Half-Year Resolutions by Debra H. Goldstein
Half of 2021 is gone.
I consider “Half of 2021 is gone” to be a profound statement. It has so many connotations: time has slipped by, life is closer to ebbing, a good six months is in the books, the world has started to normalize, and … I could go on from a philosophical standpoint, but what does it mean as a writer?
For some, it translates to having finished and submitted books, short stories, or other manuscripts. If the writer is lucky, the work has been accepted; if not, the countdown of prayers has begun. If a book has been published, it probably means the author is caught in a whirlwind of virtual and possibly real-life promotion, with limited time to write. Others have spent the six months aspiring to start or complete a project.
I fall into all categories and yet, like imposter syndrome, I don’t feel I’ve done enough. I had a new book, Four Cuts Too Many, released by Kensington on May 25. Two weeks earlier, I turned in the manuscript for Five Belles Too Many, which will be published in June 2022. For weeks before and after Four Cuts Too Many came out, I focused on promoting it. At the same time, I added the tasks of enhancing my brand, building my newsletter audience, promoting three short story anthologies that I have stories in while balancing my family and organizational responsibilities (including planning a shower, rehearsal dinner, and the logistics involved with my son’s upcoming out-of-town wedding).
What I haven’t been doing is writing. I’ve got a new project in mind, but after six months, all I can show for it is eight hundred unedited words. Part of the problem has been putting writing at the bottom of my to-do list because I haven’t fully fleshed out the story in my head. When I worked, I carved out time every night and on weekends to write. Now, my attitude is one more reflective of “when the spirit captures me.” Looking back, that wasn’t too often in the first half of 2021.
Normally, I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, but this time, I’m going to make some half-year resolutions that I’m going to let you help me evaluate my success with at the end of 2021. Here they are:
1) I am going to plant my bottom in a chair and write something every day.
2) I am going to ignore, as much as possible, the distractions in my personal life (whether emotional or simply playing games on my phone) until I crank out some words [okay, I’m realistic enough to want to succeed, so I’m not giving myself a word goal].
3) I’m going to remember that I enjoy writing and being with other authors, so I’m going to take advantage of the opportunity to do both now that the world is becoming saner.
Will you join me in making some half year resolutions? What will they be?
I think it's a good idea to refocus whenever we find things out of balance. With a never-ending "to do" list, I find I need to remind myself to go out and enjoy unstructured play time -- canoe, kayak, birdwatch, wander the woods. Preferably outside.
Wonderful, Debra, and very timely. In years gone by, I've declared both March and September 1st as personal New Years and used both dates at a time of review and refocus. It's helped me appreciate what I have accomplished and what needs to change so the accomplishments continue. 2020/2021 was a time of personal upheaval. Tomorrow is my birthday. I'm hijacking (with your permission) your excellent goals and making them my own.
I do a re-set on July 1st for the next six months, including family obligations. And I write and edit for dark chocolate, which is the best incentive.
Funny how the actual writing can take a backseat. I'll be working on getting more of that into my life.
Jim- so true that it is hard to remember to do the relaxation things.... Kait - Happy birthday in advance. Dark chocolate (Margaret, I feel an urge to write and eat).... KM... me, too.
Keeping the joy of writing alive is a big one for me. I DO enjoy it. I love it. But sometimes I end up pouting because deadlines are cruel taskmasters that make me skip other fun stuff. Then I have to get myself back into the right frame of mind - like luring a toddler with a cookie. Mmmm, cookies.
Thanks, Debra! This post, this community is so helpful and bolstering.
I'm so with you, Debra, this is a good time to take stock. I'll be adopting your goals and getting my butt in the chair - and "writing for chocolate" to steal a page from Margaret's book too. I think you deserve a pat on the back also, for all you've accomplished, and have accomplished in the tornado of wedding planning.
Now, butt in chair, and where's that chocolate?
And this is why, Debra, you haven’t seen me around, even on WWK. Like Molly, book deadlines are a difficult reminder to close down everything but writing. It does take some of the joy away. After August first, I can breathe easier. Then set new plans. And breathe.
Molly... the joy is why we do it... but there are times.... Susan... very soon.. August will be here. Shari.. thanks for the pat.. I think we all need the chocolate.
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