Thursday, January 6, 2011

Adjustments, Attractions, Awards


I always thought I was pretty good at saying no. Setting healthy boundaries is important to me so that my main priorities stay intact, and my faith and family don't suffer. After reading this article, The Power of No, at the  WorkAwesome site, I realized that I'd let some areas slip.

Article author Jennifer Brown Banks shared insightful tips that opened my eyes, revealing some key areas where I'd let things slide. Or perhaps never had a good handle on to start with. This writing life, whether full, part, or grab-a-minute-to-write-when-you-can time requires discipline and focus. It's usually all us - we're the ones who have to make sure we stick to it and keep going. And allowing things to creep in to detract from that, like not saying no, wreaks havoc with our writing goals and commitments.

What kinds of things have I let slip? I allow too many interruptions, such as phone calls, responding to emails, and little tasks (laundry anyone?) to distract me. The temptation to hop around online, whether to a social media site or blog, is often present. While these things are not necessarily bad, they can be major time vacuums, and before you know it, the opportunity to write has evaporated.

What is my plan to get back on track? I prefer not to make resolutions, but rather adjustments. A few tweaks, such as adhering better to scheduled writing time and managing phone calls differently top the list. There still will be the allotted break for exercise and chocolate as necessary. (Not necessarily in that order.) For me, the adjustment is primarily in attitude and approach, and cannot be so regimented that I feel completely hemmed in.

Now granted, life happens, and even the best plans need to be adjusted. This has been a challenging year, losing my Mom in the spring, my sister in November, and my father in law in December. It's required phone calls, trips, and emotional down time. My prayer for this year is for grace and balance. For what good are adjustments without the proper balance?

What about you? Are you proficient at saying no? Do you resolve or adjust?

Coming Attractions

Write Now's winter features include an interview with author Cathy Bryant. You might recall 2010's interesting interview and review of her book Texas Roads 2010. Cathy joins us again for a mini-view (my term for a short interview), a review of her latest book, A Path Less Traveled, and a giveaway.

Debut author Saloma Furlong also joins us, sharing her thoughts about her memoir, Why I Left the Amish. I'll give you my input on the book, and we'll top it off with a giveaway.

I'll be guest posting in a few spots too, and will be sure to pass along the links in case you want to stop over and check things out.


I won some lovely awards in the latter part of 2010 and mentioned some weeks ago that I was going to share and pass them along. Was planning on doing so today, but am up to my ears in a project so will table that until next week.

What adjustments are you making for 2011? What tips do you have that keep your writing gears in motion?

Have a great weekend!

Happy writing,

Photo credit:  guidenzin


  1. I love the term adjustments. So applicable. Have a super week! :O)

  2. Hello Madam,
    i have been trying to write something, something so genuine to heart and near to life, but really lack a tactful skills to play with words and put it down on paper.
    i would like to request you to help me improve my writing skill and story.
    hope i am not asking more, if you are able to only, i ask you this favor,please.

  3. Me, proficient at saying 'no'? No. I won't let my wife read this post or she'll laugh (at my ability to say 'no.' :). Good post, and reminder to foucs on the important tuff. Happy New Year. wb

  4. I didn't realize that you lost so many people so close to you this year. It had to have been hard. Your thoughts make so much sense. I am trying to slow down my writing and add quality to it and not just quantity.

  5. The idea of making adjustments rather than resolutions makes sense.
    So sorry about your losses last year.
    Wishing you a healthy, happy, and holy new year.
    Donna v.

  6. Major adjustment was to believe I can write. Now I am trying to actually schedule time for it and see things through. Problem is it is basketball season :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  7. Diane,
    I know, seems more doable, huh? You have a good weekend! :)

    Nice to meet you. Have you considered taking a writing class online? There are many great ones out there.

    Happy New Year to you too. I think we all struggle at times and various seasons with the word "no". Focusing on the important stuff is the big thing, I agree.

    Thank you so much. I think that slowing down makes sense too. Makes us more purposeful perhaps. Good idea!

    I just feel like I can make adjustments more easily, you know? Thanks for your kind words. :)

    Good for you. Hmm, is writing possible during the commercials during the game?? :P

    Blessings all,

  8. What have I let slip? Listening to my soul. But that's what I'm adjusting this year.

    Best, Karen!

