New Year: Bring It

I have never been a big believer in New Year’s resolutions. This is partially because I don’t really care for New Year’s as a holiday in general. Take for instance my celebration of this New Year: home with Mike and the petses, a puzzle, Dances with Wolves (yes I cried at the end of the movie, especially when the wolf dies. I don’t see how that’s anyone’s business but my own), and a big supply of bubbly water. Unless something really good is going down, like a party involving dancing monkeys or famous writers, I don’t care to venture forth into the atmosphere of crazy thugs all liquored up to celebrate a numerical change in the calendar.

I do, however, appreciate the whole idea of starting afresh: reevaluating past goals, tinkering with what worked, what didn’t, what I did that was fulfilling and what was a constant source of hair-pulling stress. These aspects are vital to reconsider with some degree of regularity, especially since as an alcoholic, I am genetically programmed to periodically forget how to function as an efficient human being of moderate intelligence.

Last New Year’s, as per my norm, I set no resolutions. I did set goals for myself when I started this blog in August, though. Since I was going to be expending so much effort on this endeavor, I wanted to maximize the benefits from the experience to the utmost. I’m not one to take on hours and hours of extra work if there will be no reward, intrinsic or otherwise, which is why goals are important. Without goals I’d write whenever I felt motivated, which is code for “when nothing good is on TV.”

I am pleased to say that I met every single goal for my little blog this year, and in a few ways, I even exceeded my expectations. Dianne Sawyer isn’t banging down my door for an interview or anything, but hey, it’s in the works (if by “in the works” you mean that I fantasize about it happening no more that twice a week).

Seeing as I’ve met all the goals for my writing for this year and I’m still feeling like there is so much beyond that to accomplish, I’m kicking it up a notch. Without grad school and dreams of being a literature professor as motivation, this nine to five monotony with a little writing on the side doesn’t cut it, not even close. I need more.

More. 

More is a word that can get you in trouble if applied to life too frequently, if left to fester with unchecked abandon in the chambers of your soul, as my wise friend Rhea wrote in her New Year’s post. There is always a desire for more as humans, and the trick is to be satisfied in your inmost being when circumstances are beyond your control. But in the spirit of creative endeavor, more is exactly what I am craving; no, what I need. I am capable of so much more as far as my writing goes, and something deep inside me needs to find out just how far I can go.

Right about now you’re probably noticing that I need to be challenged. I thrive on competition, particularly if it is a competition with myself, who is, after all, my greatest inhibitor (or nemesis, depending on how how neurotic I’m feeling). This is classic overachiever, by the way, an affliction of my personality that drives me to cast aside the voice that always tells me I am not good enough, I am not smart enough, I am not enough…

Balls to that. I am capable, and I damn well know it.

So I have decided to set not resolutions, but goals. Yes this may just be semantics, but New Year’s resolutions seem flimsy and made to be broken in my mind’s refusal of the standard cultural lexicon. I like to be difficult. Much like a stubborn toddler…

Goals for 2013:

  • Finish writing a novel
  • Submit my work to outside publications
  • Practice my frail beginning French until I complete the equivalent of one semester of study

No, I just don’t set goals without a plan of attack, or a reason for each one; like a good little overachiever, I have a step-by-step plan. For instance, I will write at least five hundred words a day in service to the novel, a manageable number that won’t overwhelm me to nervous-breakdown standards. I will also feel free to adjust this number if it isn’t working for me, because I must manage my mental and emotional health responsibly. A nervous breakdown serves nobody, I’ve found.

Also, so far I’ve only written for myself up until now, hoping my writing serves others in the process. I am capable of writing serious work as well as silly little pieces expressing my love of cats and unicorns; how else would I have written an entire thesis for school? Although I have to admit, during the revision process my professor told me on more than one occasion to remove some of the humor – humor has no place in academia, apparently. How many people are told to omit jokes from their thesis, I ask you?

As to my last bullet point, I can hear the peanut gallery squinting skeptically and asking me, “Why French? What a waste of time.” Well, I’ve wanted to become fluent in that language my whole life. It is a language that makes me happy, both to speak it and to listen to it. I need more in my life that makes me happy, because shopping is an expensive and tiresome hobby I can ill not at all afford. If you’ve read Eat, Pray, Love, you will understand my irrational desire to learn this beautiful language that is almost never heard in Southern California, land of Spanglish and poorly constructed grammar. But not everything needs a practical application. Some things in life you do just for you.

And you never know, one day I may get my flat in Paris…

So, there you have it. I am both excited and nervous for 2013. It is always a little scary when you put yourself out there, naked to criticism and scorn. I’m hoping my nudity pays off this year.

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Comments

New Year: Bring It — 12 Comments

  1. I was told to omit jokes from my history thesis as well. Luckily, I realized that my “research” didn’t do anything to advance the professor’s own research, so he probably wouldn’t read much past page five. Exactly. Not a single mark on pages 6-24. Jokes abounded about Hitler throughout (my thesis was on Nazi propaganda). So I got the last laugh (maybe not…hours of writing and research weren’t even looked at).

    Good goals. I did that last year. It was very affirming to finish the novel. Publishing, however, is a difficult task. At least you have a good size platform before you go out and solicit it, though.

    • This is marvelous! I thought I was the only one chastised for my biting sarcasm! Also, I would love to read your thesis. I almost minored in history, but decided to go the easy route and instead did Art History so I could graduate within one semester (I saved my minor for last – long story involving impacted classes and frustration).
      Yea, publishing the novel will be an entirely different beast, I know. I’ve decided to take it one step at a time and at least finish something. You can’t succeed if you don’t even try, right?

  2. Yay!!! Get that novel done, girl! I can’t wait to read a Natalie book in the future.

    I also don’t do the resolutions thing, but I told myself that I would actually stick to my Spanish Rosetta Stone for more than 2 weeks this year. Actually, I didn’t give myself any guidelines except that I was going to give it an honest shot this time around. Knowing that you’ll be learning a language too will keep me motivated.

      • I’m totally going to take you up on that offer. Conversation scares the hell outta me, but it’s what I need the most practice in. (well, I guess that’s what everyone needs the most practice in when speaking a new language, but you catch my drift.)

  3. Yes! I’ve made not a single resolution for the new year, either. Goals are the way to go, something I’ve NEVER been good at, but there’s time yet. I can’t wait to read the novel when it’s ready to hand out for feedback :) I think my favorite goal of yours listed above is improving your French. Just because. You have to do some things just for you.

    My goals this year? Better health, better writing, more writing, and the push for publication. I just have to find the balance between too many lists and plans, and actually DOING things to get closer to reaching those goals.

    • Yea, that’s why I set goals now – my dreams would just sit on the shelf collecting dust. If I set a goal, however, then I had to be actively doing something to make it happen. That’s why I set so few, so I don’t get overwhelmed and then drop all of them. Which I have totally done in the past, and why I hadn’t done any recreational writing during the many years I was in school.
      Also, WAY TO GO as far as your goals – you’re an inspiration to me! I wish you best of luck in the publishing jungle!!

  4. Great goals! I don’t make resolutions either,and my new years eve was spent working on a cross stitch with a cat or 2 in my lap. It was perfect.
    When you reach a point on your novel where you want /need someone to beta-read it, remember me! I’m serious, and I have references. I love to read and helping you tweek your work would be a pleasure. Just a thought ….

  5. Pingback: Happiness, Thou Elusive Beast - The Cat Lady Sings

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