It is easy to dream big, throw all the ideas into the air and see what catches on the breeze.
It is easy to create a list of things so you can tick them off one by one.
It is easy to outline what you want to achieve in a given time frame.
Over the years I have become adept at having clear goals and foci for the year (with a little bit of flexibility for frivolity), but often lacking in the execution to complete them.
Amongst all the “Do’s” is one important thing that creative people forget.
It’s NOT doing something.
There is something I WON’T be doing in 2014.
I won’t be faffing about, stuffing around, wasting time or procrastinating.
A writer (and any other creative type of person) requires discipline and diligence to achieve her or his goals.
And I suck at it.
But I’m getting better. I need people around me who will, in the most loving way possible, kick me in the bum with a pair of steel-capped boots.
I may even take to tying a piece of rope around my ankle, bring it over my shoulder and pull quickly to kick myself in the bum. Self-discipline at its finest.
In order to achieve my established goals and projects for the year I won’t be procrastinating or wasting time or faffing around.
To conceptualise it further, and concentrate it like undiluted red cordial: DISCIPLINE.
What I will be doing in 2014 is GETTING SH*T DONE (I’m not normally a sweary person, but there’s something satisfying in this phrase).
In order to move towards our set goals and targets, we have to let things go, abandon projects or say “No” to opportunities if they are not bringing us closer to our dreams and visions.
I saw my early years as a form of writing apprenticeship. I read blogs, articles on story structure and craft. I wrote flash fiction almost every week (and the results are here on the blog – you, too, can read my beginning efforts and laugh at it). I wrote for a website about writing. I soaked up any experience I could get my hands on, including learning how to edit by being edited ruthlessly.
I am at a place where I think my apprenticeship is completed. I have not finished learning; learning is continual. I have the tools to write and I will still read blogs on the craft of writing to sharpen those tools. Even if they are often thrown higgledy-piggley into a bag, and I understand what each one does, it is now my responsibility to become a master of the tools. Which will mean taking better care and organising them correctly.
And I am learning what NOT to do.
I am no longer posting flash fiction to the blog. In the early stages, I posted my first attempts here and I spent time reading other people’s stories. I enjoyed it and I learned. But I am focused on becoming a novelist; I am reserving fiction for sale. I am writing to be published.
The writing I do post here is the practical application of my posts about living a creative life. Hence, Post It Note Poetry and Post It Note Philosophy, micropoetry and twitfic are examples of living a creative life.
I won’t be wasting time in 2014 so I can get sh*t done.
What will you NOT be doing this year?