I’m not usually one to make new year’s resolutions – which is probably why I’m writing this particular post in February. However, in January, I did spend a few days on a solo retreat, where I spent time reflecting on the questions Amanda Viviers asks in her book, New Days: Vision Book and Reflection Questions. Later, I read blog posts by creative friends, Aggie Lim, Maureen Helen and Amanda Kendle, who each shared their list of 18 things they wanted to do in 2018.
So, for what it’s worth, here’s my list:
1. Finish the first draft of my new(ish) work-in-progress. My current project draws on my research for Many Hearts, Many Hearts, but is fiction and aimed at young readers. The idea has been on the backburner for at least two years, but I’m committing my mornings to it in 2018.
2. Keep a record of the books I read. Several years ago, a lovely friend gifted me a Book Journal – which I’ve never used. Like other beautiful notebooks I can’t resist buying, I didn’t want to muck it up by actually writing in it. But I’ve taken the journal off my shelf and keeping it next to the book I’m currently reading.
3. Read and review 12 books, even if those reviews remain in my Book Journal and never make it onto my blog or Goodreads.
4. Book one week per term at our cottage in the Great Southern. This simple, two-bedroom house, that once belonged to my grandmother, nudges the edge of the Bibbulmun Track, and is surrounded by native bush.
5. Practise the piano. I always wanted to learn to play the piano, but never thought I had the coordination required. However, a couple of years ago, I took the plunge and started taking the lessons. I love it, but whole weeks can go by without a single hour of practise.
6. Re-establish a regular reflective/meditative/spiritual practice. I know my whole being benefits when I take time to sit still in the early morning, before the rest of the house stirs.
7. Swim 50 km – not all at once. I haven’t swum laps for years, but I used to love it. As a teenager I’d swim 4 km before school, and I want to find time to rediscover how good swimming is for the body and soul.
8. Learn to run around my local lake (3.5 km) without stopping. Don’t laugh. As I’ve just mentioned, swimming used to be my thing, and I’ve only ever run this far twice in my life – once at school, and the other a few years ago when HeartKids first put a team into the HBF fun run.
9. Submit a short story to a writing competition or literary journal.
10. Create margin. This will be the focus of a future post, so I won’t say any more right now, other than I no longer want to live with a diary that’s so full there is no space for the unexpected, or what (and who) is truly important.
11. Improve my ability to say ‘no’ when requests for my time interrupt my allocated writing time. This may be the most personally challenging thing on my list. I’m not good at saying ‘no’. I don’t like to disappoint people – and there are just so many great things to be part of! But it’s necessary if I’m to create space in my life for the things that really matter.
Spend more time with my neighbours. I’m so fortunate to live in a street where neighbours look out for each other. In the past we’ve enjoyed pot-luck dinners, cups ot tea (and sometimes wine) as kids play in the park, and a knitting group. A few years ago, we had a mini-tornado race through our street, ripping tiles off houses and trees out of the ground. One neighbour called his mates, who came around and secured roofs long before the SES arrived and, in some cases, before people arrived home from work. I’m thinking another street dinner is way overdue.
13. Spend time in my garden at least once a week. I love being surrounded by greenery and connecting to the earth, and yet it’s the thing that gets most neglected when life gets too full. It’s probably the exact place I should head to when my to-do list becomes overwhelming.
14. Create my first on-line writing course. I’ve recently received requests by both family historians and young writers, asking if I know of any available courses and resources to help them take the next step in their research or writing journey. So, the wonderful Amanda Kendle is going to help me set up an on-line course of my own – watch this space!
15. Learn to use my DSLR camera in its manual settings and take better photos. I love seeing great photos and want to improve my own skills in this area. I’d like a framed print on my wall that’s a result of my own creativity, rather than something I’ve bought from a shop.
16. Organise and back up my photos, which are currently spread across three computers, an external hard drive and numerous CDs.
17. Finish my Graduate Diploma in Family History. I didn’t set out to achieve this qualificaiton. I was simply looking to a) discover what else there was to know about writing family history, and b) give myself some external deadlines to record my grandparents’ story while my grand father is still around to share it with me. It will be fun to have completed the diploma, though!
18. Walk the streets of Brunswick and Collingwood, where my ancestors lived when they first arrived in Australia. This I know I can do, as I already have this trip booked.
Over to You
What would you include on a list of ’18 things to do in 2018′?