While considering my New Year’s Resolutions for 2015, it occurred to me to go back and review last year’s resolutions. Here they are, word-for-word, with a graphic to illustrate which goals I accomplished:
- Finish Haiku Book in January 🙂
- Finish Mo’s Shadow and publish in February 😦
- Work at least one hour a day on sequel, from 10:00-11:00 a.m. 😦
- At least one new painting a week – Wednesdays 😦
- Workout at least 45 minutes 3-4 times a week. 😦
- Order rowing machine 🙂
- Find resources for freelance and submit 2-3 a month. 😦
- Publicize art website more, update 🙂
- Get programs ready for OWFI and AWC 🙂
That’s a 44% success rate, which, if I were taking a test, I’d have failed.
The second thing that occurred to me as I contemplate this year’s resolutions, is that unfortunately, the “copy and paste” function is all too useful a tool. In other words, I was so unsuccessful in completing my 2014 resolutions that I could simply copy and paste last year’s resolutions to this year. And it wouldn’t be the first year this is the case.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t feel too badly about it, because though I didn’t accomplish most of the goals listed above, it was still a good year. I accomplished a few things that weren’t even on the list–like buying and moving into a new house.
I’ve learned a couple of things in setting goals:
- Be flexible
- Focus on one or two major goals, understanding that “life gets in the way,” and that’s a good thing.
So, this year, my one MAJOR goal is to finish the sequel to The Red Kimono, currently titled Broken Dreams. (The original title to The Red Kimono was Broken Dolls.)
It’s been long enough since I’ve been dedicated to the sequel in any serious way–ridiculously long enough. I’m afraid I’m at the point where I’ve risked losing the interest of those who liked The Red Kimono enough to look forward to its sequel.
As I’ve considered my unsuccessful attempt in the last year to significantly add to the 89 pages of my work-in-progress, I realize that one hugely important piece has been missing. I’ve always said I probably would never have finished writing The Red Kimono had it not been for being a part of the Northwest Arkansas Writers. There are many reasons for this:
- Feeling part of a team where most of the members had the same goal–to finish writing a book.
- The support and knowledge I gained from other members.
More and more, I believe it’s the lack of accountability that’s affecting my productivity on the sequel. With the Northwest Arkansas Writers, I knew I had to get five pages a week done, otherwise I’d miss my weekly opportunity to have my work critiqued.
I know, I know. They say a “true writer” writes because passion will not allow otherwise. I admit to sometimes wondering if this means I’m not a “true writer.”
But I am.
Once I get started, I love everything about writing–the story that comes out of nowhere, my characters who tell me their secrets, starting with draft on a “blank canvas” then adding colors as I go.
It’s the getting started that seems to be where I need accountability.
So, there will be no “copy and paste” for me this year. Sure, I’ll still try to accomplish some of my year-after-year-after year goals. But, there will only be one goal that I’ll plaster all over my office, and that will be to FINISH THE SEQUEL TO THE RED KIMONO.
Here’s my plan to create some accountability:
- My goal is to write at least five new pages a week.
- To be accountable, by Saturday each week, I’ll post the first and last sentence of the five pages I’ve completed.
- I’ll also keep a meter like this one on the right side of my blog (it’s there now!) to show my ongoing progress.
- And here’s where I need you. If I fail to meet my goal of five pages, barring some disaster or emergency that arises, please, please, please, scold me, remind me, chastise me, publicly flog me, whatever you see fit to keep me writing. (Yes, I say this tongue-in-cheek, but I’d sure appreciate your help.)