Oh look, I’m cohosting today! Welcome to 2023, and I hope it brings good things for you. I particularly like this month’s Question, which gives plenty of scope for thinking about the year ahead.

Insecure Writers Support Group badge

This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post, in which we share our successes and failures as writers, our insecurities, in fact. Anyone can join in, just sign up at the IWSG Sign-up page, write a blog post on the first Wednesday of the month, and go back to that sign up page to link with everyone else–or a goodly sample. Our host is Alex J Cavanaugh, and cohosting this month are:

 Debs Carey, Kim Lajevardi, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, T. Powell Coltrin, and me 🙂

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Do you have a word of the year? Is there one word that sums up what you need to work on or change in the coming year? What is your word for 2023? Why?

Question of the month, January 2023, IWSG

Achieve. I was thinking ‘focus’, but the outcome of that focus is to achieve something.

Drifting v achieving

I’ve been drifting through life lately. There are good reasons for that, emerging from the trauma of moving house straight into lockdown. Lockdown after lockdown, madness in politics, cruelty to those suffering and in desperate need. Then there was the intolerable noise of the building site next door, the stress induced on my animals, and as it quietened down, I allowed myself to realise the stress had been on me, too. ‘Drifting’ could be another word for ‘distancing myself from everything around me bar my animals and key friends.’

Funnily enough, writing my Christmas story for the blog made me realise, when I got to my homily at the end. Drifting really was my problem, just as it was Fred’s!

So, I feel ready to emerge, and achieve a few things this year.

Writing and not-writing

I am working on a writing project. This has gradually taken shape over the last few months, as I started to focus on what my readers expect of me. Doing the craft shows (I had a really good December!) made me realise that yes, lots of people don’t read what I write, and no, I don’t need to write things for them. Be true to my own voice, and write more for those who discover they like it.

The stars of my writing project

There are two main projects I want to carry out in and around the house. I need to get started on the first. Dry winter days will be fine, as it requires physical exercise out of doors, which will make me hot, and I’ll only want to do a little at a time to start with. Rome was not built in a day, and neither will my patio with its extra shade for the hot summer…. I’m sure I have the capability of doing this, if I treat it like an elephant, and bite one piece at a time. (The second is the kitchen, but that can wait.)

These things have been in my mind for a while. It’s time I set about achieving them. So I must focus, and get on with them.

A book, and a patio. If I achieve those, it will have been a good year.

What about you?

PS If you’d like to try cohosting, just contact Alex J Cavanaugh (you can comment on his blog or find his email there) and let him know.

Display problems?

If the first line of this post is in any way mangled, please let me know in the comments, and what browser you’re using. I’m trying a ‘dropped capital’ at the start of the first line.

Cohosting IWSG January 23
Tagged on:             

75 thoughts on “Cohosting IWSG January 23

  • 4 January, 2023 at 9:58 am

    Love that you’ve chosen Achieve Jemima and, having started with Focus, it sounds like you’ve got a great combination there to help you break free from drifting. All the best with your home projects also 🙂

    Debs posting today from Fiction Can Be Fun
    Also found at Debs Despatches

    • 4 January, 2023 at 11:27 am

      Thanks, Debs. Of course, I’ve just had *another* idea about the patio… I’ll be over to see you later 😉

  • 4 January, 2023 at 10:56 am

    Sounds like you’ve found a way forward. Construction is always a cause of stress for me and my animals — even if it’s next door. Happy 2023!

    Ronel visiting for IWSG day An Author’s Goals for 2023

    • 4 January, 2023 at 11:28 am

      I think next door is the worst. You have no control, and all the vibrations (which the people doing it don’t notice).

      Happy 2023 to you too 🙂

  • 4 January, 2023 at 11:21 am

    I love that you picked achieve. It sounds like you’re really focused on moving away from drifting through life. Thanks for co-hosting with me.

