It starts in the fall, when after a summer of binge writing at my family cabin, I’ve got various projects in various states of completion. I declare October “finish them!” month, whereby I try to ignore the voices that whisper in my head of new ideas. Sometimes I succeed.
Then comes November, where I sell my writing soul to NaNoWriMo, promising myself I will complete 50,000 words, that I will write every day, that I will allow myself to write crap if it means getting those pages done. True to pattern, I start out strong, and burn out just over the halfway mark.
But it’s the Christmas season and so this post isn’t to beat myself up over never meeting the NaNo goal. The object is to write. I did that, all of November.
Except, here’s where the pattern really gets noticeable.
December 1 – Lament over not completing NaNo goal and eat ice cream. (Well, I always eat ice cream, but on December 1, I eat more ice cream.)
December 2 – Reread NaNo project and determine it worthy of completion. Celebrate with a glass of wine.
December 3 – 5 – Give myself a break. Because hey, I wrote all of November. Catch up on TV shows I missed in November. (My guilty pleasure this year? Sons of Anarchy…hello Jax Teller!)
December 6 – 10 – Write! Attempt to regain NaNo momentum, but it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and there are so many shiny things…
December 11 – 15 – Begin planning writing schedule that will happen over the holidays. Determine that somehow magically the NaNo project, plus two other projects must be finished. Print off these documents and stuff them in my bag so they’re “handy” if I have some time between shopping/attending Christmas functions to do a quick “edit” in preparation of the binge writing I hope to squeeze in between unwrapping gifts and cooking, or even Boxing Day shopping with my MIL.
December 16 – 17 – Read Stephen King’s memoir On Writing.
December 18 – Realize that for the month of December I have done NO actual writing and according to Stephen King, that pretty much makes me a failure. Because, you know, he writes TEN pages a day, even on his birthday.
December 19 – Resolve to break the pattern.
And that’s where we’re at, friends. The resolutions. The promises that I will write 10 pages every day in 2013. I’ll read 100 books. I’ll lose 50 pounds. I’ll submit at least one short story a month. Blah, blah, blah.
Yeah, like that’s going to happen.
While each of those resolutions is admirable (or stupid), they aren’t realistic. At least not all at once. Sure, Stephen King writes 10 pages a day…but that’s his job. And yeah, 100 books might be feasible if I allowed picture books to count. The 50 pounds? We’ll see.
The point is, my resolutions are always big.
So this year – *deep breath* – I am resolving to change the pattern. And instead of focusing on tangible numbers that loom over me like a black cloud of failure, I’m going to aim for daily targets. In other words, I’m going to set myself up for success. (Novel concept, right?)
In 2013, I resolve:
- to eat healthy and drink more water (and less Diet Coke)
- to write every day, except on my birthday, and maybe Christmas. Oh, and Easter.
- to read every day, even on my birthday. (Can you think of a better way to spend your birthday?)
But more importantly, I resolve to strive for a less stressful, more calming work/life balance.
Unless, of course, the world ends on Friday.
So, how about you? What are your resolutions this year – and do you keep them?
Wishing you and your families a wonderful Christmas and a productive 2013.
Dawn has a short story in the Spirited anthology published by Leap Books.