Lose weight. Exercise more. Learn something new. All these are popular New Year’s resolutions according to Peter Economy on Inc. Statistics show that many abandon their goals the first week. Some manage 21 days. Even some of the hardy falter after 90 days. The stalwart hang on but few accomplish their goals.
I’ve been successful at keeping my New Year’s resolution for many years. My secret to success? Skip the resolutions. This year, a few celebrities have expressed that mindset.
Melinda Gates chooses a word for the year. Last year, her word was grace.
Oprah Winfrey reminds us to be careful what we chose. With a twist of humor, she advises not to ask for courage because you don’t know what you’ll have to go through to get it. She says she “lives in the moment.” Instead of making resolutions, she has written five things in a grateful journal each night since 1995.
I began my grateful journal with three things each night on New Year’s Day 2017. I made it through the next day. I skipped a week, then a month. The last entry on May 24, 2018, was a single line. “I am grateful for the stability of a cane.”
This year, after a thirty-month absence from my journal, I wrote my chiropractor’s name. Those treatments have made it possible for me to walk cane-free on most days and to sit at my computer for longer periods.
Perhaps I will end 2019 with gratitude that my novel has been published. Along the way, I will be grateful for my novel critique group who have helped me over the rough spots.
December 31, 2011. Where did the year go? For me, a writer, easy answers. Begin with the word “online” and add (in alpha order) blogs, critiques, emails, research, social media, and writing instructions. More? Wipe out the entire month of November with NaNoWriMo 50,000-word first draft novel contest (still editing 2008 entry). All took a sizeable bite out of my 2011 calendar. Thinking about it, the computer has engulfed my calendar for several years.
Step a few feet away from my electronic chain and watch me shred unpublished (as in “rejected”) contest entries. Ride with me when I race to an office supply store to buy more printer cartridges. See me skip lunch, gobble chocolate and sip coffee and tea to write and revise book outlines, proposals and query letters to hook a publisher. Add voice mail (do writers ever answer their phones?), volunteering and face-to-face (F2F) and live meetings with other writers. I squeeze in time for grocery shopping, personal grooming (skip if online all day); occasional cooking and house cleaning; paying bills/balancing checkbook; pumping gas on the way to a writer’s event; and rounding out my day making notes about must-do’s for tomorrow. Add falling into bed at midnight with visions of sassy novel characters behaving in uncharacteristic ways. My day is over…unless my sleep is interrupted by one of my secondary characters usurping the protagonist’s role.
Tomorrow, January 1, 2012 will be different. Not so. Circle the wagons! Dig a foxhole. Hide under the bed. I’ll try whatever works to protect me from publishing “experts” who demand I rise at the crack of dawn to spend more time on social media; revise my finished manuscripts at least seven times before handing off to a professional editor; polish my query letters, outlines and book proposals to grab the publisher’s attention. Why? To complete the circuit one more time before exiting mainstream websites and entering self-publishing.
To writers everywhere,