Jump Starting The New Year
(Update: Beginning Monday, January 8, I will be posting an additional blog: 366writing.wordpress.com. This is a continuous piece of work — sometimes poem, sometimes prose, whatever feels like coming out each day—to which I will add material every day. Feel free to download it and add to it yourself. Would love to see the lives these words form when you take them and build upon them.)
Like most people, I’ve been spending the past few days deciding how to best use the 366 days of 2008. Isn’t it strange how the flip of a calendar page can bring with it such a sense of renewed optimism, freshness and energy? In looking over the many projects and opportunities that lie in the present and future, I’ve decided to make this year a statement of creative expression, in as many forms as possible. It’s all about writing or sketching, then spreading the work out so that people will be drawn to the work and find it useful or entertaining in their lives. Call it grassroots audience building.
With that in mind, I’ve set goals for 2008 that call to mind everything that the writing lifestyle is supposed to be—a combination of production, experience, observation and listening, deeply. My list:
1) Finish my latest poetry collection, “The River-Fed Stone.” It will be published by Aisling Press in March. It will join my other books — “Writes of Life,” “Shades of Green,” “Coyotes in Broad Daylight,” and the anthology I co-edited, “Freedom of Vision.”
2) Complete the final bit of polishing on my novel, “The Voice.” It will be published in Spring 2009.
3) Begin a unique, multimedia online delivery of material from the writing workshops I have taught throughout the country for the past 10 years.
4) Ghostwrite three books — all of which are in progress.
5) Publish two or three young poets through the Word Journeys Poetry Series. The first, Maggi DeRosa, will release her premier collection, “The Fool Is King,” in March through Aisling Press.
6) Travel somewhere in the world I haven’t seen before.
7) Run Boston Marathon #3 in April as if it were my final race — with an e-book to soon follow.
8) Edit the works of a half-dozen authors whose voices you will not soon forget — including trilogy authors Stephen Gladish (“Tornado Alley”) and Bill Missett (“Awakening The Soul”).
9) Continually promote writing as a means of educating, healing, entertaining and informing ourselves and others through workshops, conferences, fairs, retreats, this blog and my website.
10) Deeply experience every breath and every moment of this year, with the ones I love, in the places I love.
I invite you to set your own writing goals for this year. When you do, be sure to avoid goals that keep you pinned to the desk 24/7. Half of the writing lifestyle is living a life rich with experience, emotion, feeling, observation, adventure, music, nature, a feeling of newness and a sense of presence. Find these qualities within everything you do, and consciously remove all possible aspects of your life that deaden or sadden you, that draw energy from you.
Then try to write every day—the hallmark of any true writer. Let me know how it goes.