A New Year Arises

Tree at SunriseI’m back from holiday hiatus (please forgive!) and ready for a great 2013! Here are my goals for upcoming year:


Writing Goals are easy. That is, they’re easy to articulate.  Following through on those goals week in week out is not. But as writer Mark Lawrence says, “Few things worth having can be got easily.” Here then are my goals:

  • Write at least 4000 words each week
  • Finish my second novel before the Las Vegas Writers Conference in April (at least a strong first draft)
  • Find someone to publish my first novel, Mark of the Logi, or e-publish it myself
  • Write and publish another short story


There are numerous books that have lingered too long on my “Someday, very soon, I really, truly am going to read this book” list. Between must-read new releases, book club mandates, and my writing studies, the queue seems ever full. But even if I have to give up TV, sleeping, and made-from-scratch dinners, I WILL read the following books this year:

  • Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (that is to say, I will finally finish this book)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  • Artful Sentences by Virginia Tufte

And, if still have time on my hands after all that (remember, friends, I’m a slow reader) I will tackle Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen and Dune by Frank Herbert.


In truth, I have many “life” goals for this new year. Most are pretty banal—eat better, compete in (i.e. finish) a triathlon, get up earlier—but the main thing I’d like to focus on in 2013 is less concrete.

This past fall, I was lunching with two old college friends. The who and what of our conversation matters little, but in the coarse of our chat I said something like, “I can’t believe so-and-so wouldn’t tell me that, it’s not like I would judge her for it.” To which came the reply, “Amanda, you’re a terribly judgmental person.”

My jaw literally dropped open. Moi!?!?!

They both shook their heads yes. 

My friend’s remark wasn’t delivered with malice. Despite this apparently glaring character flaw, they both liked me well enough to share tapas with me.  To them, it was just part of who I was. We all have faults. But to me, it was a biting revelation.

See, I work really hard at being nice. I smile. I compliment. I make sure everyone has a seat at the table and a drink in their hand. But I’ve come to realize being nice and being nonjudgmental are two entirely different qualities. 

So this year, when I start thinking the customer service agent on the other end of the phone has an IQ of 50 or the rowdy guy behind me in the theatre is a buffoon escaped from the zoo, I’m going to say to myself, Amanda, Don’t Judge!

As if the fates were in on this resolution, my grandmother’s Christmas letter ended with this helpful advice: Spend less time judging from your limited perspective and more time being loving and joyful. That sums it up nicely.


3 thoughts on “A New Year Arises

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