Monday, January 7, 2013


"We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives, not looking for flaws, but for potential." --Ellen Goodman

My first visit to the local library in the new year, and what books did I come home with? These two titles jumped out at me and found their way into my take-home pile:

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing a Novel? Poetry for Dummies? I think these spoke to me because they announce there's potential in each writer, no matter what level we're at. Potential is my writing word for the upcoming year. And I'm open to inspiration wherever I can find it!

I'm also revisiting my "target" idea that I've adhered to the last two years, the concentric ring concept of a writer's bulls-eye that I posted about here. It's proved to be such a successful tool for getting more words down on paper than not (increasing from 71% of hitting a target the first year to 79% this past year!) that I'm returning to it in the new year.

My photo-a-day challenge came to a close December 31. In it's place I've set a higher word-count goal as the new year's challenge (so many writing ideas are begging for attention)--and to a more expanded exploration of poetry. The little bit of poetry that I dabbled in last year (especially haiku, talked about here) has inspired me to go a little deeper and see what potential a new writing form carries.

With all of this I've also determined to give myself permission. Permission to find patterns that work for me, a pace that's manageable, and priorities that are balanced.

Permission. Pace. Priorities. A tall order--but one with possibility, promise, potential.

How about you? What books are on the top of your reading pile for the new year? And how do you hope to unlock the potential that is within your grasp?

p.s. a helpful post on the subject of writing routines for the new year and finding a balance can be found over at Elizabeth Spann Craig's Mystery Writing Is Murder where Elizabeth Grace Saunders, author of The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success with Less Stress,  has written a guest post on "More Time to Write in 2013." 


  1. I've seen the Novel one at the library and might pick it up next time I'm there. I'd like to read more books on the craft of writing this year~ last year I think I read one. Good for you for picking up the poetry book~ your posts always feel artistic and poetic in style :)

  2. I have heard about the Idiot's guide and I think I should pick it up.

  3. Love your three P's. I guess I'm way less organized in my thinking and approach (which is weird because I'm a highly organized person) because I simply have the goal of making my new plot idea and the main character that fits in that plot--into a completed story this year. :-)

  4. I'm working on balance, which combines priorities and pace. In December, I worked 40 hrs/week on my writing ... but did not exercise at all. Not good! Currently I've decided to work 4 hrs/day on my writerly tasks, and combine exercise (on the Treadmill) with fiction reading. There's still too much on the plate to consider scrapbooking, due to house remodeling/painting issues and other things, but in time, (I think, hope) I will get there. My scrapbooking room is ready and waiting, and looking so inviting to me.

  5. As always, I love your bulle-eye post. I don't always hit the center, but the other areas are definitely doable.


  6. Wow. You sound so organized. I feel very hit-or-miss, pretty much just writing or reading in every spare minute (of which there are too few).

    I've just found a new "favorite" juvenile author - Gary D. Schmidt. I had read one of his first books and found it just okay. But recently, I read The Wednesday Wars, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, and Okay for Now - all of them excellent! Someone just gave me a book today - Splintered by A.G. Howard. It's a fantasy, which I generally love, so I'm looking forward to reading it.

  7. Thanks, friends, for stopping by :-)

    Jess--I've read any number of books about the craft of writing--this year I'm looking for inspiration to get me to actually do the writing. I think the Idiot's Guide will be just the thing I need!

    Rachna--if you do pick up the Guide, I'd be interested in hearing how it inspires you...

    Barbara--Sounds like you're well on your way with a plot idea and MC already percolating in your mind. Good luck in bringing your story to life this year!

    Cathy--Balance is tricky, that's for sure. But maybe all those writing hours in December helped bring you along in your story to the point where you can step away a bit each day and do all those other things, too. Especially exercise and scrapbooking. Good luck in finding time for it all. I'm hoping to organize photo albums myself :-)

    Debbie--I still remember how you guest-posted my piece on targets last year on your blog. Thanks again, and glad you found it helpful.

    Peggy--Thanks for the tip on "new favorite" authors--gotta' check them out on my next library trip!

  8. Ah, lots to think about! All good stuff. :) I have several books awaiting my attention including one for review on publishing and promoting. Looking forward to learning new things.