Saturday, January 1, 2011

Goals, Writerly and Otherwise, for 2011

Happy New Year! We had a peaceful evening, and I had a good rest. Yesterday we went to Michaels to stock up on Christmas cards for next year (yes, I know, I have yet to send out cards for this year; I'm beginning to think it might not happen) and to use our 40% off coupon on the very last day that we could use it (I'm seeing a procrastination theme here). We came home with the coolest thing--this device, cardboard over a tiny light that essentially transforms a darkened room into a planetarium. Through the years we've experimented with transporting the night sky into a dark room, with varying degrees of success. This planetarium like thing is the most successful yet--and we only spent $6!

All this by way of saying that we spent a chunk of time on New Year's Eve lying on our backs, enchanted by the faux night sky. It was a delightful way to spend New Year's Eve, far better than trying to be happy at a huge party (I'm not good at that) or some community gathering.

But here we are, in the still-shadowed light of morning, and it's time to think about what I want to accomplish this year. Tomorrow, I'll focus on reading, both my 2010 reading list and my 2011 reading list. And tomorrow marks the debut of what may become a regular feature on this blog and my theology blog: the book give-away. Each week, I'll post the book I'm giving away, and people who want to enter the drawing will have a week to post a comment. I'll be mailing the posted book and a surprise book each week. Which leads me to my first goal (or suggestion, a term Kelli Russell Agodon gives us here).


We've lived in this house for 12 years. Twelve years!!! How is this possible? Anyway, gone are the days when we moved every year, which exhausting though it may be, does force one to sort through one's stuff. So, this year, it's time to sort through stuff, particularly my bookcases. I'm holding on to many books that I know I will never read again, books that I don't particularly care about possessing. It's time to set some of my stuff free!

Writing Goals

Let me just capture them here:

--Write in my paper journal once a week.

--Continue blogging and being open to new blogging opportunities.

--Write a poem a week: Let me define what I mean by poem, which is not what I meant yesterday, when I created my accomplishments list. I want a poem a week that is as finished as I can make it.

--Continue to send out submissions, both of manuscripts and individual poems.

--Write the short stories that my linked collection will need. Do the revising of the existing stories that the linked collection will need. Have the linked collection finished by this time next year.

--Book Promotion: I'm seeing this year's AWP as a practice run for next year (this year's AWP isn't as scary, because I have family in the area and I know the city and feel confident about my ability to use public transit). I will force myself to go to Chicago in 2012, I will force myself to promote my chapbook.

Other ways of book promotion: making bookmarks. Making business cards. Creating order forms. Remembering to carry those with me. Creating a video promotion series for the book. Sending out additional postcards.

I should also start to think in terms of lining up readings. Will this be the year that my mom and I complete our goal/dream of doing a poetry and organ presentation? My mom is one of the best musicians I know.

--Other projects: I'd like to work on some book-length projects that my mom and I have been discussing, theology books and/or worship books for small children. Could we do it? We have an audience with my sister's child. He won't be our target age group much longer.

Creative Goals

--Collaging. I'd like to have one day a month where I experiment with old-fashioned collage (by which I mean cutting up magazines and pasting).

--More bread baking.


--learn to make better sound recordings. Perhaps it is time to invest in some equipment?

--learning to make better sound recordings would help me create better book promotion videos and videopoems.

Personal Improvement

--Weight Loss: In early October, one of our spin instructors offered us an opportunity to try to lose 10 pounds before Christmas. She would take our measurements at the beginning, and we'd weigh in each week. I had some trepidations about this (particularly the weigh-ins, which I worried would be shaming and would drive me to eat more), but I signed up. I lost just under 10 pounds in 10 weeks! I'd like to see if I could lose 10 pounds every quarter of 2011. I'd like to continue to be more mindful of my eating--and my drinking, which may do more to derail me than my eating. I was successful in cutting in half the amount of sugar I use in my coffee during 2010 (I used to routinely drink 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar in a day's worth of coffee--now it's half that). And during the 10 pounds in 10 weeks process, I was successful in being mindful about my wine consumption. I don't want to eliminate--just be watchful.

--Add more fruits and veggies. Some weeks I'm good at consuming plenty of fruits and veggies. Other weeks, not so much. I'd like to continue to do things that work: a fruit smoothie for breakfast, a V8 juice during the day, baby carrots carried with me for snacks, veggie soups for meals in the office, desserts that help me with my more fruits/veggies goal (pumpkin bread, apple crisp, pumpkin pudding, berry crumbles).

--Exercise: I've gotten a bit off track in the last few weeks. I'd like to get back to doing a bit of strength training, and to exercise on Tuesdays and Thursdays (running, ideally, but walking will be fine too). I've been good at going to spin class on MWF (and Saturdays, when I'm in town). I plan to continue to do that.


I talked about my spiritual goals for 2011 at this post on my theology blog.


--I'd like to be more present in my relationships with people. I feel distracted and disrupted. I want to be more attentive.

--I want to be like that TSA agent, who greeted everyone with such joy and enthusiasm in the Baltimore airport on the morning of Dec. 29. I especially want to exhibit this trait in the workplace. I want to be patient, but so much more, I want to see the value in each human who crosses my path--and I want each human to leave an encounter with me feeling any one of the following: enriched, helped, listened to, respected, engaged . . .

Closing Thoughts

I fear I've made too many goals, listed too many suggestions. But it's good to have them written down in one place. It will be good to return, good to check on my progress. And, as with my reading goals, I expect to be surprised by accomplishing things that aren't on this list, and to toss out some things that once seemed important, but may be eclipsed by other needs and goals.

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