Resolved to The Year of the Squirrel


Artwork by Gary Medley (FIL)


It’s that time of year again where I think big thoughts, make new plans and the year ahead is filled with possibilities. I blame the eleven days of Christmas break for all that.  Being off work somehow makes me dream unrealistic dreams and think I can accomplish far more than is actually humanly possible.

I’ll realize that by January 4.

But until then, here’s my plan for 2017: The Year of the Squirrel.

More on that later.

Last year ended on a down note, with my mom passing away Nov. 10, and my book sales are all but nonexistent. Seriously, I’m making around $150 a month on seven books. It all seems like way too much work for very little reward. I made half the total income last year that I did the year before (which was the all-time high at a whopping $7K).

I’ve been trying to psych myself back up and get back into the groove. I ran some ads (spent $100) to try to respark interest and revenue, but all it really accomplished was brief stint at Amazon #1 FREE and then four new reviews. I even wrote a couple thousand words, but it’s just not happening. The motivation is gone.

I’m not saying I’m quitting writing completely. I am saying I’m going to let it slide and pick it up as I feel like it. I’m sure at least a dozen people in the world will be sad about that, but it is what it is. Ultimately, I’m the only one putting pressure on myself to make it happen. I’ve given it a good go. I’ve pushed hard for the past five and a half years but gained very little financial traction. I’ve proven I’m not a one-book-wonder and now…I’m moving on.

The beginning of a new year seems like a good time to do that. A clean break.

It’s harder than you’d think to wind down, however. Trust me. I’ve tried quitting before. Ideas don’t stop coming and characters don’t stop talking. Once Pandora’s box is opened, it won’t be closed again. I’m going to keep collecting those ideas and conversations and one day–in the future–I’ll give them the attention they deserve. I also have a few events to attend. Fun events like VisionCon in February and Ozarks Indie Book Fest next October.

Until then, I’m going to participate in the Year of the Squirrel. No, the Year of the Squirrel is not one of the Chinese Zodiac signs (I checked). Nor is it an actual thing. It’s my thing. The Year of the Squirrel will be my chance to follow all the little interests and passions that speak to me this year along with the things I must/need to do. Believe me, there are plenty of need-to-do things. Cleaning out Mom’s house is one of the biggest ones right now.

The things I’m passionate about at the moment include: crocheting, FitBit walking, reading and watching the Gilmore Girls. I think that’s a pretty good start.

There is however, actually a Squirrel Appreciation Day if you’re so inclined to participate. For real, it’s Saturday, January 21 this year. Plan accordingly.

One big goal this year is to get back into shape. Last November, I was in a good place and ten pounds from my goal weight. Right now I’m two pounds above my highest weight ever. I have some work to do.

The biggest fun thing on the horizon for 2017 as far as personal entertainment that I’m looking forward to is the Supernatural Convention in Chicago in July. Bryon and Grace gave me that AMAZING gift for Christmas. I still can’t believe it! Front row, baby! And I get to ride the Amtrack there. Bryon and Grace are going to meet me there after the con is over, and then we’ll have a family vacation in the Windy City.

It’s going to be a looooong time until July.

The good news is I have plenty of time to catch up on my review of the eleven seasons of Supernatural before I go. I’ll have a Masters in Supernatural by that time.

As is my way, I’ve started my Year of the Squirrel List so I can store a few of theses nuggets away for later. It will definintely be a work in progress this year.

Year of the Squirrel List

  1. Crochet all the things
  2. Read all the books
  3. Walk 10k+ steps every day
  4. Finish all seasons of The Gilmore Girls (I’m on S3)
  5. Rewatch all 11 seasons of Supernatural
  6. Reacquaint myself with our garden, wait…which way is it?
  7. Read my magazines the day they arrive
  8. Reorganize my recipe boxes
  9. Clean out and reorganize the bath/medicine cabinets
  10. Donate more clothes out of my closet
  11. Empty Mom’s house of contents and sell them
  12. Read, file or delete all the SAVED articles on Facebook I’ve collected
  13. Surf way too much Pinerest
  14. Can and preserve the garden bounty
  15. Make good food
  16. Eat good food

That’s a good beginning, I think.

I’m sure there will be much more to add during the year because…SQUIRREL!

What does your 2017 look like from here? Do you make resolutions?





