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New Year, New Planner, New Word

January 12, 2021 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

I love the beginning of a new year, starting a new planner, and working with a new word! Last year, I wrote about how January is a reset month, and how using a planner can help you stay on track.

Blog title with colorful pens on one side and words on the other that say New Year, New Planner, New Word by Denise M. Colby

Aren’t new planner’s fun?

The pages are yet to be written and there’s this anticipation of setting goals and plans for our writing and our life.

This is my second year I’m using the My Brilliant Writing Planner, and this year the pages have been simplified, with two sizes available. I’m using the smaller 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 as I hoped I could take it with me more easily and it would sit on my desk and not take up a ton of room, but alas, I’m not going anywhere and I now have a bigger desk.

However, it doesn’t make me any less excited to use it.  

One of my favorite pages in the planner is the One Word Page.

Every year, I select a word to represent my year. I know a lot of authors do this, so if you have a word, I’d love to know what it is. I have found the process of selecting a word and the focus all year long, has given me extra blessings and has fit me where I am in my writing journey, as well as my life.

I’ve written about some of my words in past posts. 2016, my word was Believe. In 2017, my word was Strength, In 2018, my word was Steadfast. And I liked it so much I did a summary at the end of that year. 2019, my word was Purposeful, yet I couldn’t find a post about that (that was very purposeful on my part, right?)

Last years word was Courage and I did a wrap up blog post as well.

For this year, my word is Wisdom.

Denise M. Colby's Word of the year 2021 is Wisdom written out on a white piece of paper

As I research this word, I have found several explanations that really fit where I’m at in my writing journey. Wisdom is an integration of knowledge, experience, and deep understanding.

I hope that in all the time I’ve been working on my novel, that I am able to incorporate all of those and be able to move on to the next step.

There are other terms associated with wisdom including: insight, judgment, decision-making, discernment, and sense of balance. That last phrase speaks to me. There’s a balance between all the differing feedback I’ve received from others during contests, and figuring out what is best for the book overall. 

I love this quote I found on wisdom.

Wisdom involves a healthy dose of perspective and the ability to make sound judgments about a subject while knowledge is simply knowing.

This is the wisdom I seek.

I also hope to share my wisdom when it comes to branding and SEO. Launching my Marketing for Authors newsletter last year was a huge leap of courage (my 2020 word), and now that I’ve done that, I want to learn more and share that knowledge with others.

I’m still exploring quotes, verses, and synonyms that are connected to wisdom. It’s an interesting word in that, quotes about life and such are considered words of wisdom. So if I’m looking to simplify, I might need to limit to those phrases that only include the word wisdom in them. Not about wisdom in general. 

Although I do love quotes and words of wisdom in general, too!

To end, I wanted to share some of the synonyms of wisdom. I feel like I can apply many of these to my writing goals this year:

Acumen, gumption, foresight, experience, savvy, caution, poise, prudence, reason, discrimination, discernment, practicality, shrewdness, solidity, stability, judiciousness, comprehension, astuteness.

Alas, I hope To grow in my writing with comprehension, astuteness, & gumption this year.

Here’s to a great year of writing for us all.

Share below what your word is for 2021! There are so many words to choose from, I love reading all the different ones people choose.

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Bullet Journal Page Design Ideas for Writers

December 12, 2020 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

Do you have a bullet journal or have you ever wanted to try one, but haven’t yet? 

blog header titled Bullet Journal page ideas for writers by Denise M. Colby

I haven’t used mine as much as I would like, but I have done a few things that I love and wanted to share them with you. Who knows, maybe you might add a bullet journal to your Christmas list this year.

I’ve accumulated several ideas I’ve been wanting to try and recently I added these ideas and more to my Pinterest board for Journals and Journaling. In searching around further, I even found Christmas related doodles as well as banner headers I decided to attempt.

To organize my writing in my bullet journal, I divided the journal into two sections. The second section is specifically related to writing stuff.

My favorite spreads in my bullet journal are the bookshelves I created.

One set has all the writing craft books listed so I can remember what I have, while the other lists all the magazine articles I’ve published, along with a vase with the roses I’ve received from my OCC RWA chapter. (There’s room for the books I hope to publish too.)

bookshelf bullet journal spread idea by Denise M. Colby

Some other ideas I’ve come up with are hashtag and keyword tracking, as well as banners and box ideas, Christmas doodles, and other things to capture including a list of Musicals I have seen in person.

