Enemy of Evil: Chapter One

“Stop in the name of der Fuhrer!”

The footsteps of the soldiers pounded behind me and matched the rhythm of my pounding heart. The forest, I knew, would be the only place I could elude the Chancellor’s army. With no money and only worthless German citizenship because of my blatant rebellion against the Nazis, I was as good as dead. But I had a reason to fight to stay alive. It was on my back.

 

“Hans,” my reason whispered in my ear, “are the soldiers going to kill us?”

 

Gisela had a rough life ahead of her, I knew. She was only a baby when the Chancellor rose to power and could remember no life other than the one in Hitler’s regime. Seven now, she was my only sibling and I had deep feeling that she deserved a chance to live in peace–peace that Hitler would never bring.

 

“Hush. No. Not if I have anything to say about it.”

 

We were almost to the edge of the woods now. The city patrol following us had no idea what the significance of the forest meant. I had grown up playing there with my best friend, Benjamin, and knew all the deer paths and shortcuts. That was before Benjamin was taken.

 

The year is 1940 and the world is deep in a terrible war, comparable to the Great War, which happened long before I was born. My father, however, served in the Great War when he was not much older than I am now. It was in the middle of wartime France that he realized he had a knack for weaponry, which put him on the road to success when he returned home to a defeated Weimar Republic. Now he works almost directly for der Fuhrer, the man who destroyed everything right that ever was in Germany.

 

I may sound bitter. It is because I am. I had not seen war until I was seventeen. Then, suddenly, it was all I heard or saw. Children were dragged from their homes, women shot in the streets, men herded onto freight cars like cattle. Everyone, though, embraced the solution to the so-called Jewish problem, except for the Jews themselves. They didn’t have a say. And so, Benjamin, the person I was closest to in the world, was dragged out of my life on a cattle car to a concentration camp. A concentration camp that my mother helped plan.

 

My mother and father, loyal devotees of der Fuhrer–thoughts of them turned my stomach. All of the bloodshed they had caused overwhelmed me, and they had turned me in as a traitor of Hitler. I wore the title with honor, and allowed myself to be taken to the jail, where I “awaited” my death. I escaped with several other dissidents and doubled back to my home city, practically kidnapped my sister–though once she realized it was me she was more than happy to come–and now we were on the run for our lives.

 

Shots rang out, cracking the night air, and I ran harder, the image of what would happen to Gisela if we were caught spurring me onward. The forest loomed closer. I lifted Gisela up onto my back further and leaped over the small creek that guarded the forest’s treeline, and before I knew it we were in. My feet found the well-known paths in the darkness though my eyes could barely see. Gisela whimpered, and I knew we were safe–for a little while.

 

After I had slowed, I gently let Gisela down and let her walk beside me, her small, warm hand in mine, her other still tightly clutching a stuffed animal to her chest.

 

The original trails in the irrgarten, or maze, were winding, meandering things that crisscrossed several times. Benjamin and I figured they were game trails, paths of creatures such as deer. Fortunately, we had tamed the maze as much as it would be long ago. The trails Benjamin and I forged were not necessary new, but they were definitely altered.  I knew them well–my footsteps in them now reminded me of the ghosts of my past–Benjamin, his sister Eliora, their little brother Aaron. Our romps in the woods flashed before me. I saw the first night we ventured into the maze’s night, the fear on our faces. Now the darkness comforted me, settling around me like a blanket that shielded us from the prying eyes of the Nazis.

 

I remembered the night before the Gestapo came to take Benjamin’s family away. Long before their bookstore had been forced to close, accused of selling “contraband items”, but both Ben and I knew the real reason. It was because he was a Jew. Eliora had been fired from her job at a nearby factory, and the neighborhood children shunned Aaron, calling him a rough translation of ‘star boy’ because of the bright yellow star stitched upon his jacket. Gisela and I had both been forbidden to talk to any of ‘the lesser race’, but I had no trouble justifying breaking that rule. Not when my parents were the uncivilized. Not when my parents were the Nazis–the killers.

