January Wrap Up & Review


I took this photo at a nearby park a few days ago. It’s an interesting mix of sweet and sad. It held my attention as I contemplated scenarios.

For me, January began with a cold and it’s ending with a stomach bug. I’ve decided that’s my quota for the year—that’s the way it works, right?

Winter finally blew in with ridiculous wind chills that dropped the temperature into negative numbers. Yikes! Everyone is still hoping for a milder winter this time around.winter-period-smiley-emoticon

I spent the month editing. Before tackling these edits, I chose to write something new, then read some books, including a few on self-editing. This helped get me in the right place, and I’ve been really enjoying this last set of edits.

One task I set for myself was to jot down the chapters to make an outline that included dates and times. It was a good thing, too. I discovered I had crammed 48 hours worth of stuff into 12 hours—oopsie. That took fiddling to fix, but I did it.

I’m also running each chapter through SmartEdit (the free version) to look for repeated words and phrases. I have found a few that I’ve need to change up. I don’t think it’s horrible to repeat a word, but recently I read a book that used the words ‘scattered’ in the first two paragraphs of the book. It really stuck out, more so due to their proximity, but even within a few pages of each other those types of words readers remember. It’s best to get rid of them.

I’m also betareading. It’s really fun to read something at this stage of the game. It’s also a huge responsibility. I find myself taking notes!

How did January treat you? What do you think happened in the photo?

photo by me!
smiley courtesy of Sherv.net

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Updated: January 24, 2016 — 8:22 pm


  1. Will check out SmartEdit then. I know I have words I like to repeat.
    Sorry you’re sick again.
    That’s both sad and odd someone would leave a top hat out in the snow…

  2. Hi Holly – I’ve had a lingering cold for the last two weeks – I do not want a stomach bug on top. I’m glad you’re coming out of it … The SmartEdit does seem like a good idea …

    Yea I saw the top hat too … running away from something … cheers Hilary

  3. 48 hours into 12 – I do that on a regular basis.

    Maybe someone wanted to make a snowman but never got around to it.

  4. Frosty lost his hat! We’ve had similar Januarys. Mine started out with a really bad virus and I did a lot of revising and critiquing. I’m hoping to end the month with some writing, but a cold is clinging to my throat.

  5. January was not so great for me. Three weeks of being laid up, unable to put any weight on my right foot. Two and a half weeks of being sick. Although many people said, “At least you’ll be able to write,” it turns out that immobility was not great for creativity. I didn’t realize how much thinking and pre-writing I did while moving around — washing dishes, walking on the treadmill, driving, etc.

    So, although I’ve got a book coming out this week — which is the one bright spot in the month — I’ll be happy to say good-bye to January!

  6. My timelines are always in need of repair. I get the story down and then go back and fix them. Love the image of the crusty snow and dark earth. And who lost that hat?

  7. I’d never heard of SmartEdit so I’m so glad you shared about it. Definitely going to check it out. Sorry you’ve been sick but it sounds like you still had a good month. Hope February is healthy!

  8. I found a site that allows me to check for repeated words or phrases, but it has some quirks that make it a little more work that it should be. Maybe I’ll have to check out SmartEdit. Thanks.

  9. I think someone’s hat flew off after a party.

    Sorry you’re sick. I hope you feel better soon.

    I’d like to take a look at SmartEdit. I know I overuse some words.

  10. It’s hard to believe that January is nearly over. Got a lot done this month, but hoping to be more focused and accomplish more in February. Hope you are feeling better! 🙂

  11. It’s melting out my door, which is fine by me. I’m firmly in the I don’t want any snow camp. Sorry about the stomach bug 🙁

  12. Here’s hoping that stomach bug goes away quickly!

    It’s been a busy one here. We had family come into town, with more coming next week, and more three weeks after that. I had to forgo any kind of writing for a good week, but I did beta read several pieces and submit one story to a publisher plus win a writing contest, so that’s a plus. Oh, and read 7 books so far. (Hoping to round that out to nine by the actual end of the month.) Getting one more piece ready to head to a publisher and then I can sit back and worry about my house again. *sigh* I love visitors. They force me to clean.

  13. I hope you get to feeling better! January has been pretty rough with me, mostly my friend dying, my car getting totaled, and my husband hurting his foot. But hey, things will look up from here, right? I’ve lost 2% body fat, so at least my diet is working. 🙂

  14. There are always new word clusters it seems. I get rid of one, or become more mindful of it, and another crops up. If it’s repeated for clarity, I think that’s better than making people puzzle out what the author is talking about.

  15. After the party…
    I love editing too. i like the sound of Smart Edits. Must check it out, but the FIND/REPLACE facility on Word is good. We all have our favourite words and they can really rankle if repeated too often.
    Sorry you’ve not been well. Hope the rest of the year is awesome!

  16. I’m just getting over a stomach bug, too. Blech. That’ll teach me to go to the museum during bug season. SmartEdit sounds interesting. I might have to try that out. I know a few words I tend to overuse, so I try to edit for those.

  17. Wow, I know I’m catching-up but lots going on on your side of the world. Did you see that? I use on on. And I didn’t do, on, on. I think that’s how it should be with the , between but that’s okay.

    Anyway, I think frosty dropped his hat when he went chasing the warm doughnut cart lady. Though, what will happen when a cold snowman eats a fresh warm doughnut … I don’t know?

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