes a time in every writer's life when she has to decide to sit down and work. About six months or so after my mom died, I opened up the laptop again and started picking a bit at the WIP. Bounced a few ideas off J.T., who always encourages me to just go for it and see if it works, revisited some old ideas from our former writers' group, and realized there is something salvageable in this mess I was beginning to hate.

Wiggle room. The WGH and I are officially empty-nesters now, as The Tall One and Little Bit moved from our house to their own place. Two of our five dogs went with them, leaving us with a bit more room, a bit less mess, and me with a bit more free time on my hands. I'm settling (finally) into some semblance of routine again, and taking a few minutes each day to reconnect with my inner artist. There are projects on the shelves that are going back on the new to-do list, but in the spirit of my new goal scheme I've spent a few minutes mapping out long-term and short-term goals, based upon which I'll cobble together my weekly to-do lists. The only thing that could possibly throw a bit of a monkey wrench into my plans is the impending arrival of our first grandchild in June: The Boy and his Lovely Bride surprised us with that announcement last month!

All things considered and obstacles notwithstanding, as my Sister(FAM) advises I'm going to go for it and see how it works. I hope you'll check in on my every so often and see how I'm doing.

In the meantime, read a book. It's good for you.

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