words of wisdom

35 Pieces of Advice

Sunday was my birthday.  I won’t tell you how old I am, but it probably isn’t that hard to figure out.  I’m not someone who normally worries too much about my chronological age, because A:  there’s nothing I can do about it, and B:  no one can make me act my age.

This year, my first thought upon the clock making the grand switch to midnight on the 8th, was “This is how old I’m going to be when my book comes out,” which sort of made it a magical number, regardless of what it was.  It got me thinking about how much I’ve learned in the 16 or so months since I got the call that I was going to be a for-real published author.  And that got me thinking about how much I’ve learned in general.  As a student of life if you will.

So I decided to share, in no particular order, some of the wisdom I have theoretically gained in my time on this earth.

  1. Do what you love, no matter what anyone else thinks about it.  Unless you’re a serial killer.  That’s the sort of passion you should keep to yourself.
  2. Any vegetable can be improved by oven roasting.  This includes tomatoes.  Especially tomatoes.  Just trust me.
  3. Your first draft isn’t good enough.
  4. It’s not worth keeping poisonous people in your life, no matter who they are.  Slip away gracefully and most of the time, they won’t even notice.
  5. Not everyone will like what you do and that’s okay.  You don’t like everything everyone else does, do you?  If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe Wil Wheaton.
  6. You probably don’t drink enough water.
  7. Whatever stage you’re at in your writing career is hard.
  8. Getting to the next stage will not make it all sunshine and rainbows.
  9. It’s still the best job I’ve ever had.
  10. Don’t worry about what you look like when it’s below freezing outside.  No one will be laughing at you when you still have all your fingers and toes.
  11. Resist the urge to give a reason when you can’t do something (or just don’t want to).  Be polite, say no, and close your mouth.
  12. There is such a thing as a natural talent, but without putting in the time, it won’t get you anywhere.
  13. Don’t say anything on the Internet you wouldn’t be willing to say in person.
  14. If you receive a gift from someone and you can thank them in person, you don’t have to send a thank you note.
  15. If you can’t thank them in person, you should send a thank you note.
  16. If you don’t want to send out Christmas cards, don’t.
  17. Whatever size underwear you think you should buy, get the next size up.  Possibly even two sizes up.  Your butt will thank you.
  18. Spontaneity is intimidating sometimes, but it can be fun.
  19. Put on your pajamas as early as possible on any given day.
  20. Audiobooks make walking the dog awesome.
  21. Don’t stop writing to research if you’re in the flow.  Make a note to yourself and come back later.
  22. Don’t worry about how many words other writers can do in a day.
  23. It is always easier to be kind and honest.  There’s a lot less to keep track of when you run into people you haven’t seen in a while.
  24. If you are ever offered the chance to be part of a flashmob, take it.
  25. When you find yourself in a position to perform a random act of kindness, seize it.  You’ll improve not only someone else’s day, but your own.
  26. Acting professionally doesn’t have to mean being stuffy, but it does mean you show up, pay attention, be polite, and try not to do stuff you’ll regret.
  27. Puppies are incredibly hard work.
  28. Babies are incredibly hard work, but at least they don’t make you go outside in the freezing cold when they have to pee.  On the other hand, they need you a lot more than puppies do.
  29. Avoid 24-hour news channels.
  30. Refuse to be ashamed of what you read, listen to, watch, enjoy.  Likewise, it’s okay if you don’t like the thing everyone else is reading, listening to, watching, and enjoying.  They’re not any more wrong for liking it than you are for not liking it.
  31. Try things you’re not sure you’ll enjoy because you might be surprised.
  32. You don’t have to know what you want to do with your life no matter how old you are.
  33. No matter how hard you try, some of your efforts will fail.
  34. You should probably apply another coat of sunscreen.
  35. All of these suggestions will be easier if you take my advice on the underwear thing.


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