I’m Stronger than I Thought

In January, I had strong intentions for the quarter, but I anticipated very little of what happened and my plans went awry. My life and my writing feel like a jumble of puzzle pieces that don’t fit where they used to fit. It’s the end of the first quarter of 2021 and it’s time to evaluate what I’ve accomplished and where to go from here. And the biggest lesson learned over the past three months is that I’m stronger than I thought.

image of a jumble of puzzle pieces that symbolize my life & writing right now--but I'm stronger than I thought and I'll find the new order they belong in.


Unsurprisingly, revisions of If I Should Die are off course. Only six chapters farther than I was at the end of January is disappointing. I made adjustments to the timeline, which meant shifting chapters around. When I revise a novel, it’s like doing a giant jigsaw puzzle that get’s redrawn in the middle of my efforts. (Does that make sense?)

Creative thinking takes more energy than blogging. For both, I struggle with focus and energy, but focusing on writing a blog post is easier because of its length.


A friend helped me keep the website updated during February. Since then, I’ve maintained the website.

Focusing on the rewrite and blogging, the managing area of my business suffered the most.


This area suffered from inattention. With a little attention, it’s already bouncing back.

A special thank you to my new readers of both my books and my blog, you brought me joy during a tough time.


Of course, the biggest thing that took place was my husband’s death. Multiple difficult phone calls and adjustments had to take place quickly. Still, much needs sorted then given away or sold, which will get done bit by bit as I can.

I spent a few happy hours with my grandsons.


I got my first COVID-19 vaccine two weeks ago and I’ll get my second one tomorrow.

Next Month & Quarter

image of a table with a jar of pink mums, a jar of chalk, and an open planner planning and knowing I'm stronger than I think

My intentions are to improve my focus and energy. As those things improve, an increase in progress should follow. I intend to work hard toward publishing the next book by the end of the year, even it if it happens on December 31st. My success will depend upon how much I can accomplish these next three months. Stick around. I’ll keep you updated.

What I Learned

Grief is part of my day, every day, and it’s exhausting. Those of you who have lost someone close know grief doesn’t go away entirely. You finally find a bit of peace in your walk along the beach, and a tidal wave hits you from an unexpected direction. Everything and anything touches off the next wave. Sometimes they are gentle, sometimes a tsunami. It doesn’t matter. Each one is exhausting. As it should be. I’m learning when to lean into it and when to step back.

I’ve made less progress than I had intended, but more than I thought grief would allow. It’s okay. I’m okay. I’m stronger than I thought. And when I think about it, I’m guessing that nearly everyone can reflect on the past year and say, “I’m stronger than I thought.” Hang in there, folks. We’ll get through this.

A February That Broke My Heart Forever

This was a February that broke my heart forever. If you read my post “A Grievous Loss and a New Life Journey,” you know why. My husband’s death deeply affected me and changed my all goals.

Graphic image of tree with bubbled identifying goals, strategy, marketing, etc. This past month my goals were shattered because I had a February that broke my heart forever.


As things turned out, I worked on the manuscript fifteen days this month. If I Should Die’s revision draft saw five chapters completed. And I published six blog posts.

This is far below my goals for this month. And it’s more than okay. I’m pleased I got that much done under the circumstances.


There is little that I completed in the managing section. A friend helped me update my website when I couldn’t look at it. I listened to a few podcasts—thank goodness I took notes or I wouldn’t remember a word. And that’s okay, too.


Word cloud including sales, landing page, and digital marketing. This past month my marketing plans were unfulfilled because I had a February that broke my heart forever.

Fortunately, I could continue Amazon marketing efforts. I had plans to do more, but it’s okay. The ads already running produced a few sales, which were a bright spot in an otherwise dreadful month.


The doctor’s and nurses at Advent Health Shawnee Mission Hospital were caring and professional. Every member of the Hospice team was extraordinarily compassionate.

A death causes a lot of paperwork and a lot of telephone calls. I didn’t know where to begin. The Hospice social worker shared a link to AARP’s “Checklist of What to Do When A Loved One Dies.” It has been immensely helpful.

In between tasks, emotional reactions surge and wane. So I’ve made a lot of phone calls, consolidated some things, and gotten some laundry done. And I’m calling that a win.

What I Learned

Lessons have been many and few at the same time. Weird, right?
My lessons have been many about life and death. But few about writing, marketing, or managing a writing career.
And I’ve learned how many warm and caring friends I have. Thank you one and all from the deepest part of me.

Next Month

Image of a laptop, cell phone, notebook and pen, and a cup of coffee. It was a February I'll Never Forget and my plans for March are tenuous.

It won’t be business as usual for a long while. I’ve new personal tasks I must accomplish. And I’m adjusting to a new life role, a new life situation. It’s a lot.

So I’m not making goals for the month. I’ll make goals each night for the next day. They’ll be small goals. Goals I believe I can accomplish.

