Kate Flora: So far, weather-wise, the end of last year and the beginning of January has been absolutely miserable. Trees crash down. We go without phone, internet, or TV for five days. Then the power line needs to be replaced and the pipes freeze. This is the month when people make resolutions. To be more productive. To exercise more. To clean out the closets. To finally write that long imagined novel.
I’ve never been much for resolutions. They sound too much like something agreed upon in committee–even if it is a committee of me, myself, and I–and become a resolve that must be acted upon. Resolutions tend to weigh heavily on us and make us feel guilty when we fail to do the things we vowed to do. I don’t want to spend time in 2018 feeling guilty about what I haven’t done.
So this year, instead, I am planning on some New Year’s REVOLUTIONS. How will they be different? I don’t know yet. I’m only beginning to ponder on what in my life I want to overthrow, or conquer. What dictators of habit need to be deposed. What restrictions on my freedom need to be resisted. What constraints on my liberty imposed by decades of deadlines need to be removed. What I will do if I am released from book jail.
Here’s what I do know: In 2018, under new leadership, the country of Kate will emphasize the importance of having fun. Exploring new things. Learning new things. Trying out new things. I will pay attention to the messages I got on past important birthdays: What are you waiting for? What matters? What will you regret if you don’t do it?
For about thirty-five years now, my default mode has been to drift back to my desk and work. Don’t get me wrong–I love what I do. But after all these years, I think it’s time to sometimes not drift back to the desk, and instead, drift into something new, whether it be learning how to tap dance, or practicing a new language, or taking more photos with my camera, or cooking my way through Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks.
It might be to finally climb Katahdin before it is too late. It might be to spend more time at Farmer’s Markets, not just exploring what farmers are growing, but watching the children, and the playful dogs, and the faces of people who are doing something that makes getting the week’s food fun. It might be to spend more time at the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden. Go to the Common Ground Fair. Learn to paddle board. Take voice lessons even though I sing like a crow. (Despite twelve years in the church choir)
The arrival of those tons of flower porn that come at this season (nursery catalogues)
reminds me that this year I might spend more time in my garden. The recent gift of an apron from the neighborhood sewing and knitting circle may spur me on to get my sewing machine fixed and actually remember how to sew. A visit to the Concord Museum to see decorated holiday trees inspired by themes in children’s books makes me want to write a children’s book myself. I do not delude myself that this will be easy.
Maybe none of it will be easy. But trying things and taking chances will also likely make me a better writer, and of course, I have a Thea Kozak mystery to revise and a new Joe Burgess to write.
What will your New Year’s Revolutions be?
We are so sympatico, Kate, on the subject of resolutions! After years of miserable Januaries spent beating myself up over resolutions gone by the wayside in mere weeks, I have learned to set intentions instead, and I set them at any random time I decide I want to do something.
This month — only coincidentally the start of a new year — I finally hired a developmental editor to review my manuscript, with the intention of querying this spring. What ultimately happens next for this particular story may be out of my hands, but what I CAN control is whether or not I try to get it out into the world.
Maybe I’ll even decide to get back to learning Italian this year, who knows?
Let the Revolution begin! 😎
Good luck with the editor. I’ve done it. Once I did it twice with the same manuscript…the suggestions were widely divergent. Book still unpublished, but I have not given up. I like the idea of intentions.
Sounds good, Kate. Enticing, and positive, and even sane! But I’ve already tied my 2018 into knots with cont5racts (wonderful though they are) and taking care of Bob (when you love someone!) So — I’ll be cheering you on. And staying close to home. But maybe some day ….! Happy New Year!
I lucked out when I drew Hallie Ephron to critique my first chapter two years ago at New England Crime Bake. I took what I learned from that experience (priceless!!) and tried to carry it through the revision process. I have high hopes that another set of eyes on this MS will give me the confidence to move forward. 😊
I like the idea of revolution instead of resolutions. You’ve got some nice options. Enjoy.