Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tera's 2010 Five -- Focusing on the Little Things

My turn to revisit and reevaluate my Five. While I still feel passionately committed to the causes I chose in my original Five (going green, supporting self-sufficiency, disaster relief, historic preservation, and writing mentorship), I am going to tweak my Five to more reflect the ways in which I want to support those causes, rather than focus on those causes themselves. Some will remain the same, while some will change drastically. Here goes....

1. Going Green

I'm maintaining this Five in it's original form. Environmentalism is probably my most passionate cause, and also the one that's been easiest to integrate into my everyday life. I will continue to find ways, big and small, to lighten my load on our overstuffed planet.

2. Push the Positive

Like many people, I often succumb to the temptation of negative thoughts. This could be stress or worry about my career (aka things mostly out of my control), dwelling on some (probably unintentional) perceived slight, or the car that cuts me off on the highway or doesn't offer the common courtesy of letting me out of a parking lot. I vow to focus, instead, on the positive. To channel my energy into things I can change, to worrying about my own life and let others live theirs, and to take a deep breath and count myself lucky for not having the kind of day that makes someone a rude driver. On the surface this my seem like an entirely personal Five, we all know that great things come from tiny beginnings. One smile instead of a scowl might change someone's entire day. And I plan to offer that smile.

3. Wipe Out Waste

This isn't about recycling or composting. By waste I mean anything done in excess which, ultimately, means taking away from something else. Like spending an hour (or two) a week playing games on Facebook when I could be interacting with friends, fans, and aspiring writers. Like buying a nice, fresh, healthy haul of fresh vegetables and then letting them rot before eating them. Like sleeping late when I could be spending time with my family or reading or volunteering at a service organization. It's so easy to let those things slip by--they seem to disappear without our notice--and I'm ready get them under control.

4. Make Little Things Count

For years now I've been collecting change in a jar. (It gets heavy in my purse, you know, and most of the time it's just easier to hand over a bill than to count out exact change.) Then, every few months, I drag the jar to the nearest CoinStar machine and cash in, usually getting either a Starbucks or Amazon gift card. While I'm not quite ready to give up that Starbucks bonus (I have lots of books to write, after all) and am now committed to having a second jar, just for pennies. At the end of the year I will cash in those pennies and donate the proceeds to a charity I support.

This Five isn't just about pennies, but about other little things. A few seconds to send a cheery email to a sad friend. Stopping to take stock of the pure joy of an everyday moment, like watching Burn Notice with me, my parents, and my dog all squeezed onto the couch. These things all add up in the best of ways.

5. Writing Mentorship

This Five will also be staying the same. I am still committed to providing the kind of advice and encouragement that is so necessary for aspiring writers of all levels. At my first writer's group meeting I made the serendipitous choice to take the seat next to the aspiring author who would eventually become my critique partner and my best friend. I often wonder what my life and my career would be like if I'd chosen to sit at another table. And I want to offer a seat at my virtual table for any aspiring author with the commitment and passion to go after this crazy career.

That's it. My revised Five for 2010. I'm a little sad to say goodbye to self-sufficiency, disaster relief, and historic preservation. But, like I said, I'm not abandoning them altogether. Instead, I will my my new Fives to support those causes, as well.

How about you? Have made a change in priorities or approach for the New Year?

Are you Living Your Five?


  1. These are great, Tera. They all really resonate with me and a couple of them fall in line with things I've vowed to work on this year as well.

    Thanks so much for sharing!


  2. These are great, Tera! And I really like your making the little things count!!

  3. These are so great, Tera! Your #4 really struck a chord with me. We don't always have the time or means to do big things, but little things can have every bit the same impact (and sometimes even more). Yay you!