ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

JOIN YOLANDA RENEE ON HER BLOG TOUR!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

#IWSG post--New Year's Resolutions--or not?

Happy New Year! 'Sweet 16', we're calling it in Australia!


Today is a special IWSG day as the winners of the IWSG Anthology Contest are announced. Thanks to everyone who entered. You'll want to get around and read lots of posts, so thank you for coming by. I won't keep you long.

Helping Alex with the commenting this week are the co-hosts for January:
Click here to read more of the
260 blogs signed up


Be nice and pay them a visit!

I'll just remind you of the two fabulous romantic February Blogfests coming up--the Lost and Found on February 1, and the WEP Valentines on February 17. Eyes right. See my sidebar? The pretty badges. Click here to see my post about them if you missed it.

Now I meant to slowly ease my way back into blogging in 2016 but that intention was quickly wiped away with Arlee's invitation to help out with the Lost and Found blogfest, then I'd already promised Alex I'd help in the IWSG. So, bang! 

I've been around and read lots of posts in the last few days, and of course so many are about New Year's Resolutions. I used to make them, but quickly learned that they don't have legs (or willpower), so I gave up. But I read a great article recently which asked us to think about what we're doing with these resolutions.

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS



Apparently, in this order, our 5 biggest concerns are: losing weight, getting organised, spending less, enjoying life to the full, getting fit. 

Signs of insecurity?

Nothing wrong with any of those resolutions. Self improvement is an intrinsic human goal. But how about instead of making it all about us, let's make a resolution to put ourselves last. (Well, ha ha, many women, especially mothers, have been doing that for generations, but you get my drift?)

Let's find one new thing to do. I agree. The world looks hopeless at the moment, but we must never give up hope. The media paints a bleak picture and we feel so small, so insignificant...what can we do to help? 

We can feel so insecure about our lack of charity. 

Will our few paltry dollars really help those starving kids in our city or town or village, in war zones, in dysfunctional homes? What about the people who've lost their homes and livelihoods in floods, droughts, fires or earthquakes? Plenty of that going around at the moment. In Australia, we can go to our banks and donate directly to these causes and no doubt your country has its ways and means. Finding some way to help those struck with misfortune makes us feel so much better, give us so much more hope. 

And as writers, we can use the Power of the Pen to make a difference in this world. We are good listeners, observers. We can entertain. We can offer hope. We can offer solutions. We can tell the world what we've learned. 

Be insecure about our writing style, or writing process, or the amount of time we spend at the computer. But never feel insecure about what we can give to the writing community and the larger community.

GREAT BLOG POSTS I'VE SEEN IN THE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS

If you haven't already read it, Kirsten Lamb has posted an excellent article on writers getting paid and how we can help this happen.

Then after I finished one best seller, reading the Acknowledgements I saw this author had, like a gazillion people working with her to make her book amazing. As indies we don't have this help. I think we need more than a couple of betas, critique partners and a couple of paid edits. How can we make this better?

Here's an article comparing modern writers to the great writers of old.

A GREAT WRITING OPPORTUNITY

Damyanti at Daily Write has been publicizing a great writing opportunity. The Forge Literary Magazine is actively seeking submissions now! Stories under 3,000 words preferably and they love flash fiction as long as it is literary. Check them out! 

I'm done. I hope you enjoy reading the posts today.





139 comments:

  1. True, through writing we can tell much. Even if we don't learn much and just make crap up lol

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  2. Happy New Year Denise!

    I need a gazillion people to help make my books amazing!!! Wouldn't that be nice?

    I also plan on taking a breather from writing and blogging, but then things happen and I'm still waiting for my breather....Take Care.

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    1. Yep I'm looking for at least one hundred people to make my book amazing Cathrina, lol!

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  3. True. I work at a non-profit and once in a while a person will call in feeling that, against huge donations in the 10k and above, makes their small gift insignificant. That isn't true. No matter how small, every gift matters because it's going towards the aid of someone in need.
    I recently found a great quote about our role as writers and the power of the pen: "It's in literature that true life can be found. It's under the mask of fiction that you can tell the truth." ― Gao Xingjian

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    1. Yes Lidy, charity is knowing the power of the small donation. It all grows into something significant!

