Tuesday, January 03, 2012

I hereby resolve...

This is the time of year for resolutions. I am one who is certainly not immune to the lure of doing this, and I suspect that almost everyone is, as well. As a new year approaches we all take stock of where we are, who we are and where we’d like to be in a year’s time. I believe it’s a good thing to do, too. There is always room for improvement, isn’t there?

So as my wife and I drove down to the Niagara Region of Ontario this past Saturday, that was what was on my mind. I was also contemplating the resolutions of 2011 on which I’d completely failed. You see, I actually do keep a list of my resolutions, removing the excuse that I’d forgotten some of them over the course of the year.

Sadly, there were once again failures. There always are, always will be, I suspect. I hadn’t gotten my weight to budge, even a tiny bit, in a downward trend (that’s a creative use of italics back there, folks). I didn’t spend at least two hours a day writing, either. I did manage to reorganize our kitchen (I do most of the cooking in our house) and keep the dirty dishes to a twenty-four hour limit the majority of the time. And I learned how to properly sharpen our knives.

I also accomplished something else that is potentially very important to the running of my life and whose tendrils could possibly permeate everything I do over the course of this year. Last January first I decided that every morning when I wake up, I will decide to do something small – and make sure when I go to bed that evening that I have accomplished my task. It may be something like cleaning the aquariums or trimming the hedge, filing invoices and receipts, writing a letter. The only stipulation of my choice is that it’s very doable regardless of how busy I get that day.

This precludes writing from that list. The only reason I don’t write two hours every day is that my day job as a graphic designer gets in the way. Since I own a one-man shop, everything devolves onto its only employee: me. Too often in 2011 Castlefield Media had too much on the go. If I didn’t slave into the evening, the day’s efforts left me too exhausted creatively to do any sort of useful work on my writing projects. It’s great to be so busy with work that brings in your daily bread, but it’s also exceptionally discouraging when you get to the end of yet another day where you haven’t exercised those writing muscles.

So what are my resolutions for 2012? Well, I AM going to lose some weight (come back next year at this time to see how I did on that one), I am going to repaint our bedroom and replace all the trim. Our pots and pans will all be hanging from a ceiling-mounted rack, freeing up space where they’re stored now for the small appliances that litter our counters. Those are the big jobs.

For small things, I’m going to continue my daily walks – another success from two years ago, sadly neglected too often in 2011. I’m going to practice every day on some instrument or other for at least a half-hour, and I’m going to continue with my one small daily task.

The really important resolution is to spend two hours a day writing, even if I’m tired, even if I write a week’s worth of drivel, even if I don’t come up with anything useful at all – and not be discouraged by my results. That’s the path to complete stasis and something I really suffered from in 2011: discouragement at my writing progress.

With a new novel coming out next fall (and being toastmaster of Bloody Words 2012), I have a lot to look forward to and the pressure is on to finish the novel’s sequel. I don’t want to wait another four years for a something to be published.

Like all resolutions, it ultimately comes down to how strong our resolve is.


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Melodie Campbell said...

As usual, the humour trips easily across the page when you write, Rick - and I am smiling! I'll share your resolution to write every day...and ignore the self-criticism. As to the weight...hope flourishes.

Rick Blechta said...

Mel, we may try and we may fail. But if we never try then we will always fail.


hannah Dennison said...

After five weeks of enforced rest (pins come out on jan 11 - hurrah) i had a lot of time to reflect on my new year resolutions. I have changed them to new year "intentions" and my daily mantra is "progress not perfection." I do write everyday though - even if its just for 15 minutes - and i am intending to walk everyday too ... even if its just a mile.

Rick Blechta said...

I believe it’s all about small, do-able steps. When I take on something big and begin to fail to do it, I stop. All my small intentions from last year were the ones on which I carried through.

Glad to hear you’re on the mend, my dear!

Donis Casey said...

I never make resolutions, other than to just keep plugging and do the best I can with whatever situation presents itself. I do have a list of aspirations that usually involves finishing some writing project and keeping up with the exercise. Keep walking, guys!