Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

Some time ago, I made a promise to myself to change the tone and focus of my life and this blog. When I first started S.A. Wilson, which might have be named something else at the time (I honestly don't remember), I had a lot of rantings about banal daily life. I was living in Trenton, Ontario at the time, at the very beginning of my writing journey (Okay so the real beginning occurred when I was nine -- but in terms of deciding to do this and take it seriously, that happened in about 2009-2010). I was just starting to study the basics of novel plot, dialogue and description. I was doing a lot of messing around, but I lacked focus and was not producing much content. I was writing about trips to the thrift store and all-smoothie diets and other things that are really not very important in the grand scheme of things. I was focused more on style than substance, on how I looked than my career.

But then something happened that has only happened to me three or four times before in my life. The first time it happened, it was the first day of school in grade seven. I made a decision that I never went back on, never regretted. It was a really simple decision. I decided that I wasn't a little kid anymore, and therefore it was time for me to start swearing. That's actually how it went logically in my head. A lot of other kids had been swearing throughout elementary school, but I personally didn't think that was right. But in grade seven we had to start at a school that went all the way up to grade 13 (the now defunct OAC in Ontario).

As a side note,  can you even picture this in your head? A school that contains both 12 year olds and 18 year olds? Insane.

Anyways I figure since there were 18 year olds walking around the hallways I really didn't need to be a baby about swearing anymore. It was not something I did often as I didn't speak often in general in those days, but when a situation called for an explicative I just let it fly rather than saying something like "oh, fudge."

All that to say that I made a decision about this blog and about my life at a certain point during the past two years. I decided that I wasn't going to care about distracting concerns such as appearance for awhile. I was going to take every bit of energy I expelled on dieting, exercise, glossy magazine reading, shopping, et cetera -- all those stupid, time consuming, life consuming things -- and roll it all back into my work. I refocused my blog and began to write about the primary concern of my life: writing.

But this will not be a blog post wholly about writing.

Personal Resolutions

 Is it already too late in the year to write about resolutions?  I wrote a post about how artificial New Year's day is -- it is an arbitrary date, after all, that could have as likely have been July 21 or September 22 or December 21 or (my favourite har har) March 20. Or you know, April 17 or something. You can resolve to pick up new habits any day, any minute -- this minute if you want -- since leading a life is but a long unending string of decisions big and small. But I think the time is ripe for me to make some resolutions.

Because all this work towards my novel #RoboNomics at the expense of pretty much everything else has been crazy productive. I have indeed sallied forth into realms of creativity that I never thought possible. But it has come at a price. And that price has been my health. This is not just a vanity thing. It's not just that I'm frightened by the number on the scale -- one I have never seen before in the upwards direction -- but I recently have begun having pains where there were none before. And frankly, sitting at a desk all day may get things that need to be done, done but I am a little sick of having to buy a whole new set of pants every second month. It's getting pricey and annoying.

And so, I resolve to:

1. With the help of a wake-up light, carve out another hour in my day by waking up earlier. So that I can:

2. Workout. In the past I've tried different workout videos, programs, what have you. But inevitably I am a terrible personal trainer for myself and so the programs I schlep together always turn out to be boring. I lose interest and then quit. Oh, that and also I quit since while working out I usually ask myself: "My god this hurts. Is it really worth it?" So I'm going to leave all that difficulty of finding a good workout program to someone else.

3. In twelve weeks' time, lose a total of 15 pounds. So that's until April 1st. Five pounds a month, little over a pound a week. At least it's a realistic goal. I should add a caveat, however, for any young/impressionable person who might stumble onto this blog. 15 pounds lighter than I am now, I would still be on the slightly heavier side of healthy for my body frame and height. And I am not doing this so much through diet as I am by building muscle and reducing size of fat cells, etc. My meals now consist of fruits, vegetables (tons of vegetables!) lean proteins and 'multigrain' or 'whole grain' products such as brown rice, wholegrain bread in small quantities, et cetera. And tons and tons and tons of tea and water.

This is very important to me to point out. I am not doing a Master Cleanse. I am not doing a smoothie-only diet. I am not doing a fast. The goal of this for me to become more healthy, and I don't think I can do that without building muscle. That's the danger of all those starvation diets, not only that you'll rebound, but also that you will lose muscle mass. And as I have always considered my body mostly serving as a vehicle for my brain, I want the contraption to be healthy so that I'll live quite a long time, since I have quite a lot of material to get out of my brain and onto the page. (HaHa! I can relate just about anything back to writing, can't I?)

My love's big graduation is roughly six to eight weeks from now, and until then I am cutting out fast food, junk food, and booze. I also found a great little tool to help with the whole "is this really worth it?" whining that I had a tendency for. Have you ever seen The Big C? Do you remember one of the first episodes, when Laura Linney's character tells Gabourey Sidibe's character that she'll pay Gabourey's character $100 for every pound she loses? I can remember thinking what an amazing idea that is. Being paid to lose weight? Ummm... yes please.

So I signed up for a dietbet challenge. Basically you bet on yourself -- pay a certain amount at the beginning of a set period of time and if you obtain the goal by the end of that period, you get to split the pot with whoever else won. At worst, you get your money back. At best, you can make money on losing weight. Amazing! Instant motivation. Sounds like a plug but really, I love this idea.

Anyways, I've been working towards these three resolutions since Sunday. So far, so good. But that doesn't mean that I have been neglecting my professional resolutions, which are far more important as well as far more hefty. And so:

Professional Resolutions:

1. Write my 'morning pages'. Basically, a daily brain dump in which I get to write about anything I want, using whatever words I like. It's something I have done on and off since 2009, but this year I intend to commit to it.

2. Write at least 1,000 words a day of fiction in draft form. (Another on again, off again habit that I should commit to).

3. Write a blog post on one blog or the other every weekday. Done for today! :)

4. Read at least 20 novels in 2014 (should not be too tasking).

5. Complete one iTunes U writing course.

6. Finish reading the how-to writing books left on the shelf (there are less than five).

7. Finish posting RoboNomics the novel on Self-Publish the novel, market and distribute.

8. Complete Draft 2 of new novel, "Otherworldly."

9. Once we move in the spring, start a writing critique group.

Okay, that feels like a lot. Ambitious, certainly. However, most of it is comprised of small steps that I can work on day after day, the work piling up until I've finished it all by the end of the year.

I am proud of my resolutions this year. They are very specific, which is helpful in the completion. They are also written down on the internet, which will make it easy to access them and come back and check on my progress. I really want this whole becoming a novelist thing to move along, I want the whole project to be a success. And so I resolve -- I decide like I did in grade seven about swearing -- to keep moving forward.

And what about you, friends? Do you have any resolutions for 2014? Are you excited about this year? I sure am! So many fun projects to continue and/or begin!