Ah, resolutions…that list of promises we make to ourselves that we damn well know we won’t likely keep...and yet sometimes they do work out. Last year’s list of resolutions (which disappeared when I transitioned websites) went pretty well actually, aside from my promise to do more overseas travel. That didn’t quite happen, but with some bumps while transitioning from 9-5 work to freelance, that was expected. But overall, my own resolutions went well even if 2014 was rather dour overall. Not the worst year I’ve ever had, but far from the best.
Somehow this rebirth into 2015 feels extraordinarily promising. It’s the most positive and ambitious I’ve felt in early January since the beginning of 2011, when I first moved to NYC. I have writing projects to work on, I’m feeling healthy and upbeat for the first time in ages, and most of all, I’m putting the old problems where they belong: in the rubbish bin with NYE party hats and dried up Christmas trees. This year is all about breaking new ground, starting new traditions, and saying yes to having fun. In that spirit, here are some goals I plan to keep.
1. One Bag to Rule Them All
I’ve lived in NYC for four years and in that time I have carried home thousands and thousands of plastic grocery bags. I do re-use them at home or recycle them, but why bother with those middle steps? My roommate carries re-usable bags, and I see my friend Amy Kefauver plans to start using them too (thanks for the resolution idea, Amy!) so I plan on getting myself a bag or two to cut out all the plastic. Maybe one of those Strand bags designed for books. If those can carry 20 hardcovers, they can carry all my mac & cheese.
2. Submission Sundays
Submitting my poems and stories to magazines, and my books to agents, is something I have slacked on last year. Between September and December I sent my children’s novel to three agents…three. I also submitted to just four magazines. That’s nowhere near enough. So now, even if I submitted work during the week, I will dedicate Sunday to only submissions, no new writing that day, and I’ll try to submit at least a couple pieces each Sunday. Mondays might be manic, but Sundays will be…eh, submissive?
3. Get Up On That Stage
Last year my friend Bud Smith encouraged me to get out to more readings, and I finally read my work in public for the first time in 5-6 years. The first few times were a little nerve-wracking, but I really began loving it. Sadly some illnesses kept me from attending some of my favorite monthly readings, but I plan on trying to read my work at least once a month this year. I’m sure there will be months I miss that, and if so I’ll double up on the following month, but I feel much more confident in my work after reading in public, and I’ve met a bunch of amazing writers at these shows, so why not keep it going in 2015?
4. Out With The Negative
I resolve to not feel guilty about cutting negative people and activities out of my life. I sometimes will do things and see people in order to maintain friendships and ties with those who don’t seem to be putting in as much as I feel like I’m putting out, and sometimes when I back away from these things I feel guilty for not putting in the effort I usually do. No longer. I am going to step back from things that leave me feeling like I’m not appreciated, and in return I shall…
5. Embrace The Positive!
There are a lot of people I think are fun as hell who happen to live far away, or who I don’t see often enough right here in NYC, so in 2015 I plan on reaching out to people who bring a fun positivity to life and keeping them close, even if they live just across town, or if they’re far away, or even if we’ve never met in real life! I want to spend time with these people, travel to see them or invite them to come to me, or at least let them know I’m thinking about them. Maybe it’s sending letters in the mail, maybe it’s calling more often, maybe it’s planning more dinners and random events that don’t have to be big parties, but just hang-out sessions. I want to keep the positive people close as I let the negative people go.
6. Finish What I Start
I have a lot of writing projects that I need to finish. My fifth novel is stalled at the first draft stage. I resolve to finish that. I have two older novels that are “done” that need full revisions to be ready for agents again. I resolve to revise those. I have a poetry collection that needs a severe overhaul. I resolve to do that. And I have a short story collection that needs a final proof, some blurbs, and some cover image adjustments. I resolve to wrap that up and release that collection this year. 2015 will be the year I finish things, not start them. (Okay, I might start some too…)
7. Tend to Taoism
In college I became a fan of Taoism, and the practices and ideas made me feel good, made me a better person, and made me a more open-minded and patient person. I’ve lost some of that over the years (the patientness, not the open-mindedness) and I’d like to reconnect with some of those old meditative practices and Taoist tomes that taught me to hold the center, to take the bad and good with equal grace, and to see the world through the eyes of someone who expects nothing but can deal with anything. I need to fish that old piece of me back up from the depths.
8. Kitchen Nightmares?
I’d like to try my hand at cooking new meals that I’ve never tried to cook before. I find cooking to be a relaxing practice, and I like that feeling of chopping away at veggies as pots bubble on the stove and pans sizzle and the over ticks and music plays in the background, but I tend to cook the same dozen or so meals. In 2015 I’d like to do a little culinary exploration and try some new dishes, at least one new dish per month. And I’m open to suggestions!
For now, those are my resolutions. Yes, we’re all going to try to get in better shape, be healthier, be nicer people, etc., etc., but these are the primary goals. And I think this year I’ll be able to accomplish each and every one. 2015 is going to blow 2014 out of the water!