Forward Without Reservations: Owning this Year’s Resolutions

a journal, the word DREAM spelled out in block letters, a laptop, hands holding a warm beverage, a succulent and an iphone, all meticulously arranged. — — A picture I look at on Instagram about writing when I’m on Instagram instead of writing

Every year, for the past five years now, I’ve committed a bit more of myself to writing. It started as a therapeutic outlet. Recovering from the guilt and trauma of a manic episode I found Vancouver’s poetry slam scene to be a place where my voice could heard. It was also a place where I could listen to often marginalized voices.

It was support from members of this community that gave me the confidence to call myself a poet and eventually to put out a chapbook.

I’m currently a member of the Vancouver Poetry House Board, the society which funds the local slam and other programs that nurture and support artists. I’ve had work published online and in international literary journals.

In an attempt to diversify my work I contribute to the website Optimistic Learner, which allows me a bit more emotional distance and has required the study of articles on sociology, psychology, neurobiology, and evolution. It’s been a joy to be a part of the site’s development, but I’m most grateful to have something keeping me focused on a deadline.

a photo taken from above of a woman appearing stressed with her head in her hands. On a laptop a screen shows images. She rests her right elbow on a blank notebook and by her left elbow is an agenda which is also blank. — -An accurate representation of my “process”

And here’s where I get into that whole committing myself “a bit more” thing. Because it’s well past time for me to buckle down and dedicate myself to writing, to make it a primary focus.

I’ve cut myself a fair amount of slack (I have mental health challenges, I’m off to a late start, I lack the education, I have a full time job) but the truth is I will come up with almost any excuse not to write. And I know better. I wrote a piece on procrastination, I know how many hours you need to put into your craft to become skilled, and I’m aware that the second I log in to social media I’m guaranteed to lose precious minutes I can’t afford.

photo by ryan mcguire. woman sitting drinking liquor in front of a typewriter surrounded by crumbled paper. Also accurate

According to numerous books I’ve read on goal setting, informing others of your intentions is a great way to hold yourself accountable.

So this is my intention.

To write more.

To write regularly to Optimistic Learner and to Medium. To submit to twice as many literary journals as I did last year. And to take a writing course (of any type).

I hope your goals for the New Year are off to a good start, that you have support, and ways to hold yourself accountable. I hope that you forgive yourself the occasional stumble but continue to move forward.

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