Writers’ Resolutions for 2017: One Last Look

By Karen Jurgens

How are you doing so far with your New Year’s resolutions? Now that it’s the end of January, take a moment to review your goals and grade your progress. Even if you’ve gone off-course—and who hasn’t—it’s not against the rules to reset rather than completely abandon them.

I’ll confess. In general, I never make resolutions, but as a writer? Always! Here is a list to consider for the next eleven months. (Yes, our first month is almost over, believe it or not!)

Setting Goals for 2017 by Karen Jurgens

Set goals and organize

Since I wear several hats—author, blogger, editor, and occasional reviewer—I must keep a good calendar. I set deadlines, including a reminder one week before their due dates. I’ve read where some writers use color-coding for ease of category recognition, so this year I’ll try different colors for my WIP and editing deadlines. Colors will help with organizing different blogs I write as well as where I guest. I’ll also keep track of marketing in a special notebook.

Writers' Resolutions for 2017 by Karen Jurgens

Time schedules

What does your daily timetable look like? I envy those who have all day to sit at their desks. Not me. My days are too variable since I am a substitute teacher during the week. I keep my iPad handy and write whenever I have free time. In the evenings, I reenergize with dinner and exercise, then hit the keyboard for the rest of the night. My creative energy starts percolating when the house is quiet, so I usually write for four to five hours. Before heading off to bed, I spend a small amount of time checking social media, email, and marketing.

Writers' Resolutions for 2017 by Karen Jurgens

Research and Editing

As bookends for your writing, research comes first, followed by editing. Research is doing good homework that facilitates the flow of thought and gives substance to a topic. Editing is a never-ending process, but there are several helpful choices to consider.

  • On your own? You can buy Grammarly or Auto-Crit to catch common errors and improve sentence structure.
  • Do you crave human interaction? Consider joining an online critique group or local group that meets in your area.

Writers' Resolutions for 2017 by Karen Jurgens

 Grow in the craft

  • Read books that target weaknesses, and work on improving them. As I concentrate on mine, it can become very painful, almost like pulling out a bad tooth. It’s like deleting an imperfect template and installing a correct one in my brain. Awkward at first, but with time and practice, it eventually feels more natural.
  • Online class opportunities are a godsend because they can be tailored to fit into your personal schedule.
  • If possible, try to go to a live writers’ conference once a year. A mini-vacation away from your routine will enrich and nurture your writing soul. I get my best inspiration from being with other writers, exchanging cards and networking. Discussing fears and failures consoles me that I’m not alone. Hearing encouragement and new ways to improve to reach goals pump me up, instilling new drive and purpose. When it’s over, I’m raring to get back to my keyboard.
  • Ready to seek an editor or publisher? Conferences provide the best opportunities to meet professionals who can take you and your manuscript to the next level, whether it’s with a traditional publisher or going the Indie route.

Writers' Resolutions for 2017 by Karen Jurgens

The New Year. A time to step away to reflect, adjust, and reset our lives. A time to set new goals. A time to strive and move forward. May God bless all your 2017 writers’ resolutions with success!

Writing Prompt: 

Kennedy reviewed her list of New Year’s Resolutions and huffed out a sigh. Why did she make such an ambitious list in the first place? It was almost the first of February, and she had messed up. She picked up the paper and carried it to the shredder, but before inserting it, her phone rang. Her best friend’s name flashed on the screen.

Five minutes later, she had finished pouring out her heart to Meredith. “I’m so discouraged. But you always seem to have good luck keeping your resolutions.”

“You’re right, I do keep them. But I have a secret that helps me stay on track.” Meredith sounded mysterious.

“What is it? I’ll try anything.”

“Well, this is what I do. I …”

 

Imagine the Possibilities

By Betty Boyd

happy-new-year-1912680__480

Over the years, I’ve listed various resolutions I would commit to throughout the year. I was determined, no matter what, to do every single one. This is a hard concept to overcome. Yes, I said to myself, defeat is not an option.  I have come to find that I have been wrong to try to do an expansive list of resolutions.

By trying to do every single resolution, I ultimately set myself up for failure. Going forward, I’m going to follow a different path. I am picking a word and a biblical verse I can use as a prayer. Using both will help me to focus in the direction God wants me to go.

My word for this year is Flourish. The Merriam Dictionary defines flourish to grow luxuriantly: thrive. I want to do more than just list a goal; I want to live the life God has planned for me. My mission is to really listen to God rather than go through the motions of goals.

