Wow. What just happened? I think it was the holidays. And 2011. Hmmmm. I’m still trying to resurrect myself from the dirty martini-filled haze of last night, but I do believe I shall turn my sights to what I would like to achieve for 2012. I’ve been reading several blog posts today that predictably discuss this subject, and of course, the familiar term “resolutions” has popped up repeatedly. Yawn.
Resolutions remind me of giant fail opportunities. A list of over-the-top goals that I will never reach this year, or any other year, and will be broken one by one within the first 72 hours of the first glow of 2012. Probably people who are more mature and grounded than I am, have the opposite view; they likely see resolutions as their moment to shine in the new year, to get a head start on being as fabulous as ever. I might feel more fabulous once the family and I go out and eat a large platter of Mexican food at El Mariachi Loco today. Or perhaps not.
What I do like to do at the start of the new year however, is to reflect. To take a moment and look back at the good, bad and atrocious of how last year went. To remember who I am and what I’m about, and where I was last year at this time. Then there’s how I did, or didn’t, make the last year one that I feel helped me to move forward in my goals as a writer. In doing this today, I realized that many of my goals ( not resolutions!) for myself as a writer came about. There were those that I really nailed, some that didn’t even get my attention until half the year was over, and others I never even considered at the beginning of last year, but came about because I had set other writer goals that lead me to them.
What’s great about easing yourself into your goals, and paying attention to how they grow and evolve through the course of the year, is that it does leave you the opportunity to change to a better course. For example, I determined at the beginning of last year that I was going to finally give in and write under a pseudonym in a genre of fiction that I had a lot of ideas for, but was not the main genre I wanted to be known for as a writer. I had struggled with that for a long time, because I felt that I might be “cheating” my memoir writing or other writing I was doing as myself. There are only so many hours in the day after all. Especially when you’re living the non-stop thrill ride of retail management.
But it turned out to be a great decision. I’m a better writer for it. When I do turn my attention to my other writing, I will be more seasoned. I turned out more writing last year than I have since I was a teenager ( how scary is that? – that was a long flippin’ time ago!). And somewhere along the line as I grew more confident, I self-published, a goal that I had never even considered at the start of last year. That lead to me making money as a writer for the first time in years (and the first time ever as a fiction writer), and then I was signed to a book publishing company. Damn. Most of those accomplishments never would have even made it onto any January 2011 list.
The bottom line here kids, is to not lock yourself into a static list of goals that you have to come up with on New Year’s day, and that you must stick with faithfully, or your whole year is a fail. Use this day, this week, this beginning – to reflect on what has been working for you as a writer, and what needs to be recharged. Then you can come up with a course that might work. If you need to list it, or outline it, or plan it out meticulously – do what you need to. But allow yourself to evolve with it, and don’t hold yourself hostage to “the list” if you veer into another direction. Life rarely allows us to adhere to a strict plan. Go with the flow man, go with the flow.