I used to think anyone who made New Year’s resolutions or goals they actually kept deserved a medal. But now I’m not so sure. Now I think anyone can do it—the problem for most of us is we sail into the new year with unrealistic expectations of ourselves and when we fail to start achieving we become disillusioned and give up all together. And it’s all because we place the focus on outcomes (eg I’m going to finish a novel) rather than aiming to change our behaviours gradually and meaningfully so we create good habits. That’s why we need to set realistic actionable goals in the first place. So here are some of mine for 2016.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder—but I’m not sure if that sentiment extends to bloggers. In fact I know it doesn’t because for the last few weeks I haven’t been posting anything and I’ve been watching the traffic to my website drop to alarmingly low levels. The truth of the matter is, I don’t think any absence from writing is a good thing.
One long weekend I discovered how true that old saying about busy people getting things done is. I packed my car with snacks, leaving the city for a little cottage in the middle of nowhere for a writing retreat. When I arrived I set up my laptop ready to work on my novel. But with nothing to do but write I managed to do everything else I could think of.
It wasn’t long ago that I was adrift in the world, working hard but feeling like I wasn’t really getting anywhere. I spent my time dreaming of a different life – but dreams aren’t reality unless you make them so.
I go to a lot of writer’s talks. Mostly because they inspire me and secretly because I’m hoping talent is contagious. At these talks I’ve noticed the thing that has me sliding to the edge of my seat is when the writer opens up about exactly how they became a writer. Had they known since birth? Did they write their first novel, aged 6 on butcher’s paper in red crayon? Were they struck by lightning and taken over by an unexplainable neurosis which caused them to put pen to paper?