2021-Year of HOPE

art journal page

Happy 2021!
I hope your new year is off to a good start!

Every year I start by looking forward – creating new goals, new challenges, new journal, new determination…
And this new year was no different.

Once again, I’ve chosen a word to “guide” the year – HOPE

“Hope lies in dreams, in imagination and in the courage of
those who dare to make dreams into reality.”
Jonas Salk

And with all due respect to Emily Dickinson (because honestly, who am I to disagree with Emily freakin’ Dickinson?!?), as much as I love her poem, “Hope” is the thing with feathers, she claims that hope asks for nothing –
“Yet – never – in Extremity, It asked a crumb – of me.”

Like her little bird, hope is strong – enduring – resilient
And yet, doesn’t Hope require daring, bravery, determination…?

sun rise in the forest

For me – yes.
My hope for 2021 – to set goals and dare to see them through, to be brave enough and determined enough to accept the outcome that comes with making dreams into reality – and keep moving forward.

My main goal for 2021

– to complete revisions on my mystery novel and get it into the hands of agents. There are many (many, many) steps between where I am now and where I need to be.

I am still in Round One of my revisions. Does it seem as though I’ve been here forever? Yeah, it feels that way to me, too.

In fairness, I took three months of planned breaks. I haven’t given up, though, and am working my way to the end. And now, as things are beginning to click, I’m more excited than when I first started. Massive changes (which I talked about here), meant rewriting most of the book – and even completing this round will just be another beginning. Next round – descriptions and prose.

Mini-goal – to complete Round One by end-of-February – mid-March.

And, Emily Dickinson – Yes, I truly do love her poem. It has always been one of my favorites.

LOTS of smaller goals, too!

– goals for yoga, photography, art journaling, reading…

me-painting in my journal

Because I’ve been spending the lion’s share of my time writing, I created monthly projects that revolve around an abstract theme. It’s my way of reminding myself to step away from my computer every now and then, and to play with my camera, my paints, and to write for fun. For January I chose “hope” as a way to kick off 2021.

As part of a poetry workshop, I wrote a poem which I’m mostly happy with (poet – I am NOT). It explored the idea of sunrise on newly fallen snow as a symbol of hope. Using the same idea, I’ve taken photos (even venturing out with my big-girl camera), and worked on an art journal page which I had serious doubts about mid-way through. This journal entry sums it up best:

“My art journal page is a hot mess! It’s hard to see how it will come together – but I think it will – and if it’s terrible, it’s not finished.
That’s the way art journals work. 🙂 “

art journal page


If there’s one thing that writing and art have in common – it’s the need to work your way through that messy middle.
(Lots of collage, lots of color, lots of texture, and most importantly – lots of fun. Masterpiece, it is not – lol!)


December reading was all about the RomCom, and January found me diving back into mysteries – two of which took me to the French Alps. Since they were both thrillers, I was pretty happy to be visiting safely snuggled on my own couch.

January book stack

Shiver, by Allie Reynolds is the recently published debut novel of an author I met on Instagram. I had no idea competitive snowboarding could be so deadly, but knew I’d love her story, and I did!

One by One, by Ruth Ware followed a group of mostly untrustworthy people who found themselves snowed in by an avalanche – brrrr.

Not pictured – I am also beta-reading Do Not Spare the Angels, by Cobie LaJeanne. This novel is a not-yet-published (but hopefully soon-to-be-published) thriller by an aspiring author. So far, it’s a page-turner – I have high hopes for my talented friend!

reading a thriller

I’d love to hear how you’re doing! Have you made goals/plans for 2021?

Next month – I had been planning on “Inspiration” as my theme – but happened upon the word “Enchantment” and became – well, enchanted!

Take care!



8 responses to “2021-Year of HOPE”

  1. Sarah Avatar

    Lots of projects get stuck in the messy middle and never move on. Stick with it, most resolve, and the trash bin is for the rest. Either they hold HOPE or they don’t.

    I know you will get to your goals!!

    1. Karen Avatar

      Haha! So true. I stuck with it and am mostly happy with the way it turned out. It’s only a journal page, so the bar is pretty low 🙂
      Thanks for your confidence! Still plugging…

  2. Barb Avatar

    Great to see a post by you, Karen. You sound busy being creative. I feel busy some days, but my true commitments at my age are few: a bit of writing, a couple hours of exercise, some candid photography, and the daily (and never-ending) dicing of veggies. Oh, yes, and nightly reading until my eyes won’t stay open. I applaud your commitment to your novel. I think that’s what it takes – the work that comes after the glow of newness and creativity is spent. I see you have snow on the ground. I love Chessie’s orange vest against the backdrop of white. We haven’t downhill skied yet because of all the tourists. We keep telling ourselves, “Maybe in the spring.” We do go into the forest on our skis though, and we really love that quiet interlude. You and your family stay well. Barb

    1. Karen Avatar

      It’s good you’re able to get into the forest. Your photos have been beautiful! We’ve been skiing, but only weekday mornings when it is very quiet – and not as often as we probably should.

  3. beatrice P Boyd Avatar

    Hi Karen, I was happy to see a new post here as I knew you had most likely been into revising your manuscript and doing a lot of reading these past weeks. I enjoyed the comments on recent reads and have a few of my own recent reads by 3 authors, all of which are mystery thrillers. I have either read as ebooks or listened to as audiobooks and : Catherine Steadman – Mr Nobody and Something in the Water, Pater Swanson – Eight Perfect Murders and All the Beautiful Lies, and Claire Mackintosh – I Let You Go and Let Me Lie. I started the Ruth Ware, One By One, but didn’t really like the characters so gave it up, as you said they were not especially likable at the start.
    Your word choice for the year, Hope, can have so many meanings and outcomes, so a great choice.

    1. Karen Avatar

      I haven’t read any of your suggestions – so many books out there! I will look them up – they sound like books I’d like. I liked the Ruth Ware book, but yes – the characters weren’t likeable, and the whole snoop followers thing was kind of annoying at first.

  4. Greg Avatar

    Yes the year has started off well. Having Chessie out on Gale Meadows Pond is fun for all of us!

  5. Terri Avatar

    I LOVE your painting!!

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