Author Archives: AndreaJWenger
It’s the time of year for making resolutions, or, as I like to call it, setting ourselves up for failure. My resolution for 2015 was to get organized. Ha! That didn’t happen. But I did publish 10 books, which was more than I expected, so I guess I can’t be too hard on myself.
Why are New Year’s resolutions so hard to keep? According to psychiatrist Dr. David Krueger, the brain is designed to conserve energy by sticking to the familiar. Change creates chaos. So you have to work through the physiological challenges of stepping out of your comfort zone, and manage the emotions around the brain’s reaction to the unfamiliar.
If you’re determined to keep your resolutions in 2016, Dr. Krueger offers this ROADMAP to making behavioral changes that last:
R: Recognize that you’re writing your own story at each moment. Your life doesn’t happen to you; you’re creating it.
O: Own your story. Take responsibility for the reality you create.
A: Assess your story. Continue to do what works. Stop doing what doesn’t. Enhance the things you need to do better.
D: Decide the steps to get traction. Motivation isn’t necessary. You just need to have a plan and take action.
M: Map the changes needed to meet your goals. Make them tangible and methodical, so they can become routine.
A: Author the changes and make your goals reality. Avoid the pull of the old and the fear of the new.
P: Program your new identity. Internalize it so it becomes the new familiar pattern that happens automatically.
My goal for 2016 is to write 1,000 words a day and publish a novella every month. That’s an achievable goal, as long as I develop a plan and follow it.
How about you? Have you set a goal for 2016? How do you plan to achieve it?
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It’s difficult to avoid Christmas carols on the radio this time of year. My favorite, as I mentioned last year, is the Little Drummer Boy. I like it because it’s about more than praise and worship. It’s active. It’s about putting your talents to use in service of God. And I think that’s a wonderful message, regardless of what faith you belong to.
Most of the major world religions focus on loving and caring for one another. Christianity is no exception. Jesus’ last commandment before the crucifixion was “Love one another as I have loved you.” In the last chapter of the gospel, Jesus says three times to Peter, “Do you love me?…Feed my sheep.”
The holidays are a good time for people of all religions—or no religion—to put aside their selfish desires and serve others with humility: feeding the hungry, taking in strangers, visiting the sick, or whatever they’re called to do. Even if it’s just playing their drum to bring joy to the world.
Do you have any holiday traditions that involve serving others?
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I’ve written before about how feminine stories focus on relationships and connection, while masculine stories focus on identity and alienation. American culture in particular tends to be masculine, and to devalue feminine concerns—the kind of struggles we find in romance and women’s fiction.
Romance novels are about people who want opposite things, yet manage to come together and resolve their differences in a way that leaves them both satisfied, happy, and on the path to lasting love.
The world needs more stories like that.
The events in Paris last week are more proof that there isn’t enough love in the world. The masculine value of competition, where one person wins and another loses, has a place in business and sports. But when it comes to people, whether on an individual or international level, we need more understanding. We need to work harder to build relationships and resolve our differences amicably.
The best time to stop terrorism is before young people become radicalized, before they become so disaffected that they believe violence is the best answer. That means listening to ideas that differ from our own and incorporating them into our world view. It means tolerating things we disagree with. It means working together to find solutions that create a bigger pie, rather than trying to grab the biggest piece for ourselves.
Life isn’t a competition. We’re all in it together, and no one gets out alive. We’re happier when we celebrate and enjoy each other’s differences rather than letting them divide us.
I’ve quoted this saying before, but it bears repeating: “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.”
What are you doing to create more love in the world?
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No, author, you’re displaying the folly of youth. People in their fifties don’t think they’re old. They think, what the hell happened? How is Steven Tyler almost 70? How could Back to the Future have come out 30 years ago? And if Madonna still looks that good in a leotard, then I couldn’t possibly be older than 29, right?
The older you get, the faster time moves, until finally you don’t feel it moving at all. You think you’ve got time for all the things you’ve planned for today, but then you blink and it’s next week.
I’m finding that I really need to be careful about time, because it gets away from me too easily otherwise. I have to schedule things (especially time to write), or I won’t get to it until it becomes an emergency. I hate schedules, but I don’t have a choice.
I didn’t used to be like this. From the time I was in college, I felt that days were too short, but I managed to get things done. Now, hours pass like minutes. All too often, I want those hours back.
Maybe it’s getting older, or maybe it’s the time sucking properties of the Internet. It’s probably a combination of the two. The older I get, the more I realize that I need to be cognizant of time. Because there’s not as much left as there used to be.
Do you find that time moves faster as you get older? What time management tricks work best for you?
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