A Month of New Beginnings

Beginnings seemed like such an easy jumping-off point for a blog post. I was all like, “I’ll whip that right up” and then … nothing. It’s like someone stole my brain this month. Because my brain is unaccounted for, I’m going to make a list of all my new beginnings this month. Maybe I’ll arrive at a higher truth from examining my January calendar.

The ladder the hedgehog is climbing is probably the only higher truth I’ll find. You’ll probably notice that my calendar has no entries. I just found it today, January 22nd. It was lost under some mail. Somehow, I made it until now with notes to myself on paper scraps.


Here are my beginnings, in no order of importance. Who knows what’s going to be important in the end anyway?

1. On Friday, we inaugurated a new president. On Saturday, I marched along with hundreds of thousands of others around the world. That’s a crash-bang beginning, if I’ve ever seen one.


2. My biz partner, Cristina, and I are still in the first year of our new editorial services business, which I love. In January, we read more manuscripts than I ever could have imagined, which is exciting.

3. I started going to the gym again for the first time since my baby was born. He’s almost three, so it’s about time. The YMCA has two hours of free daycare every day. I will be abusing these services to complete the YA mystery I started last fall or edit. Of interest to mystery fans, I attend the same gym as William Kent Krueger. (I should put that in my bio!) We also write at the same coffee shops. Today, I took my kids out for ice cream after school and there he was. He didn’t even look up from Cork O’Connor (I assume) while they squabbled. And no, I’m not stalking him. We just do all of the same things apparently. I mean, that’s what all writers do–find space to write and then try to make up for all those of hours of sitting with twenty minutes on an elliptical machine. Incidentally, I’m listening to Season 2 of Serial on the elliptical. Every time I listen to an episode, I think I should add more complications and nuance to my plots. Plot complications that grow organically from character are so satisfying–so much harder to resolve, though, as season 1 of Serial proved.

4. I started a new revision of my own manuscript. I hope to be done with this draft in a month. (I said that last month, too, but I’m on track this time, hopefully.)

5. Unfortunately, 2-4 have pretty much killed my reading time. My TBR pile is the same as it was in October. I bought all the books I want to read for my family as Christmas presents. My dad has a copy of Joe Ide’s I.Q. I hope to steal over spring break or some lazy weekend this summer.

Blog posts are supposed to be about 500 words, so I’ll stop cataloguing my beginnings here. No higher truths yet, but there you have it. How is January shaping up for you writing and reading-wise?


9 thoughts on “A Month of New Beginnings”

  1. I didn’t know you had an editorial services business. How cool!

    My writing is okay. I finished what was supposed to be a short story, except Draft Zero came out slightly (5,000 words?) longer than what it should be if I intend to submit it anywhere. But that’s what revision is for, right?

    Speaking of revision I’m going back to that very first Laurel Highlands book (the one that I’ve been submitting) and (gulp) giving it to my critique group to shred and possibly to some heavy revision. I wrote it before I joined this group, so I’ll be interested — and not a little nervous — to hear their thoughts. All this in preparation for the next step, whatever that step may be.


  2. You made me laugh and spill my coffee, so thanks for that! Januarys are always a bit sluggish for me, too, and my TBR pile keeps getting hijacked by other books my book clubs think I should be reading.


  3. I forgot to mention reading. I’m doing the Goodreads challenge for 2017. Aiming for 50 books. Last time I checked I was two books ahead of schedule so I guess that’s a good thing, right? 🙂


  4. I marched as well, my first time ever. Echoing Liz, I didn’t know you had an editorial business either! Way to go!

    Writing: My manuscript is printed and on my kitchen table for another read through after several revisions. It goes to my editor by mid-February.

    Reading: Thanks to you, I just ordered Joe Ide’s I.Q. Which made me feel good because last night I shelved a book after getting to Chapter 5 as a DNF.


  5. Liz, 5k is nothing! Congrats on finishing Draft 0! Good luck with the Laurel Highlands shred, too.

    Sue, I’m so glad I made you spill your coffee. 😉 Hope you weren’t at work in a white shirt!

    Kimberly, Seriously–you’re my hero! You finished Solitary Boys. I feel so far off finishing my ms right now!

    Peg, good luck with the read-through tonight!


  6. Well, I found two books that I had ordered in piles at the office. I thought they were toner so hadn’t opened them. One of them is Catriona McPherson’s Reek of Red Herrings. Started it last night! What a delicious voice! I counted the number of words in the first sentence. I forget now but the number was well over 50. In your eye, editors! (Not you, Sam.) One day, I’ll publish a book with a paragraph-length sentence and the publisher and editors will all say to me “Of course, Ms. Powell. Whatever you want, Ms. Powell.” I have vowed to take off 6 more lbs before Malice. Not undoable. Oh, for the march, I shoveled my driveway instead. Twice. I got a foot of snow that day. Keep up the good work!


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