Welcome to the new year! In celebration, we went and watched Les Miserables. I've seen it before, both in musical form and just a movie. I think the same thing each time: Wow.
This time my children had questions that I didn't have answers for, so I went to the internet and looked up the abbreviated version so we could discuss it better. I've read the book, but it has been 27 or so years and since we've already discussed the swiss cheese I have for brain, we don't need to discuss that aspect any farther.
What I discovered though, was interesting. When Victor Hugo wrote the book in 1862, it was received with wide acclaim, and has apparently been popular ever since. It was five volumes in series, and over 1500 pages in total. Can you imagine a non-science fiction book that large being popular today? Seriously. He was one of the popular writers of the time, but this book changed how he was viewed in France. Everyone either thought he knew too much about mob mentality and/or that he was in sympathy with the revolutionaries. He ended up being exiled to England soon after it was published.
I'm not sure how I would feel, were that me. Yes, my book is a great success in the book stores, but the people of my country don't like me anymore... The thing is, I really like what he was saying about human nature and our capacity to be merciful, despite our circumstances.
Then we watched Little Women, another great classic. While Louisa May Alcott's novel was not nearly as lengthy or as far flung in scope as Les Mis, it still touches the heart. Her novels were not of the depth she apparently wished to write, but they supported her family and her as she wanted, and personally, I find great enjoyment in their reading. Every time I see her excitement at her book in copy form, ready to be printed, I thrill with her. I envision my own excitement at such a moment and -- I always cry when Beth dies.
My point in mentioning these two classical works of literature is to bring your thoughts to the new year. As we start a new year with the future bright and the pages blank, I want you to contemplate the goals and lists that invariably fill the desk tops and refrigerator doors at this time. Are you one that typically makes New Year Resolutions? Or are you one that makes goals and strives to meet them? As I've covered how I do not make resolutions, I won't go over it again.
But in coming in contact with two different types of writers and being touched by their skill, I am reminded again that I am a writer. I am striving each day to be a better writer. Perhaps there are better ways of doing it, but for now, day by day is the only way I know and can do.
I challenge you. Despite all the obstacles in your path, all the time that is committed to others, make time to be the writer you want to be. Let those characters that live in your heart and mind see the light of day, be the ink on the page, and grow in someone else's life.
Be the writer you want to be. Submit something at least twice this year. Attend some kind of conference. Buy at least one book about improving your skills as a writer. If you do this minimal amount, you will find that you are improved by next January. Discover this about yourself.
Be the best you that you can.
We believe in you.