105 Ways to Give a Book

National Delurking Week II

DelurkThanks to those who commented yesterday and kicked off National Delurking Week. I truly appreciated your congratulations on behalf of my daughter, and I loved reading about the things that were making January great for you. In fact, I’m going to continue with the positivity theme with today’s delurking topic: What’s your resolution or goal or motto for the year?

For me, 2009 was a crappy year. I hate to even say that, because I can’t negate the big, wonderful things in my life. My family is generally healthy, financially comfortable, and amazingly connected. We all support each other in our individual ventures, do a lot of things together, and simply enjoy each other’s company. I feel blessed and lucky and grateful. But.

If there ever were a year where I felt cursed in a death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts kind of way, 2009 was it. Nothing was devastating, but nothing was easy either. I lucked into someone who would look at my picture book manuscript — and she left that job. I hoped to be more involved in the Junior Girl Scout troop, and had the whole thing dumped in my lap in September. I made peace with losing my job in June, to find out that additional budget cuts mean that I am never getting it back.

And it was my whole family that went through this craptastic year. Bill was promoted in his job, to find himself swamped with meetings and leading a department in an era of belt-tightening. He was thrilled to participate in the International Shootout, but it would be the one time that we lost valuable equipment. The fifth grader got a terrible, homework-obsessed teacher. The teen had her iPod stolen. It was like this all year. I’m not going into all of this for sympathy, but to set the stage for my 2010 motto:

Clean Slate.

You see, with so much going wrong it became hard to do anything at all. Everything felt tainted with history, baggage, failure. But what if I approached things this year without guilt or annoyance or despair? Instead of berating myself for not answering those emails, I could just answer them — or delete them and let it go. Instead of blaming someone else for not being organized with my troop, I could just set the time aside to get things together. Instead of being paralyzed by what to do with my manuscript, I could just send it out.

It’s come to me in this year of “growth” that much of what holds us back is in what we won’t release. The tasks themselves are often less onerous than what we bring to them. Guilt. Blame. Anxiety. Doubt. Discouragement. We can’t banish these feelings, but maybe we can push them aside once in a while. Backtrack where we have to, but without issues. Let go when possible, without remorse. Start over when we can, without fear. Look at tasks and relationships differently, as if they were fresh.

What could I accomplish with a Clean Slate?

How about you?

20 comments:

Jaymie said...

The last few years I have done Ali Edwards thing of choosing a word for the year. For 2010 I chose "savor." I want to be more intentional about being in the moment when I am with other people, savoring moments with my family, with my son, etc.

Hoping the best for your Clean Slate year!

Jim said...

I don't like to make resolutions, but I gotta say I pretty much rocked last year. So my motto this year is to ROCK HARDER. Or as Tracy Jordon said on 30 Rock, "Live every week like it's Shark Week!"

Terry Doherty said...

Is it irony or fate tapping me on the shoulder since I read your post right after Andrea's post about releasing resentment? I'm thinking the latter. Thanks for the kick in the you-know-what, MR.

Infant Bibliophile said...

I usually don't come up with new year's resolutions, but I really would like to try to get my house in better shape, with some sort of cleaning system that works for me rather than just letting it get so cluttered that I can't stand it and then cleaning like a mad woman before company comes over. :) I developed a system in December, tried it out, it worked great, and then I dropped it when the holidays hit. A clean slate is a nice idea too.

Kristi(e) said...

Every year I always make a resolution to work on/finish (heck--start) my novel so this year I'm going to resolve NOT to even begin it. What better way to ensure it actually gets done by placing a DO-NOT-STOUCH-THE-RED-BUTTON aura about it?

P.s. Or as Tracy Jordan said on 30 Rock, "Live every week like it's Shark Week!" AGREED.

Sherry said...

I'm going with the one word thing, too: Joy. I've got to regain my capacity for deep, honest joy and not let anything or anyone steal it away.

Hannah said...

I have never been very athletic and haven't run more than a half mile at a time in years, so one of my goals this year is to run a 5K. I'd like to be able to at least run the Race for the Cure 5K next fall in honor of my sister's successful battle against breast cancer.

