Tag Archives: New Year’s resolution

Chaining the Free Spirit: New Year’s Writing Resolutions

10 Jan

This, my first blog of the new year, breaks all the resolutions it contains. I’m going to run it anyway, because I find that particularly funny.

I’m not keen on making resolutions, but it became quite apparent toward the end of last year that my “take-work-as-it-comes-and-hope-for-the-best” time-management style might not be the most effective.  At one point, I was juggling eight projects simultaneously. Not only did the quality of my work suffer, but I noticed I was writing and editing in my sleep, or at least, when I should have been sleeping and not worrying about deadlines.

So, let’s jump right in, shall we?

One: This year there will be no procrastinating. I know, I know, most people establish their resolutions around the first of the year and not the 10th, but I had some residual 2015 issues to resolve first. And then I had this sleepless week, and then the eye thing, and…Anyway, I mean it. A few of my blogs might contain some pretty odd ramblings and a shopping list or two, but I’m serious about writing regularly, particularly when it comes to blogging, which brings me to resolution number…

Two: I will blog weekly in 2016. Blogging gives me joy, and has become relegated to an “expendable” corner of my life. I’ve noticed that, in much the same way a busy mom puts her own needs last, I tend to put personal goals aside to satisfy business commitments. This is emotionally unacceptable. If I’m going to grow as a writer, I gotta wax poetic on a regular basis or all those internal giggles that seem to multiply in my brain when I observe life are going to combust and I’ll wind up as cynical as Maxine, the greeting card lady. While that could make for some more interesting blog entries, I prefer something a little less erratic.

Three: Despite my serious distaste for administrative tasks, in 2016, I will keep to a schedule. This one is going to hurt, as I’m not only a free-spirited, ADD, fly-by-the-mood-of-the-muse writer, I also tend to see planning as the process of using valuable work time to write about what I’m going to do instead of actually doing it. However, I think the only way the blog will have a fighting chance of not getting pushed off the schedule is if I have a schedule to begin with. This will also prevent me from taking on too much work (I hope) and

Four: So, I will GENERALLY schedule blog writing for Saturday mornings (and yes, I know it’s Sunday evening. I never blog on Sunday—all the more reason to put this on the blogosphere today—see first sentence). However, I cannot totally commit to a particular day of the week, as not only do I occasionally enjoy a weekend off with my family, but the calendar often dictates my blog topics. For example, two specific non-Saturdays I’m looking forward to writing about this year are Lost Sock Memorial Day (May 9), and Lazy Day (August 10). The first sounds like fun to write about. The second, well, we’ll see how I feel…

…Besides, the second week in October is National Pet Peeve Week. Just imagine where that can take us! No, I cannot box myself into one day. Life should still contain a modicum of spontaneity. Speaking of spontaneity brings me to…

Five: This will be a year of sitting still, and getting up. First, I must train myself that even when I’m not in the mood, I should write. Writing begets writing. Day-dreaming begets sleeping. I sometimes put off writing because all the stars aren’t correctly aligned, or the caffeine hasn’t taken effect, or I’m not sure the words will come. It usually ends with a nap on the couch. This is silly, because I’ve never been unable to write when I actually sit down and start.

However, for the sake of my health, I also have to move. I’ve noticed that sometimes when I am in the mood to write, I work straight through meals and dentist appointments without ever looking up. So, I will schedule (yes, you read that right) time to get up and send the blood flowing back into my limbs. Also, with a little help from the dog next door, I’m scheduling regular walks around the block.

So that’s it for resolutions, essentially. The rest of my plans for the year are more like goals than resolutions:

In 2016, Joe and I would like to get “Caged Sparrow” into the prisons, where it is sure to make a positive impact (word chosen specifically for Christina) on inmates staring at potentially life-changing crossroads. The book is selling quite well for a self-published endeavor, and it’s getting great reviews on Amazon, but we’re waiting expectantly for it to become more than just a good story. It’s meant to encourage and inspire.

I’m also working on completing two books this year. The first is for a client, whom you’ll meet soon. It’s a fantastic story about faith, trust, and hope. If all goes according to plan, it will be completed in February (look for a blog announcement the first Saturday of the month). The second is a personal project that I plan to bring to the May writers’ conference in Asheville, NC to see if it has any market potential. If it’s successful, you’ll be able to hear me shout my joy from the rooftops. If not, I’ll just try somewhere else and blog about persistence.

