Wednesday, January 07, 2015

A month of resolutions


  
It’s still technically the New Year and I was looking back over some of my old New Year’s blogs and realizing that I basically have the same resolutions every year. With a bit of variation, but basically, the same.

And it occurred to me that it would be really intensely focusing for me to take those resolutions – or intentions – one at a time throughout the month and explore what I want to accomplish or how I want to live in each one of those areas.

Who knows if that will actually happen, given my work schedule and the rollout of the Huntress series starting on January 27! But I know for sure I haven’t been doing enough checking in with myself lately, and this is one way to challenge myself to do that.  

So here's one of those New Year blogs I'm looking at, with 2015 updates to come.



Intentional New Year
Hmm, wow, I get to blog on New Year’s Day.  That’s a lot of pressure!  Or not.  Maybe everyone will love me if I just speak very softly and in words of fewer than two syllables.
First of all, can I just say (for more than just myself, I know) –
THANK GOD IT’S 2011.
I wish everyone here, and all our families and friends – and while I’m at it every sentient being on the planet – a joyful, ecstatically fulfilling, and transcendent year.
Okay, so the timing of this clearly means I was actually meant to do some actual resolutions.   But let’s say intentions, instead, because that word is more focusing for me and doesn’t remind me so much of dieting. 
What – (that is suitable for public posting) – do I really desire for this year, in the obvious main areas of my life?
- Living:  Be more conscious. 
Of everything – but what I mean by conscious is paying attention to what my life is telling me, and the Universe is telling me.   On good days I believe that the Universe is speaking to us all the time, even or especially on the bad days, and that the most fulfilling way of living is to listen for that guidance and be as much in the flow as we can be.  Unfortunately, most days I forget all that entirely as I get caught up in all the stuff, you know, the STUFF, and if you forget it too many days in a row you tend to start not believing it.   So I will pay attention to the synchronicities, and those small, insistent pushes, and those overtly symbolic dreams that scream at you in multileveled Technicolor  Stay away from that one you idiot or if you live you will regret it every day for the rest of your life  – and do my best to live every day as if I really have a purpose in life and even more importantly – that life has a purpose for me.
- Relationships:  Hmm, all right, without going into detail…
Love everyone more – but with better boundaries.  Look to recognize the god/dess in everyone.   As for the rest, sorry, but I did say only what was fit to post publicly.
- Dancing:  Dance more.  Period. 
I’m just a better person when I dance every day.  It makes everything better.
- Teaching:  Keep growing as a teacher, finding new ways to inspire people to tell the best stories they can.
But also, be more integrated about living my writing in my teaching and my teaching in my writing.  I think what I mean by this is – there’s no reason to compartmentalize.  It’s all part of the same process.   You only really teach by doing.
- Writing
Hmm.  
Yes, this is my living, but I’ve got to say it’s terrifying to think of how many books I’ve committed to write this year.  Scary doesn’t begin to describe it – I must have been insane.   Actually, I think we’ve already established this.   But it’s too late to panic, now – I am just going to have to take it one day at a time, and learn how to not fight the process. Writing is always going to be exhausting: I like how author Joe Landsdale puts it:  “You never really rest; the synapses are firing all the time.”  But I am starting – starting – to believe I can be more gentle with myself about it and get just as much done, probably more.  Or better.   I have an inner slave driver that needs to get over itself.  I’m going to be more aware of when that self-punishing impulse in me starts to take over and just not let that happen.  I hope.
My writing intention is to write better books. 
Right – but how?  I think it has to do with committing even more to each story and the process – to recognize fear when it comes up and instead of pulling back and doing things to distract myself, treat the fear as a signpost that I’m on to something important and treat it as an opportunity to go deeper.   Again, this seems to be about being more conscious.
- Career:   Well, not like you can separate this from writing, but –
At Bouchercon in San Francisco this – I mean last! – year, I was in the bar – I mean lobby – bitching to Rob Gregory Browne and Marcus Sakey:  “I need to do something DIFFERENT.”  And Marcus said, “Honey, we’re all there.”
Hearing him say that was a huge reality check, because I realized he’s right in every way.  In fact, that’s always going to be the state of a writer’s career, or any artist’s.  We are always going to feel like we need to do something different – which means not just different, but also doing it differently.  And in fact we HAVE to always be doing something different, and differently.   It’s a good thing.
What I want to keep for every day of this year was the total inspiration I felt at Bouchercon – my sense of awe and pride about being able to live and work in the incredible worldwide community of mystery and thriller writers, to be constantly inspired and encouraged and often blown away by the creative risks my colleagues are taking, and to learn from their skill and commitment and passion to bring more depth and power to my own stories.   Lee Child says: “As crime writers we are all constantly building the genre with the work we do.”   My intention is to be more conscious that I am helping to build the genre, and to do my part with the work I do this year.   I think if I stay focused on that, the career will take care of itself.
I wish everyone here whatever is that inspiration for you.
So anyone out there want to share some intentions? 

- Alex

4 comments:

Jolene Navarro said...

"I’m going to be more aware of when that self-punishing impulse in me starts to take over and just not let that happen. I hope." -LOL I first met you at the end of 2011 and in June 2012 you gave an impromptu meeting after hearing people give out bad info. Thank you for your passion for writers - well people in general. Ok I love looking back at myself and what I've missed and what I've learned and well a bunch of stuff. When I saw the above line - I thought WOW how the world has changed in four years but at the same time it is the same old problem: making decisions and stay focused on what ever decisions you make. Here is to an insightful 2015 with lots of beautiful words and dances.

Jenni Gate said...

Alex, your annual intentions obviously work, because you keep turning out novels that never fail to entertain.

I, too, have to do something different. Working in the legal field, time to write has always been an issue. Plus, after 30 years, I desperately need to do something different. My husband and I vowed that this is the year we will change our lives, health, and well-being by selling our house and moving abroad. Big changes are in progress. We don't know where we're headed yet, but we can't wait to get there.

Happy New Year, Alex. I can't wait to read the next thriller in the Huntress Moon series.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Jolene, "make decisions and stay focused on whatever decisions you make" is now my new mantra! Thank you, and Happy New Year. Can't wait to work with you again in Canyon.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Hey Jenni! It's exciting that you and your husband are committed to a new adventure together. That's the way it's supposed to be. You MUST keep me informed about what you decide. Maybe we'll end up neighbors!