I’m writing this on December 29, and I'm thinking about the weight we put on this time of year. Your focus these next few days may be on many “lasts,” the last cigarette (THIS is the year you will quit), the last overindulgent meals and snacks (the cleanse begins on January 1), your last morning of laziness and sloth (new workout regimen starts at 5:30AM, January 1, er, 2nd—you really can’t expect to start anything at 5:30AM after New Year’s Eve, right?).
Your writing goals may be following the New Year’s Resolution script, as well. Starting on January 1, EVERYTHING WILL BE DIFFERENT. Just like last year. You will have daily, weekly, and monthly writing goals to keep you motivated, and you will start, as soon as you wake up on that first January morning. OK, well, maybe not THAT morning. It is a holiday, after all. You deserve a little break. One day will not put you that far behind. As soon as you get home from work on January 2nd, that will be perfect. No, you won’t want to start in the MORNING on January 2nd. It’s tough to get going after a long weekend, you know? So, after work. And after dinner. And after cleaning up. And, oh, is “Modern Family” new tonight? It’s only a half-hour, after all. You know, you are going to be tired. Maybe better to wait until the weekend.
And so on.
To be fair, you may not be as likely to generate as many excuses as I do (I am, after all, a professional excuse maker. I even write a blog about it. Sometimes.) But the fact is that making resolutions about your writing life carries the same pitfalls as any other type of resolution. Inherent in manufacturing grand expectations tied to a date on a calendar is the potential to stumble right into a grand ballroom of disappointment. Nothing is different about the world just because it’s time to go to the drugstore and buy another cute kittens calendar. Humans, like yourself, created these units of measurements to make sense of the time going by. Just because this human-generated concept of the New Year forces you to start new things (like entries on that fresh new calendar), don’t believe that the most significant changes in your life must begin with the same kind of spectacle as the fireworks over the Golden Gate bridge.
Those fireworks? The planning and dedication didn't come about overnight. More than likely, the crew that puts together that 15-minute show works the entire year to make sure all pieces are in place to entertain thousands of people.
And, yes, they had to meet deadlines, just like you do. In your case, you may have self-imposed deadlines or clients, so NOT making goals for yourself is not an option. My suggestion is to not tie up your entire New Attitude about Writing with the New Year. As a matter of fact, don’t wait at all. I don’t care when you are reading this—the 30th of December or the 30th of May—decide Right Now to move your writing life in a positive direction.
Leave a comment, right now, about what you are going to do in the next 30 minutes to move forward.
Happy New Year—Every Day!