 

The day before Benjamin was dragged out of my life, my father had hinted that soon there was going to be a raid, and so that night I met Ben in the woods. “I made Ben a promise” I said out loud to Gisela. “You remember Ben, don’t you?” She nodded. “Ben and I had a promise that no matter what happened, we would take care of each others and our own families. I couldn’t keep Benjamin and his family safe,” I swallowed as my voice started to crack. “But I promised him that I would keep you safe. That’s why I took you.”

 

“But what about Mama and Vati?” Gisela turned her face up to me, tears welding at her eyes. Her linen nightshirt caught the moonlight and made her appear as a phantom.  “They’re part of our family, too.”

 

“Gisela,” I began softly, “I know you don’t understand this, but Mama and Vati aren’t good people. They have done mean things to people like Benjamin, the people who were the yellow stars. That’s why I had to take you away, so you wouldn’t grow up and be a bad person, too.”

 

“Mama and Vati aren’t bad!” she nearly yelled, and I covered her hand with my mouth.

 

“Shh, we must be quiet, or the soldiers will hear us!” Off in the distance, a dog bark sounded. I threw the little girl up on my back and started to run until I hit the stream, then followed it south. An hour later I slowed, my back aching and my legs soaked to the waist. For the second time, we had lost the soldiers. I hoped it would stay that way, that the soldiers were off our trail for good, but I knew it wouldn’t.

 

 

 

 

We came out of the woods to a farmhouse that belonged to former friends of my parents, who would have nothing to do with them after they found out they were Nazis. A glance at my watch told me it was nearly two in the morning, so instead of knocking I left a note on the back of a receipt I found in the breast pocket of my shirt tacked on the door, and Gisela and I trudged out to the barn. We slept in the hay loft, my hand tightly wrapped around Gisela’s wrist so I could be sure nothing would happen to her. Her steady breathing relaxed me, and I dreamed of a different place, a different time, when my father and mother were good, honest people and we were all together. And I awoke, knowing that that could never be, that I would never see my once-loved father and mother again.

 

 

(Authors note: To clarify, this story is and will be hastily written and briefly edited. The chapters will be shorter than conventional YA fiction chapters but, I hope, will not be lacking in content. This story will continue to be posted whenever I finish the next chapter, which will be extremely erratic, and I’m sorry for that. It mainly serves as a break from the full novel that I’m writing, titled The Alley Runners, as a way to rejuvenate my mind so I can go back to actually working on a novel I’m serious about. This story will probably be full of factual errors, but at this point I’m not extremely concerned about the facts as much as the story itself, as I have too many things to research in my novel. Thank you all for understanding! ;D)

 

 

~abilene (the authoress)

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What I’ve Learned About Writing While Writing My First Draft

Well, fellas and females, I’ve got an announcement.

 

It’s officially official.

 

I FINISHED THE ROUGH DRAFT OF MY NOVEL!!!! *cries tears of joy*

 

I started Though He Slay Me as a, oh, maybe twelve year old kid–in any case, many years ago. This novel–I can accurately it has changed my life. It has made me look in directions I’ve never dreamed of. It has brought me joy day by day. It has made my Google search history look a little bit…odd. It has improved my vocabulary, my researching skills, my novels. It has changed my life.

 

I’ve learned a lot of things about writing–and about life–that I’d like share to you because of this journey, which is far from over. I’ve only written the first draft; there’s still rewriting and editing to do–but I feel good. I didn’t know I’d ever make it this far until now. And so, here are some quotes, some funnies, and just some ‘stuff’  I learned about writing and about life while on this adventure.

 

 

 1. Writing is hard.

Now, I know I’ve said this before but…until I really started writing my first draft, I had NO. IDEA. what I was getting myself into. All that writer’s block. All those long hours refusing to open up Word because I knew I wouldn’t like what I saw. All those clacked keys. Granted, I love it, but back then I wasn’t prepared at all.

Become a Writer They Said It Will Be Fun They Said! 3 Ways to Make Writing a Novel Easier #amwriting #KeepOnWriting

But, in all honestly, I wouldn’t change my decision about choosing to become a writer, except maybe do it earlier. It has been one of best decisions of my life.

