Tag Archives: intentions

A new year: commitment, intention and a little bit of preparation

Photo 2014-12-27, 1 20 10 AM

As we head into the new year, I’ve been finding myself approaching things very differently than I did in previous years. A lot of it has to do with my resolve to institute real change in my life. 2014 has been an interesting year for me. I lost myself several times during the year – especially over the summer months – and the process of having to find myself, over and over, as I recovered from a default mechanism of always reacting to things, was really exhausting.

Back in November, I came to the conclusion that things really had to change. And the only way things could change would be through me. I simply cannot keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

As a result, I decided to commit myself to 365 days of blogging back on December 1. It was a little like putting my big toe in the water, testing the temperature – only in this case, I was testing myself. Making that commitment, setting that intention, was huge for me. I’ve never been disciplined about things. Commitment to intentions requires discipline. It requires courage. It requires faith. While 2014 came with a lot of stuff I would rather not have gone through, somehow the end result has been this: I’ve found the discipline within me, I’ve found the courage, and yes, I’ve found the faith.

I’ve also come to the realization that a little bit of preparation goes a long way in terms of supporting commitment and intention. My decision to blog daily was a monumental one, given my previous blogging habits. But I really prepared, and while I haven’t yet reached the one month marker, I can say that daily blogging has been easy, not hard, not the challenge I’d anticipated. And I owe a lot of that to the preparation I did before hand.

I started posting my 2015 goals a few weeks ago, and I have several more to post. For much of my time off over the holidays, I’ve been thinking about these goals, about what I want the new year to bring. I have been having fun preparing myself to stay committed to my intentions, to be disciplined, to be courageous, to have the faith.

This coming year, I am choosing change. I will be doing things differently and yes, I expect different results. My dreams have been calling to me for years, and it’s time I started paying attention to them.

What about you? Are you finding yourself thinking about goals, about intentions, as the new year draws closer?

2014: My Year of Reading

Happy New Year, everyone!

After a very hectic three months of deadlines, during which time I had absolutely no time to read, I am committed to making 2014 my year of reading.

I’m off to a good start. Ward and I spent New Year’s Eve moving furniture (I know, I know … but we did get a cute little “reading nook” as a result of our efforts); we finally finished at around 11 pm, and, exhausted, I sat myself down in my comfy reading spot in the living room, pulled out my Kobo reader and began reading Lee Child’s Never Go Back.

Never Go Back by Lee Child

Yes, that’s right. I welcomed in the new year with Jack Reacher!

I finished up Never Go Back on New Year’s Day, and was very happy to see an email notice from my library, telling me that the ebook version of Elizabeth George’s Just One Evil Act was ready for me.

Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George

You know how you get into a reading mood, and you put a book down and immediately want to pick another one up? That was the feeling I had, probably one of the best bookish feelings ever.

I started reading Just One Evil Act, but didn’t manage to get too far before we had to go to my sister’s. I didn’t feel too badly, since the purpose of our New Year’s Day visit to my sister’s was to watch Pacific Rim, which I found to be a little cheesy, a whole lot of fun and extremely entertaining.

When we came back, I would have gone straight back to Just One Evil Act, but I had a deadline due on January 2, so I had to finish that first. When I finished, I had another hour or two before bedtime (or so I thought), so I started reading again.

As it turns out, I stayed up until 4:00 a.m., reading. The next day my body told me, you’re really getting too old to pull stunts like this.

I’m still working my way through Just One Evil Act (so nice to be back with Inspector Lynley and Sergeant Havers), but when that’s finished, I’m hoping to maintain my reading streak (an absolute must, if I want to make 2014 “My Year of Reading”). And it shouldn’t be too hard, because here are my first book arrivals of the new year!

Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Yes! The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. The Rosie Project has been on my to-read list for a while, and I’ve been hearing so many good things about The Goldfinch, so I splurged and bought both of these for myself (*cough* because self-care is another one of my new year intentions …).

I won’t be challenging myself to read any set number of books (reading challenges just never work that well for me), but I’d like to read a bit of something every day. And not just fiction (but that’s a whole other post!). Since it’s the new year which means I tend to feel particularly motivated and productive (really wish I could bottle all these feelings), I even created a new Pinterest board to help me keep track (let’s hope it works out better than the board I created for last year’s reading …).

