Yes, we’re not even at Christmas yet. Yes, I’m giving up a great post that would be more appropriate in a few weeks. But after listing my pie-in-the-sky-if-there-were-no-rules-of-physics Christmas list last week, I’m already moving on to the new year and New Year’s Resolutions.
It turns out New Year’s Resolutions have been around for awhile. The Babylonians used to make promises to pay back debts and returned borrowed items. Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus (after which January is named). Knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season to reaffirm their commitment to chivalry. So it seems normal that I should make a few commitments to myself.
I’ve not done a good job of that over the last year. I don’t even remember what my New Year’s Resolutions were last year, but I think they had something to do with Finishing The Damn Book (still not done), treating writing like a career (yeah, that went out the window when I signed up to be the VP of my kids’ PTA), and who knows what else.
This fall has been a very interesting time for me. I did ante up as the VP at my kids’ school. I’ve been so busy with that, but so committed to make the first year of this school a good one (the school just opened this past August). Jeanne was kind enough to remind me that I have my whole life to write, but only a small number of years with my kids before they’re up and gone (or don’t want me to hang around any more). It was very reassuring to hear that, but that aside, I have a problem with setting (and keeping) boundaries. Some folks seems to be better at that than me. In fact, most folks do.
So as I sat down to write out my resolutions for 2016, I had to think hard about what I still have to do (I’m on the hook as VP for the rest of the year) and what I want to do (Finish The Damn Book) and try to come up with a happy medium.
My resolutions…in no particular order:
- I will work on my story at least 3x a week. I figure that’s a decent goal given how much I haven’t worked on it in the last month and a half. The goal is to keep the story in my head, so I don’t spent valuable time re-reading and getting myself re-immersed in it.
- I will write my blog posts on Saturday or Sunday, not Monday. Because of my time zone (Mountain Standard Time) and the agreed-upon time to publish posts (5 a.m. GMT), I can technically do my posts on Monday evening by 10 p.m. But I’m usually tired at night and not at my best, plus it’s time I’m not spending with my husband, who I already don’t see that much, so setting a goal for completing them on the weekend is ideal.
- Finish my book by the end of 2016 at the abso-frickin’-lutely latest. This shouldn’t be that hard. I’m still not sure why it is. Perhaps it’s because this is my first story and I’m not sure when it’s really done? Or I’m afraid to finish? Or I’m looking for excuses to not work on my book? Have a writing career? Whatever the case may be, I need to finish this one and move on. In part because I do have people who have asked to see it. But also because I have about 8 other stories I want to tell and I refuse to work on them until this one is done.
- Set boundaries for the kids’ school (and elsewhere, like my local RWA chapter). I can still volunteer and not be there every day. I can ask other parents for help. I can let other parents do stuff. I don’t need to do it all (although I typically sign up for a lot of things to make sure they get done — that’s the control freak in me). But I can also limit myself to two days a week that I’m “all-in” with school stuff…the rest of the week should be for taking care of the house…and taking care of my writing career.
- Get back to meeting with my CP. When you have to give your critique partner a new chapter to read every week, it’s good pressure to keep moving forward with the story. We did this last year and made tremendous progress (both of us!). We need to get back into it again. Every Friday. Starbucks. And have something fresh to give each other. And even if she doesn’t have something fresh to give me, I should have something for her.
I think five resolutions are enough. These are all important, and I hope they’re all achievable. (Nothing like setting unachievable goals.) I plan on putting things around my desk to remind me of them, like Jilly did when she put King Kong near her work space (to remind her to “Get to the Effing Monkey”). I’ll need a countdown calendar, at least, and a clock. Big and round and impossible to miss.
What do you have slated for the New Year?