 

 

2. Everyone wants to read your story.

You have friends. You have to respect your friends, you told yourself. “I mean, come on, self. We can’t just let them down…but they don’t understand what a rough draft is! This is absolute trash…why do they want to read it?!” Now, I’m not saying I don’t like the support, and occasionally I do allow some of my peeps to read my work because somebody is actually going to take it seriously and I think it would be good for them to critique me. But, eventually, I got to the point where I realized something: They are reading a story that will not be the same two years from now. This will be different. It will be better. It will be good. And I don’t want all my friends to maybe not read my work when I get published because “Oh, I already that book last year.” And, I want them to be surprised at how good I can become and not see me stumbling along each step of writing, re-writing, and editing process. I want to blow their socks off.

 

it's a rOUGH DRAFT GO AWAY
This is me now-a-days.

 

3. First drafts are absolute trash

I didn’t really know much about the writing process until I actually started writing this book, and let me tell you….this, the first draft, should be burned. I guess I never really thought about how difficult writing is and how many drafts it takes to perfect a book until I was about ten pages in to my novel. Rewriting? Editing? Sounds great to me now. There are so many plot holes and inconsistencies that I didn’t realize could even exist and are now in my first draft.

http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/p/keep-calm-it-s-only-a-first-draft-2/

 

 

4. Writing is more than inspiration

Now this is one I struggled with. I mean, to continue working on your manuscript, you have to get in the mood and be inspired, right? Wrong. Do you want to know how I finished my novel? I forced myself to write. I wrote when I didn’t want to. I dragged my reluctant self off Pinterest and made myself open up my word document. I hated what I saw as I scrolled down to the page I was working on. I made myself clack the keys, even if it was only to write a couple sentences or a paragraph. And do you know what? It worked. I hated it,  but it worked. Like Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

 

5. It’s okay to not name your characters after friends

So, I have some friends who mean well. They really do. And because of my love for them, I named some characters after them at their pleading. Not necessarily with my friends’ names, but with names similar names or names they picked out. I even created a character or two just so they could be named after a friend. Looking back, I’ve realized that this was a terribly stupid idea. Here’s why:

 

I just created extra side characters who I would’ve probably deleted in the second draft, as they aren’t necessary to the story at all, except now I’m playing with my friends’ feelings. And, even if I keep the characters, their names–which I thought were great at the time–no longer fit in with the name theme of the story. It just creates problems in general. Now, it is okay to occasionally name characters after friends. For example, in one of my current WIP, there is a character named Lizzie, named after my good friend Liz, who I’ve even considered naming one of my future children partially after. Liz didn’t know I named a character after her, and she wouldn’t have asked me to, anyway, because she’s that type of friend. Lizzie is one of the main characters in said story, and her name completely fits the theme of the book and won’t be changed. I’ve created a rule of thumb for myself: While first drafting, only name characters with names you love, and if named after friends, name them because of friendship, not because they asked you to.

 

6. Writing injury/sick scenes are HARDDD

Because basically you’re just listing off random things you found on WebMD. “She felt nauseated and had a migraine…” IT’S HARD TO MAKE IT SOUND GOOD, MAN. #whati’mrevisingin2nddraft #showdon’ttell

 

 

7. People are realistic and slow to believe in my dreams

So, obviously I already knew this before I really started writing THSM, but this really rocked me the farther I got in. Sometimes it just seemed like the world was out to get me, you know? I’d be having a good day and then somebody would say something about me writing and I’d just be like really? You don’t think I can do this, do you? I can remember times when I felt as if people didn’t believe in me. That they didn’t think I could actually finish my novel, or actually do some good revising, or actually get published. And they wanted me to know they didn’t believe in me. But I’ve finished my first draft. I’m going to do some good revising. I’m going to actually get published (hopefully!). For those who may have doubted me along the way, like I said before, I’m going to blow your socks off. Even if I don’t get published. Because I’m sticking with it. I’m improving, little by little. And, someday, my book is actually going to be good and I look forward to watching all of your guys’ jaws d r o p. 😀

 

8. Research is crucial

Now, I can understand why I wouldn’t need to research if my debut novel was set in a fictional world or in somewhere familiar, like the Midwestern United States. But no. My *hope-against-hope* debut novel is set in not only a different country, but also on a different continent and a different hemisphere. In other words, my characters are on the other side of the world in a place I’ve never been filled with people and animals I’ve never seen and culture I’ve never experienced. You see my problem? Not to mention it would be helpful to know the geographical structures of the country…In my defense, I started this novel when I was twelve, so I wasn’t exactly thinking ahead, but, looking back, I should’ve researched my novel before I started writing rather than after. If I had, I wouldn’t have so much trouble now, having to *cough cough* Google the country to find out more about it.

