I don't make New Year's Resolutions any more. I think they set people up for failure. I used to work with a woman who would make this huge list of resolutions every January, so ambitious that she'd be feeling like a failure on the 15th of the month! Around that time, I decided not to even make resolutions any more. Instead, from Thanksgiving to New Years I try to have a light work load so I can spend time reflecting on the past year and rejuvinating my creativity. I try to have a lot of time to sit around a do nothing but think, so I can discover my focus for the coming year. I usually read a book about creativity or writing during this period, as well. This year I read A Writer's San Francisco, the second book in a series of "guided journeys for the creative soul" by Eric Maisel. Last year I read A Writer's Paris, the first in the series.
Both books are wonderful, inspirational texts that will help any writer find creative energy and meaning through their work. The first book made me want to get out and travel the world, using the opportunity to hone my senses and gather new experiences for my writing. It was wonderful, as far as that goes, but I don't generally have the money to fly off to Paris for a month, or even a week, to feed my creative soul. You can tell Maisel lives in San Francisco, while he himself has been only a tourist in Paris, because the second book brings writing home. It makes you appreciate your own home town, even if it's not as artist-friendly as San Francisco, and it offers an illuminating look inside a successful writer's daily life with out the rules and regulations so often laid out in "a writer's life" type of book. I highly recommend this book for all aspiring, struggling, and successful writers.
So, back to New Year's Resolutions (you thought I forgot, didn't you?). This year I've decided that my focus for 2007 will be to improve my writing. So far, I'm planning to take a couple of workshops throughout the year, work on some exercises in books I bought years ago that I read but never "did", go on a writing retreat in May, and attend the Women Writing the West conference in October.
The point is not to check these specific things off my list, but rather to focus throughout the year on one goal: to improve my writing. This to do list is merely a way to nail down what that means, but there are other ways to improve my writing as well. The most important being to write every day. (Every weekday, anyway.) This year I started going to a cafe every morning for 2 hours to write. It has been an amazing experinece. I didn't keep it up this month because of the holidays and the blizzards, but starting on Tuesday I'll be right back at my regular table with my latte and my notebook or laptop every morning.
Yes, I'd like to lose 20 pounds, join the gym, clean out my closets, make jam, paint my kitchen, learn Lithuanian, eat more veggies, stop eating so much ice cream, sew my own clothes, and more... but who am I kidding if I "resolve" to do all of these things in 2007? No-one but myself, probably. So, along with Curly from City Slickers, I'm going to focus on my ONE THING in 2007: to improve my writing.
Wish me luck!
Women Writing the West website manager