In my favorite poem by Robert Frost, Nothing Gold Can Stay, he reminds us that like the seasons of nature, life is one season melting into another, and quickly fading away. This is my attempt to document each season in my life and my family.

Goals Met and Set

Filed under: Me,Reading,Writing — Rachel at 4:45 pm on Saturday, January 9, 2016

Hey, guys! Long time, no blog. I’ve been blogging, just not here. I post regularly on my writing blog, but have sorely neglected Nothing Gold. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, but this particular post is going to be about my New Year’s Resolutions . . . or,  as I prefer to call them, goals . . . from last year and for this upcoming year.

My goals for 2015 were mostly writing related. You can read my post about them here.

They were:

  1. Get Published
  2. Write every day.
  3. Read 100 books in 2015.
  4. Blog frequently.
  5. Network.
  6. Establish a daily writing routine.

 

I had varying degrees of success in completing my 2015 goals. My biggest goal for last year was to get published, and I’m really happy to say I completed that one. I had poems published in five different literary journals, and my serial, Little River, was picked up by two different local papers. You can read more about that at my writing blog.

Goals 2 and 6 weren’t completed, but I did do a lot of writing. I finished my first novel, as well as writing the first volume of my serial and starting on the second volume.

Goal 2 wasn’t completed either, but I’m satisfied with what I did do. I wanted to read 100 books, because that would be a cool accomplishment. I ended up reading 70 books, which I’m quite happy with. I read a lot of really great books, and that amount of reading did a lot to improve my writing.

Goal 4 was an overwhelming failure at Nothing Gold, but I blogged either once or twice a week at my writing blog from it’s inception.

Goal 5 was a success. I did a lot of networking in 2015. I’ve amassed a decent Twitter following, and a less impressive Facebook following (on my FB author page). I made connections with fellow authors through a Twitter pitch contest for writers, and I met several people in real life who have connections in the writing world.

So, all in all, I am pretty pleased with myself for 2015.

 

But . . . now it’s 2016, and time to set my sights on bigger and better things!

My goals for 2016 are:

  1. Sign with a literary agent.
  2. Network.
  3. Complete my second novel.
  4. Continue to promote and grow my serial.
  5. Establish a daily writing routine.
  6. Read 75 books this year.
  7. Establish a daily workout regimen and go to the gym at least four times a week.
  8. Grow in my faith.

Most of them are still writing related as I continue to pursue a career in writing, however the last two are just as important to me. I hope to be able to say at the end of 2016 that I completed most of my goals.

Feel free to share your own goals for 2016 in the comments section!

Check Out My Stories!

Filed under: Writing — Rachel at 10:00 am on Friday, July 31, 2015

Hey, everyone! I just wanted to post real quick and point you to my writing blog, where I’ve posted one of my favorite short stories I’ve ever written. In case you’re not familiar with my writing blog, there are new posts every Tuesday and Friday.

On Tuesdays, I post a new installment of my web serial, “Little River.” On Fridays, I post older work I’ve written in my “Flashback Friday” series. “Little River” is set in a small town in East Tennessee, and follows different members of an extended family…Caleb, Titus, Abigail and Jonathan. Flashback Friday posts are much more varied. I’ve posted short stories and vignettes in several different genres. I’d love for you to check them out.

I’m really excited about the Flashback Friday story that posted today. It’s one of my very favorites, and it’s titled, “Meeting Mary Malone.” Go check it out, and make sure to leave a comment letting me know what you think about it!

Exciting Announcements

Filed under: Writing — Rachel at 6:30 am on Thursday, June 25, 2015

I am so excited to tell you about a few things.

First of all, I finished the first draft of my novel! I started my novel about three years ago, but, between working and going to school, I made very slow progress. For the longest time, I had written only  seven chapters. I’m proud to say, though, that once I got back into it, I worked really hard at it and I finally finished it! I have sent my manuscript to several friends who have writing, teaching, and editing backgrounds and skills who are going to help me with the editing process. When I get their feedback, I will start editing my novel. Once I get it as good as I can get it, it will be time to try to find a literary agent. Even if that never happens…even if no one likes my book and it never gets published…I’m super proud of the fact that I can say I wrote a novel!

