The New Year’s Post

I’ve probably mentioned here before that I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions. They reek of deadlines and pressure and a life that is actually controllable(which implies one that I should be controlling!). They make me feel like this:

headinclamp

So, those resolutions, I usually avoid them. And I’m not making any this year.

Except…

Well, except that this year there is something I want to accomplish. It’s one of those goals that I keep coming back to, reminding myself about, and that I often manage for a while. This year, I’d like to manage it for longer than a while. I’m thinking of something like Debbi Michiko Florence’s Year of Writing (YOW) or Gail Gauthier’s Time Management Tuesdays. It’s not that I want to blog about this all year, but I would like to be able to make and stick to the commitment. The commitment of showing up.

Kelly R. Fineman got me thinking about all this (again) in her series on Writing Avoidance (start with the entry on December 21st). She talked about a lot of things that resonate with me–writing less when life is happily busy, writing less when you’re questioning the long-term success or value of the words you’re putting on paper, writing less when there are so many distractions that are easy to turn to and relatively easy to accomplish. I’m not sure if she mentioned this, but it’s a new one for me, so I’ll include it: writing less when you have multiple projects you could be sitting down with but feel split over them. In other words, there are days when the minutes I put into a project feel as though all they’re doing is pushing the completion of another project further down the timeline.

The other thing that’s going on for me, right now, that I need to do something about, is that–in going back to work–I’ve developed a different relationship with my computer(s). I know, silly, but true. In the pretty-much-just-writing days, I had a desktop and laptop, and the primary work I did on both of them was my writing. That was even more true of my laptop, because I kept all my bill-paying and other life-stuff on the desktop. These days, my laptop has become my work computer–it goes back and forth with me to the museums, all my work emails are on it, and it’s kind of an auto-pilot reaction for me to open it up and go right to the Museums folder of work. So, you say, why haven’t I reclaimed the Desktop as my writing machine? Yes, why? Is it because at the end of a working day, I don’t feel like turning on the computer again? Probably. Is it because I’m tending to clean up the rest of the house to my office desk, so it’s cluttered and disorganized and doesn’t feel like creative space? Yes.

But, bottom-line, whatever is making me avoid the writing is–go figure–adding up to less time writing. Wow, who knew I could be so good at something?

Does that make me happy? No. Do I want to do something about it, this year? Yes.

So, this is NOT a resolution, but hopefully it’s a commitment. In two parts.

Part 1. Show up for my writing. As much as life has changed in the past year, with going back to work, I do still have writing time. It’s there. It’s available. I want to start using it much, much more than I have. This will probably mean figuring out some way to deal with the computer/writing space issue, some way that I don’t leave till the last-minute. All that does is give me more obstacles when the writing time shows up–now I have to clean up my desk first. Now I have to put things in folders so I can grab the project. Now I have to get in the mood to go with the writing time. Meh. I’m honestly not sure what that fix will be, although–from writing things out here–I’m suspecting it has to do with switching computers for tasks. It may be time to take ALL the museum stuff OFF the desktop and reclaim it for its own gig.

Part 2. The blog. I have been gone. I miss it, and I miss reading & commenting on other people’s blogs. But mostly I miss the freedom of the writing that I get here. My blog started out being for me, with a little extra layer of “Nice!” when someone else out there likes & comments on what I’ve written. For some reason, over the past year or two, it’s turned more into a have to, more into a for-an-audience kind of thing. I have enough of that kind of writing in my life. I can’t do what Kelly’s shooting for–daily blogging, this I know. But the commitment I want to make is to at least once-a-week blogging. I’m saying it here, hoping it sticks: If I haven’t blogged by Friday, I will put up a Friday post. And while there are days when a Friday Five feels just right, I’m going to work very hard not to fall back on it every week. Will my posts be about writing? Will they be rambly? Will they be about these commitments? Don’t know. Can’t tell for sure. Just staying that, yes, they’ll be here.

So, yeah, sort of a couple of resolutions. Can we just not call them that, though? Cause, you know, this:

hourglass

What are you resolving or not-resolving this year? Whatever it is, I wish you all the best with it!

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13 thoughts on “The New Year’s Post

  1. Jenn Hubbard says:

    Here’s something to try if the desk is cluttered with non-writing stuff:

    Get a box. (You may have one left over from the holidays.)
    Take all the non-writing stuff off your desk and put it in the box. Stick the box in a closet or corner. Someday when the cleaning bug hits you, you can go through the box and organize it and whatever. And in the meantime, if you need to deal with anything urgent that was previously on your desk, you can dig it out of the box.

    And in the meantime, your desk will be clear without your having thrown away anything important or taken a lot of time dealing with the clutter.

    Happy New Year!

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    • beckylevine says:

      Oh, I have SO done the box thing before. Although I’m usually pretty good about taking it all directly to the recycling bin. (Which may be more a reflection of how long things have already sat on my desk than any superpower!)

      I think I realized, as I wrote this post, that it was the computer-confusion problem. So I cleared up the desktop so that it’s NOT work-related and made myself come in here today and work on the current Capstone project. It’s amazing how much those little brain pathways can get in our way or help us out. I already feel like this room is, once again, the writing place!

      Thanks, Jenn.

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    • beckylevine says:

      Normally, Beth, that would be totally right for me. This year, though, I feel like I wanted something stronger, so I’m going with commitments. And trying to remember that Showing Up needs to be active, not passive. šŸ™‚

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  2. Great post! I, too, as you know, don’t do “resolutions”. I like creating a theme – like my Year of Writing. This year’s theme is Sanctuary – which encompasses my new-found love for meditation/yoga and continuing to ensconce myself in my writing. One of the things I hope to do (thanks to Julie Helund) is do a retreat on my own – maybe just one or two nights. Not a writing retreat, necessary, but just spend time with myself, alone, with no expectations. Seems a little scary, but it’s something I want to do. šŸ™‚ I applaud your awareness and I’m cheering you on! šŸ™‚

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    • beckylevine says:

      Debbi–I love the theme. I’m so impressed with your getting into the meditation. I am so bad at it. I’ve started doing just a little morning journaling about the showing-up commitments for the day, and I’m trying to just take a few seconds to “look at” them and visualize myself staying in the moment with them. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten with the meditation. I can KIND of get there while I’m doing yoga. It’s a great goal–love the idea of the retreat. Scary yes, but I’m guessing it will be something pretty special in the end.

      Here’s to a very good, mindful new year.

      Like

      • Good for you – the thing about meditation that I’m learning is that you can’t judge it. I certainly spend much of my meditation bringing my mind back to the present while it wanders and thinks and plans. Some days I spend the entire time thinking “can I be done yet?” šŸ˜‰ But i DO notice a difference when I meditate regularly – it’s a practice. šŸ™‚ Here’s to mindfulness! Happy new year!

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  3. Joining your smart friends in a cheer. We all know how much you can do when you set your mind to something. And showing up for writing is important. I’m going with the theme thing because it came to me loud and clear. I’m writing today about speaking up. Good luck, Becky!

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  4. Carol bsldwin says:

    Thanks for sharing your struggles. I have a few similar ones. Weekly blog sounds good to me. Save your writing energy for those projects which beckon!

    Like

  5. I spent much of December journaling to figure out what I really want to do with my writing, not what I think I should do. My problem is that as a writing teacher, I sometimes am so busy making a living that I don’t have as much time to write as I’d like. So my goal is to commit to one hour a day of writing, no matter what. So far, it’s working great. I’ve gotten a tone accomplished. By the way, I’m going to borrow that box idea that Jenn mentioned.

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