Are You Resolved?

How many things did I plan to do and not get done in 2014? Lots. But I’m not going to dignify those missed targets by listing them here. Okay, I’ll admit to having let my blog slip into erratic intervals. Maybe I didn’t advance my work-in-progress novels as much as I would have liked. It’s also possible I spent far too much time on the internet.

Word count: 451                                                                                      Reading time: 1-2 minutes

A person can feel quite defeated by only looking at what didn’t happen, so I decided to concentrate on the things I did do:

  • Packed up part of our North Vancouver house to make it pretty for selling.

  • Completed the purchase of our Victoria home.

  • Sold the North Vancouver place.

  • Shipped most our possessions into storage and found temporary accommodation for the five months of renovations.

  • Led the Young Writers’ Club of North Vancouver until March, when I handed it over to the talented Lisa Voisin.

  • Launched my debut novel Lockdown.

  • Worked with builders and tradespeople through the demolition and renovation. Every day at the job site I sat at a folding table in the middle of the dust, noise, and disruptions, and wrote something.  

  • Travelled back to the mainland to read with the gracious Steven Galloway at the North Vancouver City Library.

  • Participated regularly (mostly by phone) with my critique group in North Vancouver.

  • Moved into the new home and settled in (this seemed to take forever).

  • Took a YA writing course at UVic, taught by the fabulous Robin Stevenson.

  • Attended meetings and seminars hosted by mystery writers, romance writers, and all-purpose writers.

  • Promoted my book through social media and local contacts.

  • Assumed the position of Treasurer of the Lynn Valley Literary Society.

  • Went to the Victoria Writers’ Festival.

  • Wrote twenty-eight flash fiction stories.

  • Read over fifty books and dozens of short stories.

Looking at things that way, maybe keeping a regular blog wasn’t such a priority after all. As Steve Jobs said, “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” If I’d tethered myself to regular blogs, maybe other important things would have gone.

So now I’m going to take my cue from the Roman god Janus, whose two faces look to the past and to the future at the same time. Much more might have been accomplished in 2014 but I laid the groundwork for 2015’s goals. I won’t shoot for too many though. Too strict an agenda can exclude the joy of serendipity and new paths that open before us.

As the year draws to a close, have you taken time to reflect with satisfaction on the things you did? What do you plan to accomplish in 2015, in writing and the rest of your life?

Photos from Wikimedia Commons: Red colour flowing into the waters of Sydney by Rajwinder Singh and Bust of god Janus, Vatican Museum by Fubar Obfusco

 

How do you solve your problems?

konik.jpg

Since the 1990’s, Britain has introduced Konik ponies to many of its wetland areas. Relocated from their natural habitat of marshy woodlands in Poland, as the animals graze they restore and sustain once-threatened ecosystems. They chomp their way through dense grass and reeds and create habitat for ground nesting birds and well as winter feeding grounds for wading birds.

Word count: 277                                                                       Reading time: about 1 minute

I wish those ponies would come and chew through some of my recent writing. It feels like I need a good habitat for new ideas and fresh expressions. Maybe what I really need is inspiration.  

You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club, according to Jack London. Where should a person look for it?

Obvious places are:

  • Books
  • Movies
  • TV
  • Eavesdropping
  • Blogs
  • Plays
  • Writing groups

The Konik ponies grazing habits had only an indirect relationship with the recovery of England’s degraded fens. Similarly, the sources of inspiration for writing often have an indirect relationship with writing itself. That means the writer should look past the obvious to:

  • Music
  • Physical labour
  • An afternoon at an amusement park
  • A walk in the forest
  • A game of chess
  • A bike ride
  • A run on a beach
  • A car race
  • Doing something new, out of a person’s comfort zone

Sometimes the fastest route to the prize isn’t a straight line. We have to walk around the problem, look over the horizon and see what’s there. Then we have to find those Konik ponies and create new habitat for our dormant ideas.

Where does your inspiration come from? Do you look across borders to find a special little pony to solve the problem of your deteriorating wetlands?

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Photo from Wikimedia Commons: Konik mare and foal trotting by Roy van Wijk