Small Steps First

change ahead

By Ellen Leventhal

Here we are approaching the end of the year. Time for resolutions, right? When we make resolutions, we look forward, but I think we look back as well. Speaking personally, my resolutions are based on things I didn’t achieve in the past year. In other words, if I didn’t get in shape in 2015, I may resolve to find my ideal body in 2016. If I didn’t get a book deal in 2015, I may resolve to get one in 2016. Sounds kind of crazy, right? Right.  Things like getting a book deal, snagging the perfect agent,  and certainly obtaining that ideal body aren’t really resolutions. They’re goals. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I don’t think you can put a time limit on those types of things. They can take years. Or you may never achieve those long range goals. But you CAN resolve to take steps that may lead to your goals. Those steps are what I consider resolutions.  So here they are, out in public, a few of my writing goals and resolutions.

  1. GOAL: Get a particular story traditionally published.  RESOLUTION: I will polish it, have it critiqued several times, revise as much as I need to, and most importantly, send it out to targeted editors.
  2. GOAL: Snag an agent. RESOLUTION: I will go to conferences, network, take classes, and again, most importantly, send my stories out.
  3. GOAL: Redo my website.  RESOLUTION: I will find people who can help me with this (I resolve to ask for help a lot this year!), and I will dive into it head first instead of just talking about it.
  4. GOAL: Indie publish an anthology of short stories.  RESOLUTION: Write two short stories a month.
  5. GOAL: Learn more about e-publishing.  RESOLUTION: Again, ask for help. (Especially from my wonderful, talented, and helpful Space City Scribes buddies!)
  6. GOAL: Reissue Don’t Eat the Bluebonnets.  RESOLUTION: All the resolutions are taken care of on this one. Ellen Rothberg and I are thrilled to be working with Joel Cook to create an even better book than the original. Stay tuned!

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On another note, I’d like to tell you about a goal I did reach this year. I was honored to be part of a Middle Grade anthology in which all proceeds go to the Sturge-Weber Foundation. It is a wonderful organization that helps families affected by the neurological syndrome, Sturge-Weber. If you want to find out more about Sturge-Weber, please check out www.sturge-weber.org. If you want to help, go to Amazon and purchase Kissed by an Angel compiled by Robyn Campbell.  You won’t be sorry you did!

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and peaceful holiday season!

http://www.amazon.com/Kissed-Angel-Robyn-Campbell/dp/151936055X/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1450096921&sr=1-9&keywords=kissed%20by%20an%20angel

 

 

Write This Way To A Successful School Year

by Ellen Rothberg

I can feel it. I can taste it. I can smell it. It’s the beginning of a new school year and it’s right around the corner! Unlike a New Year’s Resolution, we don’t have to make a promise to get fit, lose ten pounds or even find a new love interest. We  just have to put on our new shoes, pack up our freshly sharpened number twos and head out, with a sense of great expectation, to find our educational fortune. Ah, but what if you are, in fact, the teacher? Or the assistant principal? Or, like me, the guidance counselor? Then we have double-duty. We must find a way to reach our returning students, while garnering a bit of self-fulfillment, a sort of “cherry-on-the-top” of the sundae that has become the Back-to-School Restaurant Week!

So, in honor of Back-to-School, Houston Restaurant Week (which is really a month), and my never-ending search for the perfect beginning of the school year pair of shoes (both stylish and able to leap small children in a single bound), I offer my top ten positive goals to increase career satisfaction and keep my mind off the donuts that will undoubtedly be lining the workroom for the next few weeks.

10. I Will Climb Every Mountain. I hiked this summer in Colorado. I am not an outdoorsy type, but I accepted the challenge. This school year, I will hike the four city blocks between my office and second grade, five, no, six times per day, even if I am not looking for a second grader.

9. I Will Let A Smile Be My Umbrella. Rainy Day Dismissals? No problem! Can’t find the extra shoes I always keep on hand. No worries. This year I will realize that dry feet are highly overrated.

8. I Will Conquer  Pink Eye. Is there an app for that? I will wash my hands until they feel like sandpaper and buy all the hand sanitizer I can find on sale at Walmart.

7. Is That a Roach or a Longhorn? Roaches in Houston are so big, we can saddle them up and ride them around the playground. This year, I will rope and tie me a big one and show him off at the Livestock Show & Rodeo.

6. I Will Know That Elvis Has Left the Building. At the same Livestock Show & Rodeo, I will sit ringside for Blake Shelton, and not in the nosebleed section. I will politely decline when he asks me to sing a duet and then gradually give in after several minutes of coaxing.

5. I will Convince the Houston Texans that Manziel is Not  Too Little to Play in the NFL. I will turn back the hands of time to the point where the Texans forgot that they needed a quarterback and offer my opinion, which they will quickly acknowledge and agree with.

4. I Will Eat at Every Houston Eatery Offering a Special Three Course Meal During Restaurant Week and I Will Not Gain Even One Pound. It’s for a good cause – feeding the homeless. This is my crazy goal list – I get to say whatever I like.

3. I Will Remind Every Politician in America That Children are the World’s Most Important Asset. They will agree with me and act accordingly when it comes to legislation affecting those seeking to enter the U.S.

2. I Will Abolish School Paperwork.

1. I Will Make a Difference in at Least One Child’s Life.

Someone please rescue me from what has become a full on nightmare of positivity! I know, I know I am totally off topic. This year, I will probably not conquer my fear of the infamous Houston tree roach, especially the one who invariably shows up in my office and then hides out just waiting to scare me. I will not conquer the mountain of paperwork haunting me at school and home. I will not learn every name of every child in my school by Halloween. I will try, though, to make a difference in the lives of my students. And that is my goal for the new school year! What’s yours?