Happy New Year…in February

Little tree

Getting settled into a new year is always harder than I’d like. My plans to resume my old workout schedule, viciously clean-up my diet, and to write more words are a little bit like a race car with a dead battery. Lots of potential, but no spark to get the wheels rolling. January is like a recovery month for me. After the hub bub of the holidays, with its mess and energy output, I’m like a bear in January—hibernating and hoping not to be poked too much.

But…I’ve committed to writing every day with a Facebook group called the 365K club. They’re a subgroup of 10-Minute Novelists (a wonderfully supportive and helpful group of folks if you’re looking for a network). But as each member has jetted out of the gates, recording their obnoxiously high daily word counts on our daily spreadsheets, I’ve anchored their ship to the dock and kept them safely in the harbor. But here I am, writing my first blog post of 20156. True to form, I’m still clinging a bit to the old, having to remind myself of the new. New year, new goals, new habits.

I am (perhaps naively) attracted to the charm of New Year’s resolution. The chance for a fresh start, a clean slate on which to do it better this time beckons to me in the frosty, chilled air of January. This has been my thing, the desire to reinvent myself, since high school. Who can resist the siren song of another semester, the promise of another First Day?

The urge to be better seems to be in my DNA. I am, if nothing else, growth-oriented. Without progress, even the smallest measure of new learning, I feel stagnant. This year, my fourth as a writer, brings new goals, renewed efforts, and (hopefully) leaping steps toward my goal of publication. When I’m in the throes of a book, I write furiously. Thousands of words a day pour out of my head and onto the page. But between projects, I’m as productive as an unwatered garden in the dog days of August. I’m fried; the seedlings of new stories burn and wither on the vine of my creativity before taking root.

This is something I need to improve if I want to write faster and to produce more stories as a writer. And so…my goal is to write one-thousand words a day, most days of the week, for a year. Most of these words will be dedicated to book-length works, but a chunk of them will be devoted to a more regular blogging habit. February seems like the perfect time to start writing daily in 2016. Right?

When I think about what’s helped me successfully meet my goals in years past, I credit like-minded friends. They are my fertilizer. They feed my creativity and work ethic in a way that nothing else does. Surrounding myself with other growth-oriented, reflective self-improvers pushes me to close the gap between where I am and where I want to be. It makes sense that, if you want to eat better, hanging out with healthy eaters will inspire you. If you want to exercise more, spending time with people who live an active lifestyle will keep your slothiness (I’m channeling Shakespeare here as I invent new words) in check. If you want to write books, connect with others who are working towards the same goal. Where’s your tribe? I’d love to hear where it is you find the people who motivate you.

What’s happening in your life that’s wonderful? What are the things you’re committed to improving this year? Who will you surround yourself with in order to exceed your wildest expectations?

As usual, tweet, comment, or send a smoke-signal. Let me know what you’re planning for 2016.


4 thoughts on “Happy New Year…in February

  1. I committed myself to working on my manuscript at least six days a week. I was doing great, but some recent promotional activities have slowed me down. It’s frustrating to break our momentum. But even a half hour is better than nothing, so I try to at least get that in. Here’s hoping we both meet our goal!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here, hear! Once I’m in the groove, you’re right; things flow. Now that I’m out of my habit, it’s so much harder to get started. Here’s my commitment for today: review my plot decide what I can do to move it forward and write 2k. I’m doing it! Ok, I’m going. Really…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gretchen,
    You are beyond inspirational! I keep thinking back to our coffee date and all your bits of wisdom. With February almost gone (WTF?), I have several goals for 2016, but first I must let go of relentless fear that is keeping me back. I am intensely reflective and have noted that I have been putting off a novel I know I must write for projects that seem easier and quicker. I also don’t want to be a “wanna be” writer that is constantly lamenting how they are working a novel. (Obviously I need to work on that negative voice in my head too). However, the high I received when hitting the submit button for the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge was the best since my first year teaching. I’m in the right place. I’m ready to learn. I’m ready to do the work.

    Thank you for your role in my writing (and teaching) journey.


  3. Aiyiyi! Here you leave me a stunningly wonderful, kind comment and I don’t even respond. You should fire me as your inspiration today. Have you read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic? It’s got some lovely, fear-busting tips. I’m thrilled to be able to take this writing journey together. Little did we know when we met so many years ago how our friendship would grow! Thank you for taking time to read and let me know that you appreciate the post 😉


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