A New Year, A New Start

Several days ago I was listing all the unfinished projects I had to a friend and I was pretty appalled at how long the list was. From a rug I started hooking when I worked in a department store as a teenager, to my latest NaNo novel - it seems to be a recurring pattern in my life. So this year's theme is going to be to finish what I start.

This is one of the reasons I spent the last two days cleaning out my craft closet. (You can see what a monumental task it was in Friday's post.) One of my goals for the year is to make more time for things I used to enjoy doing, like crafts, and to do this I have to be able to get at my craft supplies. However, other than the odd Christmas ornament, I will try not to start any new projects until I've cleared away some of the ones I've started but never finished.

I have a cardigan I started knitting for myself years ago - it'll be beautiful . . . if it ever gets finished. I have a couple of dresses and a skirt that I cut out but never started to sew. I have two quilt tops that need to be turned into quilts - one is a three little kitten themed quilt that I made my daughter when she was little. She's married now.

But crafts aren't the only thing that needs to get finished. I have stories. I have many, many stories. I have many, many stories that are not finished. I have five novels that are "not quite done" - six if you count Magical Misfire (it needs to be edited). Time to get these finished as well.

So yes, the theme for this year is Finish What You Start. But I also have a few goals as well:

Make a schedule and stick to it.
One of the pitfalls of working from home is that it's too easy to get distracted or put things off or just be a lazy sot because watching Mary Tyler Moore and Rhoda is much more fun than actually writing anything. :-)

As I said in my Friday wrap-up post, Organization Queen Jamie DeBree helped me draft a schedule for my daily activities and while I did start to refine it, I didn't follow it long enough to really stick to it when I lost my focus during NaNo and then the holidays. So I want to get back on track with a schedule which will help me be more productive.

Write on a regular basis.
I was going to just include this in the schedule, but it's important enough to deserve its own header. I am a writer. I have the books to prove it. Do I write every day? Of course I do. So does everyone - emails, Facebook messages, texting . . . But I haven't been writing much outside of what I have to in the last couple of months. Even NaNo is more of a have to than a want to - yes is voluntary and it was my choice to sign up, but once I started it became more of an obligation to finish. So I want to write every day - at least 500 words and something other than a story for my writer's group or an installment for a serial or a flash fiction for a blog post. Maybe it'll be a journal post, maybe a short story, maybe I'll start a new novel. But it'll be something without the pressure of having to get it done.

Organize my stuff.
I have a lot of stuff. I have way too much stuff. I need to get rid of some stuff. I also need to find stuff when I want to use it. I've already started on this one by taking two days to clean out and re-organize my craft closet. It doesn't really look much better than it did before, but I've got everything in plastic bins now and it's all organized so I can find stuff. I guess the bins take up more room than the boxes and bags because even though I got rid of a lot of stuff (I'll have to remember to take a picture for Friday's post) there isn't any extra room in that closet.

The craft closet was just the start. I also need to sort through the stuff in my art supply closet (yes, I have a second storage closet for art supplies), my work room, my office, and my clothes closet. And the hubby and I need to finish going through the stuff on the shelves in the basement, maybe even the corner by the freezer that has basically turned into the mountain of junk.

Waste less time on games and mindless surfing.
This is one of the purposes of the schedule. While a little time spent playing games to relax is okay, I tend to start playing one of those mindless games like Mahjong or start doing jigsaw puzzles at National Geographic and before I know it it's 3 a.m. and I don't have my post for tomorrow written.

Get physical.
This will probably be the hardest of my goals to achieve. I'll admit it right now - exercise is not one of my favourite things to do. I didn't mind walking in the nicer weather, and I don't exactly hate using the exercise bike, but these things don't really do it for me when it comes to getting in shape or losing weight. So I need to step it up and use one of my many exercise CDs or the rowing machine or something that will give me a better work out. I might even sign up with one of those online thing-a-ma-jigs that keep track of your progress. :-)

Healthier eating.
I was doing really well with this earlier last year, but the last few months I've slipped badly. I have Type II Diabetes so it's important for me to eat healthy and space out my meals better.

Better sleeping habits.
This kind of goes with the eating thing. The last few months I've been staying up extra late and then sleeping in early so I'll skip breakfast and have brunch instead and end up doing a lot of snacking. And it's not even a matter of getting to bed earlier, really, it's a matter of waking up and its cold and dark and it's not like I have anywhere to go so what difference does it make if I take another 15 minutes or an hour to stay warm and cosy in bed? See? Another pitfall of working at home.

Make time for reading and crafts.
I have learned that sometimes it's a good idea to take a break from writing/editing. Especially when you say you're writing or editing but what you're really doing is playing solitaire or Mahjong or Bubble Blast on the internet. So when I feel the urge to take a break, I want to pick up my Kindle or a tree book, or my bag of crocheting or knitting instead. Time spent not writing/editing doesn't have to be wasted to be relaxing.

I'm sure I'll come up with a few more idea as the year progresses, but if I can accomplish these goals in 2013 I'll consider it a year well lived. :-)


Jamie D. said...

Excellent list. :-) Here's a link you might want to check out: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/

And I'm not even spamming you with that, just helping. LOL

Hooray for relaxing with crafts, instead of computer time, eh? I need to work on that particular thing myself...

Here's to a most organized and prolific new year! :-)

Dolly said...

Excellent list, Carol :-) I wish you a very productive 2013.

Leona said...

Carol - this is a great list and one of the ways that I can use my time better is to avoid reinventing things - so I am going to latch onto your list. After all, you are one of my role models.

Southpaw said...

that's a good list and whole (if you know what I mean).

C R Ward said...

Thank you everyone!

I might have to do a quarterly report on how I'm doing on my goals, just so you know I'm not just all talk. :-)