Calendar year 2016 draws to its conclusion in a few days. Time to consider New Year's Resolutions, an honored tradition and torment to millions. Let me assure you, it is normal to fail at resolutions.
Three New Year's Resolutions facts gleaned from: New Years Resolution Statistics at Statistic Brain.
1) Nearly half of Americans usually make resolutions.
2) Only 8% are successful in achieving their resolutions.
3) Resolutions most typically involve weight, relationships, self-improvement/education, and money.
One author warns he "can show you a holiday road to hell paved with New Year's intentions." In a U.S. World and News Report, Joseph Luciani writes:
Come the first of January, the hoards of enthusiastic resolutions-ers account for the swelling number of gym, yoga and Pilates memberships as the diet books fly off the book store shelves. By the second week of February, some 80 percent of those resolution-ers are back home with a new kind of remorse staring back at them in the mirror – the remorse of disappointment. Why is it that with such good intentions, getting fit, losing weight and improving our lives seems so elusive?
Don't despair. Both authors agree that the key to successful resolutions is changing your mind first. Mr. Luciani says, "It's not the gym, Pilates class or diet that will change you – it's your mind." An article by Ray Williams in Psychology Today discusses ways to succeed at making and keeping resolutions. He agrees with Luciani that "making resolutions work involves changing behaviors—and in order to change a behavior, you have to change your thinking."
Considering the abysmal failure rate for New Year Resolutions, why even bother? Here's my theory. People who make resolutions are optimists. We reach the end of the year having failed to achieve what we thought would be an effortless slam dunk. The beginning of a new year offers the opportunity to try again to improve ourselves.
Here's my fiction writing resolution secret: I track my writing time on an Excel spreadsheet by month. On each month-page, I list my goals - my new years resolutions if you will. At least once a month, I meet a goal, if not mutiple goals. I feel much more a success, and less a failure. I'm motivated to continue trying.
I've already decided on a few resolutions. Last year I aspired to write two short stories, and did accomplish my goal with two weeks to spare. I'll try that again in 2017. I resolved to write 40 hours a month. I frequently fell short of that goal, although I did hit it four months, and came close a few others. I'll set a more realistic goal of 30 hours writing time a month in 2017.
I also want to draft a new Rock Shop Mystery, a standalone mystery, and a fantasy that's been on my mind for years. Drafting three novels in one year when I have a full time day job may be a bit ridiculous. So I'll balance that with an achievable goal to read one short story a week.
My recommendation to you is to set one ridiculous goal, such as my resolution to write three novels in a year. Maybe a bucket list item. Something wildly lofty that will stretch your imagination and abilities. Do try to achieve the goal, but don't beat yourself up if you fall short. Then balance it with an acheivable goal.
I wish you a fantastic 2016 filled with adventures of the happiest kind!
December 23rd - this Friday - Stone Cold Blooded will appear on author Joan Reeves' website SlingWords, in her Last Minute Gifts feature. Looking for a Hanukkah or Christmas gift, or need something to read while on holiday break? Check out Last Minute Gifts!
Find the event here.
Stone Cold Blooded is in slot #16, nestled amongst some steamy romances. While there is a touch of romance in book three of my Rock Shop Mystery series, it is definitely light in that department, and heavy on mystery. I am thrilled to be included in New York Times bestseller author Joan Reeves' popular blog.
Now to a tale about a dinosaur tail.
My coworker Dave, scientist and farmer, told me about this amazing dinosaur find. On the National Geographic website, the discovery is described:
"The tail of a 99-million-year-old dinosaur, including bones, soft tissue, and even feathers, has been found preserved in amber, according to a report published today in the journal Current Biology."
You have to see the amazing photos!
Of course, our discussion had to include specualtion about whether scientists would be able to extract DNA from the tail, enabling the cloning of a dinosaur Jurassic Park-style. Time will tell!
Speaking of time, I can't believe how fast this year has flown by. 2016 brought heartache, with the passing of my husband's sweet mother. There were good times, too. We're hopeful 2017 will be more settled. Calm. Peaceful.