What are your reading intentions for the new year?

MORE

Lots of people are posting their One Word for 2013, so no, despite the title of this post, let me assure you, More is NOT my one word for 2013. I don’t know what my word for 2013 is yet. It may take me until February or March to figure that one out.

But yes, this post is about more.

MORE.

It does looks pretty materialistic, doesn’t it?

But I’ve been thinking a lot about more lately. Thinking about all the things I’d like to have more of in my life in 2013. Like:

MORE Reading

I started 2012 with four very broad, general intentions. And as we approached 2013, I was happy to see that I’d managed quite well with two of them: writing and meditation. And not too badly with the third one, exercise.

But I didn’t do as well with my fourth intention, reading. I had maybe TWO stellar reading months out of 12, which isn’t the greatest track record around. I’d like to change that this year.

Since the whole intention thing worked well last year, I thought I’d throw reading into play again this year. And guess what? I’m off to a good start! Yes, despite slogging my way through several deadlines that have prompted me to delay all my New Year resolution-ish posts until now, I’ve actually managed to read quite a few books already.

And readalongs! I’ve never participated in one, but this year, yes, I’m going to participate in at least one readalong. Jill at Fizzy Thoughts is hosting a readalong of Stephen King’s The Shining in February and Little Women in March. The Shining! Little Women! I mean, really, it’s irresistible.

So yes. More reading, and some fun readalongs.

Which brings me to:

MORE Reviews

Lately, I’ve been writing less and less reviews. I’d sit down to write a blog post, and I’d always have something non-review-ish that I’d rather write about.

But this past year, I realized something. Now that I have access to the Toronto Public Library, which I find to be quite well stocked in terms of my personal reading purposes, my TBR list has grown by leaps and bounds. With such a wealth of enticing books calling my name, I’ve been choosing what books to read based mostly on (1) the reviews and recommendations of other bloggers and (2) the reviews and ratings on Goodreads.

And recently the thought struck me: surely writing reviews is a way of giving back to this wonderful online community of readers, who so generously share their thoughts on the books they loved, the books they thought were so-so and the books that they really didn’t like. If other people’s reviews have helped me, then my reviews might help another reader somewhere, right?

So yes, I will be writing more reviews. I’ll post the longer ones here, and I’ll try my best to write short mini-reviews of as many books as possible on Goodreads.

And speaking of gratitude:

MORE Appreciation

This one is courtesy of the lovely Judy Clement Wall, a truly inspiring woman who’s doing a wonderful gratitude challenge right now. 30 days, 30 acts of (expansive, unabased, downright mushy) gratitude. Doesn’t that sound so lovely? (And if you’re into postcards, like I am, make sure to check out her lovely doodled postcards at Etsy.)

As Judy puts it:

I’m not talking about a gratitude journal here, or a jar, or a meditative ritual. Those are great too, but what I’m talking about is more communal. I’m talking about concrete, outward, unmistakable acts of heartfelt appreciation.

It’s writing something nice with the tip you leave in a restaurant. Telling someone’s manager what a great job they did for you. Writing thank you notes and sending ardent, immediate gratitude texts. Emailing a favorite author, blogger, artist, speaker, teacher, activist to say how much you appreciate their work. Calling someone to say, “the world is better with you in it.” Hand making a card. Treating someone to coffee. Giving, without reservation, your conscious, focused, undivided attention because someone you love deserves it.

I love the sound of this! I will be doing #lettermo next month anyway, writing a letter, note or postcard a day, so I’ve been thinking, why not start earlier? Why not start now? And why not make those letters, notes and postcards full of appreciation?

And maybe, just maybe, a little bit art and doodling too:

MORE Art and Creativity

I admit it. I say this every single year, but somehow 12 months whizz by and during that time I never seem to have the time to sit down and draw or paint or doodle.

That’s going to change this year. No, seriously, it is.

I may do a doodle a day. Start an artist’s journal. Learn to use my new camera properly. Bring gel pens to my world-building notebooks and add a splash of colour to my characters’ lives. Glue things with abandon. Sign up for pottery classes again. Learn to sketch. Draw mandalas again.

I figure, if I say so here, out loud, and boldly, with that MORE for emphasis, surely, surely, it will happen, right?

