Photo: It’s the dawn of a new year, ya’ll. 🙂 Happy New Year, dear wonderful readers! I’m calling 2014 my Year to be Brave.
I am not a “resolutions” person–mostly because I’ve never met a person who has made a resolution and kept it to February, let alone the entire year. I am a task-list person, however, and I just love the satisfaction of stacking up the stuff to do and knocking them down one by one.
There are a lot of reasons to feel hopeless this morning: There is a major snow storm coming to Massachusetts, so there won’t be any workers in my home until Saturday. My sons are straight-up sick and I have the sniffles…. there is a list, and I could go on and on. But I can’t really feel bad for myself. Because as many challenges as there are in this first part of 2014, I know that I have a full year ahead of me full of fantastic potential.
So here is my 14-point task-list for my Year to be Brave, which I’m going to use and check-in on throughout the year. I hope that you’ll share some of your yearly tasks with me… let’s be fantastic together this year!
1. Submit 5 short-stories to various publishers/contests throughout the year. 2014 is going to be there year where I am going to push myself, as much as possible, to take risks that expose me to failure and/or embarrassment and/or rejection. I am learning that I’m going to get way more rejections that acceptances when it comes to writing, but I cannot be rewarded with any acceptances if I don’t choose to submit. So I am already targeting two submissions for February–though I am struggling to write these two short stories right now because life is so crazy. But I’m going to do it: Two well done and polished short-stories this month. My first submission of the year will be February 14th!
2. Press the “publish” button on my first novel: Long-time readers know about my “worthy challenge” already. I have written my “Draft Zero” of the novel that I plan on self-publishing on my 30th birthday, September 27th! This is utterly terrifying, and every time I see my little count-down calendar, I freak out just a little. But I’m excited to have a crazy-big goal this year. I’m looking forward to start editing and re-writing on February 1st.
3. Research and Write another novel-length project this year: It’s true what they say–when you make writing a daily habit, the ideas just come. My Moleskine is peppered with all sorts of ideas!
4. I’m going to actually tweet and re-tweet?: I have a twitter account… two, actually. And I use them to follow, but I very rarely tweet. I’m very blessed to have a few followers who are kind enough to re-tweet my posts and generally give me support. I’m going to be a better netizen this year and return the favor. Look out, Twitter! I’m comin’!
5. I’m going to move from a .com site to a .org site: In other words, I’m going to try to host my own website this year. I’d like to do this to have more autonomy over how this blog looks and feels, and I’d also like to create an author site for when I publish my book (and maybe some short stories). This isn’t going to happen right away–maybe in the Spring or over the summer… or maybe even the Fall… but I’d really like to make that move this year.
On to more stuff in the “real world”…
6. I’m going to be a better friend and neighbor: I’ve been really horrible about keeping dates, taking up invitations, following up on phone calls/texts… I’ve been really absent. And I’ve been reminded of this by people who I genuinely love and respect, who have sought my time with little result. I also have a problem with keeping walls way up, like with the moms at preschool. I’m going to commit myself to inviting people over more often, opening up my mind and heart to new relationships, and trying to renew some of the relationships that I have neglected. This probably means that I’ll put less effort into relationships that I think aren’t fruitful–but then again, that might be my problem to begin with… I can’t say that this will be successful. I may very well be in the same space this time next year. But I want to give it a try, for my sanity.
7. I’m going to put more effort into joining a faith community: We keep saying that we’ll do it, but we haven’t. We’ve bought the house, we have no excuse. It’s time to find a place to congregate and worship. Notice that I didn’t say “We will join a faith community” because we’re picky. But I want to spend more time actively trying. That means going to a place more than once, looking for the good over the quirks. I know that this will my make husband happy, and I’d really like to make sure that my boys learn the lessons of Christianity in their youth so that way that can start thinking about these lessons reflectively and intellectually as adults.
8. I’m going to continue to explore MetroWest and love where I live: Because I really, really love my new neighborhood. I am really excited about exploring the parks and local places to play. I would really like to find a favorite coffee shop and bar, maybe, and exploring the local libraries. I’m also looking forward to going to townhall meetings and voting old-school New England style. I’m just excited about being part of a very cool community and becoming an active participant.
And a little self improvement…
9. I’m going to renew my commitment to auditing EdX courses: I absolutely love learning and I could listen to lectures all day… and I do, thanks to EdX. I really dropped off with all of the classes I was auditing in the Fall, but I’m delighted to know that all of the lectures are archived and I’m able to go back and watch them! And the new courses that are coming up this year are going to be awesome! If you are interested in taking awesome free online classes, you should check out EdX right now!
10. I’m going to read at least 25 books: I used to read somewhere in the ballpark of 50 books a year. That was before children. I’d like to get back to that. I’d like to read some of the classics I never got to (Dickens) and some of the contemporaries that I hear a lot about. And no more Young Adult books for a while. They are fun and easy and quick… but I am ready to read big-girl books again. You can see my GoodReads list on this page!
11. I’m going to continue to expand my cooking repertoire: My husband brought me the Brennan’s Cookbook from New Orleans after his visit in November. It is the ultimate in Creole cooking and the recipes, techniques and ingredients are out of this world. I cannot wait to play with it. I’d also like to change up my menus–including trying go to “meatless monday” for at least one month and maybe Fishy Friday during Lent. I’d also like to learn how to frost and decorate cakes.
12. I’m going to start a garden: My front yard is a beautiful blank canvas and I’m so excited to fill it with raised beds full of vegetables and herbs. And yes, I’ll be posting pictures of that entire process.
13. I’m going to learn to knit: I know how to embroider, but not knit. I can’t read a pattern. It drives me crazy. Many have tried but have failed to teach me how to do it, but this is the year. I keep seeing incredible patterns that I’d like to do. My goal? To make these pretty curtains for our office. As a matter of fact, I really hope to do a lot o the furnishing of our new home with DIY project kind of stuff.
14. I’m going to make one quilt: In the same vein, I’d like to make one quilt for my new little farm house. I have a sewing machine and I’d like to use it!
This is such a crazy list. It’s like “is that all? Really? Why are you so crazy?” I know… but listen, you have to seize every day, and every year. Be brave an make an impact.
What is on your task list this year? I want to know what all of you are doing to make the world an awesome place!