Yes, I know I’ll more than likely not do it all right. However, I will get back up and keep on going. Failure is my learning tool and will help me to grow into a better person.

My biblical verse is:  “Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life”. Philippians 2:14-16.

My goal is to really try the best I can to follow God’s plan. This will help me to flourish and be a light to all.

Happy New Year!

So, what resolutions do you want to achieve?  Imagine the possibilities…

3 Questions Wednesday with Gail Pallotta

portrait-shot-gail-pallottaToday, we welcome my friend, author Gail Pallotta, to 3 Questions Wednesday. She’s published five books, poems, short stories and two-hundred articles and is graciously offering a copy of her latest e-book, Breaking Barriers, in either mobi (kindle), epub (nook) or PDF (winner’s choice) to one person who leaves a comment.

So let’s get to the first question:

What inspires you?

Gail: I find inspiration from many sources for different aspects of life. If I hear a great sermon and beautiful music on Sunday, it inspires me to try harder the next week to do God’s will. Courageous people inspire me to live life to the fullest. Kind people inspire kindness, and so on and so forth. Lots of these same things inspire me to write blogs, articles and books. Sometimes I see a need and write about it. Usually, if I devote a book to a subject, it’s something that nagged me, or I saw the need repeating itself.

Breaking Barriers, the book I’m giving away today, nagged me. It hit me in the face for the first time in the 1960’s, when I read a newspaper headline proclaiming “God Is Dead.” I wrote an article about that and stuffed it in a drawer. However, the shock that anyone would print such an outlandish statement never left me.

Many years later I married and had a daughter. In the 1980’s she started grammar school, was chastised for wearing a cross to school, and told school wasn’t a place for God. Not long afterward, nativity scenes were banned from public places and people stopped saying “Merry Christmas.” One small town, either trying to please everyone, or trying to maintain a semblance of Christianity, declared the courthouse could put out the animals in the nativity as long as they left off Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. Each declaration snipping away a little more of Christianity pierced my heart. I couldn’t help but wonder where all of this was headed. I penned a book about a faction trying to destroy Christianity. Once again I stuffed it in a drawer.

When I learned Joan Bauer Alley would publish a Love Is…Series based on I Corinthians 13: 4 – 8, I wanted to be part of it. I studied the passage and pondered whether or not I could write something worthy of the series. I was led to “it is not easily angered” and imagined how angry some people must be at Christians to have whittled away at our faith for so long. I remembered the writing I’d stuffed in a drawer in the 1980’s, pulled it out and based Breaking Barriers on it.

It’s wonderful that you saved your work. Now…

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Gail: I’d be purple because I think it’s a beautiful color. Some people say they prefer purple because it’s regal, and that’s true. However, I like that it’s a bright, happy color as well as serene and stately.

Purple makes me happy. 🙂 Last question: 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Gail: As a child I loved Nancy Drew books and wanted to be a detective. I traveled many routes to arrive at my dream job, but I’m finally solving who-done-its in my books.

I love the Hardy Boys books! Thanks, Gail, for dropping by…

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered to win. Here’s more information about the book:


Breaking Barriers

breakingbarrierswebsizeIn this action-packed thriller, gunshots ring out as Ann Jones enters church. She hides in the bathroom until they stop then stumbles into the sanctuary. The congregation lies dead in pools of blood. To rebuild the church, she starts True Light Guardians. At the first meeting she’s attacked by a terrorist but rescued by James Crawford. He melts her heart, cold from her father’s abuse, and they fall for each other. She’s afraid to commit to love that might grow angry later like the type she knew as a child. James yearns to stop other attempts on Ann’s life, but can’t. Tormented by her constant risks, he breaks up with her. When an assault sends her to the hospital, an unlikely ally shares Ann’s plight with James, but he reveals a lead that puts all three of them in even more danger.


portrait-shot-gail-pallottaAward-winning author Gail Pallotta is a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her teen book, Stopped Cold, finished fourth in the 16th Annual Preditors and Editors readers’ poll and was a 2013 Grace Awards finalist. She’s published five books, poems, short stories and two-hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. Gail loves to hear from readers.

Gail loves to connect with readers. To learn more about Gail and her books visit her website at http://www.gailpallotta.com and sign up for her new newsletter.

