As I mentioned back in my New Year’s post, my watchword for 2017 is Joy. Now that January is over, it seems like a good time for a check-in to see how just how that’s been working out so far.
“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.” ~ J.K. Rowling
January was a good month for new stories. Maddie and Dan from my holiday Mistletoe Reboot story got another installment in their “is it over or not relationship”; Jack and his brother Nick were featured in my January Short story; and Katie and Grant made their way around London on a team-building treasure hunt in last Friday’s Random Word Improv. Even better, as far as meeting some longer-term goals, Cassie and Nicolai traveled along with me on this week’s business trip and are slowly inching their way through Act 2. All of that is definitely “joy” inducing.
“Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.”
A glance at recent news headlines will show that life is just as uncertain, or maybe even more so than it was in early January. On the plus side, it has been very helpful in keeping me focused on right now rather than lamenting over stories that fizzled out before they hit the page or focusing on hitting that New York Times best-seller list in the future (which, as Jilly pointed out here, probably no longer exists). One result of all this uncertainty has been a new interest in politics – something had not previously had a priority spot on my to-do list. Different times call for different behavior. While I used to watch the news only for the sports and weather, I’ve now got the New York Times on my iPad and a yearly subscription. The morning briefing hits my email box each day and I actually read it first thing every morning.
Anyone who knows me on Facebook will have seen an uptick of current-event focused posts, and my local representatives have been the beneficiaries (I’m sure they view it that way) of calls. Although all this action is politically based, there is a story-telling aspect as well. Making opinions heard and winning over hearts and minds takes compelling stories just as much (or more so) than compelling facts. The conference I am at right now is focused on how to do just that, and the things I’m learning apply to all story-telling, whether it’s fictionally or politically based. That’s an additional hit of “joy” right there.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ~ Maya Angelou
Part of my plan for joy this year involves branching out into new terrain. I guess you could say my focus on politics fits that requirement, though that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. Fortunately, I’ve been doing a few other things in that area. I’m working on building my website, though the layout and graphics and whatnot are taking forever (note to self: pick up a copy of Websites for Dummies). I’ve also been spending some quality time with my camera, including today while on a break at my conference that is being held on a university campus with a wonderful sculpture garden (more on that in Friday’s post). I’m going to give this a “B” grade on the “joy” scale for now – good, but I can do better here.
“The more you read, the more things you know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~ Dr. Seuss.
Some of my favorite moments of joy this past month were courtesy of Loretta Chase. I have finally taken aim at my TBR pile and her Vixen in Velvet and Gentlemen Prefer Blonds were at the top of the stack. Both reminded me of the joy that got me started writing in the first place and motivated me to keep trying.
Okay, that’s enough about me. How have your New Year plans been working out for you so far? Any successes or challenges you’d like to share?