And there’s MORE. Only I can’t remember what the other things are, although a long list of them has been running through my head the past few days (of course when I sit down to blog about them, they disappear into the ethers). I’m sure they’ll come to me later. You know, when I’m not sitting down to blog about them.

But these four MOREs are the big ones for me right now.

What about you? What things would you like more of this year?

[TSS] Bookish Intentions for 2013

We’re into December, the month I generally start thinking about all the things I’d like to do in the coming new year. Looking back on the intentions I made for 2012, I see that I’ve had huge success with three of the four items that were on my priority list: meditation, writing and exercise.

The fourth item? Reading. And while I wouldn’t say, in the words of Dylan, my nine-year-old son, that it was an epic fail, I could have done better. I did have two or three truly spectacular reading months this year, but ever since my busy season began again, I’ve really let the reading slide.

So, since broadcasting my intentions for this year seemed to have worked for me, I thought I’d jot down my bookish intentions for 2013:

Always have at least one book in “currently reading” status.

Putting on my analytical hat, I can see that the periods during which I read hardly anything at all are times when I don’t have a book currently on the go. So logic tells me, if I’m always currently reading something, why, surely then, I will keep on reading. Right?!?

Read some of the books that have been sitting in my physical TBR for *cough* a little while now

Photo 2012-12-02 1 06 51 PM

This is one of my physical TBR stacks (I think it enlarges if you click on it, so you can read some of the titles). It sits in the upper rack of my bedroom closet, and what you’re seeing is the front row of stacks. Yes, there is another set of three stacks in behind this front row. And yes, I’ve had some of these books in my possession for what seems eons.

While I love finding and reading new titles, I’d also like to start working on reducing these stacks (if just to get some of my closet space back!).

Document what I’ve been reading.

I have never been good about keeping track of what I’ve read. I was so thrilled when my old library upgraded its online system so that you could actually see the history of books borrowed. But the Toronto Library, which I love to bits because it has almost every single book I’ve added to my TBR list this year (very good for the pocket book, you know), sadly does not have this feature.

So I need to do it myself, manually. I could do it by writing reviews but I’ve tried that and it just isn’t me. I prefer blogging about what I’m reading, what I’ve read and what I want to read, filled with little bits of my opinion.  I’ve also had off and on success adding books to my to-read list at Goodreads and to my Pinterest boards (I have two, one for TBRs and one, which I’d “pinned” great hopes on, for books read in 2012).

Midway through the year, I even started a reading journal (of the handwritten variety). Made all of four entries in it, but I’ve reread those entries a few times, and each time I say to myself, What fun! Why did I stop?

So it will be probably be some combination of the handwritten reading journal and Goodreads/Pinterest.

Participate in at least one readalong.

Simply because seeing those readalong hashtags on Twitter is always so much fun, and I always want to dive in with a tweet, only not, you know, actually currently reading the book, it’s not really possible.  (And if you know of an interesting upcoming readalong, please do let me know in the comments!)

Sign up – and complete!! – at least one reading challenge.

Epic fail is truly a good word for my past experiences with reading challenges. But if I can manage to keep track of what I’ve been reading, I might sign up for the What’s in a Name reading challenge hosted at Beth Fish Reads. On Twitter, Kathy (@bermudaonion) and Candace  (@bethfishreads) were talking about about how they just check their list of books read, and almost always end up fulfilling the challenge requirements just by doing this. Kathy actually said it was like a puzzle, going through her books read list and checking the What’s in a Name categories. I like the sound of this!

So these are my bookish intentions for 2013. I’m not brave enough to set an actual number of books I’d like to read for the year, the way Memory does (and then she tracks every single one of them with a review!). And I do tend to go overboard when I decide to do something (unfortunately, the momentum dwindles after a little while) so I’m going to be on hyperalert not to sign up for a ton of reading challenges.

But it does feel good to just set out this handful of bookish intentions. I have a really good feeling about this!

My Mid-January Goals Update

One of the perks of blogging is the truly awesome accountability tool it can be. It’s mid-January already (four days past the mid-point, actually) so what better way to motivate myself goal-wise than post this little update?

So how have I been doing with all my new year goals? Well …

This week has actually been the first week I’ve found myself in sync with my daily goals. The first week of January was virtually a write-off – but then again, I knew it would be, and my expectations weren’t high. The second week turned out to be a little busier than I’d expected, with some new deadlines turning up on my desk that I hadn’t anticipated.

