Sunday, April 8, 2012

A to Z: Helotage



Slavery comes in all shapes and sizes.  It even has different names like indentured servant, sharecropper, and even helotage. But no matter what you call it, it still leaves the person on the receiving end sometimes feeling powerless and out of control. Writing can be like that.  Our stories can create a state of helotage where we become enslaved to the written word.  If it drives us to become better than we were before then that isn't necessarily a bad thing.  But if we lack the will power to know when to let go of a work in progress, we can then be shackled to our inadequacies forever.  What's holding YOU back from becoming the best writer you can be?




How Do You Know?
Written by: Deborah W. Trotter
Illustrated by: Julie Downing
Ages: 3-8
ISBN: 10-0618463437
Teaser:  A little girl wakes up one morning to everything outside covered in fog and mist.  She is afraid that the world has somehow gone away.  How will her mother reassure her that everything is okay?


103 comments:

  1. mmm... good point. I am going to learn very soon to let go or I will be forever helotaged to my ms. Lovely book teaser... btw!

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    1. Thanks, Diane, I'm glad you like it.

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  2. When it comes to painting it's crucial to know when to stop. It takes years of experience to know when to do this.

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    1. Stephen, I am very envious of your artistic talents...I have always wished I could draw or paint...able to do it on a very basic level but it's not enough to be able to put my visions on paper...lol...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  3. Good question, Donna - I wish I knew :) I like the look of this book - fog isn't done as much as other weather conditions. And it makes me think of Carl Sandberg - "the fog creeps in on little cat feet" :)

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    1. I've read the Carl Sandberg poem before but hadn't thought of it in years. I'm presuming MY answer to the question would be if EVERYONE I show a manuscript to thinks it stinks then it's probably time to let it go...lol...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  4. You've taught me a new word today. I'd never come across helotage before.

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    1. Hi, Bob, and welcome to my blog! I had never heard of the word either until I decided to use it for today's blog post...lol...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  5. I'd never heard of the word helotage before now. Would have never guessed that it was another word for slavery. I learned a new word today.

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    1. Susanne, it means to be enslaved by someone or something and I immediately thought of my writing...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  6. Never heard the word helotage. Always great to learn something new.

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    1. Hi, Matthew, and welcome to my blog! I really enjoy any new words that I can relate to writing...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  7. What's holding me back?

    Time.

    So much to do in the day and no time to do it all.

    I am trying to read all the A to Z blogs, but coming back to the ones I really like.
    Looking forward to seeing what you do all month!

    Tim
    The Other Side
    The Freedom of Nonbelief

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi, Timothy, and welcome to my blog! I'm doing the same thing...I just visited the first 200 blogs this morning and about to visit some more...I'm reviewing and becoming a new follower to the ones I like as I go along...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  8. I learned a new word today.

    I have to agree with Tim above - TIME.

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    1. Hi, Charlie, and welcome to my blog! I think time is what every writer needs more of...especially if they work a full time demanding job like I do...lol...which is why I get up 3 hours before I have to get to work so I can write...and I stay up 3 hours after I get home to write some more...don't see much TV anymore since I came back to my writing after a 20 year "vacation"...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  9. Nice post. Like others, I had never heard that word, but will stick around to learn more.

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    1. Hi, GG, and welcome to my blog! I'm glad you enjoyed today's post...you will have to visit again to see what other unique words I can uncover...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  10. I had to look that one up. :)

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    1. Lol...Tonja...then I did my job for the day...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  11. I've heard of indentured servitude before, but Helotage? Now, that's a new one! Nothing is holding me back from becoming a better writer except for, well, me...I guess. If the saying "practice makes perfect" is true, then the moment I stop writing is the moment that I'm holding myself back from becoming a better writer. You only learn by doing. Well, if it's the right practice, of course :)

    ~Nicole
    Blog: The Madlab Post
    @MadlabPost on Twitter

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    1. Hi, Nicole, and welcome to my blog! The word actually refers to the Helots who were enslaved during Spartan time and there apparently was one day a year that the Spartans could kill any of the Helots (like for sport) without getting into trouble, if you can believe that! There's a nice history lesson to go with the new word...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  12. Nice post, Donna. I learned something I might be able to use. Imagine that!
    Thanks for the follow. I'm doing likewise.

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    1. Awwww, Sharon, I appreciate the kind gesture!

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  13. I learned a new word today. Thanks!

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    1. Hi, Al, and welcome to my post! I love discovering new words that can relate to my writing.

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
    2. Hi Donna! I REALLY like your blog. Children's Lit. is a big interest of mine. Thanks so much for stopping by to visit, and best of luck to you on the A-Z Challenge. Like Al, I have learned a new word today too.

