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Entries in New Year (2)


Finding balance in the year that was and into the future

It’s easy to write off 2016 as a crummy year. Sure, lots of unsettling things happened in the world-at-large that challenged our values. Almost in response, many people’s personal circumstances also took a beating this year — including my own. But here I am at the end of 2016, still breathing like you, reflecting on the delights this year also contained. Yes, it was messy, amusing, frustrating, exciting, worrisome, joyful, painful, exciting, grievous, beautiful and creative. Some highlights:

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This new year, glance behind and ahead

It's the start of 2011 and thus I feel compelled to make a few New Year's resolutions. I am reluctant to do so because it not only feels cliché, but more honestly, because I may fail and my failure will be recorded here for perpetuity. On the other hand, the rumour is that once you write your goals down, you are far more likely to achieve them so here goes.

1) This year, I would like to either have a piece of creative writing published, or win a literary fiction contest. Aack!

Of the various things I have set out to do in recent years, writing and selling fiction has been, without doubt, the most difficult thing I've attempted. Yet as it's the one major pursuit that still eludes me, I will continue to strive against long-shot odds to be published.

I have taken steps toward this goal in recent years. While continuing my nonfiction writing and editing work, I've taken creative writing courses and workshops, met regularly with a writing group, finished three manuscripts, and connected with a host of other writers, agents and publishers to learn about the business. The lesson? You can attack this with unwavering determination and a measure of talent and gumption, and still come up short. The industry is frustrating, but the more difficult it is to break into, the more doggedly I try. Stubborn, I know.

Years ago I read an article called "The pause that refreshes." The gist was that while focusing on what you hope to accomplish in the future, it's equally worthwhile to cast a glance backwards to what you achieved. I recommend this two-pronged approach: reflect upon how far you've come and project upon where you wish to go.

In 2010, I accomplished a few things of which I am proud. In February, I launched my web site and started this blog, a wonderful exercise that's kept me thinking, writing and connecting with readers. I became much more active in social media (especially Twitter), making some wonderful new personal and professional acquaintances. In May, I ran my first half-marathon in a respectable time of 2:07, raising $700 for Camp Brigadoon. I acquired some new clients and my freelance writing/editing billings matched those of 2009, plus I received a small salary for my work as a faculty advisor and writing coach at Mount Saint Vincent University.  And I began my post-graduate degree this fall, earning an "A" in my first course, communications theory.

I plan to continue to push forward in 2011. In addition to the loftiest goal (#1 above), I hereby resolve to:

2) live healthily through eating well and exercising (outdoors when possible)

3) parent my children in a more accepting and joyful manner

4) support my extended family and friends as I would like to be supported

5) seek work assignments that line-up with my own personal goals rather than merely react to opportunities presented to me

6) stop accepting work assignments from clients who underpay or pay unreasonably late

7) read good writing and write good reading

8) keep my bad moods to myself and generally try to be more optimistic

9) be less self-centred and a more responsible global citizen

10) study hard but not stress out over schoolwork

Wish me luck! Happy New Year to all.