New Year, Same Focus #IWSG

My goals this year haven’t changed much from previous years: family, fitness, and finishing the dang book.

We’ll start with writing, since it’s the first Wednesday of the month making it Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. I’d hoped to finish book 2 of the big book series by the end of last year. That didn’t happen. First there was the pandemic, then the words weren’t flowing because I didn’t have a clear image in my head. Once I swapped a couple of characters, things rolled along until I realized I had a plot hole. The book is about monsters attacking these people groups, and my main character fits into both groups. In the previous version, he was protected from one of the monsters based on his location. But he’s not in that location anymore, therefore, logically, he should be attacked by the monster.

I’ve got the plot hole fixed, but it had a ripple effect through the rest of the story, widening my ring of changes I have to make. I didn’t get them done before the year ended. My daily word count during my break between Christmas and New Year’s ranged from 304 to 903, but the cool thing about that was I got to write while I was at home (usually not the case), and I wrote every day. It required I get up at 5:30 AM instead of sleeping in and enjoying the luxuries of vacation time, but it’s been worth it.

There’s 9 chapters left I need to rewrite. *crosses fingers* Hopefully it won’t take the whole year to finish.

The annual Colonel’s Challenge started on the 1st at my work. It’s a fitness challenge that lasts 10 weeks with a goal to get 30 hours of aerobic activity, do 3,500 sit-ups/push-ups, and lift weights. Women’s goals are 1,000 x starting body weight, men is 1,500. Since I slacked off on my diet and exercise starting the week of Thanksgiving, my weight lifting goal is 148,500lbs. I’m off to a good start with 12,875lbs.

Geez Louise, am I SORE! It’s been a year since I’ve seriously lifted weights, and I’m paying the price for it. But my fitness goal for 2021 is to stick with my diet and exercise for the full 10 weeks, limiting my Red Bull intake to only Fridays, avoiding alcohol, and sticking with 11-7 time restricted feeding.

The last of my goals, but by far my most important, is family. I signed up with Positive Parenting Solutions in April 2019 and implemented changes around the house in an effort to better help my son who has a history of outbursts and violent reactions. It’s worked for the most part, and life around the house is now routine and mostly incident free. But he still faces bouts of frustration that result in screaming, wailing, hitting, and other unpleasant behavior. This year, I’m looking at the work of Dr. Ross Greene whose focus is Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS). He’s got web resources and books, and from the description, it sounds like what my family is dealing with. It’s been 4 years of trouble, and hopefully the last.

IWSG Question of the Month – Being a writer, when you’re reading someone else’s work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people’s books?

My answer: irrational, unreasonable female protagonists who are supposed to be sympathetic characters. They trigger me so much that I usually resort to swearing and often want to chuck the book across the room.

There’s other stuff that will stall me out, such as confusing content, unbelievable characters, and lack of tension, but those are usually when beta-reading and critiquing, so I’ll press on with notes back to the writer. Plus I struggle with the same in my own writing, so I know how tough it can be.

What are your goals for 2021? What makes you stop reading? Have any experience with CPS?

About Insecure Writer’s Support Group
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You can find the sign up for the IWSG here. We owe Alex J Cavanaugh a huge thank you for thinking this blog hop up.

Loni Townsend

About Loni Townsend

Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel.

23 thoughts on “New Year, Same Focus #IWSG

  1. Finishing the dang book. I hear you on that one. I’ve had some plot holes and some plot hole ripple effects to deal with, but I, too, hope I’ll finish my big book this year.

    Best of luck to you with all your goals!!

  2. I have a few specific goals, but mostly it’s about moving in a positive direction. Best of luck with all of your goals, Loni!

  3. Happy New Year!

    Good luck with your son. We’ve been dealing with similar things for years, too. It had been getting better, but the last year of being stuck at home and online learning/limited interactions with others has been challenging, to say the least.

    And oh god, I need to start exercising again…

  4. Ah the ol’ ripple effect. One little, yet important thing that must be changed ends up change a bunch of stuff and a whole read/revise phase to make sure everything adds up. Been there–actually after you beta’d my novel.

