Three writers reflect on goals, habits, and a new year of blogging.
The new year is when you revisit your previous year’s resolutions (as photographer Ming Thein has done), set new goals, or just do whatever you want. This week, I’ve read a number of posts on how bloggers plan to tackle 2016, and the honesty in each is refreshing. Here are three:
“The Things I Carry from 2015 and My One Word for 2016”
Freelance writer and teacher Lily at Such Small Hands begins this post beautifully:
I lived a hundred different lives in 2015. The adventurous expat, the patient teacher, the homesick little girl, the intrepid world traveler, the anxiety-ridden dependent, the supportive wife, the optimistic partner, the heartbroken friend. I have felt a hundred incongruous emotions — hopeful and discouraged, excited and apathetic, inspired and utterly disengaged, generous and self-protective, joyful and bitterly sad. I’ve traveled through 7 countries and made a 6,000 mile move. Each separate life and identity is self-contained like a square on a quilt, inextricably connected to the whole and meaningless without it.
There are many ways that Lily would like to change, but she’s too overwhelmed to know where to begin. Instead of a traditional list of resolutions, she’s adopted the “One Word” approach:
Last year I abandoned my list of resolutions in favor of just One Word. The idea of One Word is to get rid of your list and to choose a single word to focus on for a whole year. “One word that sums up who you want to be and how you want to live.”
In 2015, I chose the word “Wholehearted.” It was a big word that encompassed an entire way of looking at the world. I’m not finished with wholeheartedness — becoming wholehearted is a lifelong journey — but I have chosen a new word to represent 2016. My word is Mindfulness.
I appreciate Lily’s musings on being more present in her life, and the focus on one word throughout the year.
“The Year of the Ambivalent Blogger”
At The Green Study, Michelle feels both optimism and fatigue from blogging and writing online. In her fifth year of blogging, she’s revisited some of her past posts:
This blog has, in some ways, served as a journal about the ups and downs of working towards personal goals. The hardest thing to accept is that I move at a glacial pace in terms of development. There is movement, but it is only discernible over a long span of time. Perhaps this is what I fear most about death — that I’ll be too slow to accomplish the things I would like to and it will be too late. . . .
I still hope that I’ll become a published writer, that I will continue my pursuit of knowledge, that I’ll look as strong as I feel, that my heart can open a little more.
Later, she asks: “how do I spend my time this year?” With no clear answer, she writes:
I look to the reasons why I like blogging — meeting other writers, sharing a laugh, connecting with people around the world and reading things that teach me or piss me off, but make me think. Knowing that what I do here really doesn’t matter, yet knowing that if I spend time doing it, it needs to matter to me, is a delicate balance.
I personally am no stranger to blogging ambivalence, so I appreciate Michelle’s candor and perspective.
“Weekend Edition: A Writer’s New Year”
At Live to Write — Write to Live, Jamie talks about the big goals that we set but sometimes don’t achieve:
Each year, I stride into January with Big Dreams and High Hopes. A small voice in my head cheers the mantra, “This is the year! This is the year!” I can’t help but be swept up in the exhilarating annual revel of redemption and expectation. After all, who doesn’t love a second chance? For as long as I can remember, I have spent the end of December contemplating the same two creative/professional New Year’s goals: writing (and eventually publishing) fiction and developing a new business around my love of writing/reading/story/creativity (vs. around the marketing/copywriting that is my current bread-and-butter).
And, for as long as I can remember, I have so far “failed” to accomplish either of these two goals.
I love what she says later in her post — it’s not about then and now, or 2015 and 2016. Perhaps we don’t need to wipe the slate clean, as we tend to do each January:
Processing my New Year this way — looking both backward and forward, layering my hopes and plans for the New Year on top of the successes and missteps of the old one — forces me to take a longer view of things — to look at the “old” year and the new one not as distinct entities that must be judged against each other, but as interwoven pieces of an unbroken continuum.
Likewise, I no longer feel the need to reinvent myself on January first. Like my life and my creative journey, I am not a series of annual iterations. There is no 2015 Jamie vs. a 2016 Jamie. There’s just me.
Interested in reading other bloggers’ takes on 2016? Explore the 2016 tag in the WordPress.com Reader.
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