    • 4 January, 2023 at 11:29 am

      Always a pleasure to cohost with you Natalie 🙂 I’m usually overly good at targets and plans, which I lost during the chaos of moving and lockdown.

  • 4 January, 2023 at 12:09 pm

    Achieve is a great word. I’ve been drifting some too, perhaps I need to embrace a similar word. Thank you for co-hosting this month!

  • 4 January, 2023 at 12:22 pm


    And good luck with the building work. Uk winter has vanished, excuses no longer credible, we need to finish a fence., though it won’t keep out the sun.
    The first IWSG host I can contact, which is great. Don’t use blogger, tweeting anything would take forever – I live in a dead zone. – gmail meant security texts,
    and a six mile drive or climb to a summit for a signal.
    Fatal habit of over correcting, deleting wholesale, rather than editing, so will I ever achieve ? Probably not, if achieve means a book deal and five star reviews, but
    nothing will stop me from trying.
    Except finishing that fence.

    Fingers crossed and all other magic for 23.


    • 4 January, 2023 at 5:12 pm

      Oh, I think just getting the book out in the way you want to is the achievement. I self-publish 🙂 Here in Hampshire its extremely wet, but I suspect we will get another cold blast before the winter is through. The whole of Europe is unseasonably warm. It’s too wet to work on the ground, that’s for sure.
      I have managed to comment on some blogger posts with my name and URL, but many have that option blocked for some reason. And on just a few Google recognises my blogger account :O
      Good luck with your wifi/4g isolation. Should help get the book finished 🙂
      Happy new year Esther.

      • 1 February, 2023 at 8:53 am

        Unseasonably warm, miserably wet, everybody on strike… ,

        Yes, perfect for writing, and will enjoyb havoing written

    • 4 January, 2023 at 5:17 pm

      You should see what’s under the ‘topsoil’ of my grass. There’s very little basework to do, and I’m going to gravel, not tiles. 🙂 This project has reduced from an extension (Quote pre-purchase: this house will be the perfect size when I add a small extension on the back), to a conservatory and now to a patio with a trellis and shade over it. (There’s no way to fix one of those retractable awnings).
      And I need that shade so I can write more!

  • 4 January, 2023 at 12:27 pm

    Finding a balance between writing what we feel compelled to write and giving our readers what they want is not easy. Thanks for co-hosting!

    • 4 January, 2023 at 5:21 pm

      At the fairs my opening gambit is ‘what do you like to read’. Crime comes out top, thrillers/psychological ones second. I don’t do those and don’t want to. But then I discover that there are other people who like the idea of my books being based on my guinea pigs. And not just for the children! So there’s another guinea pig book on the way, for the year younger than my current youngest reader 🙂 But then, I don’t have an ambition to be a NYT Best-seller…

  • 4 January, 2023 at 12:41 pm

    Hi Jemina, I can sympathize with the construction noise and lockdown. We have it here and lived a self-imposed quarantine, too. Sounds like you are transitioning from drifting to achieving. Congratulations!
    I took a screen capture of the first sentence, but I can’t attach it to this post. I do not see a drop cap, I do see a large circle sitting in the left margin beside the paragraph.
    Lynn La Vita @ https://la-vita.us/

    • 4 January, 2023 at 5:23 pm

      Ah, it should be an O, so it may be showing correctly. Try flicking back to the previous post (its flash fiction, although a slightly odd one) and see if that makes more sense.
      Thansk for your kind words, and happy new year!

  • 4 January, 2023 at 1:15 pm

    PIGGIES!! Sorry to be distracted but I love and miss having piggies. Of course having three cats now is counterproductive to cavies. Good for you for identifying your distraction and setting up a way to conquer it! That’s half the battle, as GI Joe would say. Here’s to a more productive and focused 2023 for both of us!!

    • 4 January, 2023 at 5:25 pm

      lol I have a feeling we discussed piggies years ago, Nancy! The next generation are having their own fun, these are their immediate predecessors, who I couldn’t stop writing about when they passed last year, the year before now.
      Here’s to 2023! May you achieve your goals, too.

  • 4 January, 2023 at 1:30 pm

    Sounds like a good plan, Jemima. Wish you all the best. I could use drifting to describe my 2022. Thank you for co hosting.

    • 4 January, 2023 at 5:26 pm

      I think we all need a bit of drifting every now and then. Especially following burnout! Hope you have a good year, Sonia.

  • 4 January, 2023 at 1:33 pm

    Achieve was one I considered. Excellent choice.
    I can see your drop letter, though it appears to be a different font, but works overall. (Google Chrome)
    “Without having a goal, it’s difficult to score.” Paul Arden
    I hope 2023 will become everything you need it to be.

    • 4 January, 2023 at 5:29 pm

      To me it looks like it’s a slightly finer and less condensed version of the main font, but with O it’s difficult to tell. There’s an H in the previous post (which is a sort of flash fiction).
      I hope you have a good 2023 too. I saw some comment about an incident last month which I meant to follow up, but didn’t. I hope all is well now.

  • 4 January, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Thanks for co-hosting, Jemi. I don’t generally pick a resolution, but I like your word. Achieve is doable. Happy 4th New Day.

    • 4 January, 2023 at 5:30 pm

      Thanks, Joy. I like doable words. Years of planning goes into that sort of experience!
      Happy new ‘whenever you get this’ day 🙂

  • 4 January, 2023 at 2:11 pm

    If your patio turns out as lovely as your blog, it will be stunning. Like Joylene, I don’t do resolutions, but each of us needs a port to set our sails to. a word for our year’s rudders seems a great idea.

    • 4 January, 2023 at 5:33 pm

      I gave up resolutions many years ago, since they are always the same, and often don’t last till the first weekend. So far this year I have gone for a walk every day. That is the plan. Round the block is fine. And otherwise – I have two main things to achieve . I set my sights low these days!!
      Come to think of it, this should mean I spend the entire summer lazing in the garden (when I’m not gardening).

  • 4 January, 2023 at 2:20 pm

    To Focus to Achieve. Sounds perfect to me. Wishing you great achievements in 2023. And, Thank you for co-hosting!!!

    • 4 January, 2023 at 5:33 pm

      Thank you, Cathrina. Great achievements to you too.!

  • 4 January, 2023 at 3:15 pm

    Drifting sounds like me, too. You’ve had a lot of turmoil in your life lately. The noise and dust from construction is terrible. Been there. Hopefully, they’ll finish soon. Thanks for cohosting this month.

    • 4 January, 2023 at 5:35 pm

      I think drifting is fine if it’s sort of on purpose. It’s when you feel something’s missing you need to put the sails up and grab the tiller.
      Have a happy 2023.

  • 4 January, 2023 at 3:51 pm

    Sometimes ‘drifting’ is the most we can expect, don’t you think? The giant O threw me at first, but it wasn’t mangled. Just big!

    • 4 January, 2023 at 5:37 pm

      lol Start the year with a bang, perhaps? Some letter look better than others, so I’ll experiment some more. I often find myself writing things in my flash fiction that mean more than I expected. Realising that I wanted to stop drifting was one outcome from that Christmas story.
      Happy new year, Jacqui 🙂

  • 4 January, 2023 at 3:54 pm

    Thanks for cohosting today! I drifted a lot in the last two years as well but it’s time to get back on track! Good luck with your patio and book!
    Love your sweet little guinea pigs!

    • 4 January, 2023 at 5:38 pm

      Thanks, Kathy, and good luck with your return to the track! Happy 2023

  • 4 January, 2023 at 4:40 pm

    Sounds like you are ready to tackle 2023. Good luck with writing and your house plans.

    • 5 January, 2023 at 4:49 pm

      Thank you, Patricia. Have a good 2023 🙂

  • 4 January, 2023 at 5:09 pm

    Achieve is a great word. Sounds like you have many projects and goals. All best to you in the new year and thanks for co-hosting IWSG!

