New Year, New Life

For my birthday this year, James and I went to Colonial Williamsburg over New Year’s.  We had a wonderful time! One of the best parts of this trip was strolling down Duke of Gloucester Street on Sunday morning, January 1. It was warm, maybe 60 degrees, and there was not a cloud in sight. The whole place was gleaming in sunlight. It was so quiet and peaceful. I’ll never forget it.

One of the interesting points of our relationship is that James is a morning person, and I wish I was. I always  have a lot of energy after 6pm, and end up staying up way longer than I should and sleeping late. Whenever I do get up and experience a calm morning, I love it. One of the things I’m looking forward to in our marriage is having some help with going to sleep on time and waking up early.

I’m really looking forward to this new year (providing the Mayan’s are wrong, of course). I feel like I have a new chance now to start a whole new life. I want to write more, weigh less, and create more reasons to smile. We’re already making plans to go to Philadelphia, Williamsburg, and hopefully some beautiful warm place for our honeymoon (if God answers our prayers and lets us get married this year).

2012 started with a peaceful morning in a beautiful place. I hope this warm feeling continues throughout the year.

Advertisements

Why do we make New Year’s resolutions?

Everyone likes a chance to start over, but maybe we put too much pressure on January 1. Perhaps the reason we never keep our New Year’s resolutions past February is that a whole year is just too daunting. We always tell people to take life one day at a time. Maybe we need to take our resolutions one month at a time. Maybe every 30 days we need a New Month’s resolution.

Here’s an idea: Write down your big goal, or your New Year’s resolution. Then, write down what you are going to do this January in order to work for that goal. When January 31 comes around, make some notes on what you can do in February.

This year, instead of being one of those people who crowds the gym in January, maybe I’ll take some time to think about small steps I can take to accomplish my goals. For example, it’s not too hard to keep up exercise for one month. Maybe I’ll say, “This month of January, I am going to work out 3 times a week, write 4 hours a week, and spend at least 30 minutes reading that book I’ve renewed from the library 6 times already.”

Personally, I have several things I want to do this year. I’d like to publish some articles, get started on a book, find a  job that fits my interests, get a wedding date that’s not too far in the future, brush up on my Italian and maybe start learning French, lose the 15 pounds I gained last year, spend more time at the park, make more dates with friends, and save as much money as possible. Funny how the last one makes all the rest more difficult. I’m sure I’ll find a way to make it all happen, but I have to take this one month at a time.

What’s My Writing Platform?

Recently I decided that I have to be a writer. If I don’t write, I’ll never be happy with myself. My day job is completely unsatisfying from a personal standpoint, and I really want to be doing something creative. I’m trying to get to the point where I can feel comfortable calling myself a writer. I’m doing this the only way I know how: practicing my writing and reading books on the subject.

In Sage Cohen’s book, The Productive Writer, chapter 2 is all about finding and defining your platform. What does she mean by that?

Well, to be honest, I’m not 100% sure. What the heck is a platform? It seems like she means you need to decide what topic you want to be known for. Are you a how-to girl, an expert in culinary history, a poet or a political analyst? What do you want to say to the world?

What do I want to say to the world? I have a lot of interests, but I have no idea what exactly I would want to write about. I have a degree in history and I love art. Could that be the makings of my platform? I wrote my graduation thesis on Italian immigrants and the Catholic Church in the early part of the 20th century. Could that be my platform? What about all the other things I want to write, like the novel I keep thinking about? How do I know when I’ve found the right platform?

In a way, this blog started as an exercise to discover my writing niche. Maybe I could look through my posts and figure out what topics I write about the most.

Maybe there is no clear answer. Maybe I just need to keep writing about whatever I want, and see where it leads me. Sounds like a plan!

Will I Ever Be a Writer?

I have always thought I wanted to write. When I was 10, my mom gave me The Idiot’s Guide to Creative Writing for Christmas. I’ve always loved that book. I’ve always gone to it for inspiration. I have yet to write anything that I consider makes me a real writer.

I always feel like writing, but I never have the discipline to see it through. My excuse for not writing is always “I have too many stories and I can’t pick one.” So, for the millionth time, enough with excuses. It’s time for me to pursue my dreams and be a writer.

I bought a few books on Amazon. Currently, I’m reading Sage Cohen’s book The Productive Writer: Tips & Tools to help you write more, stress less & create success. So far it looks great. She seems like she has a lot of great tips. I really want to go step by step with this, but even in chapter 1 she gives a long list of to-do’s that I know I won’t accomplish for a few days or weeks. And her pie chart of time made me realize that I have even less than I thought I did. Work takes up about 10 hours of my day, sleep another 8, then with my remaining 6, can I really do everything I need to do, keep my time with James, read the books I love, and STILL have enough time to have a freelance writing career? I have no idea. But I’m a big girl now, so I’m going to try.