Happy New Year!

Tis the season for resolutions and reflections. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I am working like crazy on my portfolio and other assorted materials. Winter is coming! That is to say I am finally up for tenure and promotion. As this is a culmination of the past five and a half years of goals (Goal: Get tenure and promotion!), I would be remiss if my January revolved around anything else. I’m certainly not going to let work slack off because I’m counting carbs… and to be fair, that’s not really my kind of resolution. But I do have some things in mind for this blog, and I figured I’d share them, both to join the resolution bandwagon and, of course, ACCOUNTABILITY.

I reflected on why I began blogging in the first place. I started reading blogs pretty intensely in the second half of 2016. I discovered the concept of FIRE and a lot of its values overlapped with minimalism, which I was also interested in. I read all of Frugalwoods and Cait Flanders, did the Project 333 challenge at Bemorewithless, and watched the Minimalism documentary. We began wondering what our life could be if we took the unconventional path. I decided to document the process as we went along. Everybody whose work I was reading seemed cool and collected and very self-aware. I knew I wanted that for myself. I’m sure there are also awesomely successful, cool and collected, FIRE achieving people who don’t write about their experiences. I just never read about them… It so happens that all my “role-models” were writing… so it felt like it was connected to the path.

I used to write a lot as a kid, some through high school and then I stopped completely, if you exclude academic writing. It was quite a while ago, so I don’t remember exactly why that happened. I could go with the tired excuse of “I got busy”, but that’s not it. I changed priorities, and left writing for almost 12 years (to clarify, when I say “left writing” I specifically mean stopped writing for myself in a reflective or fiction category. I wrote plenty of academic papers, grant applications, syllabi, and of course, those carefully worded emails. As I tell my students, writing is forever!). In this past year alone, I wrote 32,567 words for this blog. That feels like something! The part of me that identified as a writer is back, and I missed her! I’m an introvert, so writing is a great way for me to process. I feel like starting this blog was so beneficial to my growth as a person, it gave me a platform to speak about things I care about or I’m working on, and it’s allowed me to share with other, like-minded people. What’s next?

My diary from 1993 and a book of poems and fiction (including several pages of “Emily of New Moon” fan fiction! I was so cool!)

My 2019 goals for the blog are as follows:

To publish 52 posts

I went back and forth between this and posting once a week. The numerical value just feels easiest for me, since some weeks can get really out of hand. In 2018 I didn’t publish once in November. I want to be mad at myself about that, but I know what my November was like. In the plan with a set number of posts, I can catch up later, I can front-load anticipating busy times… and I can also try to time these so that I have a few posts on the back-burner ready when needed. I don’t want to force this, and if I don’t have anything to say trying to write a post is silly. I know there might be weeks I miss, so I’m pursuing the flexible version of this goal (but yes, if I happen to get ahead I would still release them once a week).

To write a guest post each month

Writing feels really great, and I like the blog format, so I want to explore it even further. Last year I contributed to a theatre blog, this year I want to branch out, therefore at least half of these contributions have to be outside of my work related areas of specialty. I’m curious where this could end up, but I’m sure it will lead to some interesting collaborations and adventures. The main benefit for this blog will be: more writing experience= better writing. Here, I feel confident with setting it up as one a month rather than 12 in a year. I think it’s easier to plan on a monthly rather than weekly bases and I want to put some urgency behind this goal, since collaborations require more planning.

To connect with the online community

I read so many blogs! And it took me six months of writing this one to finally feel bold enough to leave a comment. I’m not sure what I thought would happen, but I was really intimidated. It was silly. I want to get involved in more conversations, but I’m brainstorming on how to make this a SMART goal. I don’t want to set up something like : “I’ll write at least one comment a day” because that will lead to a lot of unnecessary comments. I don’t know what the specific task at hand is, but I know this is something I want to do more of. I might roll with only a vague idea for January and tighten it at the end of the month.

My office air plant is rocking its goal of staying alive!

There you have it: my three goals for this blog in the upcoming year. I suddenly feel like I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I have to remind myself to take this one step at a time (or in this case, one word at a time). I’m so grateful that I’m doing this for yet another year. A giant thank-you to everyone who has inspired me, visited the blog or commented. I’m excited for what the new year will bring.

Happy 2019! Do you have any goals for this year?

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