Thinking about New Year's resolutions? So am I. I'll talk about that next week.
It's not winter yet! Although our recent weather would convince you otherwise. We suffered through a stretch of bitter cold days. I would rather have snow than cold, which may sound odd unless you live in a part of the country where it doesn't snow much when the temperatures are ridiculously low.
I walk on my lunch break at work, weather permitting. It didn't last week. I finally took a walk Monday in gloriously warm mid-40s temps. The sun was shining, and life was good. Which helped my attitude a lot. This was one of those Mondays where you step into the office and ask, "Here again already? What happened to the weekend?" My husband and I did get a lot done. Unfortunately, not much in the kick back and relax realm.
Saturday I appeared on the award winning reading blog Dru's Book Musings, on the fun feature, "A Day in the Life." Secondary character cowgirl Lorina Dimple gives her unique perspective on the events that kick off Book Three in my Rock Shop Mystery series. Here's the link to the blog post. One lucky reader, Mary, won a copy of Stone Cold Blooded, which I'll mail today.
Also on Saturday, we saw our eldest granddaughter in her first stage play. She was cast in the role of the Big Bad Wolf in A Fairly Odd Tale. Our granddaughter has caught the family acting bug. My great greandmother performed in a Wild West-style travelling show with her family. The acting talent has hit someone in every generation since. It was amazing to see our granddaughter bloom as she seems to have found her niche.
I did not catch the acting bug, although my husband has accused me of excessive drama from time to time. I prefer writing fiction. I recently finished a novel that is not in my Rock Shop Mystery series. I'll be sending it to my Beta readers soon. I am also polishing a short story. One of my 2016 goals was to complete two short stories. I am nearly done with story two.
Goals for 2017? I haven't determined those quite yet, but Book Four in the rock shop series may be on the agenda, along with more short stories, and drafting a stand-alone novel.
I hope you have accomplished some of your goals for this year. And enjoy these final days of autumn, even if it's feeling more like winter already!
After a five-year absence, I decided to join Facebook again. Less than twenty-four hours later, I already regretted my decision.
I left Facebook for a variety of reasons. My decision to come back was largely because I was learning vital information about relatives via the family members who are on Facebook. The same goes for my writing friends and religious community. I wanted first hand access to the events in the lives of my peeps ("friends and associates", for you peeps not up on the latest slang terminology).
Now here is my issue. The Facebook Firehose. Let me explain.
So much for a gentle and friendly reunion with friends, family, and the writing community. The fire hose had been turned on, and I felt a wee bit assaulted with opinion overload.
I have firmly held political and religious beliefs. I arrived at these beliefs through a lifetime of observation, participation, and examination, not because of a Facebook post. So tell me about Fluffy’s trip to the groomer, your child’s first steps, a new job, or the beautiful fall colors, but save your political and religious haranguing for some other forum.
I was about to exit Facebook once again, and permanently this time, when my friend Julie sent a cat video. I replayed the video, laughing uproariously each time, until my husband threatened to take my phone away. Then Donna sent a hilarious Roombah story. Despite the annoyances, I'll give Facebook another chance. If only for the cute baby donkey picures, funny animal videos, and opportunity to reconnect with old friends and distant relatives.
In conclusion, you can now find me on Facebook under Cathy Dilts. My profile picture is of me and the hubby in our hunter’s blaze orange. Oh, and my dead cat Tyger’s page is still active, although she passed from this world in 2010. A reminder to us all that what you say and do on Facebook may well survive long after you.
Professional ergonomist Mary Plehal gave me the information to create a series of articles for the Pikes Peak Writers blog on Ergonomics for Writers. Part 3 focuses on stretching to prevent injury and alleviate aches and pains.
Join me at Writing from the Peak to learn the importance of stretching!
This Saturday, I will appear on the award winning reading blog Dru's Book Musings. I am showcasing a secondary character on Dru's fun feature, "A Day in the Life." Cowgirl Lorina Dimple gives her take on the events that kick off Book Three in my Rock Shop Mystery series. I will send the link to the article when it goes live.
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