Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My 10 'determinations' for the year

Happy New Year  - rather belatedly.

 But then everything has been rather belated recently. What with Christmas and New Year  - which were preceded by an unexpected and unwanted stay in hospital  - convalescence  that took longer than I expected – then a family birthday – and revisions on the latest book . . .  everything has  become chaotic and  disorganised  as a result.  I’ve only just managed to catch up on anything (not quite everything yet!)

Anyone who’s read my posts at this time of year regularly knows I’m not a fan of New Year ‘resolutions’. I don’t like the thought that we’re telling ourselves that what we are is not good enough. That  we need a whole ‘new me’  and to reject the person whose got us this far in life. So my DH and I had one resolve – no resolutions.  

But we did have a talk about the way we’d like the year to go  and  the things we’d like to include in our 2016 as it unfolds. I found that I was on the same lines of thinking as another writer when I read in the Sunday papers of her determination to have  small positive  steps of happiness. I can go along with that.

So here are my happiness steps for 2016

1.     1,  Spending more time with family and friends. The loss of one very dear friend two years ago taught me that we need to hold on to the people we value in our lives – they’re not always here for ever.

2.   2    Work will never love you back – see #1 to reinforce this. Another book – or two – is an achievement I’d like to enjoy  but not at the expense of people I love.

3.  3.     Getting out and about  into nature if possible helps boost my mood – and goes some way towards dealing with the curse of writers’ bottom. (I went someway towards dealing with these 3 points at the weekend when the Babe Magnet and I spent the weekend with our son and his fiancée and the new member of the family – the ‘grand-dog’  Lola a 17 week old golden retriever. Taking her out for a l
Lola on the beach
ong walk on a blustery, rainy beach ticked off all those 3 points in one!)

4.   4    Writing etc keeps my mind open and busy – but I love to challenge it in  other ways. So the Babe Magnet and I want to keep up our Saturday morning coffee shop and cryptic crossword dates! We have a record to keep up – with almost 3  years undefeated  completing it now.

5.   5    Reading – I’ve not read as much or as widely as I would like for a time. Writing tends to get in the way of reading. And I want to read different things. The unexpected time in hospital might have been unwanted but it made sure I had time to focus just on the book I was reading and nothing else. So I realised how much more reading I got through if I found the time.

6.  6     I’m going to put this in as a separate point though really it’s part of #5 Reading again – but I want to find new authors I can try and  maybe fall in love with. This will also mean that I can hope to reduce my TBR piles  ( the one by my bed and in my office ) – and my TBR library (the one on my Kindle.)  So far this year  I’ve read  the new to me Kate Mosse The Taxidermist’s Daughter  and the psychological thriller Only We Know by Karen  Perry whose The Boy That Never Was, was one of my favourite reads of 2015.

7.  7     Teaching – courses and workshops.  I love meeting new writers  - and past students who have become real friends  after coming on one of my courses so I want to keep teaching as much as I can. But I need to keep a balance so that  teaching doesn’t take over from my writing. But the courses I run for Writers’ Holiday and Relax and Write boost my ideas and the discussions and retreats revive
my interest in writing too. My 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance is still helping would-be writers and they keep sending messages to let me know how much they've learned from it. That makes me happy when I can reach the writers who can't get to my classes.

8.       8.Theatre – 3 years ago my DH and I resolved  to see as much live theatre as  we could fit in and we’ve kept to that.  The last trip was to Nottingham to see a production of Mack and Mabel and we’ve mixed classic plays with musicals, London productions with local theatre and provincial tours. Now I have the fun of studying the new theatre programmes for 2016 and planning where we’re going

9.     9.Food – no I’m not talking about diets or restrictions or clean eating or  paleo or whatever is the latest  wonder plan. Just to keep on enjoying what I eat  - but making sure it’s ‘real food’. Luckily I don’t suffer with a sweet tooth and I’m really happy with lots of veggies – so this will be no hardship.
110.   Looking after me. This includes several of the points above – food, exercise (I can’t wait to walk Lola again) but also those little pampering treats that we can often forget. I was shocked to realise that some on the perfume I was given last year was still unopened, the same with a lovely body lotion that was a birthday gift.  My husband’s grandmother once had a chest of drawers filled with things that she ‘kept for best’.  I’m not going to head that way.  So – the best time to use these treats is now.  Because as that saying goes :
Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present

And -  I know I said my 10 points but here’s the last and perhaps most important one – to value the present and everything it brings. I’m still not making resolutions to make myself ‘better’ some time in the future.

What are your plans and hopes and reams for this coming year?  I don't think you need to list losing ten pounds or running every day - I think you're fine as you are!

My most recent book is Destined For The Desert King  - out in Harlequin Presents in December.  I'm busy finishing the revisions on the latest novel
where my brooding Spanish hero meets up again with Rose  the girl who knocked his life off balance ten years ago,

And I'm thrilled to be able to say that my other 2015 title,  Olivero's Outrageous Proposal has been re released in the Mills & Boon collection The Best of 2015.  That's a way to start my new year off just right!

If you want to read all my latest news then visit my web site here   and there's my blog too (when I get caught up and organised!) That's here 


Helen said...

Hi Kate

They are all great ideas and I agree I don't make resolutions either but I have decided that I need to lose weight and start to get a bit fitter if I want to keep up with my grandchildren and I am on track it will be a long haul but I am being positive :)
I also want to find more time to read because it is such a joy to read the wonderful stories I love losing myself in a story that helps me travel the world

Have Fun

dstoutholcomb said...

love that you called them "happiness steps"


Kate Walker said...

Hi Helen - thank you. As you know, I don't make resolutions - but getting fitter and losing some pounds so as to keep up with your grandchildren is great - a real 'happiness' step to me. I only have the 'grand-dog' to keep up with but she's pretty energetic!
And reading . . . ah well, I could do with more and more of that! (But I have to write stories for others to read too!)

Kate Walker said...

Hello Denise and Happy new Year. Thank you. I definitely feel better about 'happiness steps' than about 'new year new me' plans