Secondly, I’m also really excited to announce that today I am unveiling my new website and blog dedicated completely to my writing. I will be posting at least twice a week with installments of a serial I am writing and with some of my older work that I’m not trying to get published anywhere. My goal is to start building a platform for myself as a writer. I would be so honored if you would follow my new website, like my author page on Facebook, and leave me feedback as you read the writing that I post on my new site. You can find it at www.RachelHolbrook.net 

I will still be blogging here at Nothing Gold. Hopefully, I will blog a lot more frequently than I have been. I’ve been so focused on finishing my novel that I’ve not posted anything new here in a long time, and I’m sorry about that. For those of you who have been loyally following my blog here for years, I thank you for sticking around. This blog will continue to be dedicated to my personal life and my family, while my new website will be solely to publicize myself and my writing.

Thank you all for your support through the years, and thank you in advance for helping me get the word out about my new website.

A Few Random Thoughts

Filed under: Family,Kids,Quotes,Random Thoughts,Writing — Rachel at 1:23 pm on Monday, January 12, 2015

I’ve had a hard time getting into the swing of things since the kids went back to school. I slept late too often during their Christmas break, and it was hard for me…the total opposite of a morning person…to get used to getting up early again. I spent most of last week feeling tired. I did manage to write my first short story of 2015, though. I’m really happy with it, and am planning to submit it to a literary journal before the end of the month. I think it’s one of the best pieces I’ve ever written, and I’m pretty proud of it. Hopefully, someone else will agree with me. If it gets turned down by the journal that I’m submitting it to first, I’m going to submit it all over the place, since most lit mags accept simultaneous submissions.

My three little guys are playing basketball this year, and their first game is tonight. I’m pretty excited about it. They’re pretty cute playing. They’re all three on the same team, so that makes it easier on us. Kyra is playing this year as well, but she has only just had her first practice last night. I was surprised to see that she looks better than she did at the end of last year’s season. She has grown so much since then. I think that’s the biggest reason for her improvement. She’s not the shortest kid on the team this year! (I’m always hoping that my kids will not be short like me but that their dad’s genetics will take over in the height department.)

Speaking of height, Hailey has shot up recently. She is getting so tall! Just before Christmas, her pants fit perfectly. They were just the right size. Now, a couple weeks later, they are all an inch too short. These kids are breaking us up with their constant need to outgrow things!

I had two boys throwing up this morning, which is a terrible way to start a Monday. Elijah has a stomach bug, I think, because his dad had it over the weekend. So he had to stay home from school today. Logan, on the other hand, just has to take some really yucky tasting medicine and couldn’t hold it down the first time. My littlest guy has had severe stomach pain for a week. I took him to the doctor on Saturday. We aren’t sure what’s wrong with him. Doc thought it might be gastritis. He’s been on a bland diet over the weekend to give his tummy a break, and the doc put him on Zantac. So far, no real improvement, but last night was the first night he’s not went to bed at five p.m. I’d appreciate your prayers for him. If he isn’t showing a lot of improvement by tomorrow, I’m going to have to take him back to the doctor for some blood work and maybe some other tests, which I know he won’t enjoy.

Matt was gone for the weekend for ILE. Since our youngest three had practice and I also had my kids for the weekend since their dad had drill, too, I didn’t get to go along with Matt like I’ve been doing. It’s crazy how much you can miss someone when they are only gone for one night. He told me he didn’t sleep well that night, and it took me forever to finally get to sleep. I have gotten so used to sleeping next to each other, it’s hard to sleep when he’s not there. I just really don’t like being apart.

At church yesterday, the pastor was talking about our schedules, and I appreciated this quote from him: “Schedule what you want to be not what you have to do.”  I thought that was excellent, and went right along with what I’ve been thinking about in regard to my writing. Allowing myself to think of reading, writing and blogging as equally deserving of my time as cleaning house and running errands has made a real difference for me. I want to be a great wife and mother, but I also want to someday be a great writer. So, I’m building my schedule to allow me to do both.

