A Fresh Page

Every writer both loves and loathes it; the blank page, the blinking cursor, that grand anticipation and terrible dread the moment before you start a brand new project. It’s how I think of the new year. A fresh page. A new project. A chance to leave behind anything that held me back. An opportunity to tackle a new challenge.

I can’t believe how fast 2015 passed. I must say that every year, but the passing of 2015 has left my head spinning. Part of me is still back in February, wishing for the warmth and flowers that come with spring. Once again, I feel I’ve travelled far and, yet, still have much ground to cover on my journey.

Last Year’s Goal; How did I do?
Last year, I decided to keep track of three positive things that happened to me every day. The hope was to develop positive thinking patterns and to promote positivity in my life. It went well… for about a month.

My failure to follow through on last year’s goal is entirely my fault. I’d love to claim that life circumstances got in the way or that I was too busy to spend time journaling, but those are just excuses. My priorities shifted and I allowed this goal to fall by the wayside. I found I didn’t think to jot down my positive things at the end of every day. I would remember on Saturday and struggle to find the highlights among my whirlwind week. I found myself writing the same few things over and over. It wasn’t how I wanted things to go.

But while I didn’t fulfill the letter of my goal, I didn’t abandon it either. I have taken steps to promote positivity in my life. I have found ways to reduce stress, which makes every task more difficult than it needs to be. I have tried to promote mindfulness and positive inner voice. I paired these things with Yoga for much of the year, seizing time for myself to exercise and care for the needs of my body which has, in turn, made it easier to recognize when I neglect myself. I have learned to treat each new day as a fresh start, shedding whatever negativity I may have experienced the day before. These may all be baby steps, but they still feel like accomplishments.

One of the main reasons I was unable to complete last year’s New Year’s goal was that I lacked a good way to document my daily positive experiences (another excuse, I know). Around July, I took steps to address the disorganization adding further stress to my life. I created a day planner. I use it to keep track of my project goals, and my progress toward completing them. I started tracking the time spent on my daily activities so I could work smarter, instead of harder. When my husband pointed out that 14 hour work days five days a week were unhealthy, I wisely took his advice to scale back and return leisure time to my day.

Goals for 2016
This year’s goals don’t have a grand name. I’m not sure how to measure them on a daily basis. For the most part, I would like to continue the paths I started walking over the past two years. I would like to try to be the best me that I can be.

In 2016, I want to exercise more. I want to resume my yoga (which has sadly fallen by the wayside the past few months). I want to tie it to weekly or monthly mantras that will help me think positively, improve my organization and creativity, and lower my stress. I will be using the book Living Your Yoga by Judith Hanson Lasater to help me accomplish this goal. And I will seek out the yoga routines I feel suit these purposes best (my old routines were starting to wear thin, which was one reason I stopped using them). I will devote the time to making myself a priority so that my health and happiness doesn’t fall by the wayside.

Using my day planner, I will try to make note of the truly stellar moments in my life. I will use one of the methods I discovered on Pinterest; I will write all the amazing things that happen to me and put them in a jar. At the end of the year I will see how many things I accomplished, how many fun things I did, and how many memorable moments I made note of.

I want to give spirituality a prominent place in my life again.

And, as always, I will strive to be a better writer each day. 2016 will see the end of the Mystic Island Trilogy. It will also see the beginning of a brand new series of shorts (stay tuned for news about that ;). It may even see queries for Dreamers Do Lie, if I’m able to put my ‘work smarter, not harder’ tactics to proper use. I hope to focus on eliminating filters from my work, going deeper into my character’s voices, and making my descriptions pop off the page.

It may be hard to measure these goals, but I intend to give them my all. What are your goals for 2016?

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