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  4. Almost forgot....Happy New Year and thanks for co-hosting!

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  5. So true that we have the chance to make a difference with our writing. Glad you're into blogging full-swing. Happy New Year, Denise!

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    1. Happy New Year Natalie! Glad things are going so well.

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  6. I have to admit I'm a bit tired of the Me-me-me world we seem to live in. But I believe that writing isn't selfish. I remember as a kid losing myself in books and forgetting about all my troubles. What's wrong with giving others a chance to escape? Filmmakers do it and get academy awards! Thanks for the great post and good luck finding more time to write! :)

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    1. Books can be great healers, inspirers as well as entertainers.

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  7. Making a difference is wonderful. Like what you and the others are doing at IWSG. Thanks for co-hosting, Denise. Thanks for the Love fest.

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  8. Well said! Resolve to help others. We can make a difference. I'd rather help someone else than myself anyway.
    Thanks for co-hosting today. Glad it gave you an extra boost to get involved again.

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    1. More blessed to give than receive still works today Alex!

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  9. Hi and Happy New Year!
    Thank you so much for co-hosting this month and thank for all the tips to the upcoming writing festivals.
    Wishing the best for 2016:
    Shalom,
    Patricia

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    1. Shalom Patricia! Thanks for coming by. I wish you a great 2016!

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  10. I call them resolutions, but really I make yearly goals. I just am more productive if I do this. I LOVE your comment about all the helpers on the best seller list. I think that's extremely true, that a team makes for a better book. And indie writers could do this, though I think it works best to sort of form coops for it--the same group all helps each other. If it is a really big group then a couple people tend to get stuck with a lot greater portion of the burden.

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    1. Yes Hart, I'm going to be a mother hen getting her chicks in order this year. Organisation is always tricky.

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  11. Happy New Year and thanks for co-hosting! It should be a fun day. Resolving to help others is wonderful. I hope you have a wonderful 2016!

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    1. I know you are LG with a start like that! Congrats on being the winner in the Anthology comp!

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  12. Lots of great information to check out. Bookmarking now. And yes, I need to join more blogfests. Thanks for bringing them to my attention (and for being a co-host!)

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    1. Tamara, it would be awesome if you joined in the blogfest/s. Always a good thing to network with other authors.

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  13. As writers, we can make a difference and bring hope. With every book, all I've wanted to do was inspire.

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    1. That's fantastic L Diane. The world need inspiration.

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  14. You've reminded me of why I teach Crafting a Novel at Sheridan College: to inspire others. (It surely isn't for the money, which is not even minimum wage when you add in the hours of prep and marking.) But there is huge satisfaction from seeing a new writer get excited about their work when they learn the tools of fiction. I love that!

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    1. Yes Melodie. We all need to do at least one not-self-serving thing! I host blogfests for writers! And love it!

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  15. Happy New Year! And happy IWSG Day. ;-) I finally reached my weight goal last year, so that resolution is out. I also, finished my MS, so finishing it is out. I'll take: Don Not scare myself out of Pitching and Querying. This is the time to pull the trigger and Go!

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    1. And I believe it's Happy Birthday to you for yesterday Zan! I wish you every success with your manuscript!

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  16. This is a great post, reminding us to focus on others a little bit too--I think that's a great sentiment for 2016.

    I'm going to check out these blog hops, too! I'm a blog hop junkie, I must confess!

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    1. Blog hops are my idea of fun! I hope to see you Megan!

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  17. I'm with you, I don't make resolutions. But helping others... well that's a year-round thing to do. May we all stretch out our hands to those in need.

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  18. I certainly need to lose 20 pounds. Sheesh. Thanks for co-hosting!