This week, though, has been great. The kind of week that had me saying, “Ah, this is the life …”

So, excuses aside, here’s how I’ve been shaping up with my daily and weekly goals:

The Dailys

1. Read. I finally got my Toronto Public Library library card last week, and to say I felt like a kid in a candy store as I ambled through TPL’s ebook site is no exaggeration.

image

So, after a rough start at the very beginning of the new year, I’ve been doing quite well with my daily “Read” goal; I’ve just finished Alan Bradley’s The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag – a book I’ve been meaning to read for quite a while now – and I have quite a few more books waiting for me on my iPad.

2. Write. I’ve discovered something about myself: the hard part for me isn’t the actual doing, it’s the “getting to it”. I’m just so skilled at procrastination, it’s quite amazing. But if I can get myself to actually sit down and start something, it’s actually kind of hard to tear myself away.

That’s what’s been happening with my writing. My first project of the year is revising and editing my mystery WIP, 120,000 words of which have been sitting on my hard drive, gathering dust, for the past four years. I’m implementing the index card method for all of my WIPs this year, so the first step was to go through my draft and get all the scenes down in index cards. I finally finished this task last night, and I’m now looking at a stack of 98 cards that contains the bones of what I’ve written so far.

Next up: filling in the gaps. I’ll be brainstorming more index cards, as there were quite a few gaps that needed to be filled. Also, I realized I needed more suspects; it’s not so much that it’s clear whodunnit. It’s more like it doesn’t seem likely that anyone did it, and as a reader, I enjoy mysteries the most when there are a lot of possibilities, rather than none at all. So I’ll be adding in my red herrings the remainder of this week!

3. Create. I did well initially with this goal. Participating in the Creative Every Day challenge was a great motivator. But then my intentions went a little wayward in the second week of the month. This week, though, I’m back on track.

image 

Here’s what I’ve discovered: since I’ve been in a habit of letting my creative side slide the past three or four years, in order to create a new habit of being creative every day, I need to prepare to be creative.

It sounds a little counterintuitive – after all, isn’t creativity supposed to be spontaneous? Well, not necessarily. And what’s been working for me is putting together a concrete list of creative projects, and prepping the materials for them so they’re within easy reach.

I’ve been having the most fun with the Secondary Character Bank I’ve been creating. Since I’m not counting my writing as part of my Creative Every Day challenge, it’s a great way to incorporate a writing-related activity into the challenge. And I’m finding it’s also a juicy source of inspiration for more stories!

4. Meditate. I can give myself a prize for this one! I’ve been very good with my Meditate goal, although most days I only meditated for about ten minutes. But ten minutes is far better than no minutes, right? Plus, this week I’ve been aiming for 15-20 minutes. Small steps really do gain momentum!

The Weeklys

My weekly goals right now are: blogging, exercising and experiencing. (Given the flexibility of my DIY Moleskine planner, I’ll likely be adding and deleting from these weekly goals.)

So far I’ve met the blogging one (yay!). I’ve totally sucked with the exercising one (which started out the new year as a daily goal, so you can see how far I’ve tumbled with this one). And I’ve really been doing well with the experiencing one.

By “experience”, all I mean is getting outside and doing stuff. During all those years I spent in the suburbs, I rarely ventured outside unless it was to drive to the grocery store or the mall or Costco. I didn’t walk much at all; everything was always a drive away, and as for the neighbourhood, well, you can only walk around the block a few times before the scenery of house after house after house gets a bit boring.

But I’ve been getting out quite a lot the past few weeks, and what I’ve been loving is how so many things are within walking distance!

On Tuesday, as part of a homeschooling event for our youngest, Dylan, we attended one of the Free Noon-hour Concert Series programmes at Roy Thomson Hall: the Bach Children’s Chorus. It was simply beautiful, and the bonus was being able to walk home from the concert!

So that’s my mid-January update. How have you been doing with your 2012 goals and resolutions?

C is for Catch-up: Daughter, Early Rising and Fun (and that takes care of D, E & F)

If you take a peek at the latest posts by those participating in the A to Z Challenge, you’ll see a lot of “F” posts today. As I mentioned, yes, I am woefully behind.

But Joe gave me some great advice yesterday – he suggested doing a series of small posts to get right back in the game. I liked the sound of that!

