While everyone else is making resolutions about hitting the gym, what are you doing for yourself and for your craft?
Facing a blank calendar of possibility, it’s worth taking a day to create the quiet you need for the reflection and renewal that a new year deserves.
We make the space
For most of us, we don’t find the time to write – we make it. Likewise, when we need that quiet space to hear ourselves, we won’t find the space. We will have to make it: by conscious solitude as meditation, prayer, immersion in nature or the deep flow of self-expression.
In this quiet space, you can take the time to be intentional. You can hear yourself in the moment, exploring the you of today and tomorrow, instead of the rehashing the person you thought you were supposed to be yesterday, the person living by inertia, the person defined so long ago, when you were a younger, less wise, less forgiving version of yourself.
In the quiet, you can find promise.
I suggest New Year’s Day as the ideal chance to recalibrate and reset your compass. The day of greatest invitation and least regret. On this day, consider who you have been, in order to:
Reassess the things you’ll start, stop, and continue.
Not as a list of to-do items in isolation, but as a collection of ways to express the person you are when you hear yourself.
Feed your soul
You write to feed your soul. Make sure that you don’t lose your soul when you turn that writing into commerce. Do that by adopting one subtle shift in how you approach marketing:
Don’t try to get others’ attention. Go to where they are already paying attention and bring them joy.
Your job is not to persuade others to trust (or even to like) you and your work. Treat your author platform not as a sales channel, but as an opportunity for connection. But not for you – for your readers. Help your audience find like-minded souls (starting with you) by putting your authentic self into the world and giving people the chance to discover it.
And New Year’s Day is the perfect day to rediscover who that person is.
You are not alone, not as a writer nor as a family member nor as a citizen. But you are alone in the role that only you can fulfill: to decide who to be. And you can decide that only when you quiet the world enough to hear your authentic self.
A human being, not a human doing
Resolutions promise what you will do. As if the you of the coming year needs guard rails or cattle prods to be the person you imagine by year’s end. Resolutions are a list of how you could be a better person … if only – a census of your inadequacies.
What if instead of resolutions, you chose not what you will do, but who you will be?
The person who finds joy bringing her stories into the world is different than the person who commands herself to type 1000 words per day.
The generous author who helps his tribe find connection has more opportunity for authenticity than the reluctant book marketer who promises himself to tweet three times per day.
And the person who creates enough quiet to hear herself is more at peace than the one who dutifully lists all of the ways she’s not yet good enough.
The new year is the canvas for designing who you’ll be. What will you paint on yours?
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