Have you ever wondered why everyone makes New Year’s resolutions on January 1st?
What’s so special about January 1st? What’s wrong with June 24th or November 17th or April 3rd? It’s all so arbitrary. If you were truly committed to your resolution, would it matter that you made it on the first day of the year rather than midsummer’s eve?
But “firsts” are seductive like that. I blame the cyclical nature of our calendar for this phenomenon. After all, January 1st is still just the day after December 31st, Monday is still just the day after Sunday, and time marches ever onward without the least concern for how we choose to chop it up into convenient slices. Yet, invariably, the dastardly “firsts” lure us into believing that this time we’ll wipe the slate clean, start anew, and overcome character flaws that have plagued us since the womb.
In my case, the flaw in question is the “P word”–Procrastination, or as I call it, “a Laziness Latte with a double shot of Internet Addiction.” Procrastination is a serious affliction of the giveadamn gland that affects 99.999% of everyone I know. (The outlier is my mother, who is freakishly punctual and only misses deadlines when she forgets about them.)
On this November 1st, I have fallen once again for the firsts’ sorcery.
Maybe it was because of all the NaNoWriMo hype I’ve been seeing on chat forums. I said to myself, “You want to be a published author, don’t you, Kay? You want to live your dream of writing full-time? Then isn’t it about time you started taking your career seriously?
So, here they are, my Even-If-It-Kills-Me Writing Goals:
The Daily Goals
– Write 500 words of original fiction each day.
– Write one post each day for my fanfiction writing group.
The Weekly Goals
– Write one professional blog post each week, to be posted on Tuesday.
– Write one personal blog post each week (that’s this one!), to be posted on Thursday.
– Write one 400-word essay or short story in Chinese each week, to be completed by Saturday.
The Bi-Weekly Goals
– Read one entire book every two weeks.
– Learn a new professional skill every two weeks.
The Monthly Goals
– Complete one original short story each month.
By tomorrow, I am certain the gods will have found some humiliating way of reminding me that I am merely mortal. That’s the usual way of it. Last month, on October 1st, I tempted the gods too sorely and found myself awake in the night, struggling to finish my latest freelance assignment for a 9 a.m. deadline.
11:28 a.m.: My editor wants 750 words out of this story? Seriously?
12:02 a.m.: Why, god, why did I take this job?
12:06 a.m.: Maybe if I go to sleep, it’ll all go away.
5:05 a.m.: It didn’t go away.
5:26 a.m.: It’s not the Magna Carta, Kay. It’s not going to be published in The New York Times. Just write the damn story.
6:30 a.m.: Done. 714 words.
The gods are never cruel without purpose, or so I like to believe. Maybe one of these days I will learn to stop testing their wrath with my cheeky delusions of grandeur. For today, however, I must be done speaking of gods and delusions–I have 500 words of story and a fanfiction post to write.