I like writing unless I have a formal project to work on and then I procrastinate it. I do a lot of head-writing but don’t put it on paper. Fear of failure? Needing an adrenaline surge to produce? Right now, I have hanging over my head, an article that I need to write from an interview of one of my all-time favorite people.
I think this piece will get a reasonably large readership. Everyone knows her and everyone loves her. She’s more fun than a box of puppies.
I like having an audience. I do write to know what I think, but I also write to be read. Of course, I have some pieces that will never see an editor’s pen, but others I want out there for anyone to read at will.
Perhaps I am a narcissist.
My intentions for this coming year, and every year really, is to write more and to write for more readers.
And here I am right off the bat procrastinating the one project that would fulfill both.
Procrastinating has always been my nemesis. I have looked at the problem from every angle possible, upside down, inside out, back to front. I don’t know why I do it. And it’s not just my writing it’s everything. I accomplish most of my life’s tasks in an adrenaline typhoon at the last minute.
I’m often told that breaking tasks down into concrete to-dos with individual deadlines is the answer. Now one would think I could do that and stick to it. I worked for newspapers for years. Deadlines were sacred. Nothing and I mean nothing merited missing a deadline. When Reagan was shot, the newspaper I worked at held an emergency meeting to discuss stopping the presses to re-do the front page. They did. But it was a contentious decision. One simply got one’s work done before deadline. No excuses.
I lived by deadlines for years. In fact, when I got into the real world, the lack of deadline drove me crazy. At the newspaper, I started each day with a clean desk and no to-dos. I had to wait for a phone to ring for my first task. I didn’t realize it, but I thought everyone cleared their desk before leaving for the day. The idea of a to-do pile that carried over from one day to another, one week to another, one month to another never even crossed my mind. If something can be pending for months, does it really even need to be done? One wonders. Or at least this one does.
But I have adapted to this world of arbitrary deadlines, deadlines as mere suggestions, and no deadlines at all. They mean little to me now. Simply a guidepost on my calendar. Oh yeah, the Sheila interview, I need to start on that.
I know that I’m happier when I write. I know what I think, and I like seeing my words add up on my blog. I don’t post everything, but I do post that which I think has some worth to myself or others. The readership of my blog is practically nil but since I started it as an online journal that I didn’t think anyone at all would read, I am thankful for the followers that I have. I just wish they’d comment more. I love feedback.
So, all of this to say that my intentions for 2023 are the same as always
- Write more.
- Post more.
- Publish more.
- Don’t procrastinate.
But any efficiency expert or life coach will tell you those are too vague and too open-ended to garner success. I need to quantify them. So, let’s try this.
- Write at least 30 minutes every day. Every day.
- Post at least 3 blog posts per week.
- Publish one piece in a quality publication with a large readership.
- Work on procrastination with my therapist.
Is that better? It seems so clinical. And where are my intentions for literary citizenship?
- Continue facilitating this group on a daily basis.
- Conduct 4 workshops in the coming year.
- Develop and intensify the bonds of my critique groups.
And then the elephant in the room. Elephants. What about my memoir and my novel?
My memoir scares me these days. Peeking around corners of my childhood has held some revelations that have rocked my world and not in a good way. (More therapist time, I don’t know where the money is coming from.) The novel, however, is kind of moving forward though I haven’t written anything of substance in it since June. But I have worked out some kinks and plot holes and have some idea of where it’s going. I need to get back to both. I am committed to these projects. They are important to my personal development.
- Write one chapter a week in the memoir or the novel.
Sundays would be a good day for novel/memoir writing. I’ve been playing around with the idea of making Sunday a writing/laundry/putter day after brunch. I need to ritualize the wonder of Sundays. It has long been my favorite day of the week.
Eight. Seems like I should have 10 to round things out, but I don’t know why.
- Clean and organize and decorate the study so that it is a delightful space to write in.
- Keep up with the abbreviated morning pages.
Oh yeah, abbreviated morning pages in the agenda I just bought the refill for and that I missed January first already due to the interpersonal shit storm of yesterday. When I was religiously doing a 3-page brain dump every morning, I was more productive than I’d ever been before or since. Why in the world did I quit.
So that’s it. My 10 intentions for 2023. I will print them out and revisit them next year. We’ll see how I do.