Visit her Amazon author page at amazon.com/author/gailpallotta

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorsandMore

Blog – http://www.gailpallotta.blogspot.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Hopefulwords

The Transformation-Deadline Resolution

By Julie Arduini

butterfly-1518060_960_720Resolutions. Honestly, the word conjures up the image of a few years ago when I tried to find a parking spot the first Monday in January for my YMCA swim class. The lot was full with new members with their resolutions. By the third week, the parking lot was back to the regulars.

It’s probably apples and oranges, but I use the new year to have a theme. It’s often a word, sometimes two, that I am constantly on the lookout to see how it applies to my life. Previous words have been activation, chosen, preposterous, fierce, and perspective. This year?

Transformation.

My problem is I always try to define what the word will mean before the ball drops. I knew going into 2017 I was growing my hair out and using a deeper shade of red hair color. I’m hoping to use contacts and be done with glasses. We will become grandparents this year. But I know as true as these things are, God’s got something more for me with this theme.

As an author, I know I have my work cut out for me no matter how I look at the new year. Resolution or word of the year, I want to improve my craft. Find more dedicated readers who can spread the word about my books. Meet and pray with other women who have been impacted. Already I’ve come across readers who are transforming as they find freedom through surrender in Christ. How do I keep that momentum going? What are ways I can bring goals and transformation to my laptop?

new-years-eve-1941665_960_720

The biggest thing I’ve done is take my *iBloom planner and set some specific deadlines. I realized I didn’t pencil in previous years when a certain chapter should be written, or when I should revise something that was sent back by critique partners. With that kind of vague plan, I can see how I got sidetracked. I had written in goals for other aspects like answering emails and marketing. And before I knew it, those things bled into my writing time.

Will I perfect the process? Probably not. I missed a couple writing goals for one project as I shuffled kids to medical appointments. I need to give myself grace. However, I also need to keep the YMCA emptier-lot-in-late-January visual close in mind. I don’t want to let go of my self-imposed deadlines. The transformation I want to see at the end of 2017 should be a positive one. I really believe creating deadlines for my writing will help me get there.

Do you keep deadlines for yourself? Do you have a difficult time meeting them?

Writing Prompt:  Chelsea had the mall’s gate nearly closed for the tween store called The Jewelry Box when she heard heavy breathing and footsteps coming in her direction. Chelsea turned and saw a woman with a stroller blazing toward her. The stranger stopped short of the gate, panting. “Please, I need your help. Let me inside the store before…”

*The iBloom link is an affiliated one where I receive a small royalty off any purchase.


december2016daycareJulie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—chocolate. She’s the author of the re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.

Connect with Julie on Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Goodreads, and Amazon. Check out her monthly newsletter here.


Entangled: Surrendering the Past

Book #2, Surrendering Time Series

entangledfinal“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”

Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, is a single mom, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives. 

Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla, loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.

Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?

Purchase Link:  Amazon (Kindle and Print):  http://www.amazon.com/Entangled-Surrendering-Past-Time/dp/0692713476/

Entangled is book #2. Although it can standalone, if you’d like to read Entrusted: Surrendering the Present first, click here: https://www.amazon.com/Entrusted-Surrendering-Present-Time/dp/0692709177/

My One Word for 2017: Persevere

By Cynthia Herroncynthia-herron

Welcome!

I’m so glad you stopped by.

Now that another year’s behind us, I’ve reflected on past goals mastered and met, and a few things I didn’t accomplish. I’ve set new goals for the coming year and I’ve realigned priorities.

As I mentioned in my recent newsletter, I rarely (if ever) make New Year’s resolutions, which are too easily broken, forgotten, or made in haste. I opt for “goals” instead.

Goals force us to examine our dreams and desires, usually through a step-by-step process. We might organize a plan to attain our goals and then enlist mentors to keep us focused and on track.

Last year, along with new goals—for the first time ever, I chose one word to ground me and center my thinking. That word was encourage. It fit me. It’s my life philosophy.

This year, as I contemplated my word, the choice seemed obvious. It’s a tough one—a word writers know well.

dont-give-up

My one word for 2017 is PERSEVERE.

As some dreams withered and died, others have been resurrected. Still, this writing journey isn’t easy.

The writing life takes tenacity, focus, and flexibility.

It demands work, self-direction, and wit.

It requires courage.

Balance.

Shoe-leather skin.

Transparency.

Good judgment.

The high road.

A sensitive heart.

An intuitive spirit.

A listening ear.

Drive.

Determination.

Sometimes, tears.

time-1739625_1280

As one year melds into the next, defeat would seem the saner option.

However, I’m a writer.

Sanity is overrated.

And you know what they say about insanity.

However—I would add this caveat.