    I started a new exercise regimen. Last year messed with all of use in just about every aspect o our lives. I know it’s not over yet, but my hope for everyone this year is taking back what we can — our creativity, our passions, … 🙂 Happy New Year!

  5. I would also like to finish the dang book, lol. Hopefully this year! Good luck with all of your goals!

  6. Good luck with your fitness, your writing and your family. Looks like you’ve got your hands full and I’m amazed you managed even 300 words per day between Christmas and New Year.
    Well done on the plot hole. They never properly show themselves, do they, until you’re three-quarters of the way in.

  7. I failed to finish my book, I was terrible as far as exercising went, and I didn’t realize today was Wednesday until I saw your Twitter post. Not a good start to the year. Compared to me, you totally rocked last year. May you have a great year in 2021.

  8. You juggle so many projects in your life, but parenting is probably the hardest, and definitely the most important. Good luck and my best wishes with your parenting solutions. I’m so glad I’m out of it by now, as my kids are both grownups and left home years before.

  9. Uggh, I hate finding giant plot holes! I am struggling with a second book in a series as well. One character just won’t settle into the role. I’m working on it though. Tossed out a few chapters more than once.

    I hope your New Year is going well. I only read and reviewed 23 books last year, but my goal for this year is 30. My other goals are to publish another fiction book in 2021, do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge in April, and increase the number of authors helped by Operation Awesome.

  10. I love all the goals you’ve set you for yourself, and I think you’re simply going to kickass in 2021! Here’s to more writing, a healthy lifestyle, and growing as a family 🙂

  11. Anna

    I hope this isn’t a stupid question, but here I go… Have you considered getting him a punching bag and letting vent all over it? It sounds like he’s calm most of the time which is great but none of us can manage our feelings all the time.

    Some of us shoot hoops, play music, write or draw to cope. If he feels the need to be physical maybe a punching bag would help. I got a plastic clown (basically a punching bag toy) for my son when he was about three, and I was divorcing his father, and he killed it within a day. His feelings needed a place to go.

    Take care. See you next month. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    • It’s not stupid at all. In fact, we bought a punching bag last spring for this very reason. It doesn’t seem to work for him. I also enrolled him in martial arts, but a month later, the pandemic hit and close-contact activities shut down. We haven’t started up again yet. I’m hopeful for the CPS tactics, though.

      • Anna

        I was a really, really, angry teen and took self defense. All the jumping, running, and shouting got most of the anger out of me. Oh, I was very fit too. hehehe

  12. Jennifer Lee Hawes

    I absolutely love relatable characters. There are a few authors who are masters at writing amazingly real and fun characters!!

  13. Short-term, I want to come up with 30 ideas (StoryStorm), connect with my IWSG peeps, attend a few online writers conferences in February, and reassess my work to decide whether to polish or query.

    What really pulls me out is what I call the ‘yeah right’ moments. You know, those moments when the character acts out of character, the plot takes a jarring unexpected turn, or an impossibly convenience solution appears for no apparent reason.

  14. Louise (Fundy Blue)

    “Family, fitness, and finishing the dang book.” I haven’t made a New Year’s resolutions, but these would be perfect for me! Wishing you all the best as you take your resolutions on, Loni. I don’t have experience with CPS, but my heart goes out to you and your son. Kudos to you for being there for him!

  15. I’ve had my book on the back burner for a while. I need to dig back in as soon as I’m done with my class. I love that you took the parenting class and it’s helping your family. That’s wonderful!

  16. Good luck with the challenge. That’s great you do it every year. Hope you can get the help your son needs.

  17. I’ve heard of Dr. Ross Greene. I hope it works.

  18. Glad to hear you’ve gotten some solutions to dealing with your son. Hopefully things go easier as he gets older.

    Isn’t it funny how fixing one problem in the story leads to others cropping up? If only stories weren’t so interconnected…

  19. Crossing my fingers that you get this story done.

  20. Good on you for all you’re accomplishing in the writing, weight lifting, and parenting arena.
    Wishing you a solid 2021. May your muse dance on your shoulder.

  21. Ripple effects are the devil. That and staying true to the canon is why I shy away from writing true sequels. Hang in there. You’ll figure it out.

    I’m tardy in making return visits for IWSG because I was helping my mom move last week.

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