Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Here comes 2016

The funny thing about New Year's Day is that it comes whether you want it to or not. And the more you don't want it to arrive, the more likely it is to get here sooner. Time works in mysterious ways.

I am both dreading and excited for New Year's Day. Excited for obvious reasons, as the start to a new year is always a good reason to be excited. So much can happen in 12 months and it's all before me.

Dreading because 2016 will start off no different than 2015 ended, and I'm not in a happy place right now. To be fair, I'm not miserable either, but this year is not ending as I hoped it would, and 2016 is not starting as I hoped it would. In fact, is starting very close to how I dreaded it would.

Hense my conflicted feelings on the matter. But 2016 will come, whether I wish it or no, and so, like most things in life, you learn to make the best of it.

On that note, I have certain New Year Resolutions. Though I hate that term 'resolutions'. I resolve to do this, this and this. Resolutions are about intention, not outcome, and by the definition far too easy to break. Like promises. I am resolved is a good turn of phrase, but it does not necessary mean follow-through.

Instead, I make determinations. I am resolved in decision yes, but I am determined in process.

So my New Year Determinations are:

Follow-through on the internship I created for myself. That means six months self.

Go to the gym regularly.

Eat fewer white carbs.

Eat less processed sugar.

See friends at least once a month.

Write a query letter. Send it out. [Freak out.]

Finish the novels that are in progress. To not start anymore.

Edit two novels. [Well, one and a half.]

Travel as much as your bank account will absolutely allow.

Walk camino.


Be excited about 2017.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Best Laids Plans of Writers and Academics

Let me just be honest: I gave up on December NaNo about December 3rd. I had the best of intentions, but like many things in life, even the best laid plans have to be sidetracked. December is the type of month that can either be great for me, or miserable, or both. This year, it's not been a particularly good month, and it never helps that I get anxious this time of year about the fact that another year is ending and I didn't do half the things I wanted to.

But that's normal. That's par for the course. But it makes writing hard. I also know from experience that I am much better in an empty house. I cannot write in public places. I also can't write very well in company. And I've had nothing but company this month, even more so than in November (and I managed NaNo with international travel!) It happens. I am slowly ploughing away at finishing the novel I didn't quite manage to finish last month (to be fair, 50k is rather short, and this one needs to be 70k).

That is my only goal this month. I am trying to be kind to myself and do only what I can actually manage each day, and not feel like a failure if I don't accomplish the To Do list. Or feel guilty for not being able to. I promised myself a year ago I would start doing this, and then life threw a loop-d-loop my way and this year has been full of (not always pleasant) surprises. Instead, I am making that promise again. Do only what I can. There are times to push oneself, and I'm generally pretty good at those, but for the rest of this year, I need to just be okay.

And that's enough for the busiest, craziest, most expensive month of the year. There is absolutely nothing wrong with baby steps. I think this might be what people mean when they talk about the year after the PhD.