      Kathy M.

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    3. Hi and welcome to my blog! I'm glad you like today's post...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  14. I too learned a new word today. And when I write I'm all over the place, writing anywhere at any time in my MS. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello!

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    1. Hi, Stephen, and welcome to my blog! Isn't this A to Z challenge fun?

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  15. Looks like I'm not the only one who learned a new word today! What a great post. Alas, I am currently struggling with deciding on whether or not to pursue an idea for a book. I have conducted research and even started writing, but it is not coming together the way I had hoped. Perhaps this is a sign that I am not the one to write this book....I will certainly keep your words in mind as I make my decision in this matter. :-)

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    1. Hi, Dawn, and welcome to my blog! I know what you mean about the book thing...I have many scraps of paper with ideas on them but not all of them are thing that I should be the one telling the tale...;0)...good luck with your decision...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  16. Cool opening. We are our biggest hurdle, huh? :)

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    1. Hi, Mina, and welcome to my blog! Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I know I'M my own biggest hurdle...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  17. I've got a novel I've not let go of yet - the story has been everything from short story to full-length novel, and some novella lengths in between. I'm considering giving it another go. But I'm not enslaved... no, really, I'm not!

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    1. Hi, Annalisa, and welcome to my blog! My determination as to whether or not I need to let one of my stories go is whether EVERYONE I show it to says it stinks! ;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  18. Donna: I'm taking a writing class to help jog my brain and I find I'm being my own worst enemy. I've started three separate stories trying to find the right one to use for this class. They start out being good ideas, but then I get too critical and scrap them as junk before giving them an honest go around. Will one of them make the grade? We shall see. In the mean time, I await a fresh idea.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

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    1. Hi, Karen, and welcome to my blog! I understand the struggle to determine which story to go with. I read one time that we as writers aren't supposed to start "editing" as we right...just put the words down and then go back to revise. I find it hard to do that sometimes. Good luck with your class and with the challenge!

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  19. I always enjoy hearing about the challenges other authors encounter. I thought about your statement: What's holding YOU back from becoming the best writer you can be? Often I hear writers complain about writer's block.

    I don't believe in writer's block, not literally. The block, in my experience, has nothing to do with difficulty in finding the perfect words to put on the page, but more in the area of something within that we are refusng to release. As we hold back, everything creative gets corraled and trapped. Meditation is a great tool to help us let go and just be in the moment. The creative process then flows like melt water from a glacier, cascading over bolders, finding untried paths to the valley.
    Feather

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    1. Hi, Feather, and welcome to my blog! I agree with you that I also don't really believe in writer's block. I'm not saying that there aren't times when writing is more challenging for me than others...I just mean there has never been a time in the 40+ years that I have been writing for personal and now professional reasons that I COULDN'T find SOMETHING to say...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  20. I've let go of many short stories, but never a novel. Not yet anyway! That's a completely new word for me.

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    1. Hi Susan! I haven't let go of anything yet. Only actually been writing "professionally" for a year now and if a story isn't going the way I want it to, then I set it aside and work on something else...lol

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  21. Fear and feelings of inadequacy try hold me back as a writer. Someone once wrote that the only way to overcome inadequacies in writing however is to just keep writing as that is the only way to sharpen our skills. Good advice, so I follow it. I've never heard the term helotage, I'll have to look it up since my stories often center around slavery of one type or another. Nice meeting you and thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm following yours now!

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    1. Hi, Sherri, and welcome to my blog! The more we write, the better we will become at writing...especially if we listen to the wonderful "mentors" here in this writing commmunity...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  22. Hi Donna .. Helotage is a great word .. we are so enslaved in this day and age, and we often don't realise it ..

    How will she reassure the kids .. I guess wait and the fog and mist will clear - light follows dark as sure as eggs are eggs - ?! Cheers Hilary

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  23. Hi i enjoyed your post and its not a term i had heard of before. Thanks for leaving comments on my blog Im now following

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    1. Hi, Jilly, and welcome to my blog! I'm glad you liked today's post and I appreciate your decision to become a follower...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  24. Hi Donna - thank you for coming by my blog. This is great H post!

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    1. Well, thanks Lynn and welcome to my blog! You will need to check back tomorrow to see what new word I will entice you with...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  25. I know I'm holding myself back and yet I can't seem to get over it.
    If I had words to write, I would be writing them.
    Great post.
    Heather

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    1. Hi, Heather, and welcome to my blog! The way I look at it, if you KNOW you are holding yourself back for some reason then that is the first step to changing things! Start by reading inspiring blogs (like mine...;0) and comment as much as you can...the more comfortable you get with writing and the more you do it, you will surprise youself one day by realizing you have been "writing" all along!

