Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Goals for 2012

I was fortunate enough to spend New Year in a friend's caravan in the Lake District. It's a rather cosy place and I spent most of my time reading books and pondering the year ahead. Five resolutions seemed to work for me last year so here are my resolutions for 2012:

1. To start running again and enrol in a 10k run event

As I was writing my last check in post of 2011, I remembered how much I enjoyed running. It's a real shame I seemed to have ground to halt especially when I was doing reasonably well. In February I plan to join a local gym (gyms in January are like the special circle of hell reserved for unfit fuckers like me) and re-start the Couch to 5k program. A friend suggested that I enrol in a running event and, to add on the pressure, raise money for a charity of my choice. This seems to be a popular suggestion featuring in many articles discussing running and the motivation to keep going. I'm toying with entering a 10k that takes place in June (that requires a bit more research) and raising funds for the Scottish SPCA. Now I just need to remember which corner of my wardrobe my running shoes are currently hiding in.

2. To continue doing morning pages every day 

Another activity that fell by the wayside upon the arrival of New Job. Morning pages are an activity suggested by Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way. The idea is that, upon waking each morning, you immediately write three pages of.... well anything you like. This allows all the flotsam and jetsam of your mind to escape and, hopefully, opens up the creative taps.

I did enjoy doing my morning pages. They got me up half an hour early and, despite most pages being utter dribble, meant I was still writing every day. This compliments goal no. 3 which is

3. To stick to my weekly schedules 

One bad habit university taught me is that I could produce a 2:1 standard essay in the space of a week. Unfortunately this doesn't always translate well to long term projects or the workplace. Part of my plans for this year include taking my writing more seriously; treating it like, well, a job. New Job requires me to work approximately 3 days a week. That frees up an extra 2 days a week to work on my writing as well as enjoying a 'weekend'. I've worked at the weekend since I was sodding seventeen. I deserve to enjoy having a 'weekend' that isn't based around which shifts I'm working that week.

I'm also trying to work out a way of blocking any Internet and television access on my writing days. I do have a small writing space in my bedroom (photograph to follow when I've cleared it up a bit) that is far away from any links to the outside world. On days I need to work on the computer I shall simple pull the plug on the Internet. Stay tuned.

4. To avoid getting into music ruts 

This is partly based on a drunken conversation with Him Indoors in the early hours of 2012. I can listen to the same Spotify playlist for months on end whilst he is constantly seeking out new music. Some nostalgia for gigs gone past resulted in us searching Spotify for Franz Ferdinand, Cooper Temple Clause, El Presidente and what I like to call 'Obscure Shouty Guitar Stuff Him Indoors Listens To.'

My Creative Zen died a messy death in November. To compensate for its loss, I subscribed to Spotify via my Blackberry. This allowed me to download playlists to listen to when I was out and about. This musical freedom should have resulted in me waxing lyrical about aural pleasures. Instead I've been listening to the same playlist for two months. This one in case you're interested.

In order to make more use of this blog, I shall choose one artist a month to write a blog post about. Even if they're extremely uncool. Like this

5) To keep track of the books I read and participate in the Sunday Salon once a month 

In a hungover haze on New Year's Day, I lay on a massive sofa and trawled through Twitter. A common pattern emerging was people posting about their favourite books of 2011. I have a dreadful memory and could name some of the books I read in 2011. But perhaps I read them in 2009? Or was it 2008 I read that one?

If one wants to be a writer, then they must read. There is no "if" or "and" or "but" about it: they must read. Most importantly, they need to remember what they read and whether it was any good or not. This is where the Sunday Salon comes in.

I was introduced to this lovely concept by Alex in Leeds. Each Sunday, across the world, bloggers discuss what they've been reading. Here's the blurb from the website:

Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon get together--at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones--and read. And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs. Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book.
Currently there are over five hundred weekly participants. For a time I did attempt to blog on a regular basis under the Sunday Salon banner. A quick glance at my blog's archive reveals my last post was in 2010. I think it's time to kick start that habit.

So there are my goals for 2012. It's your job to give me a boot up the backside if I'm slacking off, okay?


Vikki said...

I use to do Julas Morning Pages but now I use writing prompts, try to write 1 short story every morning (under 300 words). I'm currently working with The Writers Book of Days by Judy Reeves....it's brilliant :o) But I'll always have a soft spot for Julia Cameron :o)

Ooooo, the Sunday Salon sounds interesting....will go and have a look :o)

Good luck with your resolutions honey


Anonymous said...

Yay for company on the Sunday Salon! I also really like your five goals as they all have that mix of pragmatism and range of experience that's hard to fit into new year's resolutions. :)

(Female) Opinionated Reader said...

@Vikki - That sounds like a good idea. A friend recommended a book called 'The Little Book of Matches.' It contains lots of fiction writing prompts. I'm using the morning pages to exercise my writing muscles before I graduate to my 'Matches' book.

Thank you :)

(Female) Opinionated Reader said...

@alexinleeds - Thank you, those comments mean a lot to me. I felt I fell down with my goals last year because they were far too vague. Here's to 2012: the year of the Sunday Salon (amongst other things!).

Anonymous said...

Hi Carrie, I've just nominated you for a Kreativ Blogger award (one of those pass it on type things but seems harmless and might get us all a few hits - I'm not trying to compel anyone to take part, though!) http://libroediting.com/2012/01/06/kreativ-blogger-awards/

-- Liz

Anonymous said...

Oopsie - copy and paste, that of course said "Hi LAURA" at the beginning!! Sorry!!

(Female) Opinionated Reader said...

@Liz//Libro - No problem. I'm sure we're all guilty of copying and pasting with things like that! Sounds like an interesting meme. I'll try and fit it in before I head off on holiday later this week. Thanks for the heads up (and the mention on Libro's blog!).