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The Wisdom of This Year’s Focus Word

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

As I’ve mentioned in my January post, my word for 2021 is Wisdom. And as usual, I realize now how perfect this word has been for me this year. That there was wisdom in selecting wisdom as this year’s focus word.

The Wisdom of My Focus Word 2021 Blog post Title page by Denise M. Colby

I selected this word because this was the year. The turning point year where I’d apply the wisdom I’ve learned thus far, and also seek out others’ input for my next step in my writing journey.

Wisdom, I’ve learned, encompasses the integration of knowledge, experience, and deep understanding; and how you apply those three in your decisions.

This is exactly what I wanted to explore in my writing. To make final decisions about how it’s written and get it published.

And that has given me focus.

I’m happy to report that I’ve gotten my manuscript to a point where I’ve shared the entire thing with a select few. And have received positive feedback. That’s a huge step for me!

So as I reflect on this year so far, I think choosing the word Wisdom has helped me reach that goal.

Which is the entire point of choosing a focus word for the year.

But as always, choosing this focus word has not just been applicable to my writing.

I’ve thought a lot about how I apply wisdom in my decision making skills in my life too.

And in my search for quotes and phrases and wisdom about wisdom, I realized some things.

Quote about wisdom from dictionary.com

Each word I’ve selected has been building on each other.  Hope, believe, strength, steadfast, purposeful, courage, and now wisdom. I needed to glean the knowledge of the other words first before I could truly embrace the word wisdom. 

That was a huge aha moment for me. A small dash of wisdom, which has altered how I look at myself, my writing journey, and my life.

That’s why choosing the word that fits where you are and where you want to go is so helpful.

Other thoughts about my word Wisdom

Did you know that my name Denise means wisdom?

Photo of card that states Denise means wise discerner with bible verse on it

When I found these cards amongst some old papers, it was quite the aha moment. The timing was right for me to select the word wisdom as my focus word.

Denise M. Colby

Because quotes are all about invoking wisdom, I have had to purposely search for quotes and phrases using the actual word wisdom in it, vs finding quotes related to wisdom itself. 

It took some time, but I found some. And they have helped me explore this word further.

I really like to study words and share what I learn.

And I’m excited to have a few more months to explore my focus word, wisdom.

I’m never really ready to let go of my words, which is why I’m thankful to have learned that the words you choose don’t really go away. They are a part of you, like building blocks, helping you grow into the person you are meant to be.

Last year I had so much on the word Courage, that I built a page dedicated to the word to put everything in one place.

I’d love to hear what have you learned about your focus word this year. Please share in the comments.



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Normally I Wouldn’t Mention It

May 15, 2021 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster tagged as , ,

            May 3, 2021 was National Paranormal Day. In keeping with the spirit of the day, nothing went right. I played tennis that morning, but every time the ball came my way I miffed it, missed it, or muffed it. Poltergeists, I decided, were having their way me.

             As they say in sports I shook it off, and went home deciding a long hot bath was what I needed to set the day right. Before I got in the tub, I looked in the mirror to see one of those pesky chin hairs. Unable to manage to pluck it out with the tweezers,  I reached for one of those fancy little shaving blades and sliced my thumb. The little cut bled profusely, and my attempts to bandage the awkward injury were a dismal failure.  I sat on the edge of the edge of the tub, with a towel on the cut watching the room fill with steam. But maybe it wasn’t steam. Just maybe it was a ghostly presence swirling around me. Something – someone – pushed my hand and made me cut myself. The silver lining was that the thing didn’t want to kill me because it missed my wrist by a mile.  

         Evening came. I was scheduled to do a Zoom with Patrice Samara, COO of Wordee.com, and author Mara Purl. The topic was writing the paranormal. I was going to discuss Before Her Eyes. This is the book of my heart. It was inspired by the last days of both my dad and father-in-law and the strange things they experienced in their waning days.

 As requested,I logged in fifteen minutes before the assigned time only to land on the tenth level of hell. I glimpsed Mara and the hostess through undulating, writhing, tongue wagging, screaming, pierced and tatted young men and women. My ears were blown out by the most God-awful heavy metal music. My eyes were assault by a scrolling list of vile, generic curses that eventually were directed at me by name.

            My first thought was, “This doesn’t seem normal.”

            My second thought was, “I wonder if I should mention this. What if these ladies like a little shock value to their interviews and this is normal for them?”

            My third thought was, “Don’t be an idiot, Rebecca! This is bizarre.”

            I kept the third thought to myself and waited because sometimes when things get really weird the best thing to do is wait. Watch. Listen. Finally, I decided to dip my toe in the water. I said:

            “The music is very loud, do either of you know how to turn it down?”

            That seemed neutral enough. Either they would tell me how to turn it down or they would unleash the hounds. They did neither because Mara, realizing we had been hacked, shut down the Zoom. The vile devilish hackers were sent back to the inferno, and three very normal ladies were left looking at one another from our little Zoom boxes. We laughed and went on to record the interview, Writing the Paranormal, to be posted later.

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And Then Comes. . .

February 6, 2021 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , ,

A post from our archives . . .

For the last couple of months, my posts here included some of my take on what was happening with the Corona virus and how it was affecting my life–and how the changes had become my new normal.

Then there’s the economy, and all the people suffering because we mostly need to stay at home.  Businesses are closing. People are losing their jobs. Where’s the money??

My new normal now also includes worrying about the protests occurring in many places in our country–including areas of Los Angeles, which is where I live.  Oh, I sympathize with the protesters who are out there marching peacefully against racial inequality. The death that precipitated it all this time shouldn’t have happened.  But now looters are using the protests as an excuse to get out there, break into stores, and steal a lot.  And injure others. A lot of businesses in areas near me that haven’t experienced the riots are all boarded up, just in case.

And now here, and in other blog posts I’ve done, I’m wondering what’s next.

I’m writing, of course.  Right now I’m working on my third book in the long-running Colton series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, featuring characters in one of the many branches of the Colton family spread all over the country. I keep thinking about the second one I wrote, when much of the action was precipitated by an earthquake–Colton First Responder.

Are we due for an earthquake as yet another major issue in our existence, like a pandemic and riots? After all, as I said, I live in Los Angeles. And there was an earthquake worth noting in Ridgecrest, a location not far from here, this week.

Other areas may be deluged with hurricanes or other storms.

Or will our next problem–no, read “disaster”–involve something else?

Well, I am a writer and my imagination never stops.  And I keep telling it to calm down and imagine instead what things will be like when there’s at least a small semblance of a return to normal.

Although what normal will be next…?

Anyway, I hope that all of you who are reading this are well and safe and not subject to any of those or any other major issues.

Who knows? Next time I post here, things may be quite different… again!

A Few of Linda’s Books


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COLTON FIRST RESPONDER (The Coltons of Mustang Valley)


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Buy now!


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Buy now!

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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.



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