Pretty sure he’s talking to me!

 

9. You can have too many characters

Yep. I messed up. Like, so many people that I, the writer, can barely keep them straight? Annndd the spot where I introduce them all is a MAJOR info dump. Yuck, right? No wonder first drafts are trash.

 

 

10. Pinterest is a blessing…and a curse

Because, see, at first you’ve got beautiful character inspiration photos like this….

character inspiration

 

 

Robin's friend, Amarie, she was trained by her father to be a swordsman, because he had no sons to train. The boy is her half-brother, her mothers illegitimate child. Her father raised him as his own because he had no male heir.

 

But then you get addicted to reading writing prompts (and maybe making complete plots out of them…oh wait who does that? Ha ha…) like these:

 

Writing Prompt

 

Writing Prompt #29 "Do you not understand the concept of personal space?" "As your twin, I feel it is my duty to remind you that we gave up the idea of personal space the moment we both decided to be stuck in the same small space for 9 months." "If you're referring to when mom was pregnant, I had no say in that." Thanks to @miss._.artsy._ for the idea! #writing #prompt #writingprompts #storyidea #awriterslifeforme #justwrite #dailyprompt #writersofinstagram

 

Rose: I have NEVER BEEN so insulted! Othello: You don't listen much do you? Rose: Oh, shut up.

 

"What if the food's poisoned or something?" "Now why would the food be poisoned?"

 

writing prompt

And then you get addicted to posts like these…when you should be writing

 

What writers really do

 

 

all 37 of them and counting (O_o)

 

Ooh a new book idea! Been there, doing that.

 

 

 

Well, then! That about wraps it up, dearies! Are any of you fiction writers? Can you relate? What is your current status on your WIP? Let me know in the comments!

 

–Abby

 

*All photos are from Pinterest*

 

 

 

March Objectives!

Or, “Things I Say I’m Going To Do But Won’t Actually Follow Through! Third Edition

 

March 1st. The First of March. World Compliment Day. I compliment you all because, if you are reading the rambling posts of a fifteen year old whose favorite hobby is making goals and not keeping them, that makes you automatically AWESOME. You’re welcome. Anywho, I’m here to serve you all some things I’d like to do in my life. This list is reminiscent of my February goals and my February results. So, if you haven’t read those already, go check them out–and if not, you’re stuck here. 😀

 

  • Drink more water–I’ve let myself off the soda ban, but I still would like to drink only a few cans a week. As for the actual water, I’d like to drink at least 16 ounces a day.
  • Grow closer to God–I’d like to continue to faithfully read my Bible and pray.
  • Tone up–This month I’m getting organized and doing this. Fun, right? It doesn’t look too difficult, but we’ll see.
  • Run more–I’d like to go on at least two ten-minute jogs per week.
  • Get/stay organized–I need to redo my closet area. It’s a mess. That’s the main idea for this month.
  • Live a more scheduled life–I’m scheduling a couple of blog posts and writing sessions.
  • Read more–I’m going to finish two books and start a third for a book report. I’d also like to start Jip, His Story.
  • Improve at music–I’d like to practice playing the piano at least six times a week.
  • Write more–I’m finishing the RD of my novel this month! *cheers* I have basically two more scenes and then I’m done.
  • Finish reading the Left Behind Series–I plan on finishing The Rising this month.
  • Post more on this blog–I’d like to do a movie vs. book review of Wonder and a devotional, possibly more.
  • Eat more healthily–I need to cut back on the carbs and sodium…no more french fries!!!

 

 

As always,

Abby

 

February Wrap-Up

Hello to all! I’ve had a great month, and I hope the same for you. I survived accidentally erasing 10k+ words of my novel (and was able to about 8k back), Wonder (I managed not to cry. I didn’t cry for the book, either, if I remember correctly), and the first fifty pages of Emma. I did great with some of my goals and mediocre with others, but feel free to judge me. I don’t mind 😉

 

If you want to see my February goals, click here.

