Thursday, December 25, 2014

Looking back and forward to 2015 with ROW80

Walt Whitman (about 50)
from Wikipedia
When I was in my twenties, I was charmed by Walt Whitman. His courage, his deceptively simple poetry. His uncompromising commitment to saying what he thought and the beautiful rhythms of his free verse. And for the new year, this quote: "Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me." - Walt Whitman 

I've been thinking how to prepare for the coming year as I confront also being another year older, yet still enchanted by Whitman's advice to "take to the open road." Yet now I remember T. S. Eliott's lovely lines: "I grow old . . . I grow old . . .  / I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers unrolled." Another hint at less conventionality.

Being a participant in A Round of Words in 80 Days helps me visualize goals and focus throughout the year on achieving those measurable and accountable goals -- with that not-always-so-easy-to-achieve twice weekly check-in. 

But I liked this quote as well: "Make New Year's goals. Dig within and discover what you would like to have happen in your life. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you're interested in fully living life in the year to come." -- Melody Beattie.

2014 was a grand year: Both Standing Stones (January 2014) and Years of Stone (June 2014) were self-published, to thoughtful reviews, following three years of work. The third book, Rivers of Stone, is well into draft stage at roughly 85,000 words. I've done reasonably well with marketing, blogging, and participating in several communities of writers. I did love connecting with readers and finding out what they thought of my stories.

I could stop researching, writing, and revising (and marketing), for this is hard work. Family, grandchildren, travels, and quilting all offer opportunities to do what I love. But my writing is an anchor, whether poetry or fiction. I'm grateful for these early mornings when all seems new, the page is blank, and I can write.

Looking ahead to 2015: My goals are simple.
1. Complete Rivers of Stone and publish by January 2016.
2. Continue participating in ROW80, Wednesday WIPpet, NOVELS-L and my face-to-face writer's group, as well as Spokane Authors.
3. Blog to share ideas about writing, traveling and progress here for ROW80.
4. Devise a marketing plan for Rivers of Stone and persevere.
5. Maybe work on a poetry book. Maybe edit Mothers Don't Die.

And otherwise continue to cherish each day with my loved ones, family and friends, work on de-cluttering online and off, and continue to respect that sometimes hard to define boundary that we honor when we say "No" at least as often as we say "Yes!" 

Granddaughter Leda (June 2014)
This online community of ROW80 (A Round of Words in 80 Days) remains a wonderful process of setting measurable goals and checking in to report progress. Why not join in? Or check out how other ROW80 writers see the end of the year (see links below). 

May 2015 bring you joy and writerly success!


  1. What a year you've had, Beth! And i love your plan for the coming year. I'm still feeling out my goals, whiel enjoying more family time, more reading, more relaxing,

    May your 2015 be deeply joyful and deeply fulfilling!

    1. Thank you, Shan. Enjoy this respite until 2015. Just now it's snowing outside, fully winter here, but the New Year beckons with promise. May it be so for you!

  2. Loved the quotes. I remember reading "Song of Myself" and just falling in love with it--both the rhythm and the message. Beautiful stuff. I too like the structure that ROW80 provides and the supportive community we get to be a part of. It makes a solitary career more social and encourages us to set and stick to measurable goals for our writing.

    Best of luck in the year ahead!


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