Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year Blahs or Rahs?

By Becky Clark


Many of my friends have been admitting to some end-of-the-year blues, which is something I don’t really understand. I happen to adore this week between Christmas and New Years, but I am an admitted — and unrepentant — Pollyanna.

Pol·ly·an·na (pä-lē-ˈa-nə) noun a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything

What can I say? I’m perky!

I love that blank calendar, so hopeful and filled with sparkling possibility. I sit down when it’s quiet and glance back through the year, remembering good times and perhaps bad ones, now with the mottled patina that only comes with time and distance.

Then I take a blank piece of paper and start writing down the things I’d like to see on next year’s calendar. Most of them relate in some way to my writing and publishing work, but there are also trips to plan, people to see, parties to host.

I humbly suggest that if you find yourself singing the blues this week instead of a joyful noise, try this little exercise.

Take a peek at your calendar. Where’d you go this year? Who’d you see? Meet anyone new and fascinating? What inspired you? What did you learn? What did you write? What did you sell? What did you promote? What were your challenges? What were your successes?

Now, grab a blank piece of paper and look forward to the coming year. Where do you want to go? Who do you want to see? What opportunities do you want to pounce on? What will you learn? What will you write? What will you sell? What will you promote? How will you grow?

Now make a plan. Take your pristine calendar and add the things you know you want to do. Use a pencil because this is a working document. Do you want to go to the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in April? Then block out that time. If you have to save up your pennies then make a plan for that, too.

How many words will you write? How many books will you read? How often will you get together with your friends? How many times will you go skiing/dancing/to the theatre/out to eat/ice skating/to the beach? What will you learn next year? What will you teach? Who will inspire you? Who will you inspire?

Make a plan. Write it on your calendar.

A plan without action is simply wishful thinking. Make a plan.

If a year is too overwhelming, focus on the first quarter of the year. Or a month. But focus. And plan to revisit your calendar before the second quarter or the next month. Dream big. Wish. Plan. Revise as necessary. Add your Big Plan to your weekly to-do list.

Revel in your successes and learn from your mistakes.

Here’s hoping your successes are infinite and your challenges surmountable. I won’t wish you smooth sailing with no challenges because mistakes and challenges help you grow into the person you’re destined to become. Besides, no problems would be boring!

Okay, if that’s too perky and irrepressibly optimistic for you, then I will allow some staring into the abyss. But only for a minute.

Hey … I think I see cookies down there!

(This piece was originally posted at Becky's blog I'm Just Sayin' on December 29.)

About the Author: Becky Clark is a functioning chocoholic and long-time member of PPW. You'll find her at conferences with a Guinness in her hand.  She writes low-calorie cookbooks and novels, and blogs at I'm Just Sayin'.

2 comments:

  1. I've made a plan and yep, I'll revise it a lot as the year progresses. Of course, one has to start somewhere. I think I see cookies too!

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  2. It's important to be flexible enough to be able to change your plan as the year goes along. Things change!

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