That’s all the news from our crew for now!

In the New Year

Filed under: Writing — Rachel at 6:00 am on Thursday, January 1, 2015

I don’t always make New Year’s Resolutions, but this year I have a few goals that I want to accomplish.

My biggest goal for 2015 is to get published. All of my other resolutions serve that purpose.

I have wanted to be a writer my entire life. For a long time, I didn’t have the self-confidence to believe that I could achieve my dreams. Once I started to acquire a little faith in my ability, my life had entered a phase that made writing very difficult. I was working all the time and going to school, and, when I added that to being a mom, I just didn’t have anything left to work on writing. As I’ve mentioned here before, Matthew has made it possible for me to stay at home with the kids again, and, since they’re all in school now, I have the time to work uninterrupted on my writing for the first time ever. This is thrilling for me.

I’ve been working on a novel for some time now, but I don’t really expect it to be my first foray into the literary world. My goal is to have some of my poetry and short stories published in literary magazines. I don’t know how long this will take me to achieve, but I believe I can do it. I hope that I can do it this year.

These are my resolutions for the coming year that I believe will help me become a better writer and achieve my goal of getting published.

1. Write every day.

2. Read 100 books this year.

This has been something I’ve wanted to do for years, but, with work and school, I really didn’t have the time to accomplish it. This year will be different, though, and I hope to finally do it. Reading widely will make me a better writer.

3. Blog frequently.

I don’t know how often “frequently” will be, but I really want to be much more regular about posting to my blog. I’m thinking of having my blog redesigned as well. A fresh look for a new phase.

4. Network.

I’m already working on this. I’ve made connections with several people already this year that I hope will help me reach my goals. From writing professors who have offered to help me in some way, to a famous author who has promised to take a look at my novel when I finish it, to my friend, Cathi, who has a career in writing and advertising and is helping me with editing. There are several published authors in my writing group that have offered me great advice and tons of encouragement. I hope to do more networking in the coming year.

5. Establish a daily writing routine.

I really need to get some firm routines down to make sure that I write every day, read every day, and still get all the housework and other things I need to do done. I was making some headway with this, but the holidays threw it all out the window. So, one of my resolutions is to start habits that will last.

These are my New Year’s Resolutions, and I hope to have a corresponding post at the end of this year saying that I kept my resolutions and they made a huge difference.

Feel free to share your own goals/resolutions for 2015 in the comments!

Back in the Saddle

Filed under: Writing — Rachel at 3:56 pm on Thursday, October 30, 2014

penpaper

 

I love writing. I have never felt more like myself than when I am spending a lot of time writing and find my flow. It makes the different parts of me feel connected in a way that nothing else does.

Since quitting school, I’ve felt like my world had opened up to me like it never had before. I had both the time to write and, since the kids were all in school for the first time ever, also the peace and quiet. I was having trouble getting back into the novel that I had started before I began nursing school, so I started writing a book for a young adult audience. I wrote about four chapters of that one when I started going to a writing group on Thursday nights.

The writing group was exactly what I needed to jumpstart my novel again. Talking to other writers who are passionate about their work and who are sharing their work is incredibly motivating to me. I read some of my writing to them, and their words of praise and encouragement are like crack to me. I want more. We do a writing jam each week, where we get a writing prompt and have fifteen minutes to write something from the prompt. It’s an excellent exercise to get creativity flowing.

At our last meeting, I was asked to read some of my poetry to the group. There was a lady there whom I had never met before, and she asked me to read one of my poems a second time. After I did, she asked if she could publish the poem in the Arts Council’s next newsletter. I was very flattered.

Riding high on the attention and the shared passion from the group, I dove back into the novel that I started writing last year with doubled enthusiasm. I had already written seven chapters. Now, after a couple weeks of writing, I’ve got seventeen chapters written, and the entire plot has unfolded in my head. I wasn’t sure at first exactly how I was going to do what I wanted to do with my story. I was taking a shower the other day, though, and I had an epiphany. By the time I got out of the shower, my entire story had revealed itself to me. Now, it’s just a matter of getting it out of my head and into my manuscript.