Calendar

Empty Pages of Possibility

There’s something sweet about the clean slate of a new year. The past is behind us and the future stretches before us like unused typewriter ribbon. (There now, I just lost half of you.) I’m excited and curious about the words that will fly across my keyboard this year, quite possibly even faster than I just jumped through 200 years of writing media. But one thing I know is that, with friends like you, I’ll be blessed for the experience because we’ll be making the journey together. Because without you I’d just be talking to myself.

Praying you and your families will be blessed this year as well.

Happy New Year, happy writing, and happy reading!

——————

“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:40).

The Early Bird Knows the Secret

4 Jan

I awoke to four sweet, staccato chirps, and smiled as I listened to the persistent warbler outside my bedroom window. Again and again he beckoned to me with the same four-note aria, paying no heed to the drawn shade that separated us. I knew he was calling to me, but I didn’t want to stir from my warm bed. Tossled, twitching branches on the tree outside cast a quivery shadow against the shade, and a blustering gust of wind buffeted the house’s siding, confirming my suspicions: It was a cold, windy day out there.

I think I’ll stay put, thank you very much.

Still he sang. His notes were melodious and clear; I was content to just lie there and listen. So much joy from such a tiny creature! I couldn’t imagine what this bird might have to be joyful about. Surely if he knew the snug coziness of an electric blanket he might be singing a different tune out there on that naked tree limb.

Eventually though, his song (and the thought of a hot cup of coffee) got to me. I extricated my lazy self from the soft covers, covered my flannel jams with my warmest robe, and crossed over to raise the shade, mentally prepared for a bleak January scene.

How wrong I was.

Instead of bleakness, the world outside had transformed overnight into a pristine wonderland. Two inches of pure white blanketed everything around me, and a rather spectacular sunrise was radiating its golden orange light across the snow-covered trees and rooftops, glistening majestically as far as I could see.

And there was my soloist: a tiny brown wren with his beak pointed up to heaven, singing for all he was worth. How could he not? He cocked his head to look at me, as if to say, “See? Didn’t I tell you?” and resumed his joyful twittering.

I watched for quite some time, mesmerized. All too soon, the golden hue dissipated as the sun rose higher; leaving a scene that was still beautiful, but slightly less enchanting.

To think I would have missed that just to stay comfortable.

Then I went downstairs, where the morning had more delight in store for me. Entering the kitchen, I noticed a particularly large shadow cross the window as something flew to the birdhouse in the back yard.

Probably those darned crows, I muttered to myself. Such bullies they are.

I headed over to the sliding-glass door to thump the window pane (like that ever works). To my amazement, it wasn’t crows, but the return of our favorite winter visitors, the Pileated Woodpeckers.

Pileated Woodpecker

This is Dactyl. Don’t be fooled; that’s a relatively small birdhouse he’s perched upon.

Now, these guys aren’t your average woodpeckers. In fact, we’ve named them Terry and Dactyl, if that tells you anything. They are so large, even the crows give them wide berth. According to our bird manual, the Pileated Woodpecker can grow to about 17-inches long. They also have a deep red crest. I could watch one for hours.

The thing is, they never stick around long, and they’re early risers so we don’t catch a glimpse of them often. If I’d stayed in bed, I would have missed this as well.

How many of us live our lives like that? Chosing comfortable, safe, and familiar over the unknown, wondering what’s “out there” but not curious or brave enough to go look for ourselves? What do you suppose we’re missing?

At my office, I work with quite a few brilliant people who sit in their familiar cubicles day after day performing mundane tasks, all the while saying there must be a better way and purposefully ignoring the “I wonder ifs” hovering overhead:

  • I wonder if I could make it as a professional photographer.
  • I wonder what it would take to start my own brewery.
  • I wonder if I’ll ever go to law school.
  • I wonder if I should homeschool my child.

I know this, because they do occasionally talk about their dreams, and because I do the same thing. For the past ten years, I’ve been talking about leaving my job to write full-time, but the office paycheck is steady and my coworkers are great people. It’s comfortable.

But change is waiting for me, like the wren outside my window, singing, beckoning.

The time has come to throw off the cozy blankets. Can I do it this time?

…I’ll let you know next Saturday.