As birthdays are a time for reflection, the New Year is a time for expectation and renewal. Although the passage of time leaves me breathless, it is in a state of jubilation and intrigue that I accept my fresh slate. I accept a slate that retains prior achievements but is noticeably void of the disappointments and rejections of the previous year.
I swipe at the cobwebs of my mind, re-position my mug rug, check my notes, and begin my quest anew. I don’t make resolutions, but I do ensure that I get off on the right foot. A new desk planner, a brand new to-do list, and a promise−not a resolution−to stay as o-r-g-a-n-i-z-e-d as I am focused.
I begin making notes in my new datebook in my best penmanship, being careful to use the same pen for each notation, ever knowing that by the month of March my writing will be nearly indecipherable, and by June I will write with anything I get my hands on, even if it’s a black marker.
I roam each virgin square and line of my new planner wondering which day will have the name of a prospective agent scrawled across it. Will I colour in the date that I mail my manuscript of short stories? Will I draw a starburst on the day my novel is accepted?
My pen hovers over the scheduled portion of the day, almost setting down on the page, but ultimately resisting the recommendation advocated by the professionals.
I envy the writers who can set a daily time limit on their writing. Oops, one o’clock; time to shut off the computer. No way. Immersed in a plot, I have no clue (no pun intended) what time it is. How can I quit? How can I be sure to pick up where I left off? When I am working on a story, I can’t just stop ...whenever...wherever.
I realize that balance is the key. If I want to do it all−and who doesn’t−then I have to have balance. I struggle with that.
When I am reading a book, how can I limit myself to three chapters? There are times I read a book practically non-stop from start to finish. If it is good. If it captures me from page one. Oh, how I love those books. I just finished Michael Connolly’s, The Lincoln Lawyer. It held my interest throughout.
Write for three hours, read for an hour, prepare lunch, shop for groceries, vacuum, prepare supper, knit for forty-five minutes, and socialize for one hour: emails, visits, phone calls, etc. No, I have a problem with that.
Sometimes I feel like writing; sometimes only reading. Is that really lack of discipline? Does anyone else follow his or her mood? Is that really so unproductive? There are times when chopping and dicing and a simmering stew are what I need to work out the details of a plot. Walking is excellent for getting the creative juices flowing, as well. Perhaps I feel like walking at 2:00 not 10:00, and maybe I prefer an hour’s walk rather than the scheduled twenty minutes.
Yes, balance and a general routine elude me. However, there is something magical about the beginning of a new year. Anything is possible. There is intrigue built into each new calendar. A whole year of time. It is broken up into little numbered blocks for me. Tiny time slots for me to use as I may. Pages soon to be filled with notations of life’s events.
Have a look at your 2012 calendar. Which days will you colour in with starbursts? How many dates will you circle in colours of the rainbow? Which life-altering moments will you record? Our calendars are actually journals. They are stories of our lives, one little numbered block at a time.
Happy New Year!!