Build me up Buttercup

Every so often, I get down on myself and I vow to be more positive, accepting, and appreciative of who I am. I considered writing down the qualities I like about myself, much like people jot down “grateful” lists. And then I decided to not only write the list, but to post it as a blog. So, here I go: Some things I like about myself:

I never completely lose hope. Even when things are going wrong—in the world, with my books, in my love life, with friends—I’ve never yet reached a point where I feel completely hopeless. I’m a bit like Little Orphan Annie in that I know things might royally suck today, but “the sun will come out tomorrow.” If I’m wrong, at least my “glass-is-half-full” outlook got me through the day.

When I love someone, I really, really love that person. I’ll admit that while I *like* a lot of people, the list of individuals I love is smaller, but I would do anything for them. I think it’s just as wonderful a feeling to truly care about someone as it is to know someone truly cares about you. (Of course, this does not include toxic, abusive, or otherwise “unbalanced” relationships.)

I am willing to work really hard for what I want. That’s not to say I don’t accept help when it’s offered (or ask for it), but I’d rather do the heavy lifting to make my dreams come true, even if it’s painful and tests my patience, than accept something less than what I want because the journey is easier or will take less time. (Someone please remind me of this in the coming months as it relates to my next book being published…)

I’m funny. I’m not Tiny Fey stand-up-comedienne funny, but my particular brand of sense of humor is appreciated by many. (And it helps with my writing.)

I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong and own up to my mistakes. I can apologize. Think about the people in your life. I bet you can find at least a couple who never say they’re sorry or even acknowledge their role in anything negative. I’d rather be wrong and admit it than always think I’m right. And by admitting when you’re wrong, you learn about the other person—how willing they are to forgive or meet you halfway.

I don’t take my loved ones for granted. I’m not sure I was always this way, but losing someone I loved more than just about anything or anyone else in the world opened my eyes to how quickly things can change.

I know when to let go. I tend to hold onto things for a long time because of the aforementioned “glass-is-half-full” mentality. Because of this, I’ve stayed in relationships (platonic and romantic) for too long because I gave someone the benefit of the doubt or assumed things would get better. But I have a threshold and once it’s met and I realize things are shitty and not likely to change, I acknowledge that I deserve better and I move on without looking back (much). On the one hand, I wish it didn’t take me quite so long to reach my limit, but on the flip side, I never want to get to a point where I’m easily able to turn my back on someone I once cared about without even trying to resolve our issues.

I possess the ability to forgive. People, even really great ones, screw up sometimes. It’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when.” I don’t believe in unconditional forgiveness, as there are some things that are unforgivable, but I’ve found that I am a happier and healthier person when I don’t hold onto my anger. This is especially true if a person has expressed sincere remorse, but it’s also possible to forgive someone in your heart without them even knowing.

I’m easy to please. Just treat me kindly, show me you appreciate and accept me, listen when I speak, make me laugh, laugh with me (and at me in a kindly manner), allow me to respectfully disagree with you sometimes, have my back, and trust I have yours, and we’re good.

I’m not a follower. I try to form my own opinions about people rather than blindly take someone else’s word for it. I try to understand that a person’s negative feelings about another is based on their own experience with said person and that there are three sides to every story—person A, person B, and the objective truth.

I prefer understanding and kindness over making fun of others for entertainment value.

I’m a work-in-progress. I embrace learning and becoming a better person.

Well, that’s all for now. If you know and like me, feel free to comment about how great I am! Kidding! But, if you’d like, share any qualities you appreciate in yourself in the comments.

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Idle October

I sent my latest book to three beta readers this weekend after already doing a heavy round of edits with a critique partner. There’s nothing left for me to do right now besides wait—something I’m not very good at.  I asked my beta readers to try to get the book back to me by the end of month, but if I have to wait longer, I will. Honest, thorough, constructive criticism from trusted and unbiased third parties is critical to me for crafting a tight, well-paced, engaging, and sell-able book, so my self-imposed deadline is flexible. With the book temporarily out of my hands, October is kind of open for me, and I’m not one to remain idle for too long. I’m doing a manuscript critique for a new client (learn about my editing services here), I’ll work on my next book, and I suppose I’ll relax.  What? I know. Crazy, right?

I’ve decided to say yes to all social invitations (within reason), when I often think twice to make sure I leave room for writing. I’ll reach out to friends I haven’t seen in a while. I’ll probably give online dating another try, although I truly hate how casual the exercise has become and don’t have high hopes. Does anyone know an available, intelligent, funny, kind, attractive man around 39-53 so I don’t have to join Ok Cupid or Plenty of Fish? Anyone? I didn’t think so.

On a bright note, I’ll be a featured author at Saugatuck Storyfest, a three-day celebration of writing taking place from October 12th-14th, and organized by the Westport Library and the Westport Public Schools. If you’re local and around that Sunday morning, join me at Staples High School for an author breakfast. It’s general admission with no advanced ticketing required. I’ll be joined by authors Jamie Brenner, Marilyn Simon Rothstein, Fiona Davis, Lynda Loigman Cohen and more. We’ll be discussing our writing process, what’s new in our respective genres, authors who’ve inspired us, and what we are reading now. I would love to see you there!

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That’s all for me for today, but I’m also hoping to be more active on the blog this month.

Famous last words