C is for Catch-up

And then I thought … well, I’m on C, right? So why not a Catch-up post?

Why not indeed? So here we go!

D is for Daughter

My daughter recently produced, directed and filmed this music video for friends of hers. It looks so professional!

E is for Early Rising

I’ve had a great deal of success setting out intentions in this blog. So I thought I’d try out a new intention. After those crazy months of heavy deadlines just a few months ago, my system really fell out of sync. I was going to bed at 3 and 4 in the morning, and getting up at 10 or 11.

I am a bit of a night owl, but I’ve discovered that when I get an earlier start to my day, not only do I feel more productive – I think I actually AM more productive. (Anyone else feel this way too?)

So I’m going to set an intention here to start getting back into the rhythm of early rising again. Well … earlier rising, I guess I should call it, since to me, that means 8:30 am or thereabouts!

F is for Fun

And finally, I’m back on track for today. And I’m going to cheat a little bit. I really enjoyed writing that little scene that I posted as my “B” post, and I’d like to try doing more of these as I play the A to Z Challenge this month. The only thing is, I now know that it’s easiest for me to pull out my writing prompts and let my subconscious work on things, and for that, I need time.

So I’m going to try just pulling out new prompt cards at the end of each day’s post, to prepare me for the following day.

And since I had such fun writing from the prompts yesterday, I think drawing my prompt cards right now should qualify as fun!

So here are the prompt cards and the one archetype card I’m going to be using in my next A to Z Challenge post (G is for …), which I will be posting on Monday (I’m taking a hiatus from A to Z posts on the weekends).

The prompts:

1. yelling for help

2. dirty

3. magazine

(Yes, this was the order in which I pulled the cards … )

From the archetype deck:

Implies the unknown: ignorance or desperation; evil

I’m getting the same “You’ve got to be kidding me!” reaction I felt when I drew the last set of prompt and archetype cards.

This will be interesting …

Inspiration Monday: Love, Prompts and Comments

I’ve been thinking a lot about inspiration lately. And since this is January, the month of fresh starts, I’m coming up with a lot of new intentions. One of these intentions is living an inspired life.

I love feeling inspired; too often inspiration tends to come when I’m deep in deadlines (like I am this month). But I’d love for inspiration to come no matter what I’m doing. So I’m setting a soft, gentle intention to be inspired every day.

Not that I’m committing to anything, but it occurred to me that a regular weekly post about inspiration might help me with this new intention. And what better day to write about inspiration than Mondays!

The Love Project

image

One of my favorite bloggers, Judy Clement Wall, has embarked on The Love Project, and she invites all of us to participate along with her.

“I want to spend one whole year consciously, unabashedly, fearlessly spreading the love. It sounds easy and, of course, it should be. What’s easier than love, right? But I  know better. I know how life, and bad guys, and deadlines, and sleep deprivation can get in the way of good intentions, so I sat down and mapped it all out – a new way of spreading the love for every month in 2011.

January is the month of “spontaneous connection.” My goal is to spontaneously connect with someone new every day.”

This sounds like such a delicious idea to me! In her first follow-up post about The Love Project, Judy’s shared what the first ten days of The Love Project has felt like (in a nutshell – magic!); she’s also posted the calendar she’s mapped out for her year of love.

(Photo Credit)

Writing Improvement Tools

I posted last week about Janel’s fabulous Bowl of Inspiration – it’s a special bowl she made that’s filled with writing prompts. Last week, Janel wrote another fabulous post that gave me such inspiration: Writing Improvement Tools 2011.

I’ll be making my own Inspiration Bowl (it will be more of a Writing Inspiration Box, because I have this soft spot in my heart for beautiful boxes). I love Janel’s Idea a Day concept, and plan on doing it with my Writing Inspiration Box beside me.

(Did you notice the future tense of the previous paragraph? Unfortunately, I have so many work deadlines lined up for January, I’m not sure when I can put all of these wonderful inspirational ideas of mine into being.)

Art Prompts

I wrote previously about my intention that 2011 be my year of creativity. It’s been a long time since I last dived into art making; my paints and papers have been calling to me for a while, and up until recently, I’ve been ignoring them.