      Take care, thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  26. Excellent point. The book you show here look adorable too.

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    1. Hi, Emily, and welcome to my blog! I think I maight have to go out and buy that book because I agree...it does look like a wonderful read...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  27. This is just wonderful. Thank you.
    Karen

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    1. Hi, Karen, and welcome to my blog! I appreciate your kind words...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  28. Very fun idea for a story! Glad you shared and so nice to meet you. :)

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    1. Hi back at ya, Leigh...**waving hand in the air**...I'm glad you liked today's book...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  29. One of my terriblest and funnest things to do it to "let go" of something I've written...or a part of it. Revising feels so bad at the start, but so good when it's done. I save what I've rejected most times, in case I have a change of heart, or for use somewhere else. But other times it is just ditched. And though it hurts a bit at first to get rid of those unnecessary or ugly parts, it feels so much better when you don't let them continue to drag you down!
    I do not want to be more a slave to my writing than I already am!

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    1. Lol...I so agree with you and since we bear the same name, of COURSE we would think alike...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  30. Nice post! Thanks for stopping by on the A to Z Challenge. It sounds like we both like to blog about the same kind of thing--encouraging beginners. I write adult fiction...but I have to admit the Shel Silverstein and Jan Brett both have a special spot together on my home bookshelf.

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    1. Hi, Jan, and welcome to my blog! Oh my goodness, you just named two special authors for myself as well! I love, love, LOVE "The Giving Tree" and ANY of Jan Brett's books are amazing! I write children's picture books, middle grade, and young adult. I'm currently participating in Julie Hedlund's 12 X 12 in 2012 where I write one PB a month and I'm also working on a YA historical fantasy novel.

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  31. I get stuck when my work goes out there, and then holds on to me so that I don't know what's next Lx

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    1. Hi, Laura, and welcome to my blog! I think it's a challenge for all writers have to deal with sometimes...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  32. Very creative post for "H!" Best of luck with your book! Julie

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    1. Hi, Julie, and welcome to my blog! Thank you for your kind words...I try and be informative, inspiring and entertaining with my posts...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  33. Where in the heck did you come up with the word Helotage? It wasn't in my MW, so I had to resort to the higher and more malleable intelligence of Google. Nor is it in my spell-check.

    Anyway, I believe most writers are slaves to their inner critic. It is that voice of self-doubt, the one who nukes all your paragraphs and tears up your plot outlines and throws your copy of Carrie into the trash, because it sucks sucks SUCKS!

    It's only after we are liberated (as King was, by his wife, who rescued Carrie from the trash) that we can be truly free.

    Few will be published, fewer still will make noticeable money, and fewer still will write best-sellers of any acclaim.

    Even so, we can live free, eh, from that bastage critic of ours!


    - Eric

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    1. Lol...I can't reveal my secret stash of unique words for the A to Z Challenge until AFTER April is over...you will just have to come back tomorrow and see what new word I tease you with...;0)...and to add a bit of history...this word was created to describe what the Spartans did to the Helots which was basically enslave them. There was one day a year that the Spartans were allowed to kill any Helot they owned without getting into trouble with the law...how retarded was that?

      My sister had told me about the Carrie story and I for one am happy that the wife was around because I love that book/movie...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  34. Actually, it's even more appropriate when you look at the origins of the word - the helots were the lowest class in ancient Sparta, not exactly slaves, but not free either. Which could apply to our writing too!

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    1. Hi, Paula, and welcome to my blog! You just might be the only person besides myself that know that actual history behind the word...lol...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  35. Lovely post, Donna. You're so right breaking free of the bondage. I'd love to hog-tie my inner critic to the chicken coop. And you're so right about the helotage, the helots Paula mentions above. We spent three weeks in and around Sparta about three years ago. Helots worked their buns off, like sharecroppers. I'm happy you found me, very happy to follow you. Write on!

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    1. Hi, Kittie, and welcome to my blog! Thank you so much for your kind words! I think this A to Z Challenge is amazing and I am having so much fun with it!


      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  36. Aloha Donna,

    Thanks for stopping by and good luck to you, too, on the challenge...

    Me new follower :)

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    1. Awww, Mark, I have been to your lovely state only once many years ago for both business and pleasure...welcome to my blog!

      Thanks for visiting and come back any time!

      Delete
  37. Hi Donna,

    Thanks for visiting and becoming a follower. I'm now following you, looking forward to more a - z!

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    1. Hi, Laurie, and welcome to my blog! I hope I can keep you entertained with my unique words and lovely books during the A to Z challenge...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  38. I think social networking is holding me holotage, hehe.

