Retrospection

Originally published in the Black Diamonds of RWA chapter newsletter

Edited to update.

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Looking Forward by Looking Back by Jill James

Sometimes it seems in the writing world everyone is looking forward. Deadlines for manuscripts written, asking what your next project will be, asking where you want to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years. We are trained to say, “When I get published, not if I get published”. Always looking forward to the prize on the horizon.

Day by day, if we are serious about our craft, we will see improvement. But, will we recognize how far we have come if we don’t take time to look back at our beginnings? I’m sure everyone has heard a writer, maybe even you yourself, talk about that first awful manuscript, the one gathering dust bunnies under the bed, or languishing on a hard drive never to be seen. The question to ask is, are they as awful as you remember and are you brave enough to dig it out and compare it to today’s work?

Several years ago, I did just that. I dug out the then, ten-year-old children’s story I wrote for my son’s then-2nd grade class.  “The Story of Sammy Bootlebutt”.  I wrote and illustrated a story of Sammy the frog finding his place in the world. Even though my RWA chaptermates’s comments were encouraging, that wasn’t why I dragged it out of the closet. I wanted to show myself how far I’ve come. Sammy is an okay story, but simple. It was fun to write, but so are my stories I write today. Everything I’ve learned along the way goes into each story I write. Everything I’ve become along the way goes into each story I write.

All the classes, workshops, critiques, and conferences add up to where my writing is today. I’ve learned POV, GMC, layering, subtext, using back story to build characters, being organized, how to plot, using astrology for characters, world-building, and a dozen more workshops I’m sure I forgot.  I’ve now published with a small press and by myself as a self-published author. Sometimes when I glance back I’m amazed at how far I’ve come. Take a few moments and take a trip down the ‘memory lane’ of your hidden stories and you might find a gem, you might find a dud, or you might be amazed too, at how far you’ve come.

So, we all need to “look forward” to where our writing will be in the future so we can “look back” to today and marvel how far we’ve come.

Happy New Year and may your 2020 be happy and prolific!!

*

Jill James, writer of contemporary, paranormal, and zompoc romance*

2020 – Happy New Year

For years I would do New Year’s Resolution. About February they were dust in the wind. Then my friend gave me a Wishing Pot. Each New Year’s Eve I sit down and open it up and read what my wishes were for the year. Some come true, some don’t, and some happened that weren’t in the Wishing Pot at all.

wish pot

Another year, another opening of the Wishing Pot. What did I accomplish? What did I forget? What did I not write down but I did anyway?

What will I put in there for next New Year’s Eve? What are my hopes and dreams for 2020?

 

1 writing-related, 1 health-related, and 1 personal. It is funny how I won’t think about those wishes until it is time to check them next New Year’s Eve. Happy wishes to everyone for 2020 to be all you want and need it to be.

What is your wish for 2020?

and how did it become 2020???!!!


Jill James, romance writer

There’s no place like home.

Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, it was a wonderous journey but there is something to be said about sleeping in your own bed after a shower in your own room.

In 14 whirlwind days we drove to Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh. We saw ballparks, Halls of Fame, and ate some amazing food, then drove home again.

I love vacations, but I love coming home more. I hope to post some pictures this coming week.


Jill James, romance writer

No Candy Hearts

I was shocked to see that there will be no candy conversation hearts this year since the company went out of business or sold to someone else (not 100% sure which). Those little hearts were the joy of my childhood. Every Valentine’s Day in the classroom you knew you would get at least one or two of those little boxes along with the perforated, cardboard cards. It wasn’t that they tasted so great, they are actually kind of chalky. They aren’t chocolate after all. But, it was like a sensory memory of joy and friendship, along with the sweet messages imprinted on their colorful surfaces.

