Hi! Good to see you; I know it’s been awhile ;-).
So, this year has been crazy. And awesome. Crazy-awesome? Yes. And I’ve wanted to get back to the website for a while but I’ve never found the perfect thing to say, the ideal reentry into the form. But… who cares? I’m just gonna jump back in, explain a little about what I’ve been doing this year, and package it in a way that hopefully inspires you to greatness this year too.
So, without further ado…
7 Ways to Turn ’18 Up to ’11’
- Set a goal that makes no sense. A year and a half ago, while eating mussels and drinking mimosas at George’s Lowcountry Grill in Athens, GA (highly recommended), my sister Sarah and I set a goal — almost more of an agreement. A goal to change everything, upset everything. And goal to move forward (a goal not quite ready to be revealed to the world in this post). Suffice to say, this goal could not coexist with the life we were living then. One facet involved getting rid of 50% of the items we owned. That’s been a huge change. For yourself, if small goals are not getting you where you want to go, it might be time for a crazy, audacious one.
- Write out a list of everything you need to do in 2018 to accomplish that goal. My goal has three components — health, being a professional writer, and getting way down on possessions — so I wrote out about twelve categories and eventually 100 tasks in those categories, For example, one component is Less Stuff, a category within that is Mementos and and a task is getting down on the amount of personal papers I inherited from my mom. Clearing each task off the whiteboard is very meaningful to me and I only have about 56 tasks left on the board right now (a little behind schedule, but man — the progress I’ve made this year!).
- Change the method. Over the last couple of years I’ve returned to my first love — screenwriting. I still enjoy novel-writing too but I’ve gotten very excited about learning more and working to bring characters to life on the screen. I’m not saying I wouldn’t make it as a novelist, but it felt like the right time to adjust my sails and find a fresh wind to push me toward my ultimate dream of being a ‘professional writer’. And it’s been so thrilling to learn through podcasts and web classes and books. I have advanced so much and feel closer than ever to my goals. So if you’re not making the progress you want, maybe change tactics and literally try a different approach.
- Dump the Junk. Even if your goals have nothing to do with less stuff, please please consider spending a bunch of time deleting items from your house. It’s been to empowering and freeing to go through each room and purge. We’re following the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō and she insists on picking up every thing you own and seeing if it ‘sparks joy’. It works, and trust me, everything become easier, more fun, and more possible when your house and your life isn’t full of unneeded and unnecessary things.
- Go somewhere that changes everything. For years I’ve had a goal to see an old growth forest (very few remain east of the Mississippi River in the United States). And last year I settled on visiting Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest in North Carolina (Kilmer wrote the poem ‘Trees’). So this summer, on the way back from a family reunion, we finally stopped there and walked among 300+ year old poplar trees. It was a life-changing experience and made much of our day-to-day worries seem trifling and silly. That place now serves as an inspiration — my north star is a forest.
- ‘Hell yes!’ or ‘Fuck no!’. As I’ve made all these big goals and devoted my time to reaching them, I have had to step away from other things. Even organizations you like, people you have fun with, and activities that you enjoy may need to be set aside (even blogs you enjoy writing!). The idea here is that — if you want to accomplish your goals — everything, everything in your life is either a ‘Hell yes’ or a ‘Fuck no’. There is no middle ground. This is an Android Jones quote, and if you see his art, you’ll understand what that level of passion and commitment gets you. I’ve kind of given up living a normal life right now and because of that, I’m living an extraordinary one.
- Just do it. Imperfectly. Now. Most of the things I’ve been doing this year don’t feel timely — is now really the perfect moment to write this screenplay? Do I have the emotional reserves today to look through Mom’s old things and toss stuff? Is this the opportune period to network and meet real professionals? Isn’t like… 2019, or never, a better time? But as Lemony Snicket said, ‘If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.’
Are you don’t have the rest of your life to wait. The rest of your life is reserved for something better.