Finally, I’m going to focus on learning to ask for help when I need it. That will not be easy for me. Not only because I’ve been fiercely independent, but because I don’t know what I need. It’s something I’m going to have to learn after a February that broke my heart forever. And though my heart is broken, know that doesn’t mean _I_ am broken. I will travel this road of grief and I will continue writing. Because that’s what he would want. Because that is who I am.

A Quiet Busy Month

December is typically a hectic month. I’m often a last-minute shopper. There are celebrations—three birthdays, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. And it’s a three-in-one business-wise: end of the month, end of the quarter, and end of the year. Yup, tons of statistics, gathering statistics, and reviewing the year. This pandemic year it was a quiet busy month.

black and white image of bare trees on a snowy night--symbolic of a quiet busy month


Revising If I Should Die continues. Slowly. But you know what? I’m really pleased with changes I’ve made. Rearranged the order of some scenes and it works well. A first reader said she really enjoyed the story so far. She also made some brilliant suggestions for improvements.

image of text with red ink corrections--editing my manuscript continued during this quiet busy month

Eleven blog posts appeared here. (More to come)

I wrote a draft of a newsletter. Now I just need to format it and send it.


Every day I record the hours I work on a project or task. And I record word counts. 

Every week I review what I’ve accomplished and try to plan for the next week. Sometimes the plan works, other times not so much. 

My analysis of this month’s activities revealed a time period that I could use better. And while I’ve only recently changed the way I do things, I already see better productivity.

Learning how to write effective blurbs is a task I’ve set for myself. I did not spend as much time on this as I had planned.

Finally, I enjoyed attending a zoom write in with some writer friends every Wednesday except the week of Christmas. (There wasn’t one that week).


I missed my goal because I underestimated the time it would take. Not sure why I did that since I have the records that show how long it takes. Christmas brain maybe?


image of a colorful, lit Christmas tree in Lynette's living room during this quiet busy month

The beginning of the month was unseasonably warm. I took advantage of that and raked the last of the leaves out of the front yard. Well, not every one of them, but five bags full. 

A large branch fell during a day of powerful winds and broke a basement window.

Birthdays were celebrated remotely.

I put up the tree and decorated it. Got the Christmas shopping done. Wrapped gifts. Delivered gifts to family.

Took my hubby to four different in-person medical appointments. Fortunately, quarantine has been good for him. He’s enjoyed the best health he’s had in the past seven years.

And my electric clothes dryer quit drying. Took me a while to figure that one out. I kept thinking I must have forgotten to turn the thing on. Lol. But this means I’m doing some line drying inside the basement.

I saw and photographed the convergence. It’s not a great photo, but my location wasn’t great either.

Image of the convergence seen between the branches of a fir tree.

Going Forward

Hopefully, going forward there will be another busy quiet month. I definitely don’t want to have another turkey of a month.

Writing, rather revising, will continue. I’ve gotten to the midpoint and, of course, have to go back to the beginning again. Hopefully, that will make revising the last half faster. (Who am I kidding here?)

Blog posts will happen. I have not decided upon the categories I’ll explore next year. If you have any suggestions for topics you’d like me to cover, speak up.

I’ll do a review of my quarter and of the year. And I’ll gather receipts and records in preparation of filing taxes.

And I’ll do my best to make a realistic list of intentions for 2021. It will overestimate what I can accomplish. As a caregiver for someone with multiple chronic illnesses, my days never go quite as planned. And that’s okay. Flexible productivity is my phrase for 2021. 

A Peaceful Productive Month

A quiet busy month is a pleasant month. Not a typical December at all, but I got a lot of intentions checked off. How was your month? 

I’m Done Eating Turkey

November has been a month of turkey for me. And I’m not talking about the Thanksgiving kind of turkey. As an introvert, I thought the isolation of self-quarantine wouldn’t bother me. I was wrong. It has. And like one gets after eating turkey, I’ve been lethargic. But now, I’m done eating turkey.

I"m done eating turkey even if the table in this photograph is of a Thanksgiving table with serving dishes of cranberry sauce, salad, turkey, dressing, potations and other sides. But I'm done eating turkey.

It started in October. My focus wasn’t there. Everything took twice as long as usual. And after a while, I wasn’t giving my work, my world, the time it needed. I didn’t have the energy or the desire to work hard.

The siamese cat in this photo is laying down, half-asleep with it's tongue hanging out--I'm done eating turkey and being half-asleep.


If I Should Die is still in revision. I’m making progress, but only reached half of my goal. Read the blurb and more about this novel. Or watch me read a chapter on YouTube.

The special project got put on a back burner through inaction.

Beyond that, not much has happened in the Making department.


Welp. This area fell by the wayside, too. I failed to put out an October newsletter. I’m not sure why the newsletter is the thing I keep “forgetting.” I’m working on getting better about that.


