Monday, December 10, 2012

New Year's Eve: A resolution revolution!

It’s that most wonderful time of the year… NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS TIME!

I’m very excited to be joining the wonderful team here at Honestly YA, even if this first post will probably seem hopelessly, well, starry-eyed. But with most of my Christmas shopping completed, some of my gifts even given, I can now turn to the true “reason for the season” (for me): preparing for the New Year.

It’s true. New Year’s Eve has long been one of my favorite holidays, if not my most favorite. And not because of the partying and celebration. I am party-challenged, actually—I’m one of those people who gets completely drained standing in a room talking to perfectly delightful friends and acquaintances. I’m the girl who insists on driving herself to every get together, just so that I have getaway wheels. I’m the girl who looks at going to crowded concerts like an exercise in self-discipline (“I will not leave early, I will not leave early, I will not leave early.”)

But there’s something about New Year’s Eve that’s always captured my imagination. It’s the time of blue and white starlight, of saying goodbye to the old and hello to the new, of brushing away all of the clutter and trouble of the past and boldly stepping into the future. There have been some years that I haven’t even put up a tree until after Christmas—and then it was decorated specifically for New Year’s Eve. (It should be noted, I do NOT have children.  I don’t think I could pull that off with a family gathered round!) My ornaments sometimes are sparkling lights and bulbs—and sometimes small wisps of papers with wishes and dreams written on them. New Year’s Eve is about everything the glimmers – hopes, dreams, stars, the future, renewal and possibilities.

Over the years, I’ve attempted my share of New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve tried the diet (that… worked well), giving up red wine (see diet, above) and being a better person (almost impossible if you're also dieting and giving up wine, in case anyone's wondering). But I’ve learned that for me, New Year’s isn’t about what I need to cut out of my life, it’s about what positive things I can add to my life—the new goals, dreams, and possibilities that I am willing to open myself to, at the bright shiny start of a New Year.

So what are my New Year’s "Resolutions" for 2013?

1. Write Full Time

I am lucky enough to be a debut author in 2013, with my historical YA novel, MAID OF SECRETS, coming out in May. (Go, Meg!) But one sale alone does not a full-time author make. I’m also a freelancer who is blessed with as much work as I can handle (and, apparently, I can handle a lot). In 2013, I make the shift to writing full time.

2. Become a Better Author

If I’ve learned nothing else this past year, it’s that I have so much more to learn about writing—the craft, marketing, managing time, all of it. In order to succeed in this venture, I have to become savvier about how I spend my time… and how I choose to improve. This means that in 2013, I read more good books, watch more good movies, and write more good stories.

3. Dream Bigger

Like many women and girls who were successful early in a world that wasn’t always supportive of that accomplishment, I learned to be quiet about my dreams and goals, to not shout them from the rooftops or dance with them around a crowded room. Along the way, I gradually became quiet about my goals on the inside as well, until they became barely a whisper in my own heart. Now that I’m all grown up, I’ve learned that I can shine forth through my actions, and proclaim my goals fiercely even if I never say a word. In 2013, I dream without boundaries, and remember to live those dreams every day.

4. Love more

Love is one of those unique gems—the more you share it, the more brilliantly it glows. So much of the “have tos” and “musts” in life come down to just trying to love others a tiny bit more, or even to love myself more. Everyone can use a touch more caring, it seems, particularly in today’s stressful world. So in 2013, I love a little more—and express that love in creative and meaningful ways.

Well, that’s me—but what about you?? Do you love New Year’s Eve or is it your most hated holiday… or does it fall somewhere in between? Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions that you’d like to share?


Melissa Landers said...

OMG, Jenn, I'm an "I will not leave early" person, too! Especially when it comes to crowded and/or noisy events. I'd much rather be at home.

I don't do resolutions, but I definitely need to work on achieving a work-life balance. But I'll have to tackle that goal next year, because right now I'm too busy. ;)

Lorie Langdon said...

I love the idea of making New Year's resolutions about what we should do, instead of what we shouldn't do!
I'm going to make some specific resolutions around weekly word count goals, growing my writing skills, and not being ashamed that I'm a 100% grade-A Dreamer!
Awesome post, Jenn!

Kimberly said...

What a great post, Jennifer!
Welcome to Honestly YA! I'm very much aboard your resolution train. I will work towards achieving goals rather than limiting myself with the things that I can't have. :-)
I will work harder to treat my writing like a job and not like a hobby. It's hard to do that around people who think of it as my hobby. Like when friends call and ask if I'm busy and I say I'm writing. Their response? "Oh, cool. I'll come over and hang out." Like writing is just something for me to do when I'm bored. :-)
I, too, will love better this coming year.
I love your attitude about resolutions. Happy New Year to you!

Jennifer McGowan said...

Hey you guys, thanks for stopping by!

Melissa, you just remember to stick by me at the next crowded event. I'll be the one who's scoped out the nearest Exit. :)

Lorie, you better dream big... because big is happening to you in 2013!

And Kimberly, I *love* your comment about "Oh, cool. I'll come over and hang out." I had a friend say that to me once, then get upset because the sound of me typing was "distracting". Ermmmm...

Happy New Year!

SherylKaleo said...

So happy to hear things are doing well for you.

I used to never be able to do New Years resolution, and I couldn't understand why. Then I realized that it's because I'm always setting goals anyways. Now I have a lot more fun doing them, I just start calling them New Years resolutions back in November. :D

Congrats, Jenn!

It's been a pleasure reading the Honestly YA blog and now it's about to become more so.

Looking forward to reading everyone's posts in the New Year - and If I don't get to say it before then -- Happy New Year!

Sheryl Kaleo

Pintip said...

Hi Jenn! Sorry I'm a little late to the party. I love the idea of decorating your tree with little wisps of paper of your dreams and goals! Now that I would love to see!
I also really like your attitude towards resolutions. I've been spending a lot of time this fall directing my energies toward thinking positively. It was a little difficult at first (I think your brain gets wired into thinking a certain way), but I've discovered it can make life so much more pleasant. So my resolution this new year is to continue my journey (in writing and in life) with positivity, to celebrate and embrace each day, AND to assume the most favorable interpretation of other people's intentions.
Great post and happy new year!

CareyCorp said...

Welcome Jenn! So glad to have you here. I know I'm a week late to the party. But I loved this post - especially the last resolution. As they say in the corporate world, I'm going to share and reapply!

I always start my New Year's Resolutions before Christmas because I believe identifying the need to make a change is a call to action. I never got the period of passivity between making resolutions and enacting them - as if the New Year were a magical catalyst to better will power or something... What is more magical or powerful than wanting something different for your life and starting the process of bringing it to fruition immediately? I say why procrastinate? Change is now and each day can be the start of a new year.

Jennifer McGowan said...

What fun to come back and see everyone's posts, and remind myself that resolutions don't have to wait for a special day, but can be meaningful every day that you remember to take a step toward them. I can't wait to see what the new year has in store for everyone!

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