Happy New Year


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Happy New Year

By Nandy Ekle

A new year, but the same goals: lose more weight, exercise my body, organize the house, cook more meals/eat out less, and write more words.

Yes. Write more words. I want to write more words. However, the year started off with lots of activities, lots of overtime at my day job, but not much energy to get it all in. And on top of that, I still have one more Christmas present to finish, several more to wrap, and a quick trip to deliver these gifts to those we haven’t celebrated with yet.

So write more words. I wonder if Stephen King says that every New Year? Write more words. How many words are enough? At this point, if I could just write SOME words that have nothing to do with my day job, I would be ver happy with even that small goal.

So, please accept this as confirmation the annual resolution of WRITE ORE WORDS has been set for this new year.

Let me know your goals for this year in the comments below.

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New Year, New Goals


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

New Year, New Goals

By Nandy Ekle

We are one week into the new year and I am just now getting around to thinking about my goals for this year.

This past year brought a lot of adventure and some frustrations. I struggled with decisions regarding my health, I lived through a wild midnight storm which ravaged my house (in the words of my grandson, “Nana, your house is broke”). Because of this we worked with insurances and contractors to repair the damage, and actually came out ahead with a lot of upgrades. A few family problems, the health issues, and the culmination of that right before the Christmas/New Year holidays. And, of course, Christmas and New Year found us traveling to visit our children and our parents.

Needless to say, my writing has suffered. Oh, that’s a vast understatement. My writing has nearly completely stopped. And that, my dear Word Smith Six followers, is the source of tons of frustration.

So. We are one week into the new year. The time has come to pack all that away in a box and hide it under the bed. The time has come to look ahead and find the inspiration and the voices begging to be converted to words.

And so, beloved followers, I will make this promise. I will write a new original blog each week. I will not allow a Freaky Friday to go by without new words appearing on this blog site.

And the other side of my promise is to write at least 1000 words a day. They might not necessarily be intelligible words, but they will be my words. And according to the experts, this should strike that flame again.

Comment below and tell me about your writing goals for the 2016 year. I am very interested to hear about them.

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NEW YEAR WRITING GOALS


NEW YEAR WRITING GOALS

“The only way you can write is by the light of the bridges burning behind you.”
Richard Peck

 

It’s a New Year for writing goals dear WordsmithSix followers!

As I think about my writing goals for 2016, the above quote from the award winning playwright and children’s author Richard Peck really speaks to me. What it says to me is that writing is more than just a “mind” exercise. We grow and improve each day. Every story we finish and submit, or shove into a desk drawer, is a lesson in grammar, character development, and plot structure. The hardest part is to keep pushing ourselves forward.

The year 2015 was sluggish for me. I’ve got two middle grade novels and a picture book out there that’s not garnering much interest. We’ve put one novel “on the back-burner” as my agent suggested. To keep busy during “the wait”, I’ve been researching and writing nonfiction articles for magazines, submitted work to several anthologies, and posted tons of blogs for various sites. I really kept on task .

Is the purpose of my writing just to keep busy? This isn’t writers block. I’ve got loads of fiction ideas in various stages of completion. What I’m lacking, I’ve decided, is heart. The heart to stay with one writing project, make it the most phenomenal story I can, and see it to the end.

Quality, NOT Quantity.

As I stare at the 2016 goals sheet, I’ve decided to forget about striving for daily word counts and endless list of contests to enter. Instead, I’m considering what are some of my weak points that I can improve upon in the New Year? How can I write the best book of my abilities and then, make it even better?

Who knows if my work will ever be read in 2016, other than by my WordsmithSix critique group? So many things in this business are beyond our control. I want a new project that will remind me of how fulfilling and fun writing can be. Which unwritten book will I come to every morning with excitement? Which story spark can’t be ignored?

Once I have the answers to these questions, that’s the spark I’ll write on the goals sheet. That’s the one I shall pour my heart into.

 What about you? What’s your writing goals for 2016?

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
William Wordsworth 

Wishing you a blessed and productive New Year!

