Friday, January 26, 2018

One Month In... How We Doin'?

We sit 6 days away from February. This is about the time resolutions fade away into a not-so-distant memory that plagues us the rest of the year and resurfaces around New Year's Eve to spur another January of effort and February of "forget about it".

They key with evolution, as I mentioned last week, is to take small, incremental steps toward an end goal. It reminds me of that old saying "failing to plan is planning to fail". I can't count how many times I heard that and rolled my eyes. I hated that stupid thing with a passion! Now, I see the wisdom in it. I still roll my eyes of course, but at least I take the implied advice.

This year I am doing something completely different. You ready? I got myself a planner. I know! Me? A pantser, planning? What?! But I did. And it's kind of awesome. Most planners I'll admit are really boring. They have the year, months, weeks, and days all broken out into slices of time that you somehow have to fit all your creativity and craziness into so it looks orderly and manageable. The people who make those planners have no idea what the life of a creative type is like. My schedule is anything and everything but consistent. Oh, you want me to eat breakfast everyday at the exact same time? Ha! You're hilarious. Oh, I'm supposed to magically turn off my imagination and fall asleep at the same time each night? I couldn't even type that without laughing.

The best solution I have found is one of the odd ball planners. I don't do product endorsements and am keenly aware that what works for one person will not work for everyone, so I'm not telling you which one I chose. I will say, however, that it breaks everyday down into goals and to-do lists. Yes, there is a timeline you can fill in, but that is a mere quarter of the daily page. The main focus is on your goals and how you are going to achieve them. At the front of the planner you list out your goals and make a plan to take the first steps toward accomplishing them. Then you carry that into every week and every day. This approach lets my creativity flourish under a little bit of control so I can get things done AND stay the wild, crazy, writer that I am.

It is true that if you have a goal, you need a plan. What's your goal? What is the first step in your plan? Have you taken it yet?

Friday, January 19, 2018

I Resolve To Evolve

Evolution is the natural process by which organisms change in tiny, unseen, gradual steps that lead to significant alterations spurring the necessity to reclassify or create a new species profile for the evolved organism. The primary point of this definition of evolution is the fact that these steps are minuscule and happen over millions of years. Nothing wakes up one morning and is completely different than they were the night before.

Bearing this in mind, my resolution for this year is to begin the process of evolving into a productive, organized, and prosperous businesswoman with regards to my novels. I think they're good, others think they're good, but all that goodness doesn't help if I never market, or sit in the chair and type the words, or take the time needed to conduct the business of being in business. That's setting me up for disaster, and failure, and a Dodgeball* style audit that I have no hope of surviving.

So, I got myself a planner that is forcing me to record my goals, the steps necessary to achieve them, and holds me accountable for my progress. And I have to say, it's pretty cool, and absolutely fucking terrifying. I'm getting organized. My week now has specific times to focus on specific tasks that step ever closer to my higher evolved self.

I am being realistic in this endeavor. I know I will stumble. There will be days when I go completely off track. There will be attempts that far embarrassingly short of the mark. Evolution is like that, just look at the mosquito. (Really, nature? I mean, seriously? A flying, biting insect that spreads disease and itchy bumps and serves no other purpose whatsoever? You're a jerk!) It may be an ugly process full of set backs and false starts. It may hurt and crush my self-esteem at times, but I can stick it out, I am strong enough to survive, and this fuzzy little worm will become a butterfly.

What are your views on resolutions? Do you make them only at the new year? Or, throughout the year?

*Dodgeball is an awesome movie that is just the perfect amount of inappropriate and random. I own nothing but an unrated version of the DVD. No copyright infringement is intended. But, if you busted out your magnifying glass to read this far, get a bigger screen, then watch the movie. Beer helps.