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  19. I've gotten through life setting goals and some are much harder than others to achieve - some I still grapple with, but the New beginning means there one more chance to do it. Thanks for co-hosting. I know how busy you are and I"m in awe of not only your writing talent but your commitment to the blogging world. You inspire me! Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks my dear friend and CONGRATULATIONS! Can't wait to read the stories.

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  20. It was a genuine pleasure to read this thoughtfully written post. Hope you don't mind if I sneak back for more;-)
    I've signed up for the Lost and Found Blog Hop and thanks for the writing opportunity (The Forge) tip!

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    1. Diedre, I hope you enjoy the blog hop experience.

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  21. Great post with really useful links, thank you :)

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  22. Great post! Thanks for cohosting and all the useful info!

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  23. Those are two great posts you've shared. We have three huge used book stores in our area. Only one is about selling old, collectible books and those long out of print. The other two are exactly as Kristen describes.
    I like your idea of doing something for others as a New Year's resolution.

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    1. I'm so guilty of buying used books:-/

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  24. I believe it was Mother Teresa who, when asked if her small contribution made a difference responded with, "Well it made a difference to that one person." We tend to think unless we're benefiting the whole world, we're not doing enough. The world is changed one person at a time. =)

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    1. I love the Mother Theresa quote. If only we could think like that!

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  25. I don't go in for resolutions, and my goals are quite vague too :) Agree with the commenter above, one does what one can do, however little or inadequate it might feel, little drops of water, little grains of sand etc.


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    1. I'm a believer in the power of the little gesture. HNY Nilanjana!

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  26. I'm terrible at making and keeping any resolutions. But I do hope to be better at organization this year. If I can do that, I'll consider 2016 a huge success.

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  27. No 'world peace' in that list. Interesting. Actually, it's what I mostly hear from friends so no surprise.

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    1. No surprise Jacqui. Maybe no one thinks world peace is achievable. I don't either but we can hopefully do something to make things better!

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  28. Time and energy spent in the right direction is all we can do, keep it up and good luck. thanks for the writing links.

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  29. Hi Denise. Thank you for a great supportive post with lots of ways to stay positive. I agree, it is nicety find lots of beta readers. Sometimes putting together more than s few minds to create a masterpiece really helps take our writing to the next level. Thanks for being a host this month. Erika

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    1. Here's to our gazillions of helpers this year!

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  30. That was a great article by Kristen, thanks for the link.
    Happy New Year!

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  31. My resolutions are specific and simple. :) Yeah, they're health related, but my daughter enjoys participating!

    I think you're spot on with the insecurities in helping others. It totally resonated with me.

    Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. I'm glad Toni and I wish you well for the health related goals.

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  32. Great post, Denise. Thank you for co-hosting. It's always lovely to meet someone new: HELLO!! and Happy New Year! I don't make any resolutions per se but set myself goals and have ideas for progress and self-development. I suppose one goal I should add to my list is to get out more. I do become quite a hermit when I'm working on a piece of writing (which is every day :))

    Thanks for the link and for sharing!!

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    1. Hello to you Nicola! I'll be over as soon as I can.

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  33. Thanks for co-hosting. Great post, enjoyed the links. I try to keep resolutions simple if I make them. This year is focused on my writing goals. Hope you have a great New Year,
    https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/pay-the-writer-pirates-used-bookstores-why-writers-need-to-stand-up-for-whats-right/

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  34. Ok too funny I copied your link and forgot to re-copy my signature. Here is the link to my signature, sorry.
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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  35. I've never made resolutions. Don't want to set myself up for disappointment every year. Thanks for co-hosting this month!

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  36. Wow, you are the first person to suggest that resolutions should not be all about ME ME ME. You are right!

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    1. Well to be fair i guess they sort of have to be about ME ME ME but if we put the same amount of energy into other people the world would be a better place.

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  37. It’s true, our resolutions are usually self-serving. We tend to use them as a way to take control over something in our lives that’s gotten away from us. The result is often failure and guilt. I agree, it would be marvelous if we skipped the guilt and directed some of that energy into helping those in need—automatic success!

    Thanks for co-hosting this month, Denise!