 

 

 

  • Drink more water–I haven’t drank ANY soda since January, and I feel great. I did well drinking my water in most of February. These last few weeks I tapered off a bit, but I still feel pretty good about myself.
  • Grow closer to God–I’ve only missed a few days of Bible reading (which I’ve caught up) and I definitely feel like God has helped in the last month.
  • Tone up–HAHAHAHA. I’m so hilarious. I was less than gung-ho after the first couple of days of sit-ups and push-ups…so, as you can imagine, I slacked off. How surprising. First world problems, right? 😀 And I haven’t timed myself, but considering I haven’t touched my pull-up bar for the last week and a half, I doubt I can hang a minute. Maybe thirty seconds.
  • Run more–So I haven’t really “ran” this month, per say. I know. I’m sorry. I don’t really have an excuse. I did jog somewhat and I go on walks several times a week, but that doesn’t really cut it….
  • Get/stay organized–I did clean off my beside table and did reorganize my electronics, but I must admit that, currently, my beside table and dresser top are less than tidy. However, my dresser top was spic and span for quite a bit.
  • Live a more scheduled life–I scheduled a writing session and a couple of blog posts, but when I actually posted wasn’t on those days, except for today, of course.
  • Read more–I read two novels and am reading two others, one of which is Emma. If it weren’t for Emma, I would have fully finished three or four. As you can tell, Austen is not my favorite author. (Like, a five page discourse on why Mr. Eliot’s charade was the best charade? Really? I can think of other ways to waist my time besides reading that.)
  • Improve at music–I did fair. I passed a few songs this month, so I feel pretty good. I just need to practice more….
  • Write more–Honestly, I forgot I planned on writing 4k. :/ I’m not sure exactly how much I had, because, as I mentioned early, two or three pages from my novel are gone, but I’m guessing I had written at least 2k, probably closer to 3k or 4k. So I did good, I’m assuming.
  • Finish reading the Left Behind Series–Not only did I start Glorious Appearing, I also finished it, along with Kingdom Come, and am halfway through The Rising. Mic. Drop.
  • Post more on this blog–I forgot to review The Majesty of GraceI, like, totally blanked that I was supposed to write a review on that. But I did review The Ascendance Trilogy and posted one other post.
  • Eat more healthily–I did fairly well. Not great, but well.

 

 

So, how did you all do with your resolutions in January? Do you think I should do a movie vs. book review of Wonder? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

–Abby

New Iterations–February Goals

Welcome, my lovely ladies and gentlemen, to my first post of re-stating my goals!!! Boring, I know. But that’s not going to stop me!!! Ha ha.

 

Anyway, as promised, this is a post re-stating my personal goals in light of February. I’ll show my goals for this year with notes applied to this month and how I plan to reach those goals. You can also check out my original goals and how I did with them in January. Thrilling, right? I know. I’m awesome. ;D

 

In February of 2018 I plan to…

  • Drink more water–This month I cutting out absolutely all soda and plan to drink at least 32 ounces of water a day.
  • Grow closer to God–I’d like to stay consistent with my daily Bible reading and pray more often.
  • Save money and buy less–This month, I’m taking a short hiatus from actually saving money. Now, granted, I’m not going on some crazy spending spree but I’m not going to actively try to save back cash for the bank, considering how well I did last month. I’m just taking a break and will pick back up actually saving in March, while this month I plan to just buy a few things and try not to overdo it on either end of the spectrum.
  • Tone up–This month I’m going to try to do fifteen sit-ups and ten push-ups a day, and by the end of the month I’d like to be able to hang for a minute from my pull-up bar.
  • Run more–I want to go for at least two runs a week starting on Sunday.
  • Get and stay organized–I want to re-organize my bedside table and my electronics, as well as keep my surfaces as tidy as possible.
  • Live a more scheduled life–I’m going to schedule several blog posts and writing periods.
  • Read more–I’d like to read at least three novels this month. Honestly, I’d like to read about eight, but as busy as I am that’s probably not going to happen.
  • Improve at music–Starting tomorrow, I’d like to not miss a day of playing piano during the week.
  • Write more–I plan to write at least 4,000 words this month, preferably more, and I plan to finish one of the last scenes in my novel. If I work hard at writing I could easily triple that goal but I’m also a high school student and have other goals I’m trying to work at, so I’m aiming pretty low.
  • Post more on this blog–Like I said, several posts are coming this month, the most notable being a review of The Majesty of Grace, an old childhood favorite.
  • Finish reading the Left Behind series–I plan to at least re-start Glorious Appearing by the end of this month.
  • Eat more healthily–I plan to be pretty good this month and eat within my calorie range on most of the weekdays and some weekends.

 

Talk to me! Do you all set monthly goals? If so, what are they? Do you all enjoy any of my goals, such as reading or running?

 

I’ll be back soon!

–Abby

A Month in Review: Resolution Recap

Hey, y’all. I can’t believe it’s the end of January all ready! Well, actually I can, hence I’m writing this blog post. Ha ha…that wasn’t funny, I’m sorry.

 

So, I KNOW this post will be extremely dull, especially if you haven’t read the first one, but, unfortunately, that cannot be helped, as my new-year-new-beginnings crazy self all ready told you I would do this. So here I am.

 

This month has been PACKED. As the bells toiled 12 in the AM of January first, I was surrounded by my family and church family. I bought a Fit-Bit on the second. I got back at my school work on the fourth (ugh!). This year my church started something special called Winter Warm-Up. Every Wednesday night a guest speaker preaches. I’ve enjoyed that. During the early weeks of January I survived my semester exams with pretty good grades–I think the lowest grade I got was a 90%. Not too shabby. Then, a few weeks in, I caught a cough. It didn’t start as much, but now, as I sit here typing this almost three weeks later, I have a headache. My chest is congested and my sinuses feel absolutely nasty. If I don’t drink enough water my throat is raw. As you can imagine, fighting a cold-cough combination has taken a lot out of me, so I didn’t get as much done as I would’ve liked. Anyway. On to the recap.

  • On drinking more water and no soda–Ok. I gave up soda completely on the second, but then I accidentally cheated and had a ginger ale (I didn’t know it was soda!) on the third. Then, I, with renewed vigor, tried until my friend Emmy had a going away party for college. I had two cups, maybe, of Dr. Pepper and Pepsi then. Then, when I got sick, I drank a two liter of Sprite over the course of several days, and I’m going to be on a hiatus until March 1st. Hopefully. I’m not one for extensive self control when it comes to my taste buds, as you can tell.
  • On my spiritual walk–Even though I have missed and am making up a couple of days of devotions, I really do feel like I’ve grown in the past month. I haven’t prayed as much as I’d like, either, but I feel closer to God.
  • On saving more $$$$—I have $75 dollars that I scraped together in January to put in my savings account, and only twenty of it came from Christmas. I can only think of about half a dozen things I bought in January–one of them being a FitBit (yay I can check that off my list!)–so I feel like I’ve done pretty good in this category.
  • On toning up–HAHAHAHAHA. I did well for about the first week of January. I exercised and had great intentions. But then I fell behind on my fitness challenges…and thought “eh, let’s do it next month.” In my defense, I did do quite a bit of walking at the beginning of the year and did simple exercises such as push-ups and squats for a couple of weeks. And then I kinda slacked off and then got sick and…nope, didn’t happen.
  • On running–I ran at the beginning of the month and then coughing and running at the same time didn’t seem like an extreme sport I was willing to try.
  • On organization–Actually, I’ve done surprisingly well in this category. I re-organized my bookshelves and most of my closet and fixed most of my room when it was in disarray. It’s a little bit messy now as I haven’t had ANY energy for the past week or two, but ya know. It was a good start.
  • On scheduling–I’ve been doing really well with this and have been using my planner. Go me.
  • On reading–So far this month, I’ve read a total of SEVEN novels and am half-way through a Jack London biography.
  • On music–Well, I passed three of my songs last week at my piano lesson. I guess that’s kind of self explanatory.
  • Write more–I’ve written roughly 5000 words this month, which isn’t a ton, but it’s about where my goal was. I feel like I’ve gotten off to a good start.
  • On Left Behind–Haven’t read any more of this.
  • On blogging–Check my archives, peeps. I’ll let you be the judge.
  • On eating healthily–I ate well for the first part of the month, but for the past two to three weeks, I’ve eaten terribly. I know. I’m a terrible person who doesn’t meet my goals. Shame on mwah.

 

Overall, I’ve not done terribly, but I’ve not been too good, either. I’m blaming that on chest congestion. All its fault ;D

 

As always,

Abby

Resolutions

I’m being a nerd and posting my “New Year’s Resolutions” on January 2nd instead of on January 1st. But, here you are. And, I don’t know if any of you watch Blimey Cow, but yesterday Jordan and Josh posted a video about more or less the ridiculousness of New Year’s resolutions. Thanks, guys. Really gave me encouragement to fulfill my goals. 😉

  • Drink more water–I’m a pop drinker through and through. I love Coke and Pepsi Wild Cherry and Dr. Pepper–you see my problem? Starting today, whenever I get a craving for soda, I’m going to drink something else instead of it, especially water, because, believe it or not, I hardly ever drink just plain water. No wonder I’m tired all the time.
  • Grow closer to God–This year I’m trying to read my Bible every single day without fail and spend some quality time with Him in prayer.
  • Save money & buy less–I have an allowance, I deliver papers weekly, and I walk a neighborhood dog and shovel the owner’s snow. This year, I’m buying a loft bed, a Fitbit, probably a gym membership, maybe some ice skates, and possibly a phone upgrade. And last year I spent a ton between a four-hundred dollar investment known as Spike, a trip to the Mall of America, and a shopping spree in Gulf Shores. And a word processor. Also, I’m apt to impulse buy small items that I don’t need and I really need to stop.
  • Tone up–I wouldn’t call myself very overweight but I’m definitely not slim and trim. This year, I don’t necessarily want to drop any pounds but just tone my muscles and get fit.
  • Run more–Running was a sport that I found out last spring I enjoyed, and it’s a great way to get and stay fit. This year I’m going to try to run as much as possible.
  • Get/stay organized–I hate clutter. I really do. But why is my nightstand covered with it? Especially since I’m moving into my cousin’s room in May, I’m going to try to be a more organized person. The problem is, I have too much stuff, so I guess you could say purging is part of this resolution.
  • Live a more scheduled life–I have a love/hate relationship with schedules., but I really need to schedule my time this year, between writing a novel, running a blog, reading voraciously, trying not to fail high school, and getting fit. I even bought a my first-ever serious planner.
  • Read more–This is kind of an odd goal for me, but I really do need to read more. I’ve hardly finished any books over the last several months, and I have dozens on my shelves waiting to be read for the first time and other at the library. This one is more of a get-off-Pinterest-and-read-a-book type thing than anything else.
  • Improve at music–I can hear Lizzie, my dork of a piano teacher, laughing in the distance. But, seriously, this year I would to practice more this year–again part of the scheduling thing–and really improve my skills and knowledge, especially concerning music theory.
  • Write more–This one is a no-brainer. I’m trying to write one thousand words a week on Though He Slay Me until my goal date, March 31, 2018. Currently I still have three hundred left over from last week along with this week’s thousand, so I’m going to really have to work at this. Nobody ever said writing was easy, did they?
  • Finish reading the Left Behind Series–I started reading the teen version in late 2015 and the adult version in early to mid 2016, which is when I finished the teen version. Last summer I started reading the traditional last book, Glorious Appearing, and never finished it. I also have to read the final sequel, Kingdom Come, and the prequel trilogy.
  • Post more on this blog–Last year I really failed at posting regularly on here, though I had good intentions. This, again, falls into scheduling. Besides my two posts a month already stated in my last post, I’m going to post at least two others a month, one of them being a book review.
  • Eat more healthily–I love unhealthy foods. French fries, ice cream, you name it. This year I want to do what’s best for my body and eat better. Salads and kale, here I come.

I”m going to really have to work at these, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a jam-packed year. Do you all have any big goals this year?

–Abby