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A new year is a time for a fresh start. It causes reflection on what has past and contemplation on what we can do to improve ourselves. I appreciate the thought of making resolutions - but I think they've become a trivial joke, empty, repetitive words without true intention behind them. I know I've wanted to lose weight for years now and I never seem to get that done! And when the holidays come around again, I'm disappointed in myself...
So here are my suggestions to take New Year's Resolutions to another level.
1. Be Shrewd - Evaluate your circumstances and prioritize. We are all in different places with many responsibilities. There's only so much we can do. If you can squeeze in some extra "you" time somewhere in your day - for working out or writing or whatever (maybe alternate days!) then that's awesome!
2. Be Definitive - Don't be vague with your goals. We all want to be in better shape, but saying, "I want to lose twenty pounds" isn't good enough. You need a strategy. Here are my "live healthier" goals for this year:
- No snacks after 9pm (some people are taking the no junk food challenge for 21 days, more power to them!)
- Eat at least 3 fruits/vegetables each day
- At least one form of exercise each day (and I count housework - so win-win)
- Walk dog at least once a week
3. Be Flexible - You never know when someone will get injured, or sick, or lose a job, or lose a loved one, or have some life-changing event occur. These types of things take precedence and our resolutions become very insignificant in comparison. And that's okay. We can come back and re-evaluate them later. Take care of the important stuff first.
4. Be Positive - Focus on the things you accomplish, even if they aren't "on the list" - you did it! And if you need some support, use social media - we're listening and we're happy for you!
5. Be Content with yourself! Set reasonable goals and expectations. We all make mistakes, we all grow older, and we all have to keep going. This is me, take it or leave it!
And now, I have some more great insights for writers from Stephanie Faris! This guest post is part of her blog tour celebrating the release of 25 ROSES - a super fun middle grade book.
Should Writers Follow Trends…or Follow Our Hearts?
By Stephanie Faris
In case the overabundance of dystopian films at theaters has you fooled, dystopia is out. So are vampires. But there is good news for John Green fans. Illness books are the thing.
For now, anyway.
Having been a fiction writer for almost half of my life, I’ve learned one important lesson: by the time something is a hit, it’s usually already too late. I was one of the authors, after all, who noticed the ghost-hunting craze in the mid-00s and crafted a revolutionary series about tween ghost hunters. Unfortunately, I watched as the book went from, “Great idea but not quite what we’re looking for” to, “We’ve published too many other books like this lately.”
In other words, the publishing process is as slow as molasses (as we say in the South). If you’re playing to a trend, chances are that trend will be dead by the time you land an agent and go through the submission process. It might even be dead by the time the manuscript makes its way through the U.S. postal system.
So what’s an author to do? The key is to predict what’s next. But that’s far easier said than done. In YA, obviously we’re going to see piles of books about terminal illnesses before the industry decides the market is now oversaturated. For children, novels-in-cartoons (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) see to have become a hit genre of their own, while bullying is among the most popular themes in children’s literature. And the dystopian trend has created a demand for tough-girl novels for young readers.
It seems the trends destined to burn out the quickest are those trends that become phenomenal successes. The Fault in Our Stars is a great example of that. Once hundreds of books hit the market, along with a half dozen or so hit movies, readers will begin to demand something different—just as they sought an alternative to the Hunger Games and Twilight takeovers of a few years ago.
When I first started writing, paranormal was fairly unpopular—especially vampire books (unless you were Anne Rice.) Interestingly, the authors I knew who insisted on writing paranormal books when editors and agents wouldn’t touched them were the same ones who thrived when the field suddenly took off. Why? They were ready, polished manuscript in hand, when agents and editors finally decided they were ready to see paranormal work.
Unless you’re psychic, though, you’ll never know what the next big trend will be. So pay attention to trends but stay true to your heart. And maybe keep that unwanted manuscript tucked safely away in case someday that genre suddenly takes off.
by Stephanie Faris
Mia moves from the shadows to the spotlight when her matchmaking plans go awry in this contemporary M!X novel from the author of 30 Days of No Gossip.
Mia is used to feeling overlooked: her perfect older sister gets all the attention at home, and the popular clique at school are basically experts at ignoring her. So when it’s time for the annual Student Council chocolate rose sale, Mia is prepared to feel even worse. Because even though anyone can buy and send roses to their crushes and friends, the same (popular) people always end up with roses while everyone else gets left out.
Except a twist of fate puts Mia in charge of selling the roses this year—and that means things are going to change. With a little creativity, Mia makes sure the kids who usually leave empty-handed suddenly find themselves the object of someone’s affection. But her scheme starts to unravel when she realizes that being a secret matchmaker isn’t easy—and neither is being in the spotlight.
Stephanie is the author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, both with Aladdin M!x. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive.
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I love being able to help others by announcing their accomplishments! If you have a release or reveal this year, drop me an email and I'll see what I can do. I like to have an interesting post to go along with announcements, so keep that in mind!
Lastly, CHRONOLOGY just came out! It's a compilation of fun and thrilling stories put out by Curiosity Quills. If anyone would like to read and review it, let me know in the comments. My contribution is The Comeback: A zombie love story - Death won't keep them apart!
Oh, and I just put out my latest newsletter with info on where I'll be and what I'm up to. I'm still deciding how I want to distribute it...
What's in the fryer for you? Did you have a nice holiday?