Since we are trying so hard to lose weight this year, there will be no luxurious red boxes of chocolates, but I’ll hold on to that joyful memory of candy hearts from a friend.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Jill James

2019 – Happy New Year

For years I would do New Year’s Resolution. About February they were dust in the wind. Then my friend gave me a Wishing Pot. Each New Year’s Eve I sit down and open it up and read what my wishes were for the year. Some come true, some don’t, and some happened that weren’t in the Wishing Pot at all.

wish pot

This past New Year’s Eve I got my wish pot off the shelf and opened it up. Imagine my disappointment to find no wishes inside. The wish pot had still been packed away last New Year’s Eve after the move to our new house and it was months later that my office was finally in order and the little pot on a shelf.

 

 

But, now it has new wishes for this coming year. 1 writing-related, 1 health-related, and 1 personal. It is funny how I won’t think about those wishes until it is time to check them next New Year’s Eve. Happy wishes to everyone for 2019 to be all you want and need it to be.

What is your wish for 2019?


Jill James, romance writer

Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019

Happy New Year 2019

Most times people take this time of year to kick the past year to the curb, glad to see it go. They are looking forward to a bright, shiny new year. Although, I will be glad to greet a new year, 2018 was very good to me. I published 3 books, I tried something new ( Kindle Scout), and best of all, celebrated my first year in my brand-new home.

Look back with fondness and greet the new year with love and a sense of adventure.

Happy New Year to all, Jill James

Christmas ornaments

I love decorating the Christmas tree each year. Last year we were in an apartment getting ready to move into our new house so we didn’t decorate at all. We were in a new house with almost no furniture and didn’t have our decorations(in storage). We drove to see family and didn’t stay home for Christmas Eve and Day.

This year we got out everything we own for the holidays. It was fun to see the family ornaments after missing a year. The little ones of popsicle sticks and foam the kids and grandkid made over the years. The old ones passed down from generation to generation. The ones that represent a person or a place we’ve been. And the new ones we get each year to make the year.

My mother-in-law gets us a new one each year too. They are beautiful crystal and silver and bright. This is this year’s one!

Do the ornaments on your tree have special stories too?

 


Jill James, romance writer

Giving Thanks

Of course, we should give thanks every day for all of the people in our lives, our health, our bountiful riches, but sometimes we need a nudge, a reminder. For me, that is Thanksgiving. A day to sit with family and friends and reflect on all you have received in your life. Give thanks!

From my house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!!

Never Forget

Originally posted September, 10, 2009 on my blog

Sometimes September 11th, 2001 seems like yesterday and sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago.  You find yourself dividing your life into before and after 9/11.

We had just moved into our new house a few months before the event and it added to the disorientation to be in what still seemed a strange house, in a strange neighborhood, and in strange times.

My son was still in elementary school and I spend the early hours unsure whether to send him to school or not.  Sure, we lived in an itty, bitty town so nothing would probably happen but I didn’t want him out of my sight either.  I remember he stayed home 2 or 3 days until the principal called the parents and asked them to please send the children to school so they could get back to normalcy.

Remember the date. Honor the victims. Salute our soldiers.

The best way to remember is to have a family plan for emergencies. Do you have a plan?

Jill James

A Snow Day

snow dayWe have Brainy Grandson visiting us this week for his Spring Break. He lives in the S.F. Bay Area so not much snow. LOL

We went up to Mt. Rose. Skiing looked awesome; dry snow and sunshine. But since the guys don’t ski and I haven’t skied since I was about 20, we decided to go play in the snow instead.

It is called The Meadow and I imagine in the summer it is just that, but on this day it is full of snow. Really full of snow. In some places we fell in to our hips. But it was a fun day and the grandson made himself a snow throne and threw snowballs and had a great time. He is growing so fast, he is taller than Papa now.

This week has gone by so fast and we will miss him when he has to go back home.


Jill James, proud Nana

Authors Love Reviews

Yes, even 1 and 2 stars ones.

Why?

Because it means someone is reading our books. Even if they didn’t like them, they read them. We can’t operate in a vacuum. We need to know what is resonating with the readers. What was confusing. What fell flat. We don’t know until the readers tell us so.

We love reviews!!! So if you’ve read Christmas Babies on Main Street, the latest boxed set from the Authors of Main Street, we would love to hear from you on Amazon!!

As always, thank you for reading!!


Jill James, author of Baby Steps and Snowflakes