Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A Fresh Start

Thought for the day: Cheers to a new year and another chance to get it right. [Oprah Winfrey]


First off, Happy New Year!!! Now that the ball has dropped, the champagne's gone flat, and the resolutions have been broken, it's time to face a new year of endless possibilities. Let's try to carpe the heck out of every new diem, shall we?

As you can probably tell by that nifty badge on the left, it's that time again.Time for our monthly IWSG posts. As always, thanks to our fearless leader, Alex Cavanaugh, for founding this fine group, and
 thanks to all the other nurturing guys and gals who've helped turn it into the thriving community it is today. To join this super supportive group of writers and to see links to other participating blogs, please go HERE

We all have a brand new soft-as-a-baby's-butt year ahead of us, and the possibilities are endless. We've all been given a clean slate, and it's up to us to grab the chalk and start scribbling. I suppose the notion of each new year being a clean slate explains the age-old tradition of starting each new year with a list of resolutions and a determination to get it right. 

As Mark Twain said, Now is the time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them. 

Me? I don't make resolutions. I mean, why set myself up for failure, right?

As exhilarating as the idea of a blank slate may be, there's also something a teensy bit intimidating about it, too. Kinda like a blank sheet of paper... or a blank computer screen with that cursed pulsing icon urging you to WRITE SOMETHING, YOU MORON!  (Or is that just my computer...?)

 A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it is to be God. [Sidney Sheldon]

Ah, but I'm an optimist. Let's all make the most of this shiny new year, shall we? Let's dazzle ourselves.

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in; a pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. [Bill Vaughn]

Whether you're an optimist or a pessimist, 2018 is now officially kaput. Perhaps the champagne bottle is empty and the candles extinguished, but there will be other bottles, and hope can always light the way, if you let it.

And you know what? If you think about it, what lies behind us doesn't really matter all that much, and neither does what lies before us. When you get right down to it, the most important thing is what lies within us. For all of you, I wish that to be peace and joy. Here's to a successful 2019 for all of us!

Okay, let's take a quick look at the question for this month, shall we?

What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing? 

Hmm, just having someone acknowledge my writing is pretty darned exciting. I suppose my favorite thing would be when they ask me anything about the characters in my book. Hearing other people discuss something I've written at a book club or whatever is absolutely thrilling. Makes me want to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. (But not too hard. I'm old, and I bruise easily.) Least favorite? Hmmm, that's a toughie. Maybe being asked when the next book is gonna be released like a day or two after one is published. Geez. Gimme a chance to enjoy it, willya? HA. Just kidding. I don't think I will ever tire of people talking to me about something I've written. It's a sort of vindication, ya know? It might not pay the bills, but it feels pretty darned good.

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man. [Benjamin Franklin]

No thanks, Ben. I'm pretty darned happy with the one I've got. [me]

                          Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.





















72 comments:

  1. Smiling broadly. And grateful for ALL writers. I don't think I am brave enough to chastise them, though my greedy self does always want more.
    I let the New Year find her own way in these days. She knows the way and doesn't require a key or me to wait up for her. Does that make me a pessimistic optimist?

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    1. Good! I'm glad the post made you smile. I was making your eyes leak entirely too much in recent posts...

      No, I'd say your attitude makes you a pragmatist. And far more an optimist than a pessimist.

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  2. Most and least favourite questions about my writing? People out here in the real world don't know that I write. It might be different if I ever finish anything so I can have people read it, but until that happens, I won't have to face any questions.
    I like the idea of a new year/new beginning, but don't bother with resolutions and often don't stay up to see the new year in either.

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    1. Maybe this'll be your year, eh? Maybe this is the year people in the "real world" will find out about your hidden talent. :)

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  3. Happy new year! I am not one for resolutions either, I wrote about it on my blog today. Hope the year will be a good one for you! Hugs, Valerie

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    1. HAPPY NEW YEAR to you, too!

      Let's hope this'll be a good year for all of us. Hugs back atcha.

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  4. As a pessimist, I stayed up 'till midnight to make sure the old year left - - then I tossed and turned in bed until dawn, worrying about the clean slate that I about to face.

    I don't do resolutions, simply because I don't want to disappoint myself.

    So - what are the best and worst things people ask about my writing?
    Hell, nobody ever asks anything about my writing.
    Which leads me to believe that I'm doing something right......or wrong.....

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    1. I meant to say "that I WAS about to face."

      Which made me think of a new year resolution:
      I vow never to make mistakes or omit words on my blog comments.

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    2. Never make mistakes or omit words on blog comments? I'm afraid that's one resolution I'd be doomed to fail at miserably. :)

      HAPPY NEW YEAR, cowboy. May this be your year to shine.

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  5. What lovely reflections on embracing the New Year and focusing on what's important :-)

    I do get a few questions about my characters, but it's mostly from people trying to figure out if they're based on people they know.