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    1. Lol...you are soooo right! Hi, Nicki, and welcome to my blog! ;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  39. I never really thought of writing like a helotage, but now that you mention it, it can be. There are worse things to be enslaved to, though. :)

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    1. Hi, Cherie, and welcome to my blog! You are right, of course, but I think I would rather "enslave" my readers with my wit and dazzling writing than for me to be enslaved by any insecurities I might have toward my writing ability...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  40. There is a wonderful freedom to writing, but when we lose that freedom writing becomes a job and our work will never be as good as it could be.

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    1. Hi, Lynda, and welcome to my blog! I have been writing for over 40 years but actually took a 20 year hiatus from writing anything of a personal nature. I stopped for very foolish reasons at the time and last year rededicated myself to my writing and have since then taken it to a much higher level. My "freedom" comes from the fact I have given myself permission to write again so now I am just enjoy it to the fullest and even though I wish to become a "published" children's book author, I will STILL write because I MUST...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  41. Laziness holds me back! That and its best buddy Lack of Motivation. Man, I hate those guys...

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    1. Hi, Cathy, and welcome to my blog! May I suggest you do what I told someone else to try? Start out small...like commenting on blogs and reading inspiring posts (like mine...;0) and if you do this every day then soon you will form the habit of writing and before you know it you will have forgotten about Laziness and Lack of Motivation and replaced with with their enemies...Inspiration and Success...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  42. Powerful post! what is holding me back? time! I never have enough..........

    best,
    MOV

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    1. Well, Mov, I think that is what gets so many of us...lack of time...so I "make" my time for writing...swap sleep for 'me' time...3 hours before I go to work in the morning and 3 hours before I go to bed at night...I consider myself worth that but I didn't use to so I know how hard it can be...but even as little as 15 minutes a day can add up over time...try it and see...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  43. Hi Donna, Thank you for visiting my blog site and for commenting on my H is for Homicide post.
    This year's challenge is so much fun and I am glad you left a message so I could follow you back to your site! Songs have been written about the chains that bind. People can make their own prisons, but people who are imprisoned have, for the most part, created their situation. I often think it is better for the guilty to go free than to hear of an innocent person released after years of incarceration.
    http://gail-baugniet.blogspot.com Theme: A World of Crime

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi, Gail, and welcome to my blog! You might be interested in reading what I posted on Sunday as my way of supporting authors and giving back to this wonderful writing community!

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  44. hah, you'll know exactly what holds me back on my blog tomorrow...you'll have to wait...

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    1. Hi, Tracy, and welcome to my blog! Lol...too funny...okay, I don't have a lot of patience for some things but if I HAVE to...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time

      Delete
  45. I need more time to practice. The only thing left to give up is sleep and work...

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    1. Hi and welcome to my blog! I've actually given up 6 possible hours of sleep each day to write and write during my lunch hour at work so does that count? Lol...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  46. I learned a new vocabulary word today. Thank you.

    Happy A to Z.

    Lucy

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    1. Hi, Lucy, and welcome to my blog! Just wait until you see what I have planned for tomorrow...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  47. Helotage...that is a great word! The book is intriguing; I know that feeling of being in fog, where all that is familiar is gone. I look forward to seeing this book! (Have you ever read "The Mist" by Stephen King? Same feeling, way different ending!)

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    1. Hi, Susan, and welcome to my blog! No, I haven't read The Mist yet (love Stephen King!) and I'm SURE the ending would tend to be very different...lol...one of my favorite "classic" scary movies is The Fog...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  48. The simplest reason of all...starting!

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    1. Hi, Chuck, and welcome to my blog! You know, no one listed that as a reason...lol...but I think I have a cure for that...start commenting on blogs (like this one...;0) and keep it up. Pretty soon a person can look back and realize they HAVE been writing all along!

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  49. Very interesting. I never before heard the word "helotage". Thanks for sharing!

    Monti

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    1. Hi, Monti, and welcome to my blog! It seems I'm not the only one who learned a new word today...lol...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete
  50. Well I learned a new word today.

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  51. Hi, Wanda, and welcome to my blog! Just wait until you read tomorrow's post! ;0)

    Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Helotage - I like the word.
    My biggest set back is making excuses (not enough time, not enough experience) and it's all down to me not committing to writing. That needs to be sorted soon :)


    Jamie
    Fellow A-Z Bloggy Buddy
    Mithril Wisdom

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    1. Hi Jamie and welcome to my blog! I know what you mean...I stopped writing for over 20 years due to self doubt. Last year I decided I was worth the effort to dedicate time to my writing. I can honestly say that it has been the most exciting time of my life since then and a decision I will NEVER regret having made despite the lack of sleep I get sometimes because I am working on a story...;-)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

      Delete