I just can’t explain how excited I am. I have all this momentum going for me, and a group of fellow writers who offer their input and encouragement. Many of them are already published authors themselves, so I foresee them being extremely helpful to me once I finish my novel and am ready to try to get it published.

Matthew is incredibly supportive of me, and I cannot adequately express how much that means to me. He makes me believe that he really thinks I could have a career in writing. I’ve always been a little timid about expressing how much I want to be a writer. Self-doubt and an overly critical eye where my own writing is concerned makes me want to protect my ego by not saying “I want this” out loud. Matthew makes me believe that not only can I want it, but I can have it if I try hard enough. Having someone believe in you as much as he seems to believe in me makes you believe in  yourself, too.

I’m really, really excited!

So, I Write

Filed under: Faith,Me,Writing — Rachel at 10:40 pm on Sunday, June 22, 2014

I am a writer. I always have been, and I always will be. Writing is the only creative outlet I have. I am not crafty at all, and I’m not particularly musically inclined. However, I have always been very comfortable with a pen in my hand. I process my emotions and experiences by writing about them. For the last nine and a half years or so, I’ve done that, to some extent, through this blog.

I have written here about some of the most difficult things I’ve ever went through. I’ve written about loss and heartache. I’ve chronicled my journey out of a very small existence into a much bigger world. I’ve made people mad because of things I’ve written. Not intentionally, but, when you challenge the belief system and worldview that people have given you, they don’t always appreciate that. I’ve tried to be transparent about areas I’ve struggled in, because I believe that having the courage to name your demons takes away their power. I also believe that feeling alone in  your struggles weakens your ability to overcome them. My hope in writing about hard topics like depression, self-harm, etc. was that someone else would read my story and feel less alone. I know that, at least on a small scale, it worked. I’ve had people email me privately several times and tell me that I have helped them in some way. That was all the encouragement I needed to keep being honest.

I felt compelled to write about things that were hard to write. I felt a deep sense of urgency to say things I felt like other people were afraid to say. I worried about what people would think about me. I worried about being misunderstood. To be quite honest, I was right to worry. I’ve recently had someone come after me publicly because of what I have written over the years on this blog. They tried to convince people that I am a bad person…somehow dangerous to my children/stepchildren. It hurt. A lot. I cried, and I regretted ever saying anything out loud. I didn’t understand why this person felt like I was fair game in their own personal war. I had never done anything to them. I had barely ever even spoken to them. However, they attempted to publicly humiliate me, using my own words as a weapon against me. I would be lying if I said I didn’t consider taking this whole blog down. After a few days, though, the fight rose up inside of me, and I decided I wouldn’t let someone who didn’t even know me shame me into silence. I wrote about painful things because I felt like God wanted me to. I felt like I was following his leading when I wrote those things, and I wasn’t going to let someone who only wanted to use me as a pawn steal that from me.

Life is hard. It’s messy, and it’s complicated. We do our best, but we make mistakes. We do stupid things. Sometimes we learn from them; sometimes we just suffer from them. Sometimes, we are able to share what we’ve learned with someone else, and that redeems some of the pain. Writing about my life and my pain has been therapeutic for me, but it’s also been the impetus for my own personal growth. I don’t want to go through things in vain. I want some meaning to come out of it. So, I write.

Yesterday, I had lunch with my former pastors, Larry and Carolyn. We spent a while catching up, and then I told Carolyn that I needed her help in finding some direction. Anyone who has read my blog for very long knows that I’ve been struggling hard with my faith. I was making myself crazy before I started nursing school, but then school distracted me. Nursing was taking all of my mental energy, and so it forced me into a hiatus from grappling with my theology. That was a very good thing, I think. I needed to rest from it. Now, I’m ready to take up the burden again, and I’m going to take up the metaphorical pen as well. Because I am a writer, and this is how I grow. While talking with Carolyn yesterday, I felt very impressed with the idea that I am supposed to continue publicly wrestling here. Yes, people may take me to task. They may say mean things about me, and they may throw their rocks. I have to write, though.