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    1. Of course! People ALWAYS try to figure out the "real person" behind the character. :)

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  6. That Vaughn quote and the last line by you re Franklin's words totally cracked me up. Yes on more laughing in the new year! :)

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    1. Cracking you up is one of my goals. :)

      I'm always onboard for more laughter. May 2019 offer us lots of opportunities to laugh ourselves silly. (Um... sillier?)

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  7. What you have right now is what's most important. I like that!

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  8. My grandson told his parents that my childrens' stories are really cool. Nine year olds make excellent critics IMHO. He is a little puzzled that writers exist in real life though; I'm not sure where we should be residing - rather like the idea that there's an island somewhere we can write all day and not need to think about groceries or laundry...
    Least favourite question (for grown up stories) is ALWAYS what's it about? Um, if I could give you that in a sentence I would not have written a book... This is why I am terrible at pitching and blurb. Happy New Year Susan :-) xx

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    1. Your grandson has VERY good taste. (Listen to him!)

      HA! I can relate to that. It's very hard to summarize an entire book in a single sentence.

      Happy New Year to you, too, Lisa.

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  9. very good post to start off the new year. I'd like to be more optimistic - it comes and goes. I resolve to write more...so I can tell folks I actually am writing. Cheers to 2019

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    1. TIP: It's much easier to remain optimistic if one occasionally turns a deaf ear to the news.

      Cheers to a good new year for all of us.

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  10. My resolutions are always the same: write more, eat less, and clean the house. Maybe the key to keeping them is to make them more exciting. Or maybe I could just invent a self-cleaning house like a self-cleaning oven. Oh wait. That's illegal. Back to the drawing board...

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    1. A self-cleaning house would be loverly! Around here, it'd be just like our self-cleaning oven, too. As in... I clean it myself. :)

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  11. I'm chortling over here at Mark Twain's quote -- as well as your take on a clean slate. Hmmm... I've always enjoyed the aroma of eraser dust.
    OK, I've a question! God knows why, but I've a habit of visualizing (casting, if you will) characters in the books I love. Were you to produce a screen play (say, Hot Flashes & Cold Lemonade), do you ever mentally go about picking likely actors?

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    1. I'm glad to hear it. What better way to begin a new year than with a little bit of chortling?

      Geez, remember when it was a great honor to be selected to erase the board and then take the erasers outside and bang them together to clean them...? (cough, cough!)

      The only actor I imagined playing a part in HF&CL was Jane Fonda as Pearl, but that was when I first started writing it... when Jane was still of the right age to play the part. My mother and her sisters had great fun picking actors to play all the roles, though. And arguing about it. :)

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  12. LOL I love the quotes especially your take on Ben's. It is a thrill to have someone else talk about one of my characters, I couldn't agree with you more there. Not sure why but that's even more exciting than just asking about a story itself.
    Happy New Year!!

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    1. I think having someone ask about a character we've created means that the character comes across as realistic and relatable. Who can ask for more? Sure, we want readers to care about our story, but that can't happen until they first care about the characters.

      Happy New Year to you, too!

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  13. I reckon one thing worse than being asked when your next book is going to be released, is not being asked when your next book is going to be released :)

    And I can assure you, it's not just your computer that does that! Happy New Year!

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    1. HA! Good point.

      Good to know my computer isn't a one-of-a-kind.

      Happy New Year to you, too.

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  14. "the most important thing is what lies within us." I love that! Well said!

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  15. Lovely advice for the new year. I wish you a happy, healthy, productive writing year.

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  16. In a world where youngsters (20,30,40 years olds) seems to be setting the pace it was a pleasure to hear from someone who has been there and done that.

    When it comes to questions about this strange affliction of mine, you said it very well. "....talking about something I'm writing......is a vindication..... It doesn't pay the bills, but it feels ..... good."

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  17. Laughing out loud! What a sense of humor, and timing, you have. I loved the Ben Franklin quote and as I'm not a man, I'd say, no thanks, I like the one I already have (hubby)!!! Happy new year!

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    1. Cool! I'm glad the post tickled your funny bone. :)

      Happy New Year to you, too!

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  18. I don't do resolutions either. But I like that Ben Franklin quote ;)

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  19. Now is the most important indeed, well for the most part. If you are going to get a million bucks in a month, that may be more important, just saying.

    I must be in the middle, as I didn't stay up for one or the other reason. But hey, middle is more fun to umm diddle.

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    1. A million bucks in a month? That'd be a pretty good incentive to make us look forward, eh?

      Nothing wrong with being in the middle. Dunno about the diddling part, but we can't all lead the way, and who wants to bring up the rear...?

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  20. I don't make resolutions as much as I make bucket lists...stuff I'd like to do this year.

    I liked what Mevely317 said in her comment above, because I visualized Archie as a young Elvis (with the looks of when he was in the Army). How far off am I?

