It’s funny how as we grow older certain things go from being cute, to lame, and then come back around to being valuable. I generally think that there’s no need to wait on New Year’s to make a resolution to improve and be a better you, but I’m not so cynical as to discount people seizing the opportunity to grow and learn, whatever their prompt might be.
I’ve got a few resolutions for myself, and before I dive into them, I want to offer this bit of personal advice: you’ll go further with any resolution you make if you 1. tell friends to keep you accountable (or write them into a public blog post), 2. find a motivation for it deeper than “because it’s New Year, new me!” Because you want to is all you need as an entry fee to any good thing you want to try, but dedication to the truly challenging generally is maintained by something deeper: belief in a principle behind the thing, joy in the thing, self-satisfaction absent of external validation, etc.
That being said, here’s my resolutions post, and true to my recommendation above, I’ll be giving a bit of my formula behind these resolutions:
1. Read More
I noticed that I’ve been lapsing in dedicated long form reading. I do plenty of news reading on my phone throughout the day, and while I have a fixed reading time right before bed, these days I’m so tired when I get into bed that I can’t get more than five or ten pages in before I start knocking out. Used to be I’d devour 60-100 before turning in nightly.
Why is this first on the list aside from “reading is good?” Because more than anything, reading keeps my mind’s creative juices flowing, keeps me sharp, and helps me grow as a writer more than any other pastime. Writing matters to me (obviously), so reading does also.
At my old job lunchtime was gym time. Since that isn’t an option at this office, I’ll replace it with a different kind of exercise and upkeep and take a break to isolate with a book for a while instead. Speaking of the gym-
2. Reset My Exercise Routine
I mentioned above I used to exercise every workday at lunch. Since starting my new job in April, and then moving in July, my workouts have never found a fixed time in my routine, and as a result I’ve slowly slid from five workouts per week, down to one or two (if even that).
I already got started on this one: I reset my workout schedule to nighttime right before my dog’s last walk of the night, which makes it perfect for a pre-bedtime shower and then sleeping peacefully. Aside from physical fitness being important, exercise keeps my sleep schedule more regular, keeps my energy levels more consistent, and all that in turn leads to greater productivity. Even if the things you care about are sedentary/nerdy (like writing), good health definitely plays a part.
3. Stay Diverse
Back in high school I was a jack of all trades- I sang in choir and glee club, acted, wrote, and participated in a bunch of volunteer groups- by college I’d whittled that all down to writing for the school paper. I talked about how good taking acting classes has been for me. Having a diversity of pastimes is great for my mind and spirit alike.
I’m keeping up acting with Improv 101 classes at the UCB. It’s more intense than the Shakespeare classes, very much like an actual college course: there is minimum attendance requirement, I have to attend shows, and I’ll be graded at the end to determine if I can advance to 202, 303, 404, and eventual advanced study classes.
As with everything else, it helps my writing. However, this one is unique because I genuinely love it in and of itself. I love the feeling of getting up in front of an audience and nailing a scene- in the case of improv, I love getting up and being quick enough on my feet to establish a character, evolve a scene, and entertain.
Some friends of mine who had taken classes at UCB warned me that it’s intense. Especially at the higher levels, given the school’s prestige, it’s very competitive and filled with people trying to “make it” and “be seen.” I resolved to those friends and resolve here: no offense to anyone trying to start their career because that’s not what I’m out for, but like Rocky wanting to go 13 rounds with Apollo, I want to prove to myself I can go that distance and get up to and through an advanced class.
Even if I don’t make it, I want to at least know I gave it my all and benefitted from the exposure and mental exercise of having to think so quickly in a way we aren’t typically challenged to in our day to day.
4. At Least One More Novel
I’ve got the start of another novel in progress already that stalled because of just how busy I’ve been leading up to and since my birthday starting this month alongside all the holiday get togethers.
I’ve shared some samples of Production Notes, but I’m feeling the tug to go back and rewrite The Book of Resurrection from the ground up- I’m finally feeling ready for it. That, and I have a second fantasy series I’ve wanted to write since I was in college. More than a decade sitting on this one and I’m finally feeling the pull of it as being imperative rather than merely tempting.
I’m not sure which of these three to prioritize, maybe I’ll pick two and try my hand at managing concurrent projects. Either way, there’s more to come folks. Do I have to say it? It’s my blog and I’ll say it: