Tuesday, January 22, 2019

2018 – A Year of Scaling Back and Chilling Out

https://www.pexels.com/photo/flower-roses-red-roses-bloom-15241/
My year didn’t start out too well. I had just lost my mom two days after Christmas 2017, and early in 2018, I also lost my dear aunt from my dad’s side of the family (she was like a sister), and an uncle from my mom’s side. It was a sad time, and I almost bailed out of my registration for Left Coast Crime scheduled for the end of March.

It might have been better if I’d stayed home, but I’d already decided it might be my last out of town convention or conference ever, so I attended and made sure I went to every single event and panel and performance, and whatever that I could fit into the schedule. I also roomed with my wonderful Five Star editor who lives far, far away from Colorado, so we had the extra fun of getting caught up on all things.


LCC2018 in Reno was a great mystery fan convention, as always, and I did have a good time, but I overdid it and came home with a terrible cough that turned into a sinus infection and bronchitis. That set off almost two full months of misery.

The only good thing about all that whiny stuff is that it moved me to back off from overextending my time and energy. I stepped away from conferences, conventions, workshops, and meetings; I started thinking about what it really means to slow down and smell the roses; and I reminded myself that my friends and other family members are also getting older and that I’d not done a great job of nurturing those relationships while I scurried here and there doing writing-related stuff.

It worked. The rest of 2018 was unrushed, calm, thoughtful, healthy, and even productive as I moved from writing to revisions on my work in process. My social events are coffees or lunches with one or two good friends at a time. The main activities I kept were the Sisters in Crime-Colorado book club, my wonderful critique group Raintree Writers, and my spot here on the Blood-Red Pencil blog. And the other biggie: I limited my time on social media and declined the chance to add a smartphone to my possessions. I am not attached to the world by a techie umbilical cord. I like it that way.

Now to take a peek at my 2019 plans. First of all, I’m doing a 30-day weight loss challenge in an effort to break the pattern of my extremely bad performance over the holidays. If that goes well, I may do it for another 30 days.

Secondly, I’m all in for a Depth Year as discussed by David Cain in his blog post, Go Deeper, Not Wider, at Raptitude. (If you don't follow this blog already, I highly recommend it.)  I’m one of those people who might need two or three Depth Years before I’ve sufficiently de-cluttered, reactivated all my old hobbies (at least the ones that made me happy), and learned to play that ukelele I bought. Wish me luck!

Tell me about your 2018. Are you interested in scaling back and chilling out? Have you ever tried to live a Depth Year?


Pat (Patricia) Stoltey is the author of four novels published by Five Star/Cengage: two amateur sleuth, one thriller that was a finalist for a Colorado Book Award in 2015, and the historical mystery Wishing Caswell Dead (December 20, 2017), a finalist for the 2018 Colorado Book Awards. Wishing Caswell Dead will be out in large print from Thorndike/Wheeler on January 9th, 2018.

Pat lives in Northern Colorado with her husband Bill, Scottish Terrier Sassy (aka Doggity), and brown tabby Katie (aka Kitty Cat).

You can learn more about Pat at her website/blog, on Facebook, and Twitter. Check out the book excerpt and interview featured on SunLit at the new online news source, Colorado Sun.

14 comments :

  1. The ups and downs of my 2018 have already been discussed here, so I want to focus on the good things I gleaned from reading yours. Simplify. Declutter. Downsize my must-do list to a reasonable and comfortable level. Work diligently to lose several unnecessary pounds. Complete stories I have already started before jumping into new ones. Give myself time to breathe rather than give in to the I've-gotta-catch-up-on all-the-work-that=didn't-get-done-last-year scenario. Also, your comments on depth struck a chord. Checking out David Cain's blog will happen today. Perhaps most of all, I want to stop and smell those roses. Thank you for sharing, Pat. This is a great post.

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    1. Thanks, Linda! Giving ourselves time to breathe has a lovely side effect...time doesn't seem to roar by quite so fast.

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  2. Your approach to the stresses seems very wise. I am so sorry for your loses.

    My only resolution for 2019 is sorting, one drawer, closet, box at a time--but one each day.

    Wishing you the best for the new year.

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    1. And all the best to you, Liz. I still have so much to sort and donate or discard...how did I ever become such a packrat?

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  3. I don't think you can play the ukelele without feeling joyful!

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    1. That's the plan, Diana. Step One, learn to tune the instrument....

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  4. I love this post, Pat. It is SO very important that we ALL learn to scale back, enjoy our surroundings, and take time to take stock in where we are in the moment!

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    1. Hi Shonell -- I had a hard time doing that during my working years, being a workaholic and all. It's now or never.

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  5. Hi Pat, I just subscribed to David Cain's blog after reading your post. I salute you going for a "depth year." And glad that you came to Left Coast Crime in Reno. It sounds like it was a very tough start to 2018 for you. My condolences...

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    1. Thanks, Ann. There was a lot to deal with all at once, that's for sure.

      The LCC conventions are always wonderful. It's hard to back off from conferences and conventions for a whole year, but who knows what I might be doing in 2020. :D

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  7. Great post, Pat. I'd love to follow your path, but I think I did too much nothing in 2018. My goal is to actually accomplish something this year. But I am decluttering, little by little. My husband and I also joined a fitness club, mainly for strengthening. We'll see how that goes. Hope this year is a great one for you.

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  8. Thanks, Polly. It's going well so far...if you don't count the freezer food thawing out, apparently because the door was left ajar for at least 24 hours. :D

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  9. 2018 was a rough year for me, too. Made a major move that I am still trying to adjust to, but that doesn't even touch the grief associated with the loss of a loved one, or two.

    I was not familiar with Depth Year, so I hopped over to David's blog. That's an intriguing concept, and I just might try it.

    Here's hoping 2019 is better for both of us.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice.