I’m going to save the platitudes for The Great Big Anniversary on Monday. Until then, here are a few things I want to do for the new year.

Forgive. I did a lot of that this year. It was healthy.

Commit. Running. Zumba. Housekeeping. Moisturizer. SPF. Vitamins. Asthma medicine. And deadlines.

Especially deadlines. And not just for school. There are people in the Pinoy WriMo community who are still waiting for the first finished draft of Cada Veces; I can’t afford to let them down.

– Unfriend, unfollow, regroup. My stress levels are not going down any time soon. Might as well surround myself with people who don’t annoy me.

– Support local publishing. Especially if it means branching out into other genres. Like, say, graphic novels.

– Act the part. There’s a picture of me with my STAT group mates on the Internet. Everyone in that group is dressed up in their work uniforms… except for me, wearing jean shorts and a grody T-shirt. Not professional at all.

Start prepping the CV for circulation. And don’t leave out the blogging this time.

Wear more eyeliner. Scratch that: Wear better eyeliner. More on this later.

Above all: Read. “Read, read, read,” said William Faulkner. “Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”

Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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