  9. Hi Karen! Just dropped in to return the favor and enjoyed finding some old friends and some great writing links!

    Lovely post, by the way, and I have to say I'm definitely an adjuster (though I never quite looked at it that way before). I review my past year--the good, the bad, and yes, the ugly--and make goals and adjustments as needed for success in the coming year. A few days pondering seems to pay off!

    (P.S. Don't forget that you can get more entries for that B & N gift card when you spread the word! Good luck!)

  10. My life is adjusting and I haven't decided how my writing will adjust with it. The first quarter of this year will be the teller of the tale.

  11. What a great post Karen, thanks! I am so sorry to hear about your losses, that is a bit overwhelming for one year. I hope you can cope/grieve.
    I am looking forward to your interviews, I see Cathy on Goodreads :)
    Thanks for being such a faithful blogger.

  12. Hi Karen -

    I've been using the word, "goals." Awhile back, I talked about fitting the big rocks in our time jar. I think I need to take my own advice. :)


  13. Hi Karen,

    Last year was full of distractions for me. I could actually write a book on them. This year I have made up my mind to limit my phone calls and
    online distractions.

    Wishing you a wonderful 2011.

  14. Hi Karen, just found your blog and joined. Saying no is so hard for most women, men not so hard I think. I always try to say yes if possible. There are certainly a lot of distractions. We have to prioritise what's really important to us.

  15. It took a few years, but I can say no now. Of course, I probably still blog too much. Oh well.

  16. Karen,
    Life is like a see-saw ride; we each have to find our balacne before reaching the tipping point. I am better at saying no. But lately Ihave been procrastinating. I need to find my balance.
    You certainly suffered loss this year. So sorry.

  17. Great post, Karen.
    Thanks for mentioning my article on saying no. Don't get me wrong; I'm still recovering from "the need to please disease," but I'm getting much better. :-)
    In the words of Dr. Phil, "We teach people how to treat us by the things we accept."

    May God bless you and bring you peace in the year ahead.



  18. Janna,
    Oh my, what a great point! Me too. Praying for the wisdom and grace to know how to order things.

    So glad you stopped by, and thanks for following. Looking forward to following your blog. Great giveaway, and I'll try and remember to mention it! :)

    That's one thing we are always working around, isn't it? The way our lives shift, and then we need to readjust to our new normal.

    Thank you very much. Looking forward to the interviews, too. I forgot one too, I've an interview with Patti Lacy. Can't believe I forgot to mention her!

    I thought of the big rock illustration as I wrote this! I agree, goals are a good thing to set. I need to take your advice too! :)

    Now there's an idea, a book! Hoping you find that good balance this year. :)

    Nice to meet you! So glad you stopped by. Thanks for following. :) I agree, prioritizing is key.

    I think we're always works in progress, and as our lives change, so we adjust. As for too much blogging? I know what you mean. :o)

    I like that see-saw image. Really illustrates the balance idea! Thanks so much for your kind words.

    Blessings all,

  19. Gosh Karen, tears came to my eyes realizing what a tough year you've had! I love your ideas of adjustments instead of resolutions! Hope your 2011 is filled with grace abounding.

  20. That's good stuff, Karen. I feel guilty if I'm not visiting a ton of blogs, but just what you said - you can lose so much time there. It's a fine line that I think about very often.

    Thinking of you, friend. Praying abundant gifts in this new year.

  21. Argh, I'm SO lousy at saying no. And then what suffers is my writing time. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment. Hard to keep up, puffpuff, pantpant! Gotta whittle something down for my sanity's sake, and like you said, make tweaky adjustments.

  22. Karen, I have an awful time saying no. This fall I wrote a list of my volunteer commitments on an index card to keep in my purse. It's a reminder to say no. The plate is full!

    I'm very sorry to hear of all your losses. I can't imagine how difficult this must be for you.

  23. Jen,
    You are welcome. Well, I had thought you were perfection itself, but it seems I was wrong! LOL No really, you gave great tips. We're all works in progress.

    Thanks so much. :) I'm working on being good at adjusting. Happy 2011 to you!

    I know, I've had to back off with so much going on and current projects. I hate to do it, but I can't keep up the pace of everything. In good time I'll make the rounds. Thinking of hiring a secretary. Okay,not really...:)

    Ah yes, sanity's sake. Good point. I prefer sanity to the alternative! So tweaky adjustments, here we come! :D

    Thank you.:) That's a great idea, keeping an index card in your purse. I may need to to that! Yes, things are often falling off the plate for me.

