Time to STRETCH (Brenda Hiatt)

This month’s topic is incredibly timely for me. For more than a dozen years now, at the start of every new year I’ve chosen a word to serve as my call-to-action for the next twelve months. 

Some words have worked out better for me than others. I think the worst was when I chose ENGAGE at the beginning of 2020…just before the pandemic hit. I wrote the word in bright colors and posted it next to my computer, where it mocked me all year. 

More than once in the past I’ve picked BALANCE as my word, in hopes of better controlling my workaholic tendencies to spend more time on fun “life” stuff—mostly without success, though it’s still an ongoing goal of mine. 

FLEXIBLE worked out well for me the first year of my hubby’s retirement, as we spent the year rearranging our lives and moving house. And last year’s word, CHOOSE, was a good reminder that I have more control over where I spend my time and energy than I sometimes think. 

For 2023, before I even knew what this month’s blog topic would be, I chose STRETCH as my word to live by. (See how well it fits?) I’m going to do my best to stretch myself in all different areas this year. 

Physically, I plan to expand on my morning routine of stretching to maintain flexibility and maybe join a yoga class. 

Socially (extreme introvert here), I’d like to join a few new groups and/or classes, and put more effort into making and maintaining new friendships. 

In my leisure time, I intend to branch out more in my reading choices, trying new-to-me authors, genres and subgenres. 

I’m already stretching myself in my writing, too, as I seem to do with almost every book. My current one has me wading into rather different territory, though still in my Starstruck series, and it’s kind of giving me fits. But in a good way. I hope. After this book, I have ideas for a whole new series I’ve been itching to begin. 

In other areas of my career, this year I’ll be expanding into hardcovers for the first time, and want to attempt my very first Kickstarter campaign to launch them. The timing is good, as this year will see the tenth anniversary of the publication of Starstruck, the first book in my ever-growing YA SFF romance series. I’ve already had dust jackets designed—aren’t they gorgeous? 

Something else I try to do at the start of every year (so far with very mediocre success) is to compile a list of 100 things I’d like to do or accomplish over the course of the year, from trivial fun stuff like trying a new restaurant, to big bucket list items like visiting Scotland or diving the Great Barrier Reef. I don’t believe I’ve ever managed to list, much less accomplish, more than 30 or 40 in any given year, but looking at what I wrote above, I’m going to try much harder to come up with a full 100 this time around—yet another stretch. Wish me luck!

Brenda Hiatt is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the award-winning
Starstruck series. At ten books and counting, each has received better reviews than the book before. She especially loves the reviews that complain about the reader staying up all night to find out what happens next! 


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