Uh, EVERYTHING? Everything is great about a New Year. God bless things that end, basically. No thing that any of us go through on a daily basis should repeat itself indefinitely until we die. We don’t have to write 2014 anymore! There’s a whole new number at the end. Last year ran out of Mondays, People. They are GONE. Any annoying coupon lying around that you sort of thought you might use that expired in 2014? Sayonara, baby. That clutter just found the recycling bin in your starting-over kitchen. This is the beginning.
I am convinced, You Cannot Change My Mind, that it is imperative to take advantage of this turnover in at least some small way. In past years I have joined the one-word challenge and the three-word challenge. That was pretty fun. This year I have quite a list actually, a real live list of goals that are totally measurable. I learned from the Happiness Project that resolutions and goals are different things. Goals have an endpoint. Resolutions are more like habit changes, attitude adjustments, things you want to repeat throughout the year with more consistency. My list is more goals than resolution, so now I have the fun of discovering what resolutions I need in order to meet the goals.
Wanna hear one? It’s from Brenda Euland’s book, If You Want to Write. As with most writing advice, she admonishes that we must show up at the writing machine every day. I’ve heard this over and over a million times, and I totally believe it. But I do not do it. I think about the blank page – or worse, I think about the mediocre, half-terrible first draft that’s eking its way to something like a book, and I go white with despair. I can’t face it, I think. I have nothing left to say! And I don’t know how to say it! So, I don’t show up. But something about the way Brenda Euland said it, finally, finally made it click. Just show up at the machine. Even if all you do is sit there. At least you showed up. What we write does not burst forth from a moment in time anyway. It is always something we have mulled. So for goodness sake, sit at the page. Hold the pencil. And mull. I love Brenda Euland for telling me that.
I love this time of year. I dive head-first into the delusion. HEAD. FIRST. I am a brand new shiny person of the future who has put old things aside. Being something better is my superpower.
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said that once, and I say it every single night. And now I say it times three hundred sixty five. There is not much serene about it, though. My knuckles are white around my boot straps, and my yawp barbaric. You can try to squelch it if you like. I dare you to try. And actually, I dare you to try. Sit at your paper today, at least for a moment, and mull. There must be something new in you, something to hope for, something to pursue that you forgot about last year and now have the superpower to remember.
Unleash the believer inside. Go. Be. Better.
I know we can.