    Happy Sweet ’16!

    VR Barkowski

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    1. Back at you VR. I just know you're going to have a successful writerly new year!

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  38. Wow, thanks for co-hosting and for such a great post. I don't do resolutions either. I do an exercise that helps me get my priorities straight.

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    1. Ooh, and wouldn't I like to know what that exercise is Karen!

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  39. Hi Denise! Thanks for your inspiring post. I think just about the most important thing we can do is foster hope, never give it up no matter how dark things look. Easier said than lived, but it's a worthy goal. One never knows how far a hopeful deed or encouragement may ripple! Wishing you the best on your 2016 writing journey, and thanks for co-hosting the IWSG this month!

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    1. Yes Fundy, it's amazing the ripples that are started with an act of kindness. Let's send out those ripples!

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  40. While I agree with you that new year's resolutions should focus on helping others, I hope my resolution to look at life from a new perspective will help me send out good vibrations to others.

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    1. As they say Gail...physician, save thyself! If we're in a mess, we're no good to anyone else as we become the problem.

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  41. Thanks for hosting, Denise and for your sensible approach to the New Year! Enjoy!

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  42. Inspiring post. Thank you, Denise.

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  43. Thanks for this post Denise, it puts a spin on how people generally look at New Years resolutions.

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    1. Yeah, they can be a ME 'fest. Wouldn't it be nice if we put as much thought into helping others?

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  44. I hope '16 is indeed sweet for you.

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  45. Lovely post. I feel so much more powerful as a writer now. :)

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    1. I'm glad Chrys. We have more power than we know.

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  46. I seem to have found more success helping others than helping myself.
    Happy New Year, Denise.

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    1. Sounds familiar Lyn. Keep it up! Your turn next?

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  47. A wonderful post to start the new year. I'm going to take some of your thoughts with me.

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  48. Hi, Denise,

    HAPPY NEW YEAR! Gosh, it's been ages... sorry I disappeared, but you know the reason. Ugh... life.

    I was happy to read what you wrote about helping so many of the misfortunate in our world. it's true... we always seem to focus on ourselves this time of year. I always try to help others whenever I can. Once I unbury myself I hope to do good deeds again. It DOES certainly make us feel better.

    Life overwhelms so many of us... me LATELY. But forcing myself to ignore the pup for the afternoon and read blog posts, I feel so much better. I've missed my blogger friends these past few months. It was lonely for me. And today, with all of you visiting me, I felt some of the weight lift...

    Thanks for your thoughts....We all need to step back from our lives and SEE the big picture.

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    1. Wishing you all the best after your stressful time. Enjoy that gorgeous little puppy!

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    2. Thanks Denise!

      I am going to ROAST this little puppy... lol he is such a terror. Bites constantly. I never had a puppy so aggressive. I'm hoping he calms down soon. My hands are full of bites and scratches. Little monster.

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  49. Happy "Sweet 16"!!! However we start the new year--goals, resolutions, promises to ourselves--we give ourselves something to aim for. Best wishes.

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    1. Almost forgot. Thanks for co-hosting this month.

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  50. Happy New Year! Thanks for co-hosting!

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  51. thanks for the inspirational post. We usually don't see too many of the during IWSG time. Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG.

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  52. Excellent post. We should all do more for each other. Kindness should go viral!
    I did join the 1st blogfest. I'll have to check the 2nd. Thanks for the head's up!
    Thank you for co-hosting!

    Heather

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    1. Thanks for that Heather. I'll hunt you down for the WEP blogfest!

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  53. Isn't Kirsten Lamb awesome? Love her!

    I've learned years ago that the reason a resolution (goal) has no teach is that we make them too broad. What does it mean to lose weight? Is it going to just magically happen? How? Well, there are steps involved. You have to decide if a goal is achievable. If it's not, it's a dream. So, to make a "lose weight" goal achievable, break it down into achievable steps. If you find one of those not achievable, then you break that down. Happy New Year!

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    1. Yes Donna, I've read articles like this.Make our goals achievable and they may actually happen! HNY to you too Donna!

