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Month: January 2009

Something about getting off my ass, and a proper toast

Something about getting off my ass, and a proper toast

When last we heard from Christie, she was bemoaning the fact that she hadn't finished anything in 2008…

… so to get 2009 started right, she went and made some stuff.   You can see it here, and here.

It felt good.  Started and finished both projects on Saturday.  They're little, and they're not writing, but they are complete.  Got some other things done, too, like cleaning the office and making it a place I could actually do some work in again.  I have plans for it for later in the year, but for now at least I can sit in my chair and access my tablet.

Today I revisited, which I liked enough to actually subscribe to a while back.  Everything had been glowing red at me in there for months, and every morning I would delete the latest "You have a task overdue!" reminder email in my inbox.  Today I cleared out the things that I had abandoned, or — totally despite myself and almost accidentally — completed.  I changed the dates on the things that were left, and then took the plunge and added a couple of new goals.

I like the way Lifetick operates — it uses a Core Values system at the macro level, to help the user decide if this is something that they really need to be doing.  'What Core Value does this goal support?' is the question that it makes sure you've asked yourself.  If it doesn't fit in with your core values, then why are you spending your valuable time doing it?*  After Core Values, you establish Goals within those categories, and then define the Tasks that will lead to the completion of the Goal.  When you complete one, you get a gold star. 

I have five Core Values set up: Family, Relationship, Security, Making Stuff, and Fun.  Anything I do should be in service to one of those. Writing falls into the Making Stuff category.

Today I also added a little bit to a Christmas story I started a week ago.  You may notice a theme to the Stuff I'm Making right now — it's all just a little bit out of date. I've been off by a week or two since Thanksgiving, I think.  My boyfriend got his last present just last night. Merry Christmas!**

Incremental progress. 

I have a good feeling about this year.  I feel like last year was spent seeking equilibrium – pretty much right up to the last possible minute, at which time I unexpectedly found it.

So, I've done my reflecting, and my planning, and my goal setting. All that's left to do is ring in the New Year properly, and I'll finally have caught up with the calendar. Go find a glass of something pleasant.  I'll wait.

Ahem.  Glasses, up!

Full of laughter and tears,
disappointment and cheer,
the year has come to an end —
We'll take on another
and buoy each other,
family, lovers, and friends.

Happy New Year, everyone.

* This is a concept I was first introduced to in Smart Couples Finish Rich.  The idea in that system is: if it doesn't fit in with your Core Values, why are you spending money on it?

** No, I haven't changed my tune… we celebrated Solstice with the kids and had a nice time, but I do still celebrate Christmas with family and friends that consider it to be the central winter holiday. Hell, I even went to Mass this year.  I mean, it's winter: it's dark, it's cold, and who doesn't need some twinkling lights, festive gifts, songs nearly everyone knows, general good will and a reason to celebrate?  I'd celebrate Squidmas if it meant there was food and camaraderie. My boyfriend prefers the all-inclusive "Giftmas," which I may start using myself.

"Life does not get better by chance, but by change." – my daughter's fortune cookie tonight

"Life does not get better by chance, but by change." – my daughter's fortune cookie tonight

What a year.

I have not really done my whole year-end-reflection-and-looking-forward thing on schedule this year.  I've done it in fits and starts, a few minutes a day for the past week or so, and will probably continue for a little while yet..  As in all years there were highs and lows, false starts, upward trends, laughter and tears.  Looking over it, I'm satisfied with a lot of it, and I will do my best to repeat my successes, but the parts we learn from, of course, are our failures. This blog is about writing, and the nugget of 'opportunity for improvement' boils down to one simple thing:

I didn't finish anything. 

This isn't really shocking news.  I've always had a huge problem in that area.  I started a few things, and *almost* finished a couple of them.  I can call a couple of first drafts 'done,' but I do not get to count any of them as wins until they're ready for prime time.  I mean — an entire year, and from a creative point of view, nothing to show for it, nothing that I would be willing to share with you.

So I'd like to turn that around, and I believe that I am poised to do so.

I've posted before about how when there are real-life problems to solve I have a very hard time creating anything.  My barometer tends to be the state of my head for the first two hours of the day — I think of this state as Crapheadedness, and I often document in my journal the level of Crapheadedness I experienced that morning. Head, as I call it, rails on all manner of things during those first 120 minutes, before it finally tires itself out and applies itself to the task at hand.  (I realize that it is a teensy bit insane to refer to one's brain and consciousness as if it were an independent thing.) 

Some of the things are real, personal things, about my actual life.  Some of them are general things — politics, religion, something I read in the news, whatever the Outrage of the Day is going to be.  Imagine the darkest, most violent storm at sea you've ever read about or seen in a movie — that's the contents of Head from about five minutes after I wake up until the time I get to work. 

Until it's not.

Interestingly, at least to me, Crapheadedness does not seem to correlate to whether I'm going to have a good or bad day, only whether or not I will find it in me to make something.

It is always a good sign when the storm becomes about something abstract.  And then one day I wake up and the sea is calm.  On the drive in to work the clouds part, and instead of having shouty imaginary conversations with people, I make up a story.

That happened earlier this week, and it was so suprising, so refreshing, I want to do everything I can to have it keep happening.  That part is going to take a little more reflection, I think. 

So.  That's the assessment of 2008, the thing I most want to change: I didn't finish anything.  Tomorrow I'll get to the part where I do something about it.

Meanwhile I hope everyone had a fun, happy, restful, exhilarating, joyful holiday season.  Happy New Year, everybody!  A whole new year in which to Make Stuff.  What will you create?