I got the bookshelf idea from writer Chautona Havig who uses a bullet journal to keep track of everything from character names, words to avoid, and other writer related topics in fun and creative ways.

There’s something about having pages created in my own hand. I wrote a past blog post a while back as to why hand-written notes and journals are important.

I’d like to create more pages in my bullet journal for my writing, but I’m looking for ideas.

Do you have a bullet journal?

What are some ideas that you have used to design a page that’s related to writing?

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“Blank” Is A Daily Struggle

November 12, 2020 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , ,
Blog header titled Blank Is a Daily Struggle by Denise M. Colby, with some suggestions such as Life, Sleep, Relationships, Writing.

I titled this post “Blank is a Daily Struggle” because each day can bring its own set of challenges. Sometimes for me writing is a daily struggle, my health can be a daily struggle. Our finances and dealing with our children. In essence, everything in life can be, well,…a struggle.

Since we are all writers here, I’m going to focus on how writing is a daily struggle. I work almost full time now and finding the mental capacity to write has become a new challenge.

I tried writing after work, but most days I have no mental capacity left. I’ve tried to plan in the morning, and then I had 8am calls every day for a few weeks, and that routine went out the window. So, right now I focus on different times each week and weekends.

But Sunday I rebelled.

I just didn’t want to sit. Of course I had been sick all last week and resting when I wasn’t working, so I was a little done with the messes in my house and inability to move around without being lightheaded.

So instead of pushing myself, I gave myself grace. And focused my energies where I seemed to want to go. It helped. It was like I needed to clean off the desk so I could start new. 

That’s how I try to approach each new day. 

One of my favorite things to do each morning is focus on the fact that it’s a NEW day. And each new day is a re-start to whatever happened before.

It’s not always easy.

But sometimes it helps immensely.

A clean slate to start new. New words. New projects. New edits. It doesn’t matter how much I did or didn’t do the day before, what matters is how purposeful I am today. 

Which reminds me of another idea to help with the daily struggle

The planner I’m using this year – My Brilliant Writing Planner – has sections to focus on ourselves as a whole. Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, sensory, creative. We are made up of all these parts. But we don’t always pay attention to all these parts of ourselves.

When something is a struggle it could be that we are out of balance with one of these and we need to take time to replenish ourselves in a way that continues to help us function the best we can.

Just something to think about.

Just some rambling thoughts this month, as I try to balance life. Each day does feel like a daily struggle if I allow it to overwhelm me. I’m trying really hard not to do that. And I just wanted to share in case you were struggling too. I hope you find some encouragement in my words and that you have a blessed day.

If you are interested in checking our the 2021 My Brilliant Writing Planner, take a look at this website. She redesigns them every year and this year there are multiple sizes and types. I find them very adaptable to my needs, and I know Kitty has mentioned she uses them too. I already have mine!

This is what the My Brilliant Writing Planner looks like for 2021, with beautifully drawn feather pen and the words My Story Matters
I already have my 2021 Planner! I’m so excited!

I wrote a post recently about Finding Motivation to Accomplish Your Goals, and showed a few pics of the inside of my planner, if you wanted to take a peek.

Blessings,

Denise

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Writers Make Amazing Teachers to Both Writers and Readers

October 12, 2020 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , , ,

I truly believe that writers make amazing teachers. I could not have gotten this far in my writing journey without my wonderful writer friends teaching me what they know.

Blog header titled Writers Make Amazing Teachers with crumpled paper in the background and photo of a t-shirt with motivating words by Denise M. Colby

When I first started, I had no idea how much tie in there was between writing and teaching. Well, I sort of did. I remember sitting at my first OCCRWA meeting and taking in everything the speakers were saying. I had so much to learn. And these speakers were experts. I remember thinking to myself, “I would love to someday know as much as them, so I could share like they do, but I know nothing about this industry and writing a novel.” And I felt like I would never know what I needed to know.

Fast forward eight years later and I’m now the one in front of a room and teaching. Who knew! And who knew how valuable us writers are to teach what we’ve learned and share it with our fellow writers.

How are writers amazing teachers?

Wikipedia defines a teacher as the following: A teacher (also called a school teacher or, in some contexts, an educator) is a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue. Informally the role of teacher may be taken on by anyone (e.g. when showing a colleague how to perform a specific task).

We, my dear writer friends, are all colleagues showing one another how to perform tasks!

