A Change in Attitude

If you’ve been around here for a while, you know I don’t make new year’s resolutions. To me, they are an invitation to failure. Do you ever keep yours? Do you know anyone who does?

I mean, a couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post about it and stated five resolution-like “ideas” that I wanted to accomplish that year.

I did one of them. ONE. I still haven’t read “Middlemarch”. It goes on my TBR list every summer, and every summer goes by without even getting the book out of the library. I should buy it, but that would just compound the problem of all the books in the house… which, you should know, is still a major problem. I bought a new bookshelf last fall but still haven’t assembled it.

So, yeah, I’m not good at resolutions. Or even “ideas”. Or “plans”.

But here I go, trying again.

This year, I’m going with “aspirations”. Maybe that will work.

 Aspiration Number 1:  Write a little bit, every day

OK, we’re ten days into the new year and I’m not doing so well with this one. I haven’t written much aside from when I’m with my writing group. But I am thinking about writing every day, which is a huge improvement from last year, and I know that when I sit down with the MS again (later today, I SWEAR IT), I’ll know exactly where to begin and what to do. That’s half the battle right there.

Part of my problem with this second book has been a sense of impending doom. I feel like I’ve literally never written a book before (yeah, you have, several times) and I have no idea what to do (yes, you do). So I put it off and put it off for so long that when I finally do sit down and write, the task feels monumental. Where the hell was I? What was I even trying to accomplish? I’ll have to re-read for hours just to know what was going on, and it’s first draft drivel, and who wants to read that… so maybe I’ll just see what’s happening on Twitter instead. 

By writing a little every day, or at least planning and thinking every day while I get my classes ready for next week (back to work!), I hope to avoid that sense of looming failure and maintain a sense of, Oh! Hey! This is that thing I like to do!

Aspiration Number 2:  Get off social media

I love my family. I love my friends. I love the witty, clever, kitten-and-puppy filled world of social media.

But I don’t love the anxiety. I don’t love the stress, the hate, the anger and negativity I confront there moment by moment.

I don’t want to argue with people. I don’t even want to agree with them about horrible things anymore. It’s bad enough I feel an obligation as a citizen and an educator to keep current with what’s going on in the world; I don’t want to keep rehashing it in a virtual reality that is supposed to be connecting me to my creative side.

Plus, social media is the easiest excuse NOT to do what you’re supposed to be doing they’ve ever invented. You can have good reasons for being there. I’m connected with my loved ones. It’s the only way I’ll see these people. I’m keeping up to date on what’s happening. I’m finding articles for my students. I’m learning things.

All of these are true.

It is also true that social media can make you sad. Frustrated. Angry. Depressed.

And it is also true that you are showing off on social media, constructing a self that doesn’t really exist for the purpose of entertaining others and getting positive feedback from them. Oh, isn’t she clever? Oh, isn’t she funny?

It is actually addictive.

It took me a couple of days to drag myself away and stop posting. To stop checking every ten or fifteen minutes. “What’s everyone doing? What are they saying? What am I missing?”

But it’s fine now. I’m a bit relieved, actually.

So that’s what I’m doing to get a fresh start on the year. What non-resolution plans have you made?




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3 Responses to A Change in Attitude

  1. I am pretty good at keeping my writing goals. New Year’s resolutions are to grandiose for me.That said, the first of the year is a good time to assess and recommit to your goals. You may want to read my latest blog post “Write Every Day,” or “Baby Steps.” Both talk about setting achievable goals that can be measured. The problem with New Year’s Resolutions is they are to general. “I will write every day.” When do you achieve this goal? At your death? A grim prospect. It is better to set small achievable goals that fit your life style. Here is an example, “I will write 1,000 words every other day for 3 weeks.” At the end of three weeks you get the endorphin rush from reaching a goal. This is a reward based system. What’s more doable; 3 weeks or infinity?

    I really like your writing and look forward to reading more.

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