New Year, New Thinking

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While December was all about reflecting, January is all about planning. I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions. The thought of raising my hopes to fulfill some lofty goal, only to see it dashed away as I drift from my purpose fills me with dread. But the sense of a new beginning with the turn of a calendar page is a refreshing idea that always inspires me to rethink what I’m doing and how I’m doing it.

I’m an unabashed organized, plan-making machine. I have lists and coloured pens, stickies and white boards. It’s possible that I’m responsible, along with a few others like me, for keeping stationery stores in business. I keep track of my progress, award myself smiley faces, and record ideas for future work. Sounds like an elementary school teacher, you say? Well, I was one in a former life.

It won’t be any surprise then that I’ve prepped my writing calendar, started a progress journal and given myself a long-term task. I won’t call it a resolution, for fear of the failure I’ve attached to that word. Instead, it’s a mind-set. I’ve called it my “Year of the Novel” in order to prioritize my goal. That’s not to suggest I will finish a novel this year. In fact, I’m subscribing to the “write slow” philosophy, and I’m happy to let this journey last as long as it takes, but I’m making an ongoing commitment to working on my manuscript every day with the belief that by the end of the year I’ll have a solid completed draft. Every day. Even if it’s only a page. By giving myself permission to take it slow, but with the expectation of being consistent, I’m finding myself spending more hours a day with my manuscript and exceeding my page-a-day goal each and every time. That’s more than I can say I accomplished last year.

Granted, it’s possible my drive will diminish as quickly as the new memberships at the local gym, but so far my shift in thinking from resolution to long-term task, from high expectations to an achievable daily goal, inspire me to return day after day to my desk to tap away at the keyboard. My calendar is filling up with shiny smiley faces, my journal entries are a constant source of new ideas, and I have a renewed sense that anything is possible.