Making New Year’s resolutions has never really worked for me, even when I manage to keep them.Then a few years ago I began coming up with a single word for the year, a word which would encompass everything that led to a particular goal or state of being. I don’t always choose “lofty” words, either. Last year’s word was Earn–earn more money, of course, but also in the sense of earning more readers. It was a successful year in both ways, as there was a solid uptick in both earnings and readership.
This year’s word also has more than one sense. At first, “Acceptance” might seem a bit passive, a bit too close to “resignation.” But there is a big difference between those two words. I have no intention of resigning myself to lowered hopes and expectations. But I do intend to accept certain parameters that cannot be avoided, so that they can be worked around rather than ignored until I crash into them. A good example of this is my age and health: I’ll turn 62 this summer, and I have learned the hard way that when I’m tired–I’m tired! I can use willpower all I want to stay the course, to keep on working, but when my brain and body have had enough, nothing good gets done. Willpower alone is no longer enough. I Accept that this is the current reality–and I Accept that I have to work smarter, not harder. My first action toward this was to take a well-deserved break, for the first time since I started writing the Charlotte mysteries almost five years ago. This was easier said than done, at least at first, because I had to Accept something else: I was an author, but not a book-writing machine.
Acceptance is also a two-way street. I not only want to Accept the way things are, both good and bad, but I also want to be Accepted–by still more readers, and by peers and professional organizations. Now that there are four books out in my series, it is easier to do some promotion and publicity, the marketing side of things. And if I want to keep improving my craft, it would be good to kick back and read some more OPS: Other People’s Stuff, their books, stories, and advice. I’m even going to try to meet other writers, both online and in person. I tend to be quite reclusive, so getting out there in all these ways is another form of Acceptance, that to be in the game, I have to get out there and play, at least a little bit.
The same reticence and tendency to be reclusive even applies to non-writing activities, and I talk myself out of doing things far too easily. So I need to Accept that no matter how much I’ve “been there, done that,” no two experiences are exactly alike. I also get just plain nervous about going out to do things, even when I shouldn’t be. I Accept that, too.
My introversion also led me to create an office that is more womb than workspace, quite dark and stuffy. I had to Accept that it was unhealthy, and that I needed to change it before I began the next book. Over the past few days I’ve done a basic feng shui analysis of my office, and have changed my desk, put it in a better place in the room, and changed the lighting, as well. The improvement is stunning. I’ve also tossed out ancient and unneeded files, and straightened up the bookcases. And yes, that’s a Lucky Bamboo plant in the Abundance and Prosperity area of the desk.
The proof is in the pudding, of course: did I then find it easier to write? Absolutely! I wrote this post and two other articles in just a few days, which is lightning-fast for me.
The word of the year works in mysterious ways. No matter: I Accept that, too. 🙂