It’s New Year Resolutions Time!

Happy New Year to all of you, my dear readers.

I ended last year doing big, scary things.  I started writing a book!  Okay, I finished writing one book and started writing another.  I say that is a big and scary thing because I’ve dreamed of becoming an author since I was a kid.  Books are magical for me, and the idea of creating my own worlds and sharing them with others has a dreamlike appeal.  Still, I haven’t written creatively since college, so starting up again seemed daunting.  And nothing is more frightening than chasing a dream you’ve held close to your heart.  I had to be willing to open myself up and become vulnerable and answer that most frightening of questions: What if I fail?

This November, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and I discovered through the course of that that while failure is certainly a possibility, even, dare I say, an eventuality, the greater risk is never trying at all.

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. –J. K. Rowling

While the fiction I’m producing right now might not be great and certainly isn’t ready to be sent out anywhere, I’m practicing.  I’m chasing the moths out of my creaky, dusty brain.  I’m learning.  I’m creating.  I’m starting somewhere, and even though that first step can sometimes be the hardest, it is often the most important.

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2015 will continue to be a year of doing big, scary things.  I see it as a year of creativity, growth, and fun.  No, I’m not going to make any big resolutions to lose weight, get fit, or go to the gym.  But I have promised myself to try new things.  No big goals.  Just tiny, achievable things.

In addition to writing every, single day, and, as Natalie Goldberg suggests in Writing Down the Bones, filling a cheap spiral notebook every month, I want to read more, more, more.  I’ve subscribed to a number of fiction magazines.  I’d like to work on honing my short fiction skills over the next few years, and the best way to do that is to read, read, read and (of course) write.

If that doesn’t seem like enough reading, I’ve also decided that I would like to read some of those classics that I really ought to have read in college.  Heck, even with a degree in English, I managed to avoid many works that people consider classics today.  I will read one of these books each month.  That’s not too hard, is it?  Here is the list of those books in no particular order:

  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep – Phillip K. Dick
  • Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
  • Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
  • Cosmos – Carl Sagan
  • East of Eden – John Steinbeck
  • The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  • I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
  • The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
  • The Name of the Rose – Umberto Ecco
  • The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  • In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
  • The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger

I plan to start with Catch-22.  I’ve already got it downloaded to my Kindle in fact, thanks to my local library’s amazing e-book lending abilities.  You can keep up with my progress over on goodreads.  Look for the goodreads widget over on the left-hand side of this page to keep track of my progress, and of course, I am sure I will include some of my thoughts here.

As a third and final project for the year, since three is a good, round number, I’ve decided to start sewing again.  I have always loved the ideas of costuming and cosplay.  And with my NaNoWriMo novel, which was a pseudo-steampunk piece, I found myself growing interested in Victorian clothing.  So, my plan, over the long term, is to build a Victorian dress from the skin out.  I’m going to go a piece at a time, starting with the chemise and drawers to refresh my sewing skills before moving on to the more daunting task of constructing a corset.  Once I have my underpinnings complete, I can move on and decide what kind of dress I want to create, whether that’s a true historical dress or more of a fun, fantasy, steampunk mishmash.  Tons of flexibility, no pressure, and I can quit any time, she said trying to keep her voice convincing.

So you can expect to see pictures of a very frustrated me, bent over a sewing machine, biting back curses.  But hey!  At least I won’t have to deal with zippers or button holes.  And if you’re lucky I may even post a few pictures of my in my underwear!  Which isn’t nearly as scandalous as it sounds since Victorian underwear covers you from shoulder to knee, but it sure was fun to write that!

So that’s my tri-fold plan for the new year.  Of course, I will continue all of the things that made 2014 great: gardening, cooking, and having an awesome time with my family.  But I’m excited about the new projects, and I’m looking forward to allowing myself to indulge in my creativity.

What are your plans for 2015?  Are you trying anything new this year?

 

 

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Resolutions for 2014

The solstice has passed.  The last day of December has gone to bed.  The days are getting longer.  It’s all uphill from here.  Things are full of promise and hope at the start of the new year.

What do I hope for in the new year?  Well, lots of things, I suppose, which is why I’m going to make a resolution or two.

Nonviolent Communication

A post or two back, I mentioned Nonviolent Communication.  I haven’t started the book or the workbook, but they have it set up into a self-study. You read a chapter each week, month, or two weeks, and then work through that segment of the workbook.  I am planning to start that the first week of January, and I may be joined by a friend for a small group study.  I’m still deciding on timing, but I think either a chapter per month or every other week will work for my schedule.  A chapter each week is too ambitious for me, I think.  A chapter each month will give me time to get the reading done, practice, work in the workbook, and, of course, blog about it.

Which brings me to my next resolutions…

Blogging

I really kind of abandoned this blog for a while last year.  And through it all, my core readers stuck around.  For that, I am so grateful.  And I’m sorry.  Because there were so many blog-worthy things that I did.  I learned to bake bread, made kombucha, made sauerkraut (which was amazing by the way), moved across the country, learned all about square foot gardening, built three raised bed gardens, learned to be a stay at home mom, sucked at housework, and about a million other things.  This year, I will be better.  This year, I will share these things with you all.  You can expect to hear about the following this year:

  • the whole Nonviolent Communication thing
  • more bread baking (can’t wait to share with you the awesome technique I learned last year!)
  • Square Foot Gardening
  • Garden planning, including companion planting, which I’ve never done before
  • Cooking, even though I take really terrible food pictures
  • The kids
  • Fermentation
  • And goodness knows what else

So, I will definitely try to be better.  Writing helps heal my soul, so it’s important that I keep it up and keep my mind limber.

And for something more tangible:

Garden

Yes, the garden.  It’s ready to go for spring. I need to decide what to plant and when and how and where.  I’ve got big ideas and plenty of space and I know that you will be hearing more about it soon.  It will include veggies, culinary herbs, healing herbs, and some more surprising items that we don’t usually see here in the midwest, but that I miss so desperately from California.  I will also include space for my kids to run, play, pick and eat what they want, and be outside enjoying nature and learning where our food comes from.

Really, these don’t seem like big resolutions.  I’m not promising to join a gym or lose weight or run a marathon or organize my life or anything like that.  But I do hope that, like last year’s resolutions, these small steps will lead to big changes for the new year for all of us.

Do you have any resolutions this year that you would like to share?

Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!