2017 : The Writing Year, And All The Perks Of It.
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Hello, New Year. It’s been a great resting week, the first seven days of January we had. I’ve spend my nights went to the cinema and watched the joyful, tears-dropping “La La Land”, followed by the quiet and somewhat hauntingly beautiful “Arrival”. I’ve meet my friends and shared great meals together. I travel a bit from Jakarta to Jogja and back. I sleep a lot. I savoured the gleaming sunset on a long ride with my boyfriend G. In between the leisure times, I work on my projects - all the on going ones. Today is where the laid back hours will end - one shall limit themselves from having long holiday, because only by working the routine laboriously then we can appreciate the moment of pure relax. So I start this post, and greeting you here. Have you grew familiar with 2017 yet? One of the greatest challenge for someone who kept a handwritten daily journal is those few first weeks of having so many wrong 2016 marks on the paper. Yesterday, instead of writing 15 - 01 - 2017, I wrote 15 - 01 - 2015 (not even a year, but two years worth of wrongness).
It takes time to remember that, yes, the year has officially changed. It takes many days to say 2017, when our mind still got a bit familiar with 2016. We don't feel the New Year straightly after - instead, we slowly learn. The same thing goes with Yearly Resolution (or the thing we know as My List Of Stuff I Will Eventually Forget To Do). What makes our resolution hard is because we think that we only have one shot to do it. The year-long period only. The typical “No more junk food this year” or “I will regularly working out this year” kind of crap, where we will kept only for this first exciting month - or week, in some worse cases - then we’ll grew tired of putting up with the promises, and quit. We’ll forget about those promises for the rest of year and we’ll do the same thing again when the future comes. Some friends of mine decided to never make resolutions ever again. They feel like they had ruined the opportunity to do the things right, and they have failed.
But they might forget, that there's no such thing as an immediate permanence, in this so-called imperfect life of imperfect human beings. If we fail on some wishes, we can always try again. No one is judging (but ourselves). So I think I'd still want to believe that resolutions are okay. The things that I've dreamt about and don't want to give up, will still be on my 2017 resolution list. The same goes to things I have tried to pursue but apparently never meant for me: they're on my 2017 timeline, only now they're being moved to The List of Things I Will Let Go this year.
Because it takes time, to heal. To forgive, to study, to know which one worth keeping.
So this morning I embrace myself: 2016 resolution, you are not forgotten; you'll just get an upgrade.
In 2016, I promise myself to write everyday. It was before I realize that somewhere along the way I have to mix the plan with the idea of publishing my indie magazine, working on my own book, and keeping up with the blogging community. I have messed-up schedule Those simple-sounding resolutions, but tricky to accomplish because of the broad context it holds. A general wish will be hard to do because we don’t break down the “idea” into a step-by-step operational strategy. I’ve thought about it through, and I found a way to ensure myself that this year I can try better by following these straightforward moves below. I call it A Guide To The Writing Year of 2017:
Have a journal that fits your need to take notes easily.
Journaling is essential for my writing quality. It improves me on exploring storytelling, and helps to document all the important ideas that pops during the day. I’m quite a conservative when it comes on possessing journal - I like when I can feel the paper, write with my own pen. So I choose a minimalist-looking agenda that I can carry around with me. But you can also journaling in a digital way - either by using a program on your laptop or recording your day as voice notes.
Make a simple Writing-Plan Calendar.
It can be confusing, to try writing at the first time. You don’t know what you want to write, or the kind of topic that will be good for your portfolio. As someone who loves exercising on my writing skill, I choose to challenge myself with a specific topic each time. So I make a Yearly Writing Plan Calendar, filled with ideas and theme that I want to write. For Example, this January I schedule myself to write about anything under the theme “First”. That will trigger me to search for different kind of approach about my Firsts - it can be about my first day of 2017, my first love, my first fashion purchase, how to be the first on something, etc.
Create a Writing Morning habit - set up an alarm,
and write for 30 minutes.
I don’t sleep early, so waking up in the morning is quite a challenge for me. But setting up an alarm and making an enjoyable habit to try will be a great help. I set my writing-alarm to 9AM everyday, and you can use free-downloadable apps to compile all your writing projects together (and may access the program from your laptop or phone, just in case you’re mobile). One of the hardest problem that writers must face is on being consistently producing their works, so this habit will certainly be a great way of polishing your discipline.
Challenge the self: Publish a post every week on the blog,
followed by blogwalking.
I wasn’t focusing myself on blogging a lot in the previous year, so in 2017 I want to be more intimately involved with my blog and read more blogs in the following. Having a blog is great for building your writing habit, because it connects you to the community in which you will receive feedback. You can take the constructive criticism to learn and push yourself harder. If you want to start writing, consider creating your own blog. It’s great and it can be used for as many purposes as you want. You can set a once-in-a-month posting commitment if you want to stay light.
Make / Join a writing workshop, to meet and support each other in the community.
One of my biggest desire is to host a regular writing workshop with my friends, in order to expand our experience and start helping one another. On workshop, we can exchange ideas and having conversation with new friends; as well as practising writing “workout” in a fun way. So either making or joining, both will be a must on my list this year!
Read a minimum two (2) books every month.
Constant, productive reading is one essential key that leads us to a good writing. By doing productive reading means we’re not only savouring the story, but also trying to multi-task learning about the way it’s being produced. How the characters are? What kind of plot is used? How is the choice of vocabulary? We will enrich our exploration by reading more effectively - not speed reading, but quality reading. We can add many new vocabularies and ways to deploy certain descriptions. We can understand what kind of joke will made us laugh, what kind of twist will made us surprised. So I will make myself read at least two great books every month, in order to make a better understanding on how other people write.
Send handwritten letters for every loved ones’ birthday.
A small gesture filled with care and genuine effort. I love writing letters, and what’s more heart-warming than receiving a carefully handwritten letter from others? So I think instead of saying “Happy Birthday” cold and flat through Whatsapp, I’d put a reminder for myself to start writing letters for each of my celebrated special ones. We can start with our family, and closest friends. The joy you get from presenting a handmade card will sparks your heart into creating more and more meaningful writings in the future.
Have a writing break every time you finish a small challenge.
This is a resolution for anyone who doesn’t really get that besides writing hard, we also have to take a fun break from it. Do something completely different than writing - go traveling, take a lazy day off, make a cake yourself, do DIY craft, hang out with friends, paint - when we know how to have fun, we will have a greater balance during the effortful phase. And it’s always important to be less uptight, and embrace life for its everyday beauty. As much as I want 2017 to be my committed Writing Year, by the end all I want is to love what I do and not making it into another routine that I’d hate by the end. The more important thing other than writing is to feel life, and to enjoy every second that we have this year. To soak in the moments, to be present.