    Happy weekend all,

  24. Karen, I love your idea of tweaking. I try to develop new habits, rather than make resolutions. You did have a tough year with losses. It's important to stay healthy in spirit and not be depleted. If depleted, what can we give others?

  25. I didn't know about your father-in-law, Karen. I am so sorry for all you have had to go through. I love you and will be praying. You are strong in the Lord. He carries you when you cannot walk another step.

    Volunteerism has had to slow down for moi. Still with OCC, of course. But other stuff, I've had to say NO. Nicely, of course. Happy weekend. Hugs, girlfriend.

  26. Lynn,
    Thanks! The new habit thing - I think you're right. So much better than beating oneself up for failing to follow through on resolutions. And yes, I agree, what do we have to give others if we don't take care of ourselves.

    Thanks so much. Appreciate your thoughts and prayers. It's comforting to know I've got such wonderful support from all of you. You all are a blessing.

    Blessings, sweet friends,

  27. Wow, sounds like you had a tough 2010; Praying for a better 2011!

  28. Karen,
    I'm so sorry for your losses. What a tearful and emotionally-trying year it must have been for you and your family. My condolences to you and your loved ones.

    As for your mention of setting healthy boundaries, that is a skill learned only through enactment and maintenance--you must first set the healthy boundary, and then not stray from it. I've learned to set healthy boundaries and know it is one of the most positive things I have ever done for myself, and am still doing!

    I wish you grace and balance this year, as well. My own wish for this year is for continued peace of mind. Peace allows us to stick to our boundaries, sit still and savor our victories (big or small) and also attracts positive people to us.

    I like Jen's quote above by Dr. Phil: "We teach people how to treat us by the things we accept." Others can knock Dr. Phil all they want, but that man has a way of boiling down truth to accessible, memorable statements.

    Wishing you a much better 2011!

  29. Karen,
    Learning to say NO becomes easier when we remember it's not about being selfish, only taking time to put "self" first...

    Wishing you a great New Year ahead!


  30. Karen:
    This year, I plan on sticking closer to my writing goals. Instead of saying "No", I weigh the possible outcome to my family and to my schedule. Most of my local friends understand that if I can't follow through on something, I won't sign up.
    I wasn't aware that your father-in- law passed away. I am so sorry.

  31. Thanks for sharing the tips. God bless you!

  32. I'm with you! Adjustments sound far more realistic and less burdensome than resolutions. I need to remember as my family grows, that adjustments need to be made. Thanks for a great way to look at it!

  33. Thanks for the wisdom. Adjustments sound gentler and more attainable!

  34. Toyin,
    Thank you. Looking forward to this new year.

    Thank you so much. Grace and balance and a bit of normalcy is something I'm looking forward to for 2011.

    Saying no has a ripple effect, I think. We're always learning, aren't we?

    Wise words, my friend! I like the way you said that. And thank you so much.

    Sharing God's Love,
    You are welcome. Glad you came by!

    Less burdensome - I like that. I feel less pressure too, and like it's more constructive. :)

    You are welcome. :) I'm all for attainable. Hugs, dear friend.


  35. I do a terrible job of saying no! There's so much to do at church and at home. And I love friend time.

    You seem really giving, too, Karen.

    Blessings for a wonderful 2011.

  36. I kinda fell apart as the year ended. It has been a year of trying and testing and overall I did a pretty darn good job. So I'm determined to be more organized in 2011.

  37. Patti,
    I'd have to say you are quite the giving one as well! :)

    Organization - me too! She says as she look at her cluttered desk...well, have to start somewhere!


  38. Hi Karen .. you've had a tough year with so many losses - and the emotional pulls that go with each parting - let alone other members' and their needs that mothers can help deal with .. my love and thoughts to you.

    As far as this year is concerned .. I still adjust, perhaps one last major hiccup has happened, and so life will go on - as best I can .. I have plans - but the New Year bashed them temporarily out of the park ..

    It is adjust, adapt, act on something, move on and accomplish .. persevere and never give up .. and grab all the positive we can - however we feel ..

    I do hope your year is easier .. with many peaceful thoughts for 2011 - cheers Hilary

  39. It seems like the little things are the major vacuum in my life. They just add up. I have to limit my time on the computer or it will steal a few hours of my day!


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day!