Starting Over

I always get a fresh burst of motivation at the start of the New Year. It’s like the minute that date on my calendar changes, my brain decides that I’m capable of changing other things about my life as well. I buy a new planner and set new goals, make resolutions and become more mindful. Some of my grand plans stick and some of them don’t, but the one thing that never sticks is my readiness to make changes.

I wouldn’t describe myself as change-resistant, per se. I accept, on a rational level, that one of the only constants in life is that nothing stays the same for long. At the same time, I still prefer the comfort of my routines to any kind of upheaval, even when that upheaval is positive. When it isn’t the start of a new year, I generally hate starting over.

And throughout 2016, for whatever reason, I found myself starting over a lot.

I started a new job back in January, and then I started another new job at the end of October. I threw out the entire draft of the mystery MS that I’d written during National Novel Writing Month in 2015, and re-wrote it from scratch over the course of the following spring and summer. I started drafting another new MS, not long after I’d finally finished my mystery, and I remembered how scary it is to begin something new.

Ever since I graduated college, I’ve lived more or less in the same city where I went to school. I’ve been in the same relationship for a long time, and lived in the same apartment for the last three years. I had the same job for two and a half years before I found something else, and I’ve done the same administrative work at both of the jobs I’ve had since.

None of these things are negative, and I definitely don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. I like where I live and I like what I do–for the most part, anyway. I’m incredibly happy with the relationship I have, and with the life that I’ve built for myself. At the same time, I feel as though I’ve grown complacent in the last year or two, more content to accept how things are than attempt to improve them.

Part of that complacency stems from the time it has taken me to get back on my feet, in my professional life and my personal life and my writing life. For the first time in years, I feel like myself again–or like a better, wiser, tougher version of the self I was before the 2013 crapshoot occurred. I’ve been too busy trying to rebuild to break ground on anything terribly new.

But, if 2016 has taught me anything, it’s that I can tackle change year round with the same determination and ability that is usually reserved for the new year. I can start fresh without succumbing to stress or insecurity, and be a lot better for it.

In my last post, I talked at length about my New Year’s Resolutions, but my one big resolution for 2017 is this: I will not be afraid to take risks, if I think there’s a chance that those risks might lead to something good. When the time is right, I won’t be afraid to start over.

2016 Wrap-Up and Resolutions for 2017

I like talking about my New Years Resolutions almost as much as I like making them. In fact, it’s often a struggle for me to avoid getting over-enthusiastic and making a bunch of super ambitious plans for the year ahead that I know I won’t be able to keep.

In 2016, I managed to keep my list of resolutions simple and short, which is probably why I had so much success with them. Here’s a quick rundown of my 2016 resolutions, as well as a list of new resolutions for 2017:

Once again, I failed to reach my goal of querying Facing the Music by year’s end. However, I am 2/3 of the way through my final revision pass prior to querying, which is almost enough to make up for the fact that I didn’t actually send out any queries. I know I’ve been saying this for a while now, but next year is my year. I’m sure of it.

That said, I did complete a (very) rough first draft of my mystery WIP, which has been one of my biggest creative hurdles to date. I also prepped, outlined, and started drafting another WIP that I’m eager to dive back into once I’ve gotten my revisions out of the way.

I had some success cutting unnecessary negativity out of my life and reducing my stress levels, but this particular resolution is one I will always have to work to stay on top of. Whether it’s my own over-achiever tendencies or my anxiety disorder, or something else entirely, I tend to invite stress and stressful situations into my life without even realizing it. I have begun learning to say no to extra work or extra responsibilities if I’m not 100% committed to them, which feels like major progress.

Last but not least, I crossed another state off my list when my boyfriend and I took a vacation to Colorado this summer. I’ve never been to the American Rockies before, and I absolutely fell in love with the mountains and the huge, blue sky. Also with Boulder, where I will be making a return trip at some point. Here’s to more travel in 2017!

My 2017 Resolutions are:

1. Begin querying Facing the Music. No really. It’s happening.

2. Finish drafting a new WIP.

3. Complete one round of revisions on my mystery and get CP feedback on it.

4. Practice being a good ally and learn to be a better one. Stay politically informed and politically active.

5. Donate to at least one charity every month.

6. Focus on being more present and spending less time with technology.

If you’re making resolutions for 2017, I’d love to hear them! Send me a link or drop me a comment and let me know what new challenges you’re planning to take on next year.