2014: Year in Review

2014 was a year of personal and professional growth for me.

I lost people I loved this year, dealt with illness within my family, and had some shakeups that overall I feel helped me define myself as a person. I have always prided myself on knowing WHO I AM but this year really made me meditate on this.

Major 2014 milestones included:

1. Making a year’s worth of revisions to Cycles. (This book is going to be awesome!)

2. Graduating with my MPH.

3. Changing jobs.

4. Reaching over 100 followers on the blog:)

5. Going on my first beach vacation! (seriously how had this not happened before)

When ever I look back on my life, I look for growth. Change is apart of life and I strive to get better with every breath I take. What were your highlights in 2014 and what are you looking forward to in 2015. Share below!

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Willful Blindness

What do you willingly ignore?

I’m sure you have all been in the situation at work or in your daily lives where you see something happen – something that is detrimental to somebody – and you just keep moving with your life because you don’t want to cause a stir.

My youngest memory of this happening is as a high school student. I was living in an apartment with my mom and sister and the woman in the apartment above us was being abused. One evening when I was home, she let out an earth shattering scream but all of the apartment residents seemed afraid to act (I mean I literally saw people in the hall looking in that direction).  I went to call the police but was stopped by my own mother. At the time, I was perturbed but later found out that it was fear that led my mother’s action. We were women, in the apartment downstairs all alone. My mother had a valid fear that the husband could try to retaliate against us. Thus, my mother went about her cleaning choosing to ignore that anything was happening upstairs. To this day, this incident still saddens and haunts me.

I first encountered this term “willful blindness” via Margaret Heffernan and her TED talk on the subject. One of the examples that she used was the environmental case in Libby Montana. How many people saw residents consistently sick and dying young but chose to look  the other way? What precipated these actions? How does this type of blindness shape our everday lives?

Now that I’ve unloaded this HEAVY message, what does this have to do with writing? Everything! Listening to this topic has given me another thing to key in on with my characters. For my SciFi book, there is a dystopia element which of course leads to some governmental situations. My new question is, “what is this willful blindness that characters have let seep in to make this new government the status quo?” What have people ignored and for how long?

When writing dystopia, I think this is a pivotal question that should be considered. If you are writing something in this genre, what are other questions regarding dystopia that you think authors neglect or share your own instances of willful blindness in the comments below.

Looking Ahead

NanoWrimo is over. Do not get hung up on whether you “won” but instead take the time to celebrate the effort.

For me, November’s event was about adding fresh words and perspective to an existing work. It was also about shaking off my non-writing funk and jumping back on the writing/editing horse. Like school, writing is one of those things, that can be kind of hard to focus on when dealing with the daily hustle and bustle of work and family life. NanoWrimo provided the opportunity for me to reinvigorate my passion for writing words.

I hope this same passion was reawakened in you.

Looking ahead, my new goal is to have revision for this book done by January 1st. Yes, I am solidifying a date in hopes it will help me from dragging along.

Things I learned from NanoWrimo this year included:
1. Revisions done in different locations can offer a needed boost.
2. Writing partners are key to my motivation.
3. I have so many ideas and stories to share, that I really want to develop a better way to manage all the crazy in my head:)

What did you learn from Nano?