"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?

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