So hard to get started in 2012

It’s only taken me five weeks to write my planned New Year’s Eve post.  Impressive, huh?

In all seriousness, I didn’t plan a month-plus layoff from this blog — it’s just kind of happened.  Every time I went to write something, there would be a distraction, or something else would come up, or I couldn’t get the words together, or I’d be too depressed, or … well, you get the idea.  Writing is not easy for that exact reason: it’s too easy to be taken off-track by almost anything that comes along.  It takes a discipline that I haven’t been exercising, or at least not exercising enough.

And then there’s the depression thing.  I’m thankful that (these days at least) I don’t get depressed seriously enough that I just quit functioning, or require medication to get moving again.  But something about the calendar turning over to 2012 really sent me into a funk.  Mostly, I suspect it was thinking back and realizing that I was barely recovered from the events of 2009 — Sean’s illness, my mom’s death, my continuing unemployment, my wife’s job difficulties, etc.  It’s a lot to move on from (especially when most of them have still-ongoing repercussions), but now I’m finally able to start working on the on-moving.  (Thus, the Churchill quote.  Seemed to fit.)

And so it goes, as Linda Ellerbee used to say. But at least, thank Heaven, it goes!

This being my “New Year’s Eve post” (however delayed), I thought it might be nice to revisit my plans (well, God’s plans for me) for 2011 and see how they went.  The short version: not perfectly, but I’d give it about a B grade.  (That’s a 4 if you’re in school these days.)  The long version:

  1. Write — specifically, finish “Hearts and Souls” (the Iron Man fanfic I’ve been working on since last summer) and the follow-up vignettes I’ve had in mind, as well as continuing this blog.  I got “Hearts and Souls” done, as well as the follow-up vignettes (which are titled “Vignettes,” interestingly enough).  My blog performance was more uneven, but I was getting into a good rhythm at the end of the year … and then, see above.  Oh well.
  2. Read — science fiction in particular, with a goal of reducing the list of Hugo-, Nebula- and Locus-nominated novels I haven’t yet read from its current total of 290 or so to below 200 by the end of the year.  I came fairly close, finishing the year with 218 to go — and that was including all the 2011 nominees, which weren’t part of the beginning-of-the-year total.  I’ll still be chipping away at it as 2012 progresses, though I’ll be focused in another direction (more in a moment).
  3. Clean up the office — including sorting all the photographs (our own plus the thousands I inherited from Mom), storing the dry/canned goods that we can use but don’t have room for in the kitchen, filing away documents, sorting (and sorting out) books, etc., etc., etc.  I got everything done except sorting out Mom’s photos, which is still a work in progress (again, more in a mo’).  The office doesn’t exactly look neat — there’s still a lot of clutter, plus last year I got an elliptical trainer, which takes up quite a bit of space.  But it’s better than it was, and I can get to everything now (though I have to be careful not to trip while climbing over the elliptical).
  4. Manage my Legends of Baseball fantasy team.  That, no problem, except my #1 starting pitcher cratered for four months, which cost me a playoff spot.  There’s always next year (well, this year) …

In general, a lot got sorted out and off my to-do list.  So I got that going for me, which is nice.

And for 2012, what’s the plan?  Well … pretty close to the same thing — at least for the first half:

  1. Write the blog — every day you have something to say, say it — and complete one chapter of fanfic a week.  (Slow on the first part, but doing okay on the second.  If you’re a fan of the TV series Firefly, check this out and tell me what you think.)
  2. Read as many books off the shelf as you can.  (I should explain — I have about 35 books sitting on a particular bookcase in my office that I haven’t yet gotten around to reading.  2012 is the put-up-or-shut-up year for those; if I’m not motivated enough to read them by the end of this year, then I probably should get rid of them.  I’ve gotten through three already and started three more, so my chances look decent.  Not great, though, because I also got a Kindle for my birthday in December, and it’s proving distracting.  Eyes on the prize, Ray …)
  3. One new project per month.  (January’s was getting my Legends of Baseball stuff into order for this year — it’s done, and a good thing too because the player draft starts Wednesday.  February’s is sorting and album-ing Mom’s photos — 23 days to go — and in March I’m planning to study some of the writings of Martin Luther, starting with The Bondage of the Will.  No idea about April, May or June yet.)
  4. Pray for the Church in Stockton, and mine and my family’s participation in same.  (THAT could get interesting!)
  5. Rest and meditate whenever you can — recharge.

That last one is, I suspect, the most important, for two reasons:

  • God seems to be indicating that in the second half of the year, things are going to get very busy for me, and I’ll need to be at full strength.
  • Resting is not something I’m very good at, so I need the practice.

What’s going to happen come July or so?  No idea.  But I’d better be ready for it.  Because that’s the thing about a new year — it starts whether you’re ready for it or not.  So … guess I’d better get to it, huh?  When I’m not resting, of course …


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