Tuesday, December 30, 2014


I'm not much on New Year's resolutions, but it struck me that a revolution, of a mild sort, might be just the thing. They're only one letter apart, after all.

The question I want to ask is this one: what events, attitudes, or actions that you could control this year would you like to change for next year? How do you plan to do it?

1. I'd like to be more positive next year instead of immediately thinking of a snarky or negative answer to things I see, mostly on the internet. The stupid clickbait headlines, always in the form of a question, seem to be begging for this, but why give in to it? 

Action: Let's go with Mr. Lincoln's "the better angels of our natures" instead of the worse ones and consciously turn some of those negative thoughts around. I've already started doing this to an extent.

2. I'd like to be more inwardly patient instead of getting annoyed with people over trivial things.  I'm usually outwardly polite, but this is getting harder to sustain. So what if they're bragging incessantly about how productive they are or if they've just discovered that water is wet and want to share their vast knowledge with everyone?  It has nothing to do with me, so why get annoyed?

Action: Stay away from bragfest arenas like Twitter and Facebook. Set a limit--maybe check in every 6 weeks or give them up.  Stay away from professional sites that tell you what you already know, like that water is wet.

3. I'd like to get better control over my time and to stop being angry about email interruptions. In fact, looking at these items, I realize that I'd like to stop being so inwardly angry about trivial things, since the things that are making me angry (email, things I read) are almost entirely within my control.

Action: I'd slipped a little on the autoreply and email rules I'd set for myself and as a result let email and other events intrude where they didn't have to.

4. I need to structure writing time that operates as I really work.  I get up and write in the morning, but it's hard to sit in a chair because I have so much energy then. The time when I want  to write is in the evening after about 8 p.m. I have fought this tendency because of all the advice about writing early.

Action: Get more exercise in the morning (as I do in the summer) so that I can write more effectively. Get up from the computer when my eyes give out at 2 p.m. and do something else for a while.  Don't fight the writing at night impulse but use that time to go back and write from the morning ideas.

Put together, these don't look so revolutionary, but I'm guessing that there'd be a quiet change for the better if they're put into practice. 

What are you going to change this year?


Dame Eleanor Hull said...

Dr Crazy, who is productive on a 4-4 load, swears by writing at night. Go with your own rhythms, so far as you can (I often wind up with teaching schedules that make early-morning writing impossible). "Not my circus, not my monkeys" is a great line for letting go of internet and real-life craziness.

I'm going on a de-cluttering kick. I doubt that I'll ever lead a truly minimalist life (not yet willing to part with two grandmothers' worth of china), but I can definitely cut down on stuff I don't need to keep and just have around because I'm lazy, or thought I would use but don't.

undine said...

Dame Eleanor, thanks for stopping by. I tried to leave a comment just now at your place but got a "Your comment can't be posted" screen. (Wordpress still hates me on occasion.)

I'm going to continue with the evening writing. Your idea about de-cluttering sounds good; I even dreamed last night about getting rid of things.

sophylou said...

I just really want to get serious about writing, which for me means learning how to mentally leave work at work. (Well, and I really want to move closer to family/friends, but sadly, I have waaaaaaay less control over that!) And I'm 100% with you on your action items for #2... still struggling with how to make Twitter feel manageable and not unbelievably annoying, since I probably can't leave it altogether.

Psycgirl said...

I think a lot of writing advice is to work when it works best for you. I think Slate had an article this year about writing habits of famous writers and they were ALL OVER the place in terms of habits. I took that to mean as long as it works for you it works :)