Re-reading my 2018 journal entry, I see that I wrote: “I am content.”
In 2019, I did a lot of stuff, traveled a few places, wrote a whole lot, read 37 books, spent too much time on Netflix, and laughed a lot.
I hope to do more of the same in 2020.
Another entry that I read in my reflection is this, a part of a poem by Esther Cohen, Writer, and Poet in New York City. I loved the intent then, and now. I say ‘YES’ to this:
I’ll try instead to hear more music,
to open my arms wider,
to read more
of other people’s beautiful sentences
and write a few myself.
For 2020, Ms. Cohen wrote a few verses of what she won’t do, which made me laugh because I’m like-minded. Here’s an excerpt:
I will not sign up for a Tai Chi class
even though more or less everyone
says it’s a Good Idea. Tried a few times.
I will not stop eating
gluten, sugar, and everything else white.
So, ‘NO’, I will not go on Keto, or take Pilates, or keep up with Facebook or Instagram, or be unkind, or burn myself out, or burn someone else out.
‘YES,’ I will read, I will write most days, I will take a chance, visit abroad, hike a little more, binge Outlander Season 4 and whatever else I love on Netflix/Hulu, and I will partake of dark chocolate and red wine.
I like the simplicity of saying ‘YES’ to ideas/actions and ‘NO’ to others, especially without guilt or anger.
Now go fill a few lines in a notepad with “I’m saying YES to:” and “I’m saying NO to:”
Here’s to the YES’s and to the NO’s. May you be filled with light, love, and laughter!
Please excuse my wording, but I have too much crap in my writing area.
My bulletin board is cluttered with post-its, cards, and pins all askew. To make things worse, someone figured my room needed a few empty Amazon boxes, along with the cat’s scratching treehouse, and I haven’t filed bills in six months.
Given that the new year is approaching, and today’s the last Saturday of the year, my thoughts turned to clear out the old to make room for the new. A form of self-care, if your will.
I’m not a clean freak, but even I know when too much stuff is too much. I’d snap a photo of the clutter, but I’m embarrassed.
My daughter gave me a cool “Computer Memo Board.” These are two pieces of acrylic that stick to the left and right side of your laptop or desktop. They are meant as organizational tools. I think this was a hint.
Okay, I’m bypassing the shame so I can show you the memo boards:
This is the second photo because I had to hang a yellow piece of paper up in the right top corner, so the boards are visible.
According to a study, having “multiple visual stimuli present within the range of one’s view will result in those stimuli competing for neural representation.”
In layman’s terms, the more clutter you can see, the more quickly you’ll find yourself distracted. If I’m distracted with the sticky-notes, bills, and pins, that’s what I’ll see instead of a blank screen ready for new opportunities.
Now, I’m itching to clean and declutter but need to finish this first.
I Googled how to begin decluttering, and I promise I will follow my own advice (after I finish this post).
1. Clear out the top of your desk
Get rid of anything broken or unnecessary. Start with the pens/markers that no longer have ink. Move on to computer accessories: cords that used to go to who-knows-what equipment, flash drives, unused or outdated external hard drives. Eliminate duplicate office products—you only need one stapler and one tape dispenser.
2. Sort the books on your desk by their importance
Keep books on your desk, which you refer to more than once a week: a thesaurus, inspirational, or book on craft.
3. Declutter the Bulletin Board.
What defines your writing space. (Any guesses about mine?) Choose what you want to display and get rid of anything more distracting than helpful.
4. Improve your storage system
Place your most used items within reach for easy access. Less important tools can be placed in a drawer. If you did #1 above, the task is much easier.
5. Create a wide-open desktop.
This will be difficult for me. I need to be bold and get rid of stuff I can do without. Do I need so many pens out? Can I file half of the bills? Do I need to have two vitamin bottles behind my laptop?
6. Focus on clearing the space and set a timer to do it quickly.
When you’re satisfied that what’s on your desktop is only what you really need at hand when you’re working, remove all of the necessary items and dust your desk and laptop. Use a compressed air can to de-crumb your keyboard, unless you have a silicone cover like mine (which is way old). In that case, shake it out and wash the thing.
Right now, I think I can handle twenty minutes of clearing and cleaning. The desk won’t look like this one, but progress, right?
By clearing and minimizing your writing space, you free up your mind to think more clearly and be more creative.
That alone is worth sorting through some files and tossing out some clutter, don’t you think?
If you have any tips or tricks, share them in the comments!
If we haven’t published anywhere, we fear to call ourselves a writer. Many times we fear judgment about what we write, so we stall, procrastinate and write on the surface. We fear we don’t have an MFA and don’t know enough about the writing craft.
When our short story, poem, or novel is finished, we fear to send out our work to a beta reader because we might hear something about our writing that we don’t want to hear.
One of the biggest fears? Our fear of rejection. We spend so much time perfecting a query and sending it to a lit agent only to never hear from them again, or we get a form rejection, which may be our 25th.
Fear stagnates. We stop flowing, we find ourselves trapped, or producing dull work.
Last week, I came across two helpful blog posts. (One I’d never read before). Both helped me reassess any fears I had about my writing. It is no mistake these posts found me.
I’ve spent a little time reading inspiring blog posts this morning and found a few that supported my view of New Year resolutions.
Most of these have to do with writing but I’m sure the advice works in different areas of one’s life.
First, the post from author K.L Krane who writes “New Resolution for 2019: No Resolutions.” She details her exhausting reading and writing goals for 2018 (which left me way tired) and compares this to a new perspective. Check out her blog post.
This drawing from the talented Debbie Ridpath Ohi illustrates what many of us writers do to ourselves. The wisdom given by historical fantasy novelist Juliet Marillier is well said.
In 2018, author K. E. Garland began a new way to create resolutions. She resolved to remember five concepts.
After formulating what she intended to focus on she typed out the ideas on paper and stuck them to her mirror where she’d recite them daily.
Wow, simple, doable, and placed in an area she knew she’d be every morning and evening. I like her idea and am planning to adopt her method and post on my mirror and on my laptop.
Myself? I’m a fan of focus words and intentions. More about that process here.
Whatever you resolve, intend, or conceptualize for yourself this year, believe in your process and I hope you have many happy adventures.