 

ETHICS


ETHICS

by Sharon Stevens

While reading the story about Anne Frank recently I came across mention that she and her sister died and were buried in an unmarked grave. No one knows where her spirit ceased here on this earth. Doesn’t matter to me. I can always read about where she lived and breathed and what brought her joy among the horrific pain of her life.

With so much in the news lately about Don Carthel and WTAMU I have been doing a great deal of soul searching within myself. I know without a doubt that Carthel is facing an injustice of the highest or lowest order according to how you look at it. He is a good, GOOD man as are his players. He was fired not because of his “ethical behavior” but because he represents something the college has to get rid of to hide their own “unethical” pursuits. But that’s my own opinion and I stand strong in those beliefs. And I have the right of the Freedom of speech under the Constitution to express my views. Just as Pattilou Dawkins did about Judge Ted Wood about the cost overruns of the Randall County Jail.

Tonight represents the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. In researching I read where it is celebrated in 2013 from sundown September 4, to nightfall September 6. and that “Though Rosh Hashanah literally means “head of the year”, the holiday actually takes place on the first two days of the Hebrew month of Tishre, which is the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar. This because Rosh Hashanah, one of the first new years in the Jewish year is considered the new year of the people, animals, and legal contracts. In the Jewish oral tradition, Rosh Hashanah makes the completion of the creation of the world…The Mishneh refers to Rosh Hashanah as the “Day of Judgment” and it is believed that God opens the Book of Life on this day and begins to decide who shall live and who shall die.”

Our son-in-law, William Keller is Jewish and he has been so wonderful to share his heritage with our family. And as a chef  we are doubly blessed. I will always remember when he made the sweet bread with honey for us as he told the story behind its meaning. What a true treasure!

As writers we always have to struggle with ethics whether we know it or not. When our stories are written we worry about what will it really convey, who will it inspire, who will it harm? What do we really mean when we write the words and will it come across that way or will it fall flat on its face. Or will it be debated in a court of law if we crossed the line we truly never meant to cross. So many doubts.

When we were out riding with friends of ours Hamblen Drive through Palo Duro Canyon we stopped at the overlook and sat under the awning over the picnic table. I glanced beside me and someone had written in black magic marker in huge letters the word “UNCONDITIONAL”.

This was a message to me that everything I write and everything I do needs to be unconditional. Inside my heart I know I have an ethical compass and that I would never cross the line intentionally. My heart is always burdened with who I will hurt if they take what I say and do the wrong way. I need to spend the rest of my life unconditional, not worrying so much or hiding in the shadows. If something is wrong or unjust I need to follow it through, without question.

Likewise if something is tremendous I need to shout it from the rooftops no matter who is listening.

I came across a book written by Elie Wiesel in 1970. “A Beggar in Jerusalem”. I have never read a more powerful but beautiful book in my life.

“The tale the beggar tells must be told from the beginning. But the beginning has its own tale. Its own secret. That’s how it is, and that’s how it has always been. there is nothing man can do about it. Death itself has no power over the beginning. The beggar who tells you this knows what he is talking about….Meanwhile don’t be afraid to come closer. the beggar will do you no harm, he will cast no spell over you. Do come nearer. Do his eyes disturb you? They are not his, and he doesn’t know it. His lips? They move-yes-as though repeating tales heard or lived a day before, a century before: he no longer remembers. for him, you see, time has no meaning.”

THIS is my celebration of the New Year and how I can celebrate the heritage of ancient traditions. I can do no less. As for Anne Frank, even though she lives in an unmarked grave with her number branded on her arm, I am sure that with “ashes to ashes and dust to dust” the ink is no longer visible, long gone from her body and that of her sister. Now as far as Hitler or his SS, HE will carry HIS stain through eternity. It will never fade. His ethics are burned in HIS soul. Look what good it did for him.

Oh, and my favorite quote about ethics…”Emphasizes the needs of a larger community. What is good for the community is good for the individual by being good for the community.”