Category Archives: Writing

New Year’s Realizations

My New Year’s resolutions are always the same: get in shape, be smarter financially, be more organized. Drink less wine and eat more kale, yada yada yada.

I still want to do all those things, but I’m taking a different approach to 2016. Last year brought a lot of big changes in my life, and I’ve had some time to think about what really makes me happy, what fuels me. Some of it has surprised me, and it’s exciting for me to discover that I am still learning and growing.

As I was thinking about the New Year and the many facets that can lead to happiness, the “4 Cs” kept popping into my head. My summer job during college was working at a jewelry store, where I learned a little about the 4Cs of diamonds: cut, color, clarity, and carat.

So here are my 4C realizations (not resolutions) for 2016:

I need to create. Whether it’s a few words on this blog, working on the novel I really will finish writing,  a professional project that fulfills my creative side or a cool experiment with my son, using my imagination inspires me. I will devote more time to it this year. (But don’t expect anything too crafty.)

I need to contribute. Whether volunteering at school, collecting pennies for uncompensated children’s hospital care, sending toys to Syrian refugees or buying groceries for someone who has less than me, these small gifts mean more to me than the recipient and teach my son compassion. Giving back rewards me, and being part of something bigger than myself grounds me. I will find new ways for my family to give this year.

I need to crack up. I love laughing out loud. My friends are hilarious. My family makes me giggle. I need more of those laughing to tears, side-aching, sore cheek moments in between the rushing, the working, the worrying.

I need to connect. I value my longtime friendships with my most trusted friends, and I’m grateful for growing connections with fellow moms. I need to make time for coffee dates and happy hours and family gatherings and date nights with my husby. Having people in your life you can truly count on, who you can fully support, makes all the difference.

I know that when I’m pursuing these core beliefs, other good stuff follows. I’m even craving spinach right now instead of chocolate. At least that’s what my creative self is trying to tell me.

What are your New Year’s Realizations?

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Writing tips from an expert

My 8-year-old son is a great reader – who doesn’t really like to read.

He starts one book after another, claiming they don’t hold his attention and he simply can’t go on. The most recent one is sooooooooooooo boring, he says, that even a big reader like me would agree.

What’s wrong with it? I asked.

“There’s no main character and no theme,” he said. “It’s not happy or sad or funny and it has too much description. It’s not interesting.”

As a person who loves a good story – and who is working on a novel myself – I wanted to hear more.

What does make a good book? I asked him. He answered with ease:

  • There have to be good characters and a problem they have to solve or a goal.
  • It should be sort of a mystery so you want to see what happens.
  • It should be humorous or adventurous and make you feel happy or sad.
  • It has to have a solution to the problem or a moral or a lesson learned.

Wow. I’m glad I was taking notes. We as writers are always looking for tips and inspiration. I got mine from the son I hope learns to love books as much as I do. As I’m wading through drafts and struggling for words, I’ll remember what readers really want.