New Year's Resolutions

I like the following description of the new year. It's a sentiment that could probably be attributed to a lot of different people, but since I heard it this week on This American Life I'll simply attribute it to Ira Glass. In the introduction to this week's episode he described the end of the year as a time where "...lots of people take stock of who they've been and make resolutions about who they want to be…"

As we get ready to begin 2015, I guess I'm more interested in writing about the end of 2013 than the end of 2014….because the latter couldn't have happened the way it did without the former.

Eventually I'll get to my resolutions for 2015, if for no other reason than accountability - making it clear to all of you what I hope to accomplish in the year ahead, so that in a year I can look back at what I said here and determine whether the year was a success or not.

Because that's what we're about to do for 2014.

Taking Stock Of Who I've Been

I didn't have a huge problem with who I was a year ago. I was just really focused on who I wanted to be.

If you remember, last year at this time I was wrapping up '365 New Things In 2013'. The gist of New Thing #364 was to carry the spirit of "trying new things" into 2014, and in particular one thing that I had wanted to do the whole year (well, for longer than that…more like 15 years) that I didn't do: 

Two of the biggest missed New Thing opportunities involved getting on stage - In 2014 I need to try stand-up and/or try storytelling. Those are two things I wanted to make priorities this year but they just haven't worked with my schedule.

I'd still like to try storytelling at some point, but I feel great about the fact that I finally stopped making excuses about not doing stand-up and just did it. (My schedule change certainly helped, but in the past I didn't try hard enough to make it work within my schedule.) I'm still new at the game, but I've made great progress since I first took the stage and I look forward to continuing to progress in the new year. More on that momentarily.

My last New Thing in 2013 didn't start happening until late in 2014. I told you about the process of starting to write my book in my last blog entry. The update here is that the first draft of the book is written, and I hope to spend the first week of 2015 finishing my revisions and printing out a second draft.

I'm proud of myself. I've thought a lot about getting to this point with a book, and this is the first time I've acted on it.

But I know I still have a long way to go.

 This is what a first draft of a book looks like. At least, it's what the first draft of my book looks like.

This is what a first draft of a book looks like. At least, it's what the first draft of my book looks like.

Resolutions About Who I Want To Be

How do I build on such a great 2014? Well, making money would be a good start. I guess I have a couple of goals for 2015:

*Get published. Obviously, the book would be publishing option number one. My immediate homework, besides revising the book, is to get an idea of how to go about publishing a book. But I expect that will take a while, and in the meantime I would like to build up some kind of writing portfolio. I have an idea about a parenting article that I'd like to write…I'm not sure whether I should write it and then shop it around or look for interest and then write it, but I'll work on that right after I finish the second draft of the book and hopefully I can get into some kind of magazine or newspaper before the warm weather hits.

I also have other story ideas - the original historical fiction book I thought I was going to write, other history ideas that aren't fully fleshed out - so I might be able to begin book number two before book number one gets published.

But that publishing piece is THE hurdle to leap in 2015. I suppose there's always the self-publishing route, but I'd feel a lot better about my success as a writer if some publisher got behind my work and put it out into the world.

*Get paid for comedy. I think soon I'll be writing a full entry on my comedy exploits. I've set mini goals for myself since I started in July, and I'm off to a good start in meeting those goals. At the end of January I have a 5-minute set at a legit comedy club. It'll be my first non-open mic comedy experience and I'm really excited about it. I think once I get past that I'll reflect on my first six months or so of comedy and update you, but I want to use that as a jumping-off point to getting paid in some way for my stand-up work. I know there are opportunities out there, and I think I'm good enough to make some kind of money from those opportunities.

I've never much been one for New Year's resolutions. I've made quiet little promises to myself to try and better myself in the new year (to try to curse less, for example, or to try to be a better person in general), but they haven't been all that measurable in practice. (And I like to curse.) And lately my new year activities have been "writing challenges" more than "resolutions" - 365 status updates in 365 days, 365 New Things In 2013…last year was really the first year I made promises to myself that I've kept. Promises that have helped me be who I want to be.

Here's hoping 2015 is as good to me as the second half of 2014 has been.