    • 5 January, 2023 at 4:50 pm

      Thank you, Mary – I’m rarely short of plans, but several never come to fruition! Happy new year 🙂

    • 5 January, 2023 at 4:51 pm

      Yes, there have been far too many distractions, haven’t there? Good luck with your own plans in 2023.

  • 4 January, 2023 at 5:18 pm

    I feel you on picking up your pet’s stress. Nearby construction is never fun. I like that you chose achieve. Focus must be hard with multiple projects and the din next door. Your choosing to focus sounds like a fantastic start to the New Year! Thank you for co-hosting.

    • 5 January, 2023 at 4:53 pm

      Luckily the work is mostly now inside and not too long to go. So we can look forward to a nice, summer, I hope… and the patio will have shade, which will help, too! Have a great new year.

  • 4 January, 2023 at 5:29 pm

    Happy New Year!
    Achieve is something that you have been doing since I met you through the IWSG and I hope you keep on doing it.
    All the best and thank you for co-hosting.
    Shalom aleichem

    • 5 January, 2023 at 4:54 pm

      You’ve been a great support ever since I met you, Pat, and I thank you for being there. Time to return to those achievements 🙂 Happy new year!

  • 4 January, 2023 at 5:34 pm

    A book and a patio. I love that! And ‘achieve’ is such an enabling word. With that kind of motivation, how could we not succeed? Have a wonderfully productive month, and thanks for co-hosting!

    • 5 January, 2023 at 4:55 pm

      … and then I can read more books on the patio, in the shade 🙂 Good luck with your plans for 2023, Diedre.

  • 4 January, 2023 at 5:52 pm

    I like your word. It’s actually a lot like my “finish.” And I like your thoughts about drifting. I’ve been doing a lot of that, and maybe not cutting myself enough slack for the disruptions in my life this year.

    • 5 January, 2023 at 4:57 pm

      You’ve been through exceptionally stormy waters, and need to allow things to stop bobbing about so much! I think finish works well for you – just make sure you set your number of things to finish realistically!

  • 4 January, 2023 at 7:25 pm

    Achieve is a great word and you make an excellent point about the differences. Sounds like you’ve got some good solid goals for 2023 and I wish you all the best in achieving them!

    • 5 January, 2023 at 4:58 pm

      Thank you so much, Heidi. I hope your plans for 2023 go well, too 🙂

  • 4 January, 2023 at 9:17 pm

    I’m glad you went with “achieve” for your word choice in 2023. It will serve you well, I’m sure. Happy New Year, Jemima and thanks for doing a bang up job on co-hosting today!

    • 5 January, 2023 at 4:59 pm

      Thank you, Lee, and I hope you 2023 will go well, too.

  • 4 January, 2023 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks for co-hosting today, Jemima! I think a lot of us have been drifting, especially during the last two years. I really like your choice of “achieve!” I thought of “progress,” but I realized I can’t make progress in anything, if I’m not healthy. My healthy goal right now is learning to walk without a limp. It seems like such a simple thing, but it isn’t. You have chosen some hefty projects to achieve ~ I wish you all the best with them. I believe a writer must be true to her own voice and write what she is compelled to write. So please write what speaks to you. One bite at a time is an excellent mantra. Have a happy 2023!

    • 5 January, 2023 at 5:01 pm

      Most of us do not have major health goals to concern us. I hope you get good progress on walking without a limp, and recover your other goals in due course. Thanks for visiting today, and happy 2023.

    • 5 January, 2023 at 5:03 pm

      The patio, probably lol! The main difficulty with the book will be making it suitable for seven-year-olds. Fortunately I have several beta readers of the right age to help me 🙂

  • 4 January, 2023 at 9:45 pm

    You can achieve anything you want when guinea pig powers are activated!!!