January Resolutions

I had a long list of resolutions that I was considering for this year. I’ve decided to simplify them and just concentrate on one or two each month. This month’s area of focus will be WALKING and WRITING. I signed up for JANOWRIMO which is the local version of NANOWRIMO. Basically to write a novel in a month or 50,000 words.

Most people start from scratch and write, write, write without editing until they hit the 50,000 word goal to ‘win’. Some work on ‘works in progress’. I’m going the WIP route as well as the blogging route to shoot for my word count. My real goal is 18, 591 on my novel because THAT will put me exactly where I need to be.

I’m going to need to write at least SOME on it every day this month to achieve that. No easy task! Time is the enemy of ambition. At least it is for me.

I am excited to meet some new people next Saturday at the Write In at the Springfield Creamery which will give me eight uninterupted hours of writing and smoozing with other writers. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

I’ve put a word counter at the top of my blog to try to keep track of the writing (all forms) I accomplish this month.

Here we go!

Blogging in 2012

A blog is like a garden that you need to tend. If you don’t water it, if you let the weeds grow up, if you just plant the seeds and then forget about it: nothing will grow there. Or if something does manage to grow, it won’t be what you expected.

Here is my blog book for 2011. I ordered it a little early because there was a sale, so it goes from Jan. 1- Nov. 30, 2011. Next year’s book will start Dec. 1. It goes against my sense of organization and completion but totally agrees with my sense of a good deal being had.  I felt like I blogged a lot in 2011.

I have been blogging since June of 2007. The first year I had only 49 posts. In 2008 I had 113 posts, 2009 115 posts and in 2010 I had 79 posts. 2010 was a long eventful but ultimately unbloggable year with all that was going on with Bryon’s job. This year has been awesome. If I hadn’t blogged so much in October though, I wouldn’t have had very many posts. For 2011 I’m at 87 posts so far. I’ll get a few more in before the time ticks down.

This year I’m going to really concentrate on my blog. I know a few of you guys out there read it every time I post. I think that’s cool. It’s very personally satisfying to see those page views increase. Since the month of October when I blogged every day, my monthly page views have gone from 200-300 in a month to 800 in the past 30 days.

That is AWESOME!

I’m not saying I’m some robed sage to be followed. I’ll just be continuing on as usual, telling you stories about life in the Big Cedars, my family, preserving some of the stories about Bryon and my childhoods, our courtship, and our marriage for Grace and writing about the various and sundry other things that strike my fancy.

Things like writing. I’m still working on my novel. I started it in August so I don’t feel like it’s too stale yet or has been worked on a ridiculously long time and should be shoved into a drawer and forgotten. I’m still interested in it and still excited about it. I just need many, many more hours in the day to be able to work on it. I can’t really accomplish much in fits and starts. I am looking forward to another Write-In day January 7 at the Creamery with the writing group (Ozark Romance Authors – ORA).

Maybe I can squeeze in a few more hours/days/minutes before then. At this point at least I don’t have to reread the entire thing before I feel like I can sit down to work on it again. Those characters are like cousins I don’t see very much but still remember what they’ve done during holiday dinners past. I at least know their story now.

Blogging is not as difficult as writing a novel but it still takes time in between cooking dinner, washing clothes, tending to kids, husband, animals, plants, sleep, reading … you know how it is. You are doing the same things. I’m not promising a post a day because that will suck the joy out of it if it becomes a chore. I am promising I’ll make an effort to post MORE.

I’ve been collecting a list of topics in my notes app on my new iPhone. Siri has been helping me … when she isn’t on crack that is and spewing forth nonsense.

Here’s what I have (in no particular order) coming up in the next few posts to pique your interest…

A Walk In The Woods
Gift Giving
Coolest Apps in the Universe
Needless: How to be not so needy
Serial Killer: Why series books and shows turn me on
Product Loyalty
What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?
Picky Eater
Amusement Parks & Memories of Vacations Past
Getting Religion
Old Timey Ways
Resolutions for 2012 – 12 Months of Projects
Oldies But Goodies

I’ll keep working on more as they come to me.

For now, thanks for reading. You’re swell.

And if you haven’t subscribed by email, you should do it. Just fill in your email address at the top of the blog and you’ll get my posts emailed to you. They also update on my Facebook page. Friend me and you’ll never miss an episode. I can’t promise there won’t be any reruns though. I am my Mother’s daughter. I have to search my own blog sometimes to make sure I’m not repeating myself 🙂

Life is Good in Big Cedars.