Here's to a better 2010! I like your motto. Onward and upward!

Peaceful Reader said...

I live this all the time...my washing machine broke two days after Christmas for example. Some years are better than others for sure. Hopefully, positive thoughts will help your clean slate start!!

Sondy at Sonderbooks said...

Mother Reader, I'm a Fairfax County librarian, and so will probably be losing my job due to those same new budget cuts. Meanwhile, my not-yet-divorced husband is retiring from the military, hasn't found a job yet, and is cutting child support. So my goal for the year is not to be afraid! And hope for a new adventure that isn't homelessness! I'm also planning to spend at least 30 minutes per day working on my middle-grade novel. Last year, I shot for 15 minutes per day and only missed a dozen or so. I hope that this year, I'll get one finished to send out.

Jennie said...

Ergh. I just found out at lunch today that Fairfax is cutting people yet again. It's so sad.

This summer I adopted a friend's motto of "I have awesome problems" because, when it boils down to it, my life is pretty good and most people would kill for my "problems."

My big goal this year is "laugh more, worry less" I've been thinking a lot about all the worry and stress I had in high school and college because THIS PAPER MUST BE PERFECT BY 8am TOMORROW! When, looking back, in the long run? Getting some sleep and turning the paper in a day late would probably have been a better option. And I wonder, what in my life now am I treating the same way?

EM said...

My resolution this year (besides getting the Boy to POOP ON THE EFFING POTTY ALREADY) is to stop hating on my children so much. (Crap. I already broke it in that first sentence, didn't I.) I get a little embarrassed that other mom friends of mine seem so much more delighted by raising their kids than I do mine.

And Pam, I would love to look at your picture book manuscript. FB me for address.

Caroline said...

My resolution is to be better at keeping in touch: return calls, initiate calls, answer email more promptly, send letters and cards in the mail...and delurk once in a while!

But that was before Jim brought Shark Week back to my attention...I might have to rethink things!

3T said...

My old college friend Rob has a great philosophy for New Year resolutions: set yourself up to succeed. This year, his resolution is to eat more salsa, and he reports that he is already doing very well with it. Myself, i think the way he attacks things with a sense of humor and perspective makes for a pretty good resolution in itself.

Melissa said...

I actually hadn't given much thought to this before I read though the comments. I think, right now off the top of my head, I want to be more focused. Some of it is enjoying the moment when I'm with the people I'm with, but some of it is just not being so scatterbrained about things.

That, and I want to be a better friend. I could work on that...

Colleen said...

It's kind of funny but my first resolution for this year was "no more dead dog books". It sounds lame but sort of exemplifies a lot of how I feel about life in general. Why punish myself with something I know is going to make me feel bad? I don't care if it's the book of a lifetime (or movie or tv show or gathering or whatever) if it has a dead dog moment in it then I'm not playing. It's just not worth it!

I also like Jaymie's one word idea. I'm going to go with "persevere" because 2009 had some moments that brought me to my knees and sometimes, you just need to keep standing and that is enough.

Kris said...

I would like to enjoy the litle things in life, and not always stress out. I stress out way too often. :)

laurasalas said...

Wonderful post!

My motto this year is DO NOTHING! I'm trying to find 15 minutes every day to do absolutely nothing except let my mind wander with no goal in mind.

Ack--it's hard. This is the second year I'm trying it.

Good luck with Clean Slate! Great motto!

Jone said...

I like your motto, it is what the new year brings. I hope 2010 is better for you.
My Motto for writing: revise.polish.send.
My personal motto: find joy each day. live gratefully.

Rebecca said...

I was very happy to see the end of 2009. That rotten year held a lot of painful situations, both personally and professionally. But, on the positive side, I made significant steps toward a new career. Already, 2010 is looking better!

My New Year's goals are simple: positivity, productivity, and being more considerate.

Janet said...

I want to try to "keep on swimming" like Dorie, the wise yet clueless fish in "Finding Nemo."

And to be more joyful!