I’m not one to make resolutions because I’m really not good at following through. At the start of each new year, I feel like I have plenty of time to get a lot of things done. But then time has a way of slipping away from me. When I spend 40 hours a week at work and I’ve got a lot of other distractions and things to do, it takes a lot of effort to make headway on goals.
I guess that’s a cop-out. If I felt really motivated, I suppose I would manage my time better–fit my goals within those small spaces of time between the things I have to do in a day. I know if I spent a lot less time goofing off on, say, Facebook, I might actually squeeze some writing in. Or finish that book I started reading.
Well, I think the problem is that I’m motivated, but I have no idea where to harness that motivation. Story of my life. But at this moment, I’m going to harness that energy on some promises to myself for the coming year. Nothing grandiose. I’m starting off small.
1. Get back up to speed on my cycling. In 2012, I had an average mileage total of just over 2,000 miles. Though still a substantial amount of miles to cycle by most people’s standards, 2012 was not a particularly aggressive year for me. I only did about 3 rides between 60-100 miles. I did not climb very many hills; I even completely avoided Oak Hill all year (when I did it multiple times on Tuesday nights in 2011). I totally lacked confidence. I know I have a wedding coming up with three weeks of a honeymoon out west, so I can’t promise a higher quantity of miles, but I can promise higher quality of miles. Which means challenging myself on hills again, doing longer rides, and continuing my effort to commute to work more often. I will start by working to beat my previous record of 154 miles on Calvin’s Challenge, which I signed up for this year.
2. Writing. I make the promise to write more every year. With my first successful attempt at NaNoWriMo in 2012, I feel I’ve had a little kick in the ass. It made writing a novel seem like more of a reachable goal, even though I still have to spend a lot of time editing or doing more writing after the event. I met some fellow writers who helped motivate me and keep me on task.
I pledge to do NaNoWriMo again next year, possibly finally knocking out that memoir about my personal experience as a widow that I’ve always wanted to write. I think that the fast-paced environment of NaNo would force me to write the things I’ve been afraid to write to get that story out and it will help me to linger less on writing everything perfectly, which has always been one of my problems with that piece. Also, I think my perspective has changed a bit more positively as I enter into a new marriage and the clock starts again as a married woman. I always thought I couldn’t write that piece once I fell in love again, but I am starting to realize that I was probably completely wrong about that. Being in love again brings up a lot of emotions and memories from the first time that I didn’t know were there and it also reminds me more of the realities of a relationship which brings out more details about Mike and me that I forgot. It could be really interesting to see what thoughts time and new love bring to the surface. I’m not even sure yet what I have to say about these topics but I know the words are starting to form beneath my skin.
Besides NaNo, I just purchased a book about writing flash fiction which is a form of short story I’ve recently become interested in through listening religiously to a science-fiction podcast. I’d never heard of flash fiction before, but I’m now fascinated with the form. I liken it to be what haiku is to poetry–trying to express grand ideas in a few concise words. I’ve always loved how haiku forces me to condense my ideas into 17 syllables. So flash fiction will force me to condense an idea into much less words. (And as you can see from my blog entries, brevity is not my forte!)
I just purchased Scrivener–a software specifically designed for writers. Some of my fellow NaNos used it and recommended it. It’s really great for organizing your story because you write everything in “scenes” rather than making documents by chapter which is what I was going in my normal word processing software. You can easily move scenes around and organize them into folders. I can’t tell you how often I’ve struggled with organizing the chapters I write. Sometimes one chapter is too long and I want to split it out into a separate one. This is extremely annoying in a normal word processing software in which everything is contained in separate files. In Scrivener, it’s a snap to move a scene around or put it in a new folder and you can constantly see the ultimate arrangement in an outline bar on the side of the screen. There’s a section for writing character bios and an area for posting links to research items or jotting notes. When you are ready to create a manuscript, the text outputs to a number of file types from PDFs to MS Word documents.
I’m so enthused! I already set up my 2012 NaNo story in Scrivener to begin the process of rewriting and editing! Having the right tools definitely makes the work a lot more pleasurable. I still have to write the story myself, but at least I can access all my information easily and quickly rather than poking through multiple files trying to find stuff. Having used one tool that didn’t work for me for so long, it’s really refreshing to find a tool that was designed specifically with a writer’s needs in mind!
So. I think I’m moving slowly towards my writing goal. I’m certainly a lot less dormant than I’ve been. Things are looking up! And Crow has been so supportive about my writing that I just feel so overwhelmed with gratitude for having him in my life.
3. Bass Lessons. Over the last year, I’ve become convinced that I want to learn to play the bass guitar. Knowing this, my sweetie bought me a bass guitar for Christmas! I’m so excited to take on the challenge of learning a new instrument. I used to play viola in elementary school and I admit that I regret giving it up in middle school. Viola, like bass, is the unsung hero of a musical piece because it’s tune is not often noticed–never getting to take the solo or the main part–but without it the piece would just not sound the same. I like the idea of being the touch to a music piece that makes it perfect. I also like the throbbing sound of the bass. I can always identify it in a song, hone in on its singular beat, and I want so badly to play along with that music.
I pledge to give it my all in lessons with the bass and to not quit early. I had a stint learning guitar in college and I don’t think I gave it my all (though I did learn to play some of my favorite songs, like “Sunday Bloody Sunday”). I have my very own bass now and I need to give it the chance I should have given instruments before. I know my life is busy, but hopefully by the end of 2013 I’ll at least know how to play one song on my new bass.
4. Relax. I’m getting married this year. Eek! It’s going to be stressful. Very stressful. But I need to just let things roll off of me and remember that this wedding is not about all of the things in the periphery that might go wrong or cause stress. It’s about me and Crow and our commitment to each other. I need to just breathe, relax, and have fun when the day arrives. These are the moments to hang on to in the years ahead no matter what happens. The specific details of the day don’t matter. I will barely remember the mishaps; it’s the great moments in between that will eclipse all other memories.
I need to stop telling myself that we should have eloped or had a destination wedding. The moment for that decision has passed and we are now full-throttle into the planning of a full scale wedding. Let those thoughts of doubt go. They only cause conflict, confusion, and frustration between myself and the people who hear me utter them. The theme of my life is that I need to go forward bravely and confidently with decisions I makee and not second-guess myself every step of the way. It’s time to grow up. There is no time in life for second guesses or regrets.
A little yoga might help as well. Meditation. Lots of meditation.
I look forward to the year ahead. I think this will be a magical one for me (and Crow). Fiscal cliffs or no, I’m not letting anything stop me from having the time of my life while learning something new every day. It’s the year to work on becoming the person I want to be and growing with the person I love. I will win no matter what happens.
And if I make mistakes along the way, or life doesn’t work out the way I plan, that’s okay too. I’ve learned I can roll with the punches. As I’ve learned, forward is the only direction a person can go. So, onward, ho!