As I thought on this topic further, I came to the realization that us writers teach to two different groups.

1. To other writers.

2. To our readers.

Writers love to help other writers

Let’s talk about other writers. If you are part of a critique group or have ever judged a contest, you are in some form or fashion, teaching. You provide feedback and make suggestions. You are helping another writer learn how to make their manuscript better. You are taking your experiences and sharing them with other writers.

This is yet another way writers make amazing teachers.

I have been blessed with so many writers who have offered their input and suggestions throughout the years, either through contests or from the many different organizations I’m a part of. This is either by being the main speaker at meetings or conferences, or in a table discussion during the lunch break. I have learned many, many, many things from all of it.

This is another way writers are amazing teachers.

And to all my writer friends, you have taught me much!

Again, taking me back to my first meeting, I thought I had to keep my story ideas close to the vest. But that’s not the case. Writers love to talk about stories and there are so many stories out there waiting to still be made up there are not enough days in a year to write them all.

So, as writers, we share. We share ideas, concepts we’ve learned or tried, information we’ve gleaned from a conference, meeting, or blog post. We share encouragement. And we celebrate every single milestone hit by fellow authors. We motivate, innovate, and believe in one another just like the t-shirt says in the photo at the top of this blog!

This is yet another way writers are amazing teachers.

Writers teach readers about places, people and relationships

As writers, we also teach our readers. We research specific locations, jobs, diseases, and disabilities, and we incorporate that research into our books. We look at cultures, relationships, and history and add that in as well. Sometimes readers will not be aware of any of the things we write about and so we are teaching our readers about how other people might live.

Writers are amazing teachers.

We also might inspire our readers to make better choices, be kinder, open their heart to love, or any number of ways people can be inspired. That counts as teaching too.

Just like the t-shirt I recently bought says:

Motivator.

Innovator.

Believer.

Teacher.

We, as writers, are all those things and so much more!

Write-on….amazing teachers, write-on!

I love to encourage and motivate others. Check out a recent blog post here titled Find Motivation to Accomplish Goals, and Hang On To It.

I teach Author Brand and SEO at conferences and meetings. If you’d like to find out more you can go to my Marketing for Authors page on my website.

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My Very Own Hero

September 12, 2020 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

I’ll admit it. I read a lot of romance and have accumulated several favorite heroes in my book list through the years, but there’s just one that I claim in real life as my very own hero, and that’s my husband. 

Blog Header Titled My Very Own Hero  by Denise M. Colby

We’ve been married for 25 years now, and I have to say that romance novels have shown me new ways to appreciate bits and pieces that I wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.

Some of my favorite stories include a hero and heroine who are perfect for each other because of the how they compliment each other in the little parts of every day life.

This is what makes a true love match. This is what I mean when I talk about my own hero in my life. 

And like in our stories, it’s easy to forget about this layer, especially when we get frustrated with the hero, which happens in our novels, too. It’s one of the things we enjoy when we read a story about two people who are finding out about themselves and this person who has grabbed their attention. And they don’t know where they are going in their journey, but we know they will at some point end up together.

As a new writer, I’ve worked through generic personality traits for the heroes of my books. But, as in our stories and real life, it’s important to find specific traits that make a hero unique. So to dig deeper I had to think about things from my own perspective a bit. I thought about my husband as how I would portray him in one of my novels and there are some specific things that came to mind.

Ways my own Hero is a good fit for me

  • He shares my love of Disney, movies, and family time
  • Gets offended for me when I’m wronged
  • He loves me in his own special way
  • Knows when he’s in a no-win situation
  • Uses humor when he’s uncomfortable
  • Doesn’t complain about my incessant talking and my messes

And as I’ve learned from those book heroes, it’s not always about the things he does, it’s also about the things he doesn’t do – like leave the toilet seat up and he lets me turn the toilet paper roll the way I prefer – all the time.

Sure, my own hero and I are still learning and adjusting to each other, but the romances I read help remind me to take a step back and appreciate the blessings that I’ve been given.

photo of Ken and Denise Colby riding the Matterhorn at Disneyland in 1994
Denise Colby and her very own hero on one of their many date nights at Disneyland, back when they were dating in 1994. The old seats on the Matterhorn added to the romance of going on a date in the park.

I hope the stories and the heroes I write about are able to do the same for my readers. That’s our goal as writers, right?

If you’d like to find our more about the stories I’m writing, I’d love to have you visit my website at denisemcolby.com.

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