Posted by: krpooler | December 30, 2010

Resetting Your Inner Compass in the New Year


There is something cleansing about reviewing the past year for all of its ups and downs, twists and turns, lessons learned and then deciding what  goals to set for the New Year. For me,it is all about starting fresh with a blank slate, taking the lessons of the past into planning for the future, taking personal  inventory: What have I accomplished? What have  I learned? What will I do differently? What will I do the same?

My WritingYear in Review:

Participated in three NAMW Memoir workshops with Linda Joy Meyers over the phone totaling 24 weekly session~ approximately 30,000 words toward my memoir, including stories about my father , my grandmother, my great-grandmother and my friend ,Judy.

* Participated in” The Hero’s Journey” Workshop with Jerry Waxler where many scenes from my childhood and adult life popped up during the “Places I”ve Lived ” exercise.

* Made many connections with other writers from all over the country and the world through my blog,Write On , through NAMW teleseminars and through forums such as Yahoo Lifewriters Forum moderated by Sharon Lippincott and Jerry Waxler.

* Followed my favorite blogs: (here are some: Joanna Penn; KMWeiland; Jane Friedman; Lynne Spreen; Linda Joy Myers; Sharon Lippincott; Rachel Gardner; Jerry Waxler;Alexis Grant;Debbie Pierce; Sue Rowland;Larry Brooks,Mary Carroll Moore, Jerry Jenkins)

* Met a local fellow writer,Ritchie White, through the online Writer’s Digest Community and joined the Amsterdam Writer’s Group that he established.

*Attended two national writing conferences:

       – Story Circle Network ” Stories From the Heart V” conference in Austin,Tx February,2010

       – International Woman’s Writers Guild “Finding the Magic” conference at Brown University in Providence ,RI ,August,2010

* Submitted stories to the Writer’s Digest 79th Annual Writing Competition; a  Story Circle Network Writing Contest on Letting Go; and  The Woman I’ve Become Anthology byPatLaPointe  ~ I’ll keep trying until I get it right.

* I even joined Twitter @KathyPooler and have kept an online presence on Facebook ( things I never thought I would do!) Lots more to learn about social media..

* Some of my favorite reads: The Liar’s Club, Cherry and Lit by Mary Karr; Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese; The Writing Circle by Corinne Demas; Bird by Bird by Annie Lamott; On Writing Well by William Zinsser; Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg;Writing Life Stories by Bill Roorbach: On Writing by Stephen King; One Year to a Writing Life by Susan Tiberghien; Unreliable Truth by Maureen Murdoch; The Power of Memoir by Linda Joy Myers;Your Life as Story by Tristine Rainer; Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury.

* I journaled my way through the pain of losing my beloved father and in doing so have found much peace and solace. This blog post had the most views of any to date.

Through all of this, I have learned, among other things, about the art and craft of writing: finding my voice, the narrative arc, storytelling, character development, sensual details, book proposals, agents, publishing options, building an author’s platform, experiencing the healing power of writing..only to be left with the feeling that the more I learn, the more I realize I need to know; that I’ve only just begun..

I am resetting my inner compass for 2011. I want to keep building on what  I have learned throughout this year~ to keep doing what I am doing~to keep digging until I find my story, to keep building my platform through social media, to keep putting my stories out there, to keep my inner critic at bay, to keep listening for my muse,Rosalulu, and to remain open to honest critique so I can revise and perfect my craft. And a specific goal-nail down a title.

I will just keep writing until I get it right~

How about you? How will you reset your inner compass in the New Year?





  1. Thanks for the great post, Kathy, and mention of my place in your memoir writing year. The New Year makes it obvious that writing a memoir is a multi-year project, so one of the best resolutions for this longterm project is to stay the course, and one of the best tools for sticking with it is mutual support. In this era of internet connectivity, we are able to share energy with friends all over the country and world who are trying to find the essence of their life story. I appreciate all the work you are doing not only to find your own story but to encourage and collect others who want to do the same.

    Best wishes,
    Jerry Waxler
    Memory Writers Network

    • Hi Jerry,

      Thanks for stopping by and for your comments. I really appreciate the wealth of support available for those of us who choose to embark on this challenging “multi-year memoir project”. That is exactly what keeps me persevering~the energy, encouragement,guidance and friendship of so many incredible writer friends and mentors like yourself. Thanks for accompanying me on this journey.

      Best wishes,


  2. Kathy, you are AWESOME! What a productive year you had re writing. You are going at this with all the determination and focus of a graduate student. I don’t think I could tell you what I did last year, even though I sure was busy, and this bothers me tremendously. My greatest phobia is that of sleepwalking through my life, and one can do that even in a blur of activity. So I am going to take a day or two to reflect back and to plan forward. Thank you for reminding me, and thank you for the honor of including my blog with the likes of JANE FRIEDMAN!

    • Lynne,

      Interesting~I do feel like I am in grad school again,totally by choice, and I can’t seem to get enough of it! It seems to me that you have accomplished great strides this year with finishing your novel and perfecting your awesome blog. I can see where it has blossomed and I can see where you are developing your author “brand” and your following. Jane Friedman does have a wonderfully informative and thought-provoking blog and so do YOU!! So you may feel like you are “sleepwalking” but in reality, you are moving mountains. Keep doing what you are doing ~ its working. You go girl!

      And thank you for stopping by and commenting and for making a difference.


  3. Wow, Kathy, what a productive year you had. Are you perchance related to the Energizer Bunny? You have worked amazingly hard on skill development. Bravo for you! And how well I understand your feeling that the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know. Maybe the hardest lesson to learn, to really accept, is to trust that inner voice and just let the story come out.

    That sounds so easy, doesn’t it. Yeah, right. Sometimes the inner voice plays Hide and Seek and gives us a workout.

    I’m honored that my blog made your favorites list. 🙂

    Happy New Year. May it be filled with 100,000 words at least.


    • Hi Sharon,

      I didn’t realize how much I had done until I sat down to list it all in the post. It was an interesting exercise. I’m far from “Energizer Bunny” but I do admit I am driven by a lurking passion and a calling to write my story . I love your advice to “trust the inner voice and let the story come out” Yes, you have been a key player in my growth and development as a writer and your blog is a constant source of information and guidance so thank you. And thanks for stopping by to comment.

      100,000 words to you too in 2011~ Happy New Year!


  4. Wow, Kathy, what a busy, productive, exciting year you’ve had! Putting all your accomplishments down in black and white really tells the tale. Thank you for including me in your favorite blogs listing — it’s amazing to realize how far we’ve come and what a wonderful support group we have in this online world! Best wishes to you in the new year — and keep writing!

    • Thanks Deb. I agree ,it is wonderful to have such a great on-line support group to grow together with. I love your blog~it always makes me think or chuckle or sometimes laugh right outloud.So keep on writing and I will keep on enjoying. The best part is staying connected and learning from one another. Wishing you the best in the New Year!

  5. Dear Kathy,

    How much you have accomplished in just a year. You truly are an inspiration. Of course not many of us are fortunate enough to lead a stressfree life with no responsibility but to write, with plenty of maids to take care of our every whim. ; )

    My inner compass is resetting. Retreats. Quiet time. The journey by bus to Texas where I met so many noble people. Just last week being welcomed by an entire village of people who live in thatched roofed mud huts. I have a feeling that when I do tell my story, it will not be mine, but will be the story of so many amazing people I have been privileged to meet and know.

    Love, Christina

  6. Thanks for stopping by Christina. Indeed, you do have quite a story to tell and it will be your story of your travels and all the amazing people you have opened your heart to. I can’t wait to start reading about it!

    Now about that maid..:)



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