We persevere until we get it right.

As we learn, grow, and try new things—while testing what works and discarding what doesn’t—while envisioning success.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything…” (James 1:2-4 NIV)


cynthia-herronCynthia Herron writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains.

A hopeless romantic at heart, Cynthia enjoys penning stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances. She has a degree in psychology and a background in social work. She is a member of ACFW, ACFW MozArks, and RWA.

Cynthia is a 2016 ACFW Genesis (Double) Finalist and a 2015 ACFW First Impressions Winner. Her short story Words from the Heart appears in The Story Anthology (Karen Kingsbury/Family Fiction) via Salem Publications, 2014.

Besides writing, Cynthia delights in serving the Lord and spending time with her family and friends. She has a fondness for gingerbread men, miniature teapots, and all things apple. Join her at: http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com/ for weekly encouragement.

3 Questions Wednesday with Randy Tramp

randy-trampToday, we welcome author, Randy Tramp, to 3 Questions Wednesday. He facilitates the Word Weavers critique group I’m a part of and has just released his debut novel, Night to Knight.

So let’s get to the first question:

What inspires you?

Randy: (Jesus is my number one motivation.) When I think of inspiration, I consider what keeps me moving forward. I read and study the works of a lot of very good authors. Dan Walsh is at the top of my list. In life, I use WWJD, but in writing, I use WWDW (What would Dan write?) He was my mentor as I wrote Night to Knight, and his advice still lingers in my mind. I also get inspiration from my Word Weavers group.

Good answer. 🙂 Now…

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Randy: I’ve always liked the color purple. I’ve learned it’s the color of royalty.

 That’s interesting. I’ve also heard it denotes wealth, wisdom, and spirituality.

 Now, last question–

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Randy: I was ten when the U.S. landed a man on the moon. So I wrote NASA asking for a moon rock. They sent me something much better. A whole package of large pictures. I loved it and wanted to be an astronaut.

Nice! Do you still have the pictures? Thanks, Randy for joining us today…

Readers, Randy is offering a copy of his book, Night to Knight, to one blessed reader. Just leave a comment in the comments section below to be entered to win an e-book.

Here’s more information about the book:


Night to Knight

night-to-knightSpecial Forces Mark Steele commands an operation to save two American Missionaries. He’s injured and dismissed from the Special Forces. Not wanting to take a desk job, the Navy discharges him. Mark becomes discouraged until he discovers a new purpose in life—locate and return abducted children to their family. To protect his wife from emotional stress, Mark doesn’t tell her. During one of Mark’s missions, Kaitlyn finds a crumbled paper in the wastebasket next to his desk. She calls the number and hears a female’s voice, then Mark’s voice in the background. “We’re a married couple headed to Phoenix,” Mark says…

Read more about Randy’s book here.


randy-trampRandy Tramp is a freelancer, writing articles for newspapers and magazines. He’s just published his debut novel, Night to Knight.
He served in the Navy for eight years, supervised inmates at a Federal prison for twelve years and ministered as a children’s Pastor for twelve years. During this time, while on a missions trip, he taught African’s about children’s ministry.
His passion is to see families strengthened and relationships restored. He and his wife Kim are parents of eleven children (eight adopted) and five grandchildren, ranging in ages from two to thirty-two.
You can connect with Randy at:

 

Weight a Minute

by Carlton Hughes

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Erma Bombeck, and it resonates deeply with me.

“In two decades I’ve lost a total of 789 pounds. I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.”

scale-403585_1280Yes, I am the person who greets each New Year with the resolution to lose weight. I’ve stuck to those resolutions with varying degrees of success, but I have my work cut out for me this year. The holiday treats were especially tasty and abundant at the end of 2016.

I’ve thought about this weight loss resolution that is so popular in our society and have decided to interpret it differently this year. How about looking at the Biblical weight reference?

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1.runner-802912_1280

That one hits me where I live. As much physical weight as I have to lose, there are many spiritual weights I need to release. Fear? It needs to go. Low self-worth? Out the door. Procrastination? Forget about it.

salad-652503_1280So, as I begin this year eating lettuce, carrots, and protein bars, and pretending to exercise, I will also pray about the spiritual weights and those doubts that so often sneak their way into my mind. I pray that you will do the same.

Writing Prompt: David opened his email, and there it was, staring him in the face—another rejection for his writing. Scrolling through his inbox, he noticed another message, one for a new writing opportunity. He thought for a moment, closed out his email, and . . .