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  54. Hi Denise
    It is hard to figure out which charity to support. I recently read that the CEO of Red Cross makes over $220,000. I just can't support that.

    Writing is always a challenge and getting paid for it seems elusive.

    I can't find where to go to view the winners of the IWSG anthology. Sign.
    Nancy

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    1. I hope you got the message about where to find the winners' list. And I'm going to put it in my sidebar.
      Yes, I'm hearing you. World Vision spends 75% of the money we give them on admin, but I understand that they have to organise. Still seems outrageous. And those CEOs. I say if they were genuinely altrustic (ha ha), they would take a pay cut. That's why I like to give directly to the bank who guarantee all the money will go to the charity. But I do support World Vision and Medicin sans Frontiere and disability charities and try to blank the CEOs out of my mind. :-)

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  55. You have been busy! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and offer congrats. Much appreciated.
    Here's to a great 2016.

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  56. Small, steady steps still get us there. I do what I can to help people, and hope others are doing their part to. Life can get overwhelming if you're always looking at what hasn't been accomplished as opposed to seeing what has happened and carrying on the mission.

    Getting fit, losing weight, being more aware in general are all ongoing resolutions, noting that happens with a quick fix, lol.

    You're great at organization and participation Denise, thanks for agreeing to participate :)

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    1. Yes Donna, we must be encouraged by the little wins along the way. Thanks for the recognition of my organisation skills Donna. I wish...

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  57. What a busy start to 2016. I never used to make resolutions, but have the past couple of years. But I don't start on Jan. 1. I start when I think of them.

    And wouldn't it be sweet if the world was kinder ... sounds wonderful.

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  58. A great idea to look outwards rather than in for our resolutions. That's increasingly necessary in today's world. Sounds like you've had a busy start to the year, and I hope it continues to go well!

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    1. Thanks Nick. Hope your life is shaping up well !

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  59. I love that idea. I do my best to be a good role model for my son in not only donating money and things, but donating my time to help others. Making others feel good makes you feel good too. :) Have a great new year!

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    1. Donating time is awesome. So many things wouldn't happen without volunteers of every sort.

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  60. Hi Denise!
    Happy New Year!

    I gave up on resolutions years ago. You're right: they never hold water. I'd rather set small goals and go about them calmly, integrating them into my natural daily rhythms. Easier said than done, but it makes easing into the new year a lot more relaxed!

    Every little bit we can do to make someone's life brighter or someone's load lighter is a miracle. There are so many things we can be bogged down with in our own lives. The media don't help. That's why I avoid them as much as I can. The suffering you can help is the suffering you should pay attention to. Pray for those you can't and do what you can. As one person, we feel we can't do a lot but together, when many do a little, we can change the world and make it a better place.

    Here's to a new year, filled with adventurous writing and surprises! Thanks for co-hosting!

    - Jen

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    1. On the other hand Jen I am a news junkie. It's a wonder I'm not totally depressed. But I never get over how resilient humans are. Helping those brave people is a good goal.

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  61. I want a gazillion people to help make my book amazing. Indies do have it tough 'cause most of the gazillion are paid!

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  62. Happy New Year. What an inspirational post. I admire you for suggesting we turn all that energy we are filled with at the beginning of the new year outward, toward helping better others. It's a fantastic idea. I was contemplating taking a social media hiatus, but I'm going to check out both blogfest. My intention was to focus on family, but I'm always striving to show my kids ways we can help better the lives of people who truly need our help and can benefit most from it. I see no reason why I can't use the Internet to demonstrate that. Thanks for pointing out that our New Year's Resolutions don't have to be about bettering or improving ourselves. For some reason, that just seems to jump into my mind when I make resolutions, which I never seem to keep anyway. Perhaps if my resolutions are for the purpose of helping others, I won't be so quick to give up on them.

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    1. Wow Melissa you totally blessed me with your reply. I'm hoping many of us see our own potential in reaching out to others. Love to have you in the blogfests.

