Sketching This Year’s Outline

Buddhism 150I hopped into 2013 with a really ambitious goal to write 25 short stories by Dec. 31st, and that didn’t happen. I suspected it wouldn’t when I made the goal, but I thought it would be a good thing to aim high and see what happened. Unfortunately, a great deal more happened than I thought, and while I did make really good strides with my writing, I really only managed to write five short stories. Most of those you won’t ever see unless you know where to look.

Even though I didn’t make my goal, I still count last year as a qualified success. I wasn’t as focused as I should have been when I could have been, but I still did a lot of things that anchored me. I feel like I have a fairly solid foundation to build on for this year, so I’ll be setting goals that really stretch me out. At the same time, I’m quite aware of potential pitfalls and where I’m likely to run out of steam. I want to make allowances for that as well, because nothing makes a bout of depression feel worse than knowing that being unable to do things is making you fall short of where you wanted to be.

I’m walking into 2014 with a better knowledge of myself. I suffer from depression, and while I have a coping strategy in place it’s quite possible I’ll need to lay my work down and go somewhere to curl up for a while. I’m just not going to be 100% all the time. I’m not that kind of rabbit. Knowing that, what I can do is make sure I’m more efficient with my productive time, and that I make sure to give myself breaks here and there. In order to get stronger, it’s true that you need to push your muscles. But you also have to give them time to recuperate.

So, these are my goals. I’d like to have something on the Writing Desk three times a week if at all possible, along with at least three pieces on [adjective][species] a month. That’s around fifteen posts a month, or one every other day. I think I can manage that writing pace. I’d also like to make sure that I write at least 12 short stories this year, with four of them submitted for publication to a magazine, e-zine, journal or anthology. Between the blogs, the short stories and my Pathfinder game, I’ll have plenty to work on.

But that’s not all. I fell ill during the early part of the year and spent much of that time unaware of what exactly was going on. When I discovered what was causing the infection, it was easy enough to take care of, but there were a lot of bad days and a trip to the emergency room and facing down the inevitability of my body running down on me. Last year showed me that I’m really not going to live forever, and that the time has come to really buckle down and treat myself well. I want to be here for a long time, and I want to be sharp-minded enough to enjoy being here for as long as I’m around.

Right now, I’ve been flirting around the 200 pound mark for about a month. My sweet tooth is legendary, and my lack of willpower is similarly well-documented. It’s time to face up to the fact that I can’t really regulate myself when it comes to sweets, and as painful a prospect it is I might have to just give them up for good. I’ll need to make a number of other dietary changes as well, and exercise will need to step up. But by this time next year, I’d love to be in a different place health-wise, better than I am now. This will mean keeping up with my asthma medication and anti-depressants, going in to see the doctor about a few more concerns, trying to eat better and exercise more. I’d love to weigh 25 pounds less than I do now at the end of the year with a significantly smaller gut, but I’ll settle for a more disciplined, thoughtful approach to food and physical activity.

Finally, I’d like to just be nicer, more respectful, more engaged with people. I’m an introvert and a depressive person, and that can make it kind of hard to interact. I get weird around people that I really respect, whose opinion means a lot to me, and that societal pressure vents in some strange ways sometimes. I think falling back on respectful behavior with an aim towards making people more comfortable might be a great place to start working on that. The older I get, the more interested I become in the way we connect with each other and the importance of establishing bonds. I think when we’re young we might reject the idea of the collective because (let’s face it) school is just the worst example of it there is. When we get out into the wider world, though, we find communities that actually function to support us, to help us become better people. At least, I hope we do.

So there it is: write more, post regularly, take better care of my body, be more engaged. Those are my resolutions for this year. What are yours?

2 thoughts on “Sketching This Year’s Outline

  1. For comparison, when I started writing for [a][s], I set myself the goal of 20 articles per year. I was being a bit conservative, because I know that I start to feel a bit of pressure if I feel like I’m falling behind – so it made sense for me to set a bar I could (hopefully) hurdle pretty comfortably.

    Three articles a month is a lot, for me. It’s about as much as I write when I’m at my most prolific, which might last for perhaps three months or so. Over a longer period of time, my rate is about twice a month.

    Of course, that’s just me. You know what works for you… and I’d love to read three of your missives every month.

    1. All right, that’s very good to know. 😀 Maybe I’ll just work my way up to three posts a month by the end of the year or something — start with at least one and we’ll see where it goes.

      Starting with one post a month will at least allow me to focus on shaping the essay in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to before, so there’s that at least. It’ll give me good practice in editing and the like.

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