Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Resolute, 2013 Edition

Every year, I post last year's New Year's resolutions with a short analysis of how well I think I succeeded at them, and then I post this year's. So, here are last year's (in greater detail here):

1. Buy less. I call this a success. I still bought lots of stuff, but I bought a LOT fewer DVDs and books (books especially). Mostly I went to the library and used Netflix and Amazon Instant rather than buying, buying, buying, and I stuck to my budget a hell of a lot better. The gnawing feeling in my gut for more stuff has lessened a lot, particularly when I go into stores. My debt is lower and my student loans are getting paid faster, although they're also adding up faster due to CSUN.

2. Be reticent. Utter fail. It's possible that keeping myself to myself is not who I am. Particularly not in classes.

3. Learn to apologize less. Success. I no longer really care if you think me liking the shit I like is stupid. I liked Silver Linings Playbook, do you hear me? I liked it, and I'm glad I bought the DVD, and I think I'll watch it today.

4. Keep reading. Big success. I did all the things under this number over and over this year. Most times I considered oatmealing out on the computer in front of stupid junk, I thought don't get dead, and I read or watched something new instead. (Most times, not all times.)

5. When writing, live in beginner's mind. I think success. Every new story feels like a new experience, now. But the way that I look at writing a story has changed entirely, so I'm not sure if it's beginner's mind or just...different.

6. In friendship, roll with the punches better. Good success here. Not so much with family, but with friendship, better.

7. Finish KUFC and write another book. Success on the former, fail on the latter. But I did write a slew of stories. Seven or eight, I think. Not enough for a book in terms of word count, but it's okay. I did not dally.

And, for 2014, here are my goals/intentions/whatever:

1. Remember how good accomplishment feels. Highly effective people don't procrastinate, but as far as I can tell, everyone else does, and as you likely know, it's a rotten way to live. For a period of a few weeks, usually, I'm able to keep up with my life, and I always feel better (and sort of smug) when I do. Slips start happening, though, and before I know it there are no clean dishes or clothes and we're eating out of the freezer and I have no idea where that smell is coming from. (Allie Brosh told this story far better than me.) But when I manage it - when a story gets written in a week instead of a month, when we eat home-cooked six nights out of seven, when I meet my work quota every day for two weeks in a row - I like myself a lot better, and I need to keep that feeling more prominently in mind than the feeling of "but I LIKE eating goat cheese out of the wrapper on the couch in front of MST3K."

2. Watch less MST3K. Because really, it's not normal.

3. Fucking revise Highbinder already. I need to rewrite the climax completely and rework some other small things that the new climax will hang upon. It's probably not even a week of work, but I'm a little stumped about what actually to do in place of what's already there, and I (irrationally, terribly) don't want to break up the as-is manuscript to fuck with it. It will be SO much more effective after the changes, but I do not want to make them. Of course if I have a whole year to accomplish this, I'll do it, right? (I've been putting it off for six months.)

4. Go on at least one adventure. Whether it's driving somewhere cool in the West, or camping at Joshua Tree, or going to Sequoia National Park to hike on Endor in the forest, or something. Not a luxury adventure, either, like going to Vegas. A real one.

5. Adjust expectations about writing projects. In 2013 I learned that trying to execute big ideas can end in heartbreak. Yet I also learned that little ideas can yield very satisfying results. Critically, I learned that I will always have my notebook: as long as I write down whatever I want to write about, I can go back to it months or years or decades later and it will still be there for me to write or rewrite. I still have a few big ideas that I haven't tried yet, or that I haven't executed to my satisfaction. Maybe I'll try writing them in 2014, and maybe I'll learn that they're not ready, that I should try again in 2019. I need to realize that it's okay for them not to be ready, or for me to try and fail at big ideas. The notebook will be there every year. I'm getting closer to accepting this, but I'm not there yet.

6. Balance more toward writing than submitting. The latter is, ironically, not how you build a career.

7. Get better at setting boundaries. I flunked the boundary test a few times this year and I want to do better at it.

8. Re: school, slow and steady wins the race. I tend to rush through lots of things, and I don't want to do that with the CSUN experience. My first semester was fun, and I want school to stay fun, instead of pressuring myself to hurry up and get the degree.

I have a little sign taped over my desk that says "Do your best," and I try to actually see it every day (rather than seeing it as part of the common noise of my desk). That's the general resolution for my whole life, and it applies to the normal New Year's things like exercise and work and so on. Not just do those things, but do my best, not my half-assedest, at them.

What do you want to do your best at?


Maleesha said...

Happy New Year. I LOVED Silver Linings Playbook.

twinklysparkles said...

Happy New Year, Katharine!

Chad said...

I like the hell out of both lists.

I haven't seen "Silver Linings" but from what I've heard, I'm expecting to like it myself! :)

Happy New Year, Katharine, my friend!