I have to write, because it’s where my direction lies. I feel like this is how I am going to find, maybe not answers, but meaning. So, I write.

I Want to Write

Filed under: Me,Writing — Rachel at 12:13 am on Sunday, August 4, 2013

I have so many things to say. My mind is constantly racing with things that I want to say. I want to tell people stuff. I just want to write it down so people will know. I don’t know why I am compelled to write. I have spent my life pouring my thoughts into journals and poetry and stories. I write essays and letters. I cannot help myself.

Maybe it is a desire to leave a mark. To somehow set down in stone my existence. I spend so much of my time feeling insignificant. Writing makes me feel connected. If just one person reads my words, we have connected. I have crossed space and time and put my thoughts into someone else’s brain. Once there, it is their’s to do with as they please. But, for a moment, I get to have my say.

And I have so many things to say.

I want to write on this blog and tell my truth to anyone who wants to read it. To say that I am here. I have a heart and a mind and I bleed red blood. I want to talk back to those that mistreat me. I want to explain to those I’ve confused. I just want to get all of these jumbled thoughts out of my head.

I want to write here, but I am scared. I am scared of the repercussions of saying who I am. I’m afraid of the rocks that may get flung my way. I know that I am strong enough, but I have to decide if I am brave enough.

Maybe these words are just the pebble thrown into a pond. They don’t amount to much, but they break the surface tension and send out ripples that reach much further than the point of impact.

These words are just the beginning, because I have so many things to say.

My Book is on Amazon!

Filed under: "Coming Out",Writing — Rachel at 7:14 pm on Monday, January 16, 2012

I am so excited! I have finally published my Kindle book I’ve been working on.

It’s called “Coming Out: Poetry & Short Stories” by Rachel Harmon. Right now, it is only in Kindle format. I know some of you don’t have a Kindle, but you can read it even if you don’t. You can read it on your computer. If you have a smartphone, you can download an app to read it on your phone, as well. Here is a link that can show you all the different ways you can read Kindle books.

I would be absolutely thrilled if you would read my book. If you do read it, please let me know what you think about it. I am just absolutely thrilled to have my words published for people to read. Being a writer is my dream, and this is a step in that direction. If you like my book, it would mean the world to me if you took the time to post a review on Amazon saying if you liked it and why. A few good words about it might persuade someone else to drop $2.99 on my book and give it a chance. I’m just looking for a chance.

Let me know if you read it!

My Year of Writing

Filed under: Writing — Rachel at 11:34 pm on Monday, January 2, 2012

Last year could reasonably be called my year of reading. I read seventy-two books last year. I obviously didn’t reach the goal that I set for myself, but the goal was more of a motivational tool than a point I actually needed to reach. I read a lot of books and I learned a lot of stuff. I think that means I reached my real goal.

But that was last year.

This year, is going to be my year of writing. I write. It’s what I do. It’s what I’ve always done. From the time I was around nine years old, I was writing poetry, stories, essays, and regular journal entries. I’ve never stopped. I want to be a published writer. I want to get better and better at it until I reach the point where people are happy to pay money to read what I write. I know it’s a lofty idea, but I like it.

So that is what I’m going to focus on this year. I’m not going back to school before this fall. I really need a break. Time to just chill out and focus on getting myself together. To me, that seems like the perfect time to give serious writing a shot. I don’t know what form this year’s writing will take. I’m always writing poetry, and just last night I wrote a short story. I think that I’m also going to try my hand at writing a novel. And, of course, I will continue blogging, however, I hope to do it on a much more frequent basis with more personal themes than just book reviews.

I’m excited, and I’d love to know what you think about it. Leave me a comment and give me some blogger motivation. Just let me know your’e here.

Also, in honor of all this reading and writing going on, I’m going to have a little giveaway here at my blog. I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow. So, stay tuned!