    • 5 January, 2023 at 5:04 pm

      Ah – you have felt the power of the Look, then? I tell, you Yoda must have been modelled on them! Have new year, Stephen.

  • 4 January, 2023 at 11:47 pm

    Achieve – yeah, that’s a good one. I’ve been drifting recently too. All the luck to you in your upcoming projects.

    • 5 January, 2023 at 5:05 pm

      Sometimes we need to drift, especially with all the turmoil we’ve been going through. Now, time to take hold of life again. Happy 2023, Olga.

  • 5 January, 2023 at 1:17 am

    Somehow it is comforting to hear those troubles from someone else’s words. Best of luck in the new year. (The “O” is a bit low compared to first three lines of text. I’m using Chrome.)

    • 5 January, 2023 at 5:07 pm

      I think visiting around other Insecure writers I’ve realised how many of us are in similar situations. We are not alone.
      And thanks for the O feedback, Steph. Happy new year!

  • 5 January, 2023 at 11:53 am

    Hi Jemima!
    Thank you for co-hosting the January blog hop.
    I’ve never had a ‘word of the year’…
    But I believe in perseverance. So maybe that will be my ongoing word for years to come.
    All the best for 2023!

    • 5 January, 2023 at 5:09 pm

      I haven’t come across it before, which is strange, since I don’t think I’ve missed too many January IWSGs. Maybe I just didn’t join in. Perseverance is a great word – and another I tend to mistype! Have a good 2023 🙂

  • 5 January, 2023 at 8:05 pm

    Achieve! Yes you can, Jemima! I love your furry “little guys” there. Thanks so much for cohosting IWSG this month. I wish you every success in 2023!

  • 5 January, 2023 at 8:42 pm

    Good luck with your patio! Achieve is a great word, both for writing and house projects. I hope you encounter ease and success!

  • 6 January, 2023 at 2:15 am

    We can’t write for everyone and we’ll fail miserably if we try.

    I’m glad some authors do well at craft shows. We don’t fare well. Comic cons are our gig.

  • 7 January, 2023 at 12:20 pm

    I’m late in visiting, AND, I achieved my goal of getting here. Great word for the new year. A patio on which to read a book sounds delightful. May you have great success achieving the goal.

    • 8 January, 2023 at 1:52 pm

      Yay – you made it… and then my system put it in spam. Why? I have no idea. But you’re here properly now!
      Good luck with your goal, too, Bish.

  • 7 January, 2023 at 3:57 pm

    A book and a patio. Those are beautiful goals for the year. Best wishes. Thanks for co-hosting!!

    • 8 January, 2023 at 1:53 pm

      Thanks, Janet! Happy new year to you, too.

  • 8 January, 2023 at 3:50 pm

    Many thanks for co-hosting, Jemima! Sounds like you really know what you’re talking about regarding the all-consuming nature of moving. Good luck getting the new place set up, and I hope you achieve great things in 2023.

  • 10 January, 2023 at 2:55 pm

    Your display looked good to me. I’m on chrome.

    Love your goals. After the chaos of the last few years a quiet refresh sounds wonderful. Your guinea pigs are adorable. I have one. Her name is Vivian. My son left here her post Covid. He brought her home during the quarantine and she’s settled in here now.

    Thank you for co-hosting!

  • 1 February, 2023 at 3:26 am

    Thanks for co-hosting this month!
    I agree with what you said about being true to your own voice. Those who like what you write will flock towards you. Those who don’t…well, you’re not writing for them anyways.
    Have a few house projects in my mind as well. Thanks to the lockdown I guess…but finally got around to putting in new siding on the house, repainting and putting in new shutters. Also replaced all the blinds (the kids pretty much mangled the old ones) and got new wooden floors. All that’s left is to put up a wrap around porch fence and the kitchen is begging for a remodeling. But the one house project I want to do most is changing the extra room beside the den into my own mommy/writing room. Sigh, alas, all that would have to wait.

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