My Intentions

I don’t like making New Year’s resolutions. I think they’re a lot of pressure right after an extended period of stress.

Here in the States, we’ve just finished the big holiday season. We’ve spent weeks comparing our cooking, decorating, and gift-giving skills with all our relatives and friends. Many of us haven’t lived up to our own or others’ expectations. We make resolutions because we don’t want to be disappointed in ourselves this time next year.

But this is the wrong time for those changes. We probably haven’t eaten healthfully, exercised, or slept well with all of the rich holiday foods and special events. We’re starting the new year off with less energy and poor nutrition. It’s not a great time to make sweeping changes in our lives.

The new year also sees employers expecting us to have a plan for career advancement. And as soon as holiday sales are over, we’re bombarded with reminders that tax season is just around the corner. Perhaps the only thing more stressful than the winter holidays is doing our taxes.

For all those reasons (and many more), I’m not someone who starts January first with grandiose plans to completely change my life. It seems unrealistic and fraught.

But I use the start of the new year to think about what I accomplished last year. I also make a list of goals and intentions for the upcoming year.

How do intentions differ from resolutions? I think of it this way: My intentions are what I’m working toward, but I don’t have to accomplish all (or even any) of them to have a successful 2019. If I decide these goals aren’t realistic, I can change paths.

If new opportunities arise, I shouldn’t ignore them because they weren’t in my 2019 plans. I need to be flexible, realizing that even the best plans can and should change.

Knowing that I need to be flexible and embrace the unexpected, here are plans I have for my writing in 2019:

  1. Apply to Clarion West and/or Odyssey Workshops – These two writing programs focus on sci-fi, fantasy, horror, etc. I know more about Clarion West than Odyssey, but both are intriguing options that might kickstart my work.
  2. Writers Studio classes – I’m continuing my craft studies at the Writers Studio. I’m learning to better manage point of view. I also hope the weekly assignments will provide more short pieces I can expand for possible submissions.
  3. Read more non-fiction – I’m more productive as a writer when I read non-fiction. I’d like to read a non-fiction title for every two or three fiction titles I read. I’d really prefer a 50-50 split, but I’m not sure I can manage that.
  4. Revise my romance manuscript – I’ve grown to hate that WIP. Really, I do. But editors gave me solid feedback on what I need to change to make it a publishable work, and pushing myself to revise it according to their input would teach me a lot about my writing.
  5. Reboot my freelance career – I want more of my income in 2019 to come from my work as a writer and editor. I plan to pitch articles to magazines, find steady editing work, and be thoughtful about submitting my work for publication.

These are only a few of my 2019 plans. I’m looking forward to re-reading this post in December to see what became of my plans.

(Photo by Cassandra Moore on Unsplash)

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