Sunday, 10 May 2009
Any excuse for another clip of Robert Downey Jr dancing, but today's the first day of our six week countdown to summer, and it sounds like a lot of us will be working on getting our groove back just as he did :) When the six weeks runs until is up to you - those of us with kids have UK half term 25th May - 31st so I'm allowing an extra week as nothing will get done then, and plan to have achieved my three goals by 28th June. As the old saying goes 'you will never change your life until you change something you do daily'. This is a chance to think about what you want to do more and less of. Each Sunday will be a chance to check in on each other's progress, share tips, advice, celebrate, commiserate and decide on our mini-goals for the coming week.
Hopefully it's going to be fun. I don't know about you but I have just had it with feeling things are beyond my control, so instead of throwing a Violet Elizabeth 'it's not fair!' tantrum I'm going to work on what I can do right now. I'm tired, and tired of waiting for change. Working in a group is a proven recipe for success, so together I reckon we can do a lot. If you don't want to share your goals in today's comments, you don't have to but it might make you even more determined. For the record here are mine:
1) EASY apply for my MA Creative writing. Well - applying is easy, being accepted is another thing. I've wanted to do this for over ten years. It's going to take three years part time evening study but it's the only way I can do it while caring for a young family, and I reckon it might keep me out of trouble and my hand on the page while I'm waiting for publishers to regain their interest in debut authors :) There's still so much I want to learn about writing, and as Carol Ann Duffy the new, (and first ever female) Poet Laureate is the creative director I reckon Manchester is the most interesting place in the country to study right now.
2) MID how many fitness DVDs have you got at home? If, like me, you believe you will obtain abs of steel by some magical osmosis simply because you have bought the latest pilates disk, you are in good company. My goal is to get back to exercising everyday (pilates, yoga, long hikes with the hound :) Writer's ass is an occupational hazard for all of us who spend hours slumped in front of the desk. I gave the pilot Haruki Murakami's new book about running yesterday - he wrote 'pain is inevitable, suffering optional'. Mm - maybe leave off the marathons for the first week eh?
3) HARD I'm going to start writing my first entirely new book in years. Each of the previous three had their roots in ideas going back ten years or so. This is something new, and I'm really excited by it. I'm aiming for 2000 words a day, and by the end of the six weeks want a partial ready to submit. Who cares if publishers aren't taking risks right now - they will eventually, and I want to be ready. I believe in my work, and know I'll work my backside off to make a success of it when I get that break. In the meantime I'm going to have some fun writing the best book I can right now.
So - over to you. What have you all got planned? I'm definitely more of a carrot than a stick type person so today as you're planning your goals and mini-goals, why don't you focus on the resources you have to hand that can help you (the people, books, videos, art materials, whatever), and the rewards you are going to give yourself as you achieve each goal. One of my favourite quotes is 'effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit'. Six weeks. What is there to lose? Nothing - and if we keep going one word, one step at a time there is everything to gain.
TODAY'S PROMPT: As you plot out your three major goals for the next six weeks, you could take Susie's great advice and choose easy, medium and hard goals. I'd recommend pencilling off part of your journal or diary to focus on your goals - somehow just putting your plans down in black and white makes your resolve stronger. Try and make your goals positive: 'I want to be fit and slim for summer' rather than 'I don't want to be hiding behind a windbreak on the beach'. Write yourself some affirmations - visualise, use that writerly imagination for your own good for a change. Write yourself a mission statement: 'I, x, am ...' Put everything you want in the present tense. See, and imagine how good you will feel at the end of six weeks if you hit your targets. And if you are planning to lose weight, keeping a food journal of what you eat (as boring as it is), and to plan your meals is one of the best ways to do it. Whatever you want to achieve, each Sunday plan out a couple of mini-goals for the week that will take you closer to your big goal. We're talking baby steps - one choice, one action at a time. The idea of 'progress not perfection' is relevant when you're aiming at any big goal. Estes talked about how it is not the single act but a continuation of those small acts that achieves the goal: as she said, 'Water drips through stone'. Have a great week, and I can't wait to hear about your goals.