New Year, New Leaves

It's that time of year again: that time when I peruse my favorite astrology site to see what the coming year has in store for me. (I also like to study the past year's predictions and see just how close they came to what actually happened in the previous year. It's surprising how often these things are spot-on…) But this year I'll pass. I'm not looking back on last year, because I've agonized over 2014 enough already. I don't recall which planets were aligned, or in retrograde, or hurtling through a particular house in my chart to create such a dismal year. All I know is I kept hoping to catch a break that just didn't want to materialize. So let's try this again, 2015. Once more, with feeling!

Yes, there were bright spots last year, but I was almost too busy to enjoy them. It was a year of fits and false starts, of chaotic work schedules and sleep deprivation--along with some serious self-bullying there in the beginning. (One thing I learned: don't kick off your new year by tallying up the ways you haven't lived up to your own expectations. Bad move. Seriously bad.) But on the plus side, I started working as a park ranger mid-summer in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, and fully intended to record my experiences here--because working in a campground, it turns out, is a lot like living inside a sit-com. But I didn't. No excuses really. I was dead tired after working full time in the park and part-time at an inn. (Lots of stories there, too--like the time someone called thinking we were some kind of relationship-advice hotline. Maybe I'll work them in this year as flashbacks, via #TBT.)

So this year, I am creating some new habits. This is a preemptive maneuver to attract a happier, more fulfilling 2015. I won't call these resolutions, because with me those are doomed to fail. But here's what I've decided needs to happen:

1. Make at least one drawing every day. This is a big one for me. I used to hate the way I draw, so I avoided it. I got around it by being a printmaker. But the truth is, I like making goofy little drawings, and I miss it. When I'm working my various day jobs, things like art-making take a back seat. And they shouldn't, because despite all the wacky hats I wear, I'm an artist. Reading "The Crossroads of Should and Must" also reinforced a few of these ideas for me. (I'll document my daily drawings on my Instagram and Facebook pages. Come see me there!)

2. Submit more work to shows. I was fortunate to be invited to participate in what promises to be a wonderful show at the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking in Atlanta this summer. Now I have to make a heap of new work, but guess what? I haven't made a cohesive body of new work in over a year. I'm a little panicked about being in the midst of a flock of well-known uber-talented artists, but this is just the kind of kick in the pants I need. Aries loves a good challenge, after all. 

3. Practice calligraphy every week. I took my first real class a year and a half ago. I practiced every day for a while, got completely bedeviled by it, and then was lucky to practice some letters once a month. But it's fun. It's relaxing. I don't suck at it. For now, it's become part of the daily drawings.

4. Finish my damn novel(s). Yes, that's technically a plural. I won't disclose how many are saved unfinished on my desktop. I read an article by Catherine Ryan Howard recently that reminded me of how important it is to finish. Also, I really don't want to be a one-hit wonder like Soft Cell and the Divinyls (both of which I have a real soft spot for, by the way--and if I sold ABC books the way they sold singles, I'd be a happy girl). But really, it's time to start behaving like a real writer and submitting like my livelihood depends on it. 

5. Make another vision board. There's something to this law of attraction, I think. But I've got little follow-through with the vision board. Can a Pinterest board work as a vision board? (It's super secret, so no one can view it but me, but I will test this theory and get back to you.) Martha Beck has some helpful advice on starting your own. 

6. Read more. I have dozens of new books waiting to be read. My goal is one per week.

7. Write a post here every week. For real this time. I used to not post on a schedule, because frankly I felt like during some weeks, there just wasn't something happening to me worth talking about on a blog. But I will now look for something each week, and look harder than I did before. 

Further reading: "Why You Can't Rely on a Salary to Get Rich"  on Business Insider and "21 Writer's Residencies" that might provide the perfect getaway for my fellow writers. 

Have some new habits you'd like to share? Tell me about them in the comments. And good luck with your own new habits of 2015! :)