Monday, January 4, 2010

I resolve to be resolute ... and focused.

I'm generally not much for New Year's resolutions.  I procrastinate enough as it is, so limiting myself to waiting for one particular day of the year to come around so that I can make positive changes in my life seems to me to be asking for trouble.

If you want to change, start right now, I say.  Seize the day with a barbaric yawp and all that.  And if it doesn't work out anywhere near as well as you planned, well, then start again tomorrow.

The last several months of last year really beat the snot out of me in a number of ways, however, so I am going to take this opportunity to pretend that a new year really does make a difference and start over, start fresh.  As a friend of mine put it, not so much wiping the slate clean as putting it in the back of the garage and starting an entirely new one.

Who's with me?

I thought so.

I don't know what you all have planned, but I am going to be proactive, assertive and have a positive attitude, perhaps with a healthy dose of focus thrown in for good measure.  I am going to embrace my role as the office ambassador in my place of employment as I work with clients and all of the different internal departments.  I often have a pretty clear view from the middle, and I am going to see it as an asset rather than a liability and a source of stress and aggravation.  I'm going to see if I can finally get my work and my life to get along, or at least come to an uneasy truce.  I am going to balance my personal goals and aspirations with my responsibilities -- as soon as I figure out what my personal goals and aspirations are.

That's a nice, short list, right?  Nothing challenging there.  I think that I should add a reminder to go back and read the list at the beginning of every month, or whenever I recognize that I am drifting from my charted course.

While there is something to be said for job satisfaction, I suppose, I learned years ago that relying on something I truly love to earn my living makes me not love it so much anymore.  Therefore if I am going to pay my bills and do things I love, I need to make space in my life for the things I love, the things that make me feel good, and the things that are good for me.

Right now, reading and writing and knitting and cooking are the things that make me really happy, and not just because they help me escape from everyday stress and responsibility.

Even if I have no plans to turn writing into a career, it is a passion of mine, and I need to take it more seriously and devote more time to it.  NaNoWriMo taught me that lesson (and proved to me that I could do more than just scribble in a journal, occasionally post to a blog and let a web site languish).  Starting a private blog for a friend of mine is reinforcing the lesson.

Revision is starting to have a place and a purpose in my world, and revision makes for better writing.  I'm not revising the novel just yet, but it's definitely on the project list.  In the meantime, smaller pieces are getting more attention.

After a while, maybe I can eventually stop being afraid of exposing my writing to the outside world and see what happens.

I have given up the web site I never really built because I ended up making the project so complicated in my head that it actually kept me from actually writing, either for it or for any other project I might want to work on or even start.  Besides, why pay for a web site when I can blog for free?  I may come back to the web site idea some day, but not until I have the material.

Therefore, with one failing project put out of it's misery, I need to come up with a new one, right?

One of the crazier notions I have had over the last few days is the Million Word March.

A million is a thousand thousand.  At the rate of a thousand words a day, it would take me a thousand days to write a million words, which works out to approximately thirty-three months.

Those calculations got me thinking about how much writing I do and the kinds of writing I do -- for work and for pleasure -- and I started to wonder if I could write a million words in a year.

Success in this endeavor would require that I write two thousand seven hundred and forty words a day.  Every single day. For an entire year.

I started looking around for a little perspective and point of comparison.

NaNoWriMo was all about word count.  The goal was to write one thousand six hundred and sixty-seven words a day every single day for a month to end up with a total of fifty thousand.  I had trouble with the every single day part, but getting a thousand or so words down at a time turned out not to be as much of a challenge as I expected, especially when I was really on a roll and the creative juices were flowing.  I tended to write madly on the weekends to make up for my lack of discipline during the week.  I think that my biggest day was about seven thousand words.  Maybe eight.

One of the coolest things about NaNoWriMo was that the closer I got -- probably about the time I hit the forty thousand word mark -- the more motivated I was to finish and the higher a priority the project became.  It was the first time in a long time that I had any sort of real focus.

Also in the course of November I read a piece of advice which recommended writing three hours a day, six days a week.  Not reading or researching or revising.  Only writing.  Strictly new content.  Could I write almost three thousand words in three hours?  Quite likely.  Could I do it every day for a year?  Not so sure about that one.

So am I going to write a million words this year?  I doubt it.  What I am going to do is write more, and not only quantity.  I'm going to spend more time writing with focus and purpose and improve the quality as I go.  Give myself little assignments and write multiple drafts.  Then I might rewrite the whole scene from a different point of view.  Begin exploring the realm of possibility.

Where will your possibilities take you this year?

No comments:

Post a Comment