I am not a big fan of resolutions, goals, plans, or other such things.
I resolve to reach a goal, and it takes a million times longer, or a thousand times more effort, than I expected.
I make lists, and for each item I cross off, ten more take its place.
The joy of starting, the excitement of trying, all the fun, gets sucked out of it along the way.
I get that there's no learning without failure -- believe me, after twenty years in publishing, I GET THAT -- but failing all the time is exhausting and discouraging.
Why set yourself up for that? I mean, January 1st should be a good day: you can sleep in, the whole year stretches out before you full of promise, you haven't screwed anything up yet... Why start the year knowing you're going to fail?
So I don't make new year's resolutions. Ever.
However, after 2017, in which I floundered and felt lost in many ways, I will undertake a few tweaks to the way I approach things.
1) The first one is an easy one. I'm going to start keeping track of the books I read again. For a couple of years, I kept a spreadsheet of all the books I read -- off line, not public, not for anyone to see. Then I stopped, although I don't remember why. I want to do it again, but my way. With a private list, I don't have to worry about Goodreads publishing everything I do if I forget to check one of their stupid tiny boxes. When I'm doing it my way, I don't have to fret about the dates that Goodreads forces me to keep track of. Keeping a list of what I read is interesting, and as my brain fills up with other things, it helps to have an external resource to remind me of what I've read. Because, let's face it, reading is one of the major accomplishments of any year. And if I'm rereading a certain childhood favorite for the eleventy-millionth time before the movie comes out in March, well, no one needs to know but me.
2) This next one will be harder, for lots of reasons, but I know it's the right thing to do. I'm going to step back from social media. I won't stop entirely, partly because I have many friends and family who live far away and Facebook is how I keep in touch with them, partly because Twitter is a source of amusement and inspiration for me, and partly because the editors and writers of my incredibly supportive publishing house all hang out on social media together. But social media is a big work-avoidance toy for me, a way in which I can pretend to be busy when I should be writing, and I need to remove that excuse. It's also, in this stressful political environment, incredibly distracting and disheartening. I need to get that out of my life for a while. I need to focus on the writing.
3) And that leads to the most important one. I'm going to write again. Every day. Whatever that means. If it's five minutes while dinner is simmering or fifteen minutes on my lunch break or an hour when the house is quiet... whatever I can get. I need to get back into the habit, the practice, of writing. Not just because I have a book I need to finish, but because I need to feel good about writing again. I need to stop feeling guilty about not writing and guilty when I do take the time for writing. I need to remember that I enjoy this work.
I'm going to spend 2018 focusing on me. What I can do. What I can achieve. What makes me feel fulfilled and inspired and happy.
What are you doing to bring you peace and feel fulfilled this year?