Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year

I love the last few days of a year. On these days you can be sure to find me clearing out my work-space, stuffing stuff in bags for the charity bin, pulling out couches and sucking up the dust beavers (much bigger and toothier than dust bunnies). You’ll also find me thinking and reflecting and writing on the first pages of a new journal I’ve spent time choosing, making resolutions and setting goalsor rather, making my New Year’s List.

There’s something about putting things in writing. We are writers, most of us here, and as writers we are well aware of what it is to pour ourselves into our writing. There’s something very scary, very revealing of our inner selves, and utterly intoxicating about expressing ourselves through words, through characters we’ve created, and putting it down on paper instead of just daydreaming. It’s a real commitment.

I think it’s the same kind of thing with a New Year’s List. That’s how it feels for me, anyway. I get very excited about it. I’ve been doing it since I was eight when I first heard of New Year’s resolutions. I have rituals. It’s something I hold sacred. And funnily enough, many people don’t understand when I tell them about it or they chuckle about it. They think I’m cute (or possibly crazy. Or maybe both).

But, that’s ok. That’s water off a duck’s back. Other people’s amusement has never worried me one bit, because I know that people who write lists and commit things to paper where they can clearly see them tend (more often than those who don’t) to get things done. And I like to get things done. (That’s why the first thing I do each morning is make a list of that day’s stuff-to-do. There’s something very comforting in breaking life’s daily complexity into small manageable chunks, not to mention fully satisfying as they get ticked off).

It’s a very powerful act—making written goals and sticking them somewhere you can see them, somewhere they can nag at you, or, perhaps more powerfully, where others can see them and nag at you. A New Year’s List is like a good, supportive crit group: it can keep you focused, keep you accountable, and keep you real. (It can’t hug you hard when you’re down or sincerely revel in your joy like a good crit group, though. So if you don’t have a good crit group, perhaps that should be first thing on your List.)

Anyway, here goes. My writing/creating goals this coming year, 2012:

  • Finish a solid first draft of my middle grade novel.
  • Continue to draw and once again explore my visual art, like, you know, really often.
  • Be a consistently supportive crit group member in a consistent and supportive way.
  • Be a good editor. Be a good teacher. Continue to care. Work Hard.
  • Just keeping doing my thing. Keep having a good time on paper, not really contemplating the future, letting the fluff and stuff pass me by, just focusing on my ultimate goal.

Now I’m accountable, see? And that fires me up! It’s an exciting year beginning, brand new and full of promise. Can’t you feel it?

Thank you for reading Wordy Birdie and a very Happy New Year to you and yours!


  1. Your post really resonated with me. Thanks for making me feel it is ok to like to spend my time clearing the decks (and desks), setting goals and scribbling on paper. You've nudged me toward setting some goals of my own for 2012.

  2. Always wonderful to put your goals down on paper and place it in a visible place so you can refer to it often and check in on yourself. And it's always great to read your well written blog and have my feelings as a writer affirmed. Have a happy, healthy, and productive/successful writing year ahead!

  3. Thanks for the reminder, Marlo! I always forget to gather my goals before the start of the new year. Luckily, we have you to light the fire under our pants!

    Here's my post:

    And I hope you have an Awesome Aussie start to the New Year! :D

  4. As always Marlo you continue to inspire me. You are one of those writers that make me truly love writing. Thanks for your encouraging words and if you'll excuse me, I need to go write a list of resolutions. Happy New Year!