Divine Surprises, Excellence, Finishing, Life Choice, New Year, Writing Goals

A Word for 2017


I’m a little late, but once again, I’m joining my fellow bloggers in choosing One Word to guide me through the year. My word  in 2016, FINISH, was chosen to motivate me to complete my first novel, which I’d been working on sporadically for several years.

That Word, plus the opportunity to meet with agents and editors at a national conference in August IF the book was finished spurred me on.

FINISH, I did.

However, there’s a big difference between completing a first draft and having a polished, marketable manuscript. Having worked as an editor, I knew that. But I got in a rush. However, it was brought home to me anew when I didn’t get picked up by an agent nor hear back from that editor. Consequently, choosing One Word to guide me this year was easy.

My word for 2017 is REVISE.

According to the dictionary revise means to reconsider and alter (something) in the light of further evidence.


Even though revising that novel is at the top of my To-Do List, I’m applying my word on a larger scale as well. Here are a few things I’ll be reviewing and possibly changing in 2017.


Looking back at my 2016 calendar nearly wore me out. I knew I’d been gone a lot, but listing the trips, conferences, and retreats was an eye opener. In 2016, I

  • Made six trips to our condo at Navarre Beach
  • Attended four conferences (two were multi-day events)
  • Attended two overnight writers’ retreats
  • Hid out at The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow twice to work on the book
  • Spent several overnights with out-of-town friends
  • Entertained family for major holidays
  • Traveled for a granddaughter’s college graduation and to help a grandson move to the big city

In between, I managed to socialize with friends, host the writers’ group that met at my house once a month, and attend another monthly  writers’ meeting in Searcy–that usually involved going up the day before and spending the night before with a friend. Then there were two devotionals I contribute to, and you know how Facebook can eat into a day.

See what I mean?


I don’t know about you, but I am NEVER at my best when I’m tired. Consequently, I’ve decided to keep closer tabs on how I spend my time this year and to make adjustments to get rid of activities and relationships that steal my joy while adding those that increase it.


  • We love the beach, and now that we have our own place, we’ll continue to go there at least four times a year. (Yes, I feel blessed.)
  • We don’t want to miss being with family on holidays and showing up at our grandchildren’s important events or to help them.
  • I’m a social person so getting together with friends is important to my wellbeing. I’m looking forward to occasional coffee or lunch dates.
  • Writing can be a lonely endeavor, so I’ll continue to meet regularly with other writers.
  • There’ll be lots of lap time with Max, Timmy & Lola–Nothing like a purring cat to relax you.



As a person who struggles with people-pleasing, I’ll take a deep breath and

  • Give myself permission to say NO.
  • Limit the number of meetings I attend and volunteer less.
  • Adopt a more formal schedule to revise the book, which will mean ignoring the phone and email during those hours.
  • Research publishers and agents. Then submit the manuscript and other things I write. (There are lots out there, you know.)


Some people also choose one Bible verse or a quote to inspire them during the year. In the past, I haven’t done that, but there’s a phrase from Psalm 46:10 that has been rolling around in my soul for over a month.

Be still and know that I am God.

As I pondered those words recently, I glanced down at the charm on a bracelet Maria had given me for Christmas. I’m not sure why, but the engraving hadn’t registered with me until that moment. Look at what it said.


What better way to start each day of the year?

What about you? Did you make any resolutions or choose a word or quote to mark the beginning of 2017?

I’d love to hear about it.

And I’ll keep you posted on how things go with the book.


He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

©Reflections from Dorothy 2017
Finishing, Writing Goals


In keeping with a tradition of many bloggers, I’ve selected a Watchword to guide me through 2016.

Last year, I chose Kindergarten. I know that sounds odd, but it was a reminder to

I knew I needed to slow down, take stock and get quiet so I could hear that still, small voice inside. It was a good choice because it helped me come face to face with a major weakness I’ve ignored too long.

Although my problem is rooted in a positive trait—loving people—it sometimes leads to making too many commitments. 

I had to admit that I’m prone to sacrifice personal deadlines to social opportunities. I’d rather be with you than pounding the keyboard in solitude. Plus, I hate to disappoint.

Last year, I finally understood that I couldn’t juggle multiple commitments and get much writing done. I realized if I didn’t make some changes, I’d never accomplish the things that are most important to me. 

I also acknowledged for the umpteenth time that I have a hard time getting back to a project when I get interrupted. 

One example is a quilt top I pieced several years ago in a community course. The class ended before we completed our projects, but the teacher gave us finishing instructions and made herself available to answer questions. With her help, I pinned the batting and backing in place and selected a border pattern.

When I brought that little quilt home and spread it out in a guest room, I fully intended to complete it. But something came up that was more pressing, and you know the rest of the story. 

At some point when I tidied up the room for guests, I stashed it in the closet. Occasionally, when I’m looking for something there, I’ll take the quilt out, admire it and vow to finish. 

But I can’t seem to find the time to sew that first stitch—much less the last.


The busier I am, the more distractible I become. 

Consequently, I have more important things on my Not-Quite-Done List than that little quilt, which brings me to my Watchword for 2016. 


Specifically, FINISH that novel I started longer ago than I care to admit.

I’m serious enough that the only New Year’s Resolution I made this year was to complete Trust Love (the working title).

It’s not that I have writer’s block or don’t know where the story’s going. I have a good grip on the plot. I love Thomas, my main character, and the people who inhabit his small town.

His story about broken dreams and how opportunity for a second chance appears in the last place he expects or even wants to be. 


I understand that my problem is a matter of priorities.

I love to blog and write devotionals. They come easily to me. They’re short and more fun than grinding out that x#?*!% first draft of a book Anne Lamott talks about in Bird by Bird.

I love being with friends in Bible study, prayer groups and on committees.

I especially love lunch dates. I used to say I had a Lunch Ministry, but that’s a story for another day.


I’m determined to finish Trust Love this winter. That means approaching it like a job, setting what feels like an ambitious working schedule and sticking to it.

I already know the hardest part will be staying true to that schedule.

If I’m to accomplish my goal, I can’t go out to lunch as often or take on more commitments. 

I won’t be visiting Facebook or posting here as much. But I plan to check in enough to stay connected.


I may have already told you that I feel 
God inspired the idea for this book. 

I want to honor him by finishing strong. 

That’s my main incentive.

After that, maybe I’ll tackle the Quilt in the Closet. (Don’t you think that would make a nice title for a self-help book?)


If you don’t see me around as much or if I have to decline an invitation, please know it’s not personal. 

It’s a commitment I want to keep, which is why my 2016 Watchword is FINISH.

What about you?

Do you have a Watchword for 2016?

Is there something you need to FINISH or commit to this year?

I’d love to hear about it.


If you get curious about how Trust Love is going, please inquire.

It will keep me accountable.

And let me know you haven’t forgotten me.

Also, I’d appreciate your sending up a prayer that I’ll finish this assignment. 

P.S. I still love people, especially you, my friend. I’m trusting we can get together and celebrate once that first draft is Finished.

Please keep in mind, whatever your endeavors may be, I wish you all the best in this 2016th Year of our Lord.

No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us.

Philippians 3:13-14 (LB)

Copyright ©Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge 2016. All rights reserved