Saturday, December 31, 2016

Endings and Beginnings

 According to ancient Roman myth, Janus is the god of beginnings, passages, gates, transitions, and endings. It seems appropriate that we think of him today as we end one year and transition to another tomorrow. 

Janus is usually represented by a two-faced figure, one looking back and the other looking ahead. For the past week, television and newspapers headlined what happened in 2016. Was it a good year, a bad one, or a mixed bag? Like most years, it depends on what happened to you personally. 

For me, 2016 was a mixed bag. It started out fabulously. My husband and I spent six weeks in Arizona, visiting our son and his family. When we arrived, our newest granddaughter had mastered rolling over and didn’t need to learn how to crawl. Toys that weren’t close were easily reached by rolling and belly-scooching. Her mom decided to give her more room and put toys farther out of reach. To no one’s surprise, Baby Girl learned to crawl. And we were there to witness that milestone. (Later in the year, while visiting our house, she took her first steps alone. Another major event we got to witness.) Considering we live over 2,000 miles away, we were thrilled. Pictures and videos are wonderful but not as exciting as being there.

My writing career stumbled along in 2016. With three partially-finished manuscripts, I couldn’t settle on which one to finish. Each of them seemed overwhelming. When I have a task that’s overwhelming, I freeze. Instead of breaking it into manageable parts, I procrastinate. Finally, I looked at them from a practical standpoint. Which one was farthest along? That’s the one, Mission to New Earth, that I released in August. Despite not finishing another story, I upped my marketing efforts. Along the way, I met many wonderful writers who generously shared space on their blogs and helped promote my new release, and allowed me to return the favor.

Enjoying family, vacations, and good weather made the year fly by. Health-wise, that’s another mixed bag. Admitting that getting older means we can’t (or don’t have the energy to) do what we used to do is a rude awakening. For fun, I joined Goodreads annual Reading Challenge. In 2015, I didn't complete the challenge, more because I didn't log in the books read. This year, I surpassed my goal of reading 75 books. Feeling pretty good about that.

Then there was the world scene. Here in the U.S., we witnessed one of the most contentious elections in my lifetime. Enough said about that. Despite everyone claiming to want “world peace” we have a long way to making it a reality. 

Janus has two faces—one looking back and the other forward. What can we look forward to in 2017? A snowy winter, if predictions are right. Now is a good time to leave Michigan and visit Arizona. LOL Baby Girl isn’t a baby anymore. She’s a toddler who runs. We have to see that in person. If only life revolved solely around family, it would be much easier. But careers, health, government, world affairs occupy our minds. Unless we cut ourselves off from news reports and social media, we can’t escape. Writing about the future (as with my science fiction romance stories) can take my mind off the uncertainty of the world we live in. Reading has always been my escape. So is writing. I can make like an ostrich and bury my head or model myself after Scarlett O’Hara and think about unpleasant things tomorrow. Or face reality.

Do you make goals (resolutions) each year? One of the online classes I took this year was writing a business plan. I wrote one twenty-some years ago when I first started my writing career. Did you know you’re supposed to write one each year? <ducking head> I write (or think about) goals each January, but never incorporate them into a business plan. Writing that plan, including goals and action steps, seems like a good start for the new year.
How was your 2016?

Here’s hoping 2017 is a great year. That’s the wonderful thing about the human spirit. We can always hope.

Happy New Year to all the readers and my fellow contributors.


Nancy Gideon said...

Heading to Arizona in March!! Can't wait! Not all years are created equal. Some are years to sow and some to reap. I don't know about you all, but I'm ready to make 2017 a year of harvest!!

Diane Burton said...

Sounds like a good plan, Nancy. We will just miss each other. I'll be in AZ in Feb.

Maris said...

A business plan, huh? Sounds like a great idea. Now I just have to sit down and think of one. Hope this is a fantastic year for you, Diane. See you in the spring.

Diane Burton said...

That's my plan, Maris--sitting down and writing that biz plan. Enjoy FL's warmth while we shiver in the land of ice & snow.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Great post Diane!
My motto this year is Woman's World Magazine in 2017!

I plan to write, revise, rewrite and submit until I get it right.

Good luck and God's blessings to ALL in 2017!

Maureen said...

Great post! It's a wonderful time to reflect on the year past and start the new one with a renewed vigor and effort! I hope to detail my goals much more this year --so perhaps I will reach more :)

Alicia Dean said...

Excellent post. Like all years, 2016 held good and bad. I was not as productive in my writing as I would have liked, but I plan to change that in 2017. Hope you get to see that baby granddaughter again soon. They really do grow up so fast!

Kara O'Neal said...

Mixed bag for me, too. I enjoy looking back on the year, though. And as far as my plans, I hope to soak up every second with family that I can. (But also keep writing. Can't give that up!)

Diane Burton said...

I love all your comments. It's great hearing things like aiming for a specific magazine or writing more or spending more time with family. Whatever your plan is for 2017, I hope you achieve it.

Happy New Year!

Unknown said...

I'm so glad to hear about you family. They are you biggest connection to life. I love to read, unfortunately with taking care of the grandchildren there isn't a lot of time but I make a point to read something every night before I go to bed. I think I'll take your advice and work on a business plan this year.