Room For Improvement

Dear friends, it’s a brand new year. The slate is wiped clear, and we all get to start fresh. All of us. Let’s do this together, shall we? Working together can make the world a better place.

I have goals for myself, of course. It wouldn’t be quite fair otherwise.

My Goals For Self-Improvement

  • This is the year I will finish my current manuscript and begin querying agents. I’m hoping the manuscript itself will be finished in the next month or so, a first draft at any rate. And then on to rewrites, finding beta readers, and then the query. I am excited and terrified. This particular novel is a departure from anything I’ve ever written.
  • I need to do a bit of work on the ole physique. Yeah, I know it’s cliché. Have we met? I made a conscious decision to eat whatever I wanted over the holidays. This morning, I looked in the mirror and discovered all the fluffy pigeons had come home to roost. Right on my bum-bum. I must do better. I will get back to regular exercise and intentional eating. Although I would argue my Christmas eating was pretty intentional. I intended to eat that entire basket of candy bars without sharing.
  • If I buy books, I must immediately add them to my To Be Read list. It takes the commitment level up a notch to publicly commit to reading it. No more saying “I’d like to read this new book sometime.” I’ll post my list later this week.
  • To be as generous of spirit and selfless as my husband. The other day, I went downstairs to get a movie for us to watch, and I knew that no matter what I chose, my husband would happily watch it. I could have brought “Twilight,” and he’d have still smiled. At least on the outside.

My Wishes For the World

  • For words to be used properly.  The two that come to mind at the moment are “artisan” and “handcrafted.” Here’s a flow chart to let you know if the word is being used properly.
My first flow chart. Any recommendations for programs?

My first flow chart. Any recommendations for programs?

  • For reviewers to stop expecting that every female protagonist is a role model. There is a recent trend to upbraid authors for writing women and girls that aren’t paragons of modern feminism, especially in YA. As a writer, this trend really bugs me. I’m not writing role models; I’m writing people. Not every person I meet in life is someone I will look up to. I don’t see book characters any differently. Just because the protagonist isn’t a hero doesn’t mean the book is a bad one. Flawed characters are more interesting.
  • For us to make this the year we get the facts before forming an opinion. Or taking action. Even if it involves reading a primary source. I have to turn off social media periodically when some celebrity/political figure I may or may not have heard of is accused of doing/saying/thinking something horrific, so my feed blows up with folks calling for a tarring and feathering. And then it turns out that (*gasp*) the person in question was misrepresented and the media was making mountains out of tiny little mole hills. Hear something that bugged you? Research it a little. It feels terrible to get the proverbial knickers in a knot and later find out it was a tempest in a teapot. Don’t believe me? Ask Goodreads. And I could think of at least five other examples without really trying.
  • For all of us to quit being mean in the name of Jesus. In researching my current novel, I came across two websites by two different Christian groups that broke my heart. Both sites were busy trashing other Christians for what they thought the other believed. That’s not what it’s about, friends. If we’re caught up in mocking a group of people because they believe in predestination versus free will (or salvation instead of sanctification), we’ve missed the whole point and we might as well go home. Jesus was pretty clear that the most important thing after loving the Lord is to love our neighbor as ourselves. How’s ’bout we get busy doing that? Seems more productive in the long run.

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And what are your hopes for the coming year?

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32 thoughts on “Room For Improvement

  1. This is a great list. You should write a haiku encapsulating it and enter it into the new January haiku contest on my blog. ;)

    My resolution is actually simple this year: since big-scale resolutions almost never work well for me, I’ve decided to try and just make one smart choice at a time.

  2. And by the way, huzzah on not turning every female protagonist into a role model. Talk about objectification! Let’s have some flawed characters we can actually talk about and evaluate their choices as part of the Human Condition.

  3. I recently came across your blog, and I absolutely love your sense of humor and engaging writing style:) I think this is a fantastic list, and I particularly like the one about getting facts before forming opinions about certain events, people, or things. For that matter, I think we could do with a lot less judging of political and celebrity figures in general–why should we be so obsessed with their personal lives anyway?? I also love what you said about not all female protagonists “needing” to be a role model–I prefer reading about flawed and realistic characters who aren’t always heroes and don’t always make the right decisions.

    • Thank you for your kind words!

      It seems like so many of us (and I’ve definitely been guilty) have a need for drama and fall into the trap of being led along by the media and getting twisted up in knots without even knowing what actually happened. There was something a couple of weeks ago, and I read the primary source in question and thought “Really? That’s what people were upset about? Oh, they didn’t READ it.”

  4. My hope is that the leaders of the world will consider working for the good of the common man, not just for themselves and the higher echelon. I hope common sense comes into play more often when making major decisions about a nation and its population. I hope that Christians will take the “love thy neighbor” adage to heart and put it into practice. Perhaps, I hope for the impossible in today’s world, but I have faith that some is listening!

  5. Well, I just love this post to bits! First of all, that section about reading the books we borrow/buy? OMG, I have a book problem! LOL I won’t allow myself to obtain any new books until I’ve read at least half of the pile I’ve yet to open!
    And the role model thing? Yeah, that’s GOT to go — women are not responsible for the opinions others hold!
    Most of all, yes, I would like to see nicer Christians, who really are Christ-like.
    Best of luck to you and your work in 2014.

  6. I am going to reiterate that we should do some writing sprints together. I need to finish my manuscript this year too, and sooner rather than later. I also wouldn’t mind being a reader if you’ll have me. :)

  7. I didn’t think I could love you more and then I got to your last point. Now I love you the most of all the people. ALL THE PEOPLE!

    My hope for this year is that I get to see you again ;D

  8. Loved this post. I would love it if all the publicity hogs (Kardashians, Octomom, Lindsay Lohan, etc.) would just go back to living their lives in private. Why does everything these people do have to become a world event? I don’t care what they do & it really bothers me when so many other people do so it takes over the air waves & I can’t find an intelligent newscast anywhere.
    Good luck with your manuscript – I am available if you need beta readers.

  9. My hope for the year is to see you again, too. I’m totally stealing Emily’s hope. I’m the worst. I’m like the Grinch of hopes.

    Also to maybe start using things up before I go and buy a bunch of new things. Because does anyone really need a million soaps that smell delicious? They’ll always be there. I can buy them when I’m running low, not have, like, boxes of them in the closet like a hoarder.

  10. I agree about social media and I think your point applies to some blog posts as well. I usually try to search for the source because social media (and some blogs) often turn into a game of telephone. :) Best of luck with your goals.

  11. Pingback: All The Blogs I Love Reading | veggiedancer

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