With a lot of help from my son and his family, we raked leaves out of my gigantic yard. I am very grateful for their help.

I made a Thanksgiving dinner for two. And the two of us enjoyed our quiet day.

And I received a video of my youngest grandson taking his first steps. Wish I could have been there, but the video helped make the day.

Photo of smiling one year old boy holding a teething toy--I'm done eating turkey and ready to visit my grandchildren as soon as the pandemic is under control

And after too long a time, I got both my Yorkies groomed. At least the first trim. They still need baths and a clean up trim. 

Going Forward

Image of a camera lens through which you can see a perfectly focused swan swimming--I'm done eating turkey and I sure want eat swan but I'm swimming to catch up

I am done eating turkey and getting bupkis done. The pandemic will go on for months more. Not functioning well during the next six months or longer isn’t an option. 

Sleep. I had been getting little sleep each night because I woke at every single little noise. I invested in earplugs. And that has been key to me getting more sleep. And my focus back. 

Yup. I’m done eating turkey. The list of things I need to catch up on is formidable. But so am I. 

My Horrible-No-Good-Very-Bad Month

It’s the last Friday of the month and I owe you a progress report. Perhaps the title of this post gives you a hint? My horrible-no-good-very-bad month says a lot, and yet not enough. And while I’m an optimist at heart, it got a beating this month.

A black cellphone with the word August on a white screen hints of my horrible-no-good-very-bad month

It Started Bad

The storm of problems that has become 2020 definitely added to the negative side. But those things aren’t responsible for my horrible month.

In July, my oldest and tiniest dog, Astro, had brain damage from a seizure or stroke. You can read more about that in my July Progress Report

As a result, I carried him down the backyard ramp (we have a raised ranch) many times a day during July and into August. I also just sat and held him a lot.

Just as August began, I learned that one of my books was on a pirate site. Investigating further, I learned that the only thing you could do on the site was to enter your credit card information. No other links worked. And there was no information available at any of the Whois type of sites. So, I let it go. Thieves will be thieves.

To Complicate Matters

One early August day, I bent to pick Astro up out of his box. My iPhone did a nosedive from my pocket into the dog’s water bowl! I grabbed it, dried it, and stuck it in a bag of rice. And was without a phone… in a house with a man who has needed emergency medical care many, many times.

The next morning I could call or receive a call, but the person on the other end heard more static than words. And it would not allow me to plug the charger into the phone. I was running out of battery power. I had to have a new phone as soon as possible. But the Apple stores and my phone service provider stores were closed because of the pandemic. The only place I could get a replacement iPhone that day was at a Best Buy a little more than twenty miles away.

Car Drama

I had a low tire. I aired it up, got some gas and took off. Less than a mile from my destination, my OTHER front tire went flat. There was no safe place to pull over, but according to the partially functioning iPhone there was a Quick Trip less than a quarter mile away. I drove slowly, flashers going, and tore the tire to shreds. It was off the rim by the time I got to the Quick Trip. 

There was much drama trying to find help. An expensive tow truck service was not available soon enough. Long story shorter, a kind gentleman pulled into the spot next to my car and changed my tire for me. I finally got the new iPhone, got it set up properly, and went home.

A Sad Goodbye

My oldest dog, Astro, whose death added to my horrible no good very bad month.

At home I discovered that Astro was sicker than before. He refused to eat or drink. By Saturday morning I knew it was time. He was euthanized on August 8th and I have an Astro-sized hole in my heart.

More Drama

About two weeks later, my wheelchair-dependent husband fell when he tried to transfer back into his chair. Now this has happened before, and I’ve had to call 911 for help. So a few months ago, I’d purchased a used patient lift. It looks like this one.

Thanks to Hoyerlift.com for the image.

It took some doing to change my husband’s position enough in my small bathroom to use the lift. But we did it. And other than some bruises and skin tears, hubby was okay. I had some sore muscles that needed babied for a while, but we both recovered.

WIP Progress

image of a laptop, an open journal with a pen on it, a cell phone, and a cup of coffee--things that helped me get through my horrible no good very bad month.

All of this is to say I didn’t meet my word count goals again. SIGH. But the good news is that I reached and passed the 75% mark of the novel. Yay! If I Should Die, the second book in The Fellowship Dystopia, is now 95,000 words.

Granted less drama in my life, I’m hoping to finish the “first draft” by the end of next month.


I have taken a series of webinars on Amazon ads presented by Amazon. I’ve learned a lot and have some changes to implement. Hopefully that will increase my sales.


I read a short novel, The Flowers of Hiroshima, and posted my review of it. I didn’t get the nonfiction book I wanted to read done. 

In Review

My horrible, no good, very bad month has been a challenge. But it’s ending on a higher note. The novel is coming along and there is a good thing coming in the future. Vague, yes, but I’ll tell you more in about a month. So now you know about my month, how has your August 2020 been?