I chose the cover quote of my 2021 planner with extreme care.
This wasn’t just to counteract last year’s wildly inaccurate “Grand Plans” amidst a year that proved to hold anything but for the whole world due to Covid-19.
For this year, I wanted a quote that not only recognized the ongoing hardships of the pandemic, but one that applied to me as a person as well.
Beautiful things take time
In a lot of aspects of my life, I still consider myself a work in progress. When Taylor Swift released her album folklore last year, I felt an immediate kinship with a key lyric from the song “mirrorball”:
I’ve never been a natural
All I do is try, try, try
There’s nothing wrong with this; life is a constant learning experience, and many forms of accomplishment really do take time. This is why, in Hamilton, my favourite song from the entire musical is “Wait for It”, especially the part that says,
I’m not falling behind or running late
I’m not standing still
I am lying in wait
All of this is also why I find goal-setting—especially New Year’s Resolutions, which have the added benefit of coinciding with the fresh start of a brand-new year—so inspiring and personally valuable.
For me, a goal is a map in the direction of where I want to go—and also proof that I’m moving in any direction at all. A record to remind myself that slow and steady finishes the course at the very least, regardless of whether it actually wins the race. Assuming there even truly is a race being run.
My writing is one of the biggest aspects of my life in which I’ve long been waiting to accomplish something notable (notable to the writing community at large).
I’ve written before about how it’s taken me a long time to get good at writing, to the point of sometimes feeling like I am falling behind. And yet in 2021, I’m poised to take a new step for the first time in my writing career (querying), and also to start writing a new novel.
And so in support of this, as well as due to the continuing limitations of the pandemic, I’m keeping my resolutions for 2021 mostly writing-related, and also close to home. I’ve divided them into two categories—writing life goals and real life goals:
1) Writing life goals
- Query my WIP
- Read four key reference books in support of my next novel
- Draft my next novel
- Start researching my next-next novel
- Read the first draft of my WIP’s sequel and make general/overall revision notes
2) Real life goals
- Get more exercise (closer to my pre-pandemic amount)
- Make a will
- Miscellaneous career goals
- Finish de-cluttering my apartment (continued from 2020)
- Living room
[ ] Bookshelf
[ ] Desk
[X] Magazine box
- Dining room
[ ] Side chair
[X] On top of cupboards
[X] Behind the oven
[X] Behind the fridge
[X] Coat closet
[X] Shoe trays
[ ] Storage closet
[X] Shower caddy
[X] Medicine cabinet
[X] Cupboard under the sink
[ ] Top of dresser/ornament shelf
[ ] Dresser drawers
[ ] Smallclothes drawers
[ ] Nightstand
[ ] Under the bed
Happy 2021 everyone!
(Image source – J.G. Noelle)
7 thoughts on “Beautiful Things Take Time: My 2021 New Year’s Resolutions”
The dreaded will has been on my to-do list for years. If you get yours done this year I will pledge to do mine! And the de-cluttering, omg, it’s a nonstop task. We have to do regular purges of my kids’ rooms, the most recent one happened yesterday. You’d cry to see what they accumulate. The donation pile will fill two cars. I have it all boxed and bagged so it’s mostly done but jeez, what a job. The older I get the more burdened I feel by stuff. It gives me real anxiety. I’m not a big shopper but I’m still cutting back anyway. I can’t take the stuff anymore!
Yes, let’s be will accountability buddies! It’s one of those things that is so easy to put off because it seems like the need for it is years away until suddenly it’s … not.
I can’t take stuff anymore either. That line from Brad Pitt’s character in Fight Club forever haunts me: “Your possessions end up owning you.” So true! I want to be as unencumbered in life as possible, especially while at the same time thinking about wills. When my father passed and we had to clear out his house it was a huge ordeal that I don’t want to inflict on anyone when it’s my time. My true material needs are really so minimal and I want my living space to better reflect this.
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Querying – that’s a huge step. You are so modest about your work that I didn’t realize you have a close-to-finished draft of the first novel. I hope this step goes well – at least you are writing in the recognized historical category.
I often joke that if it takes me any longer to finish PC, it WILL be historical (if we allow the definition to cover books set at least twenty-five years in the past). Recent historical. Still-in-this-century historical, but in ten years 2005 will be twenty-five in the past.
I’m glad to see you are progressing methodically, and am looking forward to hearing you’ve placed it with a suitable publisher.
I’ve never figured out whether we’re supposed to tell writers to ‘break a leg.’
Yes, I am very close now. Thank you for your good wishes and may they come to pass. Maybe instead of “break a leg” it can be “break a pencil” for writers, assuming anyone still uses pencils when writing anymore (I do – that’s how I’ve been doing my final line edit).
I think you’ll be fine with calling your work contemporary. I can’t imagine anyone is in a hurry to have events that occurred so recently in their own lifetime (25 years ago) considered historical!
Contemporary is good enough, but this century has had a lot of twists and turns in mindset! My beta reader was a child in 2005.
I never planned for it to take this long.
As the quote on my planner says: Beautiful things take time.
Well, my lovely beta reader just returned very nice and useful words about the latest chapter, so the time was worth spending.
I’m in the middle of planning a more detailed roadmap for the next seven chapters (that part of the map was not locked down quite as tightly as I had hoped), and circling the task, taking tiny bites out of it.
I’m excited – but also worried. With my system, the what is already decided, and the how is where I put the creativity, but the end of this book is explosive, and I can’t wait to have it finished. So I can read it.