    And my question for you would be if you molded any of your characters after someone from your life.

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    1. Making a bucket list sounds kinda good. (As long as it's a little bitty bucket...) :)

      You're pretty spot on with your visualization of Archie. Cool!

      I don't exactly mold any characters after specific people, but I do "borrow" interesting traits from people I've known. True fact? Remember when Pearl threw the dinner out the back door? My cousin did exactly that years ago... :)

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  21. I didn't make any resolutions this year. I'm 84 & I'm damned if I'm going to change anything!!

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  22. Susan, Happiest of new years to you and yours. I plan on reading your posts with pleasure (haven't had an operation for 5 months and feel better already).

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    1. Happy New Year to you, too, dude. And also to your dudette Norma and the rest of your crew. I'm glad you're feeling better, and here's hoping there will be no more surgeries in your future. A votre sante!

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  23. Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy and healthy New year, friend Sue. Onward bound says this Alberta cat and her cat. PS: I added another post to my travel blog.

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    1. The same to you, dear cat! May 2019 be a wonderful year for you.

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  24. Greetings Susan. A warm welcome for the new year ahead. You have accomplished a lot, and will remain throughout history with your published writings! So well done for that. I have yet to have my work published, I've written fourteen hundred poems and am trying to sort them all out so they have an even meter, so I am in it for the long haul. I've finalised about three hundred so far. I hope this new year brings you success and brings you your desires and wishes. Blessings. A well-written piece that I enjoyed reading. Love love, Andrew.

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    1. Greetings to you, Andrew, and a very happy new year! Wow, 1400 poems is a LOT of poems! Good for you. :)

      Blessings back atcha.

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  25. Happy new year! Boy, can I relate to the intimidating effect the idea of a blank slate, be it a new year or a blank page, can have.

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    1. Happy New Year to you, too!

      We've gotta be tough. Can't let that empty page intimidate US!

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  26. Happy New Year, sweet friend!
    I love the new beginning. So many opportunities, and spring is just around the corner. My time of the year! And no, it's not too early. :)
    Talking to nonreaders about writing can be a task, one asked me, 'what does your husband think?' LOL
    Of course everyone wonders about a person who writes murder mysteries, but that's what makes it fun!

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    1. HAPPY NEW YEAR, kiddo!

      HA! Nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks it's "almost spring" in January.

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  27. I didn't make any new resolutions. I'm still working on the ones I set ten years ago. LOL

    You do make the most interesting characters who make for great critique conversation.


    War with my vices...that's a good one. No need for the better man for me either though, so I'll just stick with the first part of the quote. :)

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    1. I like the resolution a friend of mine made last year. She vowed to lose fifteen pounds. At the end of the year, she told me she only had twenty more to go...

      You've already got a "keeper," so that's a good decision. :)

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  28. Paving Hell with good resolutions...yup...sounds about right. Happy New Year and Happy Writing to you and all those insecure writers out there lol.

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    1. Happy New Year to you, too! I hope your first set of holidays spent in your new place were fantastic. :)

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  29. That is my least favorite also. As soon as some small success occurs, people immediately ask when the next one will be, or suggest some way they would have done things differently that they think is better than whatever route I took. Ha! Oh well. Just being acknowledged as a writer is nice, so true. Happy New Year! Wishing you all good things.

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    1. Right! It'd be nice if folks let us "rest on our laurels" for just a LITTLE while, anyway. :)

      Happy New Year to you, too. I'm wishing all those good things right back atcha.

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  30. Bahaha on the end. :) I love the quote. I'm grateful for any day, every year. Clean slates have their use/place, and def. a lot of us use them to propel our goals forward. I did last year, and though I didn't meet that goal (buying a house) I'm still working on it. We're half way there...the housing market just decided to skyrocket in the middle of my goal time. :)

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    1. Halfway there is a GOOD thing! May this be your year to find that dream house.

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  31. I no longer do, or make, resolutions!
    Sending you lots of Happy New Year Wishes.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Great minds think alike. Making (and inevitably breaking) resolutions has never been my thing.

      I'm sending lots of happy wishes for the new year to you, too. All the best back atcha.

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  32. Ha! Love Grumpy Cat's attitude! Here's to a healthy and prosperous 2019 to you and yours.

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  33. I don't make resolutions, either. I learned a long time ago that I won't achieve 'em, LOL.

    And love your answer for the IWSG question. I always enjoy it when people want to discuss my characters, too. It's so validating.

    Hope the new year treats you well!

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    1. Maybe we should make resolutions that we'd be sure to keep, like I'm gonna eat more junk food and gain another ten pounds...

      And I hope the new year treats you (and all your characters!) well, too.

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  34. Hi Susan - I skipped right over it ... and have just realised I've lost a month of 2019 - but life goes on - Have a fun year with Smarticus and the family - cheers Hilary

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