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  63. I couldn't agree more when it comes to lending one's literary voice for the greater good. All of the anthologies I've published had a worthy cause driving them, and I try to dedicate a good percentage of time towards furthering charities I believe in. Cheers to a New Year of making a difference!!

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    1. I'm glad you inspire with your anthologies, Samantha! Cheers back at you!

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  64. I can say that when we went through a flood, every dollar we received from friends and family made a difference. Most of the money that went to charity never reached victims--so it can make a difference but when it's directly to individuals or through churches.

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    1. Thankfully friends and family helped out. We have the same problem with charity money going where?

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  65. Hi fellow co-hoster, This is my first time as a co-host. What an amazing group of writers we have. Very thoughtful to focus on someone else's needs during the new year resolution time. I like the idea of donating at the bank. Some banks in the US are the places to deposit donations for some organizations. I found this site to help folks determine where their donations may go. The charities are rated--eye-opening info on some well known groups. charity navigator http://www.charitynavigator.org/ Too many crooks playing on people's emotions nowadays, so it is always good to know who you are giving your money to. Enjoyed all the info on your blog post. Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks for returning the visit, JQ. It was fun co-hosting, wasn't it? Great link re the charity. All of us want our dollars used wisely.

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  66. Happy Sweet 16 to you.
    I don't generally have New Years resolutions, but I do make promises to myself throughout the year that I'll improve in one way or another. I think even if we don't do well on our resolutions, to some degree we are still doing better than not making a resolution and giving up completely on life. Even a firm dedication that fizzles shows we still have some form of ambition. We just have to figure out how to nurture that. And for everyone, there is a different way to do that.

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    1. Thank you Jeffrey! You're right. We all do things differently.

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  67. I do agree with you that we can't give up hope! Sometimes things look bleak, but every smile, wave, kindness, dollar to someone who needs it does help. Good deeds are like ripples in the water and although we may not know the impact of each one, we also can't know what would have happened if we hadn't tried. :) Wishing you all the best in 2016. It is a good time to stop and reflect and think about where we want to go and how to get there. I think for many of us the start of the year is a date to stop and think because boy, does time fly by!

    Happy weekend!
    ~Jess

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    1. Hello Jess. Yes, we must have hope for this world and each other.

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  68. Hey Aussie Mate and fellow co-hostess, hope your new year has started with a bang!
    I've never been a New-Year-Resolution-type-of-girl. I believe you must get on with business. If you know what needs to happen, just get on with it and give it your best shot!
    A gazillion people helping to make a book amazing? It figures. Imagine if we 'ordinary folks' had that kind of assistance? There's be no stopping us!

    Helping others is the way to go. That's why I LOVE my teaching. It's a way to give...educate...empower...and it brings me joy every single time I stand in front of my learners. Yes, as hard as it is, we CAN'T give up hope. There are lots of things happening in the world, and here in my country too, but I'm the eternal optimist. I just forge ahead. That's just me.

    As writers, never underestimate the Power of the Pen.
    So in the words of a certain writer, "let's grab this writing world by the throat." *wink* *wink*

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    1. Hey Michelle we can join together and do this but not alone. Let's show 'em shall we?

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  69. True Denise, it takes a whole village to make a book really successful.

    Here's another place seeking stories http://www.authorspublish.com/submit-to-authors-publish-magazine/

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  70. Sweet 16. I like that. I think I'm going to take that. I've long ago given up on new years resolutions, but yeah.. they used to be about losing weight and stuff focused on myself. This year, I'm going to try and volunteer my time at least once a month. I dunno. I'd like to. We'll see how it goes. Thanks for the article links and such!

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    1. You're welcome Madilyn. I wish you a sweet 16.

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  71. You've just reminded me of another reason I write - changing the world for the better. Stories and characters affect us in powerful ways, and why shouldn't we use that for good?

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  72. Charity and giving of your time is always a worthwhile resolution. I volunteer for several non-profits and have charities I support, but I've never made it a resolution.

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I love hearing from you! Hit me with your wisdom!