How many of you are completely over 2022?
I know I am. Have been for a while.
To the point where I started ripping out pages from this year's calendar back in July, tossing them in the garbage, setting them on fire, or handing them to Little Miss Muse so she can tie them to a bottle rocket and send them into the great beyond to live out a happier existence than they had on planet earth with me scratching out, underling, erasing, and whiting out.
I do believe I went through five bottles of whiteout before fall arrived. Why, you ask?
Doctor appointments, surgeries, drama fests, follow-ups for surgeries, and doctors and drama fests. And all the recovering.
And the CIRCUS still hasn’t packed up and left town yet.
Looks like it’s here to stay, and I’m still wrestling with acceptance.
And likely, when/if the rings do die down, there will be permanent scarring of the earth beneath from all the elephant stomping, poodle peddling, and general foot traffic any circus generates.
In the meantime, I’m rebelling.
I’m ripping out calendar pages by the week.
I’m also trying to look forward, as much as possible, to the new year ahead.
One of the upcoming projects is the sequel to Life Along the Way. That included the first 100 blogs I wrote as B.A. Paul. This is blog #190. It’s time to start reviewing and compiling that second batch of 100 blogs. Because, if the CIRCUS has its way, it may be the only project I know will get done next year.
So I’m starting early. Little Miss Muse is adding her own commentary to each review this go-round too. Jury’s still out on whether her input is helpful or a hindrance. Perhaps a little of both.
At any rate, we’ve reviewed blogs 101-140. And we’ve noticed a pattern.
“You like to make goals.” She’s sitting on the edge of my desk, swinging her purple heels back and forth so they bang against the wall. The wall needs to be painted, so I guess I don’t mind. But the banging is giving me a headache…
“Yes. Goals help me focus on something other than the chaos.”
“But you usually fail.” She says this with no judgment at all. Just matter of fact. She pops a nasty grape bubble in my face. “Or you have to rework the goal. Or only get halfway on something.” She says all this in a whiny voice. “Why can’t we just be freeee?” She flits away, glitter dripping from her wings. She’s shining a bit brighter today because we did get some fiction words in earlier. And, in typical Little Miss fashion, she’s taking the credit.
“Hey, that halfway thing is mostly on you, you little ADHD imp. And I prefer to think I’m failing forward.” I do tend to set lofty goals. Or goals that don’t consider the amount of mental energy the CIRCUS will require of me. Or who in the CIRCUS I’ll have to stand in for this week. Will I be the ringmaster? Will something force me into the dunk tank with the clowns or up the tightrope with the acrobat? Perhaps I’ll be scooping elephant poop.
One never knows.
So sometimes, the goals get tweaked or forgotten about entirely. Since October, I have made a concerted effort to spend Thursdays writing away from the house. That’s helped a great deal. Checking in with a friend weekly and setting smaller goals is also a motivator.
Learning to forgive me for my “failures” is an ongoing process. If I didn’t get the 5,000 words I wished for this week, but I did manage 2,000 despite a brand new Clown on the payroll, well, hey. I failed forward.
Little Miss floats back into the office and dumps a pack of grape-scented erasers on my desk. Maybe try these instead.
Yesterday, she saw me attempting to do some goal-setting for 2023. “You know ink isn’t going to work.” She nods her curly head toward my stack of gorgeous fountain pens. “Save those for your stupid plot scribbles.” She hates it when I plot. She likes free reign, in case you hadn’t noticed.
I picked up the erasers. I’d given them to her in her Christmas stocking several years ago. They’re unopened.
“I don’t need them. I don’t make mistakes.” She boasts and lands her tutu-clad behind on top of the office door. Her heels now clang against the wood while she balances herself by placing both of her sticky chubby hands flat against the ceiling.
“Goals aren’t mistakes—” I start to argue, but she flips herself backward off the door, her wings flitting in time to catch her from clonking onto the floor.
“Yeah, but flexible, erasable goals would be better. For me at least.”
Well, all right then. As long as the Muse is happy.
I pull out my new 2023 calendar. I clean off the dry-erase board on the wall. And I begin to scribble some writing plans for the new year. Word counts. Project titles. Publishing targets.
And then I carefully, carefully transcribe my wall plans to my calendar—in pencil, grape erasers close at hand. I may have to make a little pocket inside the calendar to store an extra grape eraser just in case the CIRCUS.
So, an early goodbye to 2022. A preemptive strike on next year’s chaos.
A promise to myself to say “No” more often and guard my writing time a little more closely. Something more than only Thursdays…
And anyone who doesn’t like it can eat my grape-flavored eraser dust.