Thursday, January 5, 2017

2017: Candid Author Talk (My New Year's Resolutions)

Here on Writing Belle, I use this online platform to talk about life as a writer and business owner. I've been really blessed with awesome readers and peers in this industry. Looking ahead into 2017, I've got some publishing goals and challenges to reach, hurdle and conquer in the next 365 days. I love making New Year's resolutions (I know, I know. I'm a freak.), so here are some of my goals, and how you, as a writer (or anything else!) can apply the same mindset to your life and start conquering the unconquerable! 

2017 is a map. Seriously, 2017 is like a map. You can take it any direction you choose. It's totally up to you! New years are exciting because you can start over, or continue to add to what you're already building. It's an opportunity to grow and continue to learn. I like looking at every new year as a challenge that keeps me fresh and sharp. I usually start January with some kind of an annual game plan, regarding what I want to accomplish in my life career-wise, fun-wise, research, educational-wise, etc. I basically just write up a bullet-point list of what I want to do, and then I simplify it if it's too - ahem - "overwhelming." 

Don't be afraid to chill. I'm not totally up to date on all things "internet speak," but when people say you "have no chill," I picture someone who has been working for days, hyped up on caffeine and doesn't know how to relax. I guess what I'm saying is that you shouldn't be afraid to work in time for relaxation in this new year. The world is obsessed with martyrdom - everyone always has to outdo everyone else with their busy schedules or "crazy" lives. Granted, most of us are super busy, but don't be ashamed or guilty to take time off and enjoy life by snuggling on the couch, napping or baking cookies. Or whatever you do in your spare time. 

My 5th release of 2016 - my 15th total!
Do that thing. Do that thing you've always talked about doing but never have. Seriously! Figure out a way to make it happen, or at least work toward that goal, even it's far in the future. For me, it's taking a research trip to Alaska and returning to Maui for an anniversary trip with my husband. Finding the time and the means to do stuff like that seems difficult, but if you plan ahead and be smart, you can pull it off, trust me. Even when it seems impossible, there's always a way. You can achieve your dreams over time - even if it takes years and years. That just makes getting there all the sweeter.

READ MORE. Let's just talk about books for a second. Television is great and everything, but books. Books are life. Books are everything. We live in a world saturated with technology and special effects that sometimes blurs the line between reality and virtual reality (hello, video games). Take some time to actually read this year, even if you ARE busy reading college textbooks. I'm talking real books. Books that don't cost 300 bucks and contain entire chapters about the amoebae that grows on the bottom of ponds (Sorry, biology majors. Sometimes I can't contain my sarcasm.). Buy books that are fictional or non-fictional, but that entertain and speak to your soul, that teach you about life, not about fungus. Oops, there's that sarcasm again. 

Be generous. This is big on my list. Here in America, I live in the lap of luxury compared to so many places in the world. We have beautiful houses, heating and cooling, clean water, health care, families, food and this amazing thing called Dollar Tree (not to mention gluten-free food sections at grocery stores, hallelujah!). I'm blessed - even when it feels like things are sucky and challenging, I remind myself of the overall truth. I want to give back to my community, to my country and to the world itself. Find something to involve yourself in that helps the world become a better place - whether it's volunteering at a local animal shelter or spreading the word about forestry conservation or sending a shoe box full of toys to impoverished children through Samaritan's Purse. You can make a difference. The gift of you is generous enough! (I've compiled a list of the charitable and non-profit organizations that I support at the bottom of this article!)

Don't be afraid to say no. Candid talk, folks: this has always been difficult for me, in terms of those closest to me. Sometimes, you have to protect your writing time, your work time, your spouse time - whatever - by using this big, scary word. "NO." I always tell people, "Protect your writing time like your newborn child." Nobody messes with your focus time, whether it's writing, a job, or the hours you spend staring at an easel every day, waiting for inspiration to seize your hands and take control of those paintbrushes! Be loving but firm. It's okay to say no and be honest. I have learned this over the years, and it can be hard sometimes. I hate telling people no, because I'm afraid I might hurt their feelings, but the reality is: it's always okay to say no if you need to. 

Get healthier. I'm totally one of those people that seems to have something wrong with them all the time, and it's mostly because I'm either allergic to or have some kind of intolerance toward different kinds of food. For example, a slice of bread is enough to make me sick for an entire week (yuck!), and a tablespoon of soy sauce can ruin a whole weekend (tummy problems suck!). I'm a sensitive eater, and I also tend to shut myself into my office and work from sunup to sundown, so I don't give myself enough time to actually get outside and exercise. Anybody who works in an office can understand this struggle. This year, I'm dead set on broadening my diet by incorporating more delicious, healthy foods and by adding a daily workout to my routine again, just like last year! 

What are your New Year's Resolutions? I hope that 2017 will be merry and bright for you, and that you set goals and accomplish them, however big or small they may be. For me, I feel great if I simply have a good work day and make a yummy dinner for my husband when he comes home from working in the cold rain all day! Epic win. 

Good luck, and keep moving forward! 

Here's that list of charitable organizations I promised to share with you. All are good organizations with a heart for helping people, children or animals: 

(Along with my local zoo, The Fresno Chaffee Zoo)

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