But I’m ready now to get back into art making. This past weekend we took down all the holiday decorations, and while we were putting them all away in our storage room, I decided it was high time I pulled all my art supplies out of storage. So we did – four big Rubbermaid bins filled to the brim with paper, paints and pastels, embellishments, glues. I’m going to have so much fun going through them!

And to top things off, I came across this post about Art Prompts at Cloth Paper Scissors (one of my favorite art making magazines).

Writing prompts, art prompts – I’m all set for a creative 2011!

Commenting Fun

Blogging can be so inspiring too, and it’s so much fun finding new blogs and making comments on posts that call to you. So last week, I decided to sign up for the Comment Challenge 2011. Yes, it started last week, but I don’t think it’s too late to start. I signed up but then a deadline stepped in, so I haven’t done as much commenting as I’d planned – but there’s always today, right?

Tumblr Inspirations

bluemoon A few months ago, when I was at the start of my really busy work season (aka deadlines upon deadlines upon deadlines), I realized I needed to make sure I had some time just for me every day. Even if it was only a few minutes.

I came up with this solution: I created a Tumblr blog. It’s filled with beautiful pictures I reblog from other Tumblr users, plus I post the occasional quote that I come across and love.

So here it is: BelleEnchanted Inspirations.

And Tumblr-ing is so easy! Once I got the blog set up, it really only takes me a few minutes a day, and I come across so much beauty, it helps set the tone for my entire day.

As a bonus, I only ever do my Tumblr-ing from my iPhone! So I’m not even stuck at the computer while I’m doing this.

(Photo Credit: artwork is mine)

Snowy Walk

Snowy Walk

I was in a bit of a funk yesterday, so last night, my husband and I decided to get all bundled up and go for a walk around the block. It’s been quite cold here in Toronto, but we’ve also had beautiful sunny days, and last night was a gorgeous wind-free night.

We had such a good time, we’ve decided to try and get out for a walk together on a more regular basis. It was good to see the stars and the lights inside and outside our neighbors’ houses and watch our breath puff into the night air.

(Photo Credit)

***********************

So these are the inspirational links, thoughts and ideas that filled my life this past week. What about you? What inspirational things have you come across?

Blogging Rhythm

I seem to have stumbled into a blogging rhythm this past week, and it definitely feels very good.

Over the past two months, I was so overloaded with work I had hardly any time at all to either blog, or go blog reading. I hadn’t realized how much I missed both aspects of blogging until now.

It feels really good to be back, fully participating in the blogging community. I’ve been especially enjoying reading and commenting at other blogs.

I’ve also found a whole lot of clarity the past few days about what I want to do here. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but I struggle every now and then with how eclectic I am sometimes with my posts. I know one of the “rules” of a serious blog is to have a specialized focus, but that just doesn’t work well for me.

So my clarity has given me ideas as to how I can still write posts about the things I want to write about, and at the same time, not be too much “all over the place”.

I’ve even got some ideas for weekly features – something I’ve avoided ever since I gave up doing my Sunday giveaway links posts (those grew to be just SO long and time-consuming).

Maybe it’s because I didn’t have much time to write up posts last month, but I’ve also been coming up with ideas for blog posts. I’ve decided to take advantage of this, and have been writing them down as they come to me. Hopefully, armed with a batch of ideas, I’ll be able to stick with this new, prolific blogging rhythm.

So here are some questions for those of you who blog: how do you come up with ideas for posts? Do you wait for inspiration to strike? Or do you do brainstorming sessions where you come up with ideas all at one time? For those of you who blog mainly book reviews, do you have a line-up of posts in mind at all times? What works for you? I’d love to hear all about it, and perhaps refine and improve my brand new blogging routine!

[TSS] My Year of Creativity

I’m not one to make resolutions – they just don’t work for me. And perhaps it’s a matter of semantics; “resolutions” and “resolve” have a hard-edged feel for me, and I much prefer the softer ease of “intention”.

So at the beginning of each new year, I like to make some general intentions for the days ahead.

Last year was my year of authenticity. And this soft, gentle intention had a great deal to do with 2010 being a very pivotal year for me. It was a year during which I got to know myself a lot better – who I really am, and what I really want out of life.

I didn’t exactly enjoy all the lounging-around-on-the-sofa-feeling-sick time I spent during Christmas week last week, but in some ways it was a gift; I had lots of time to look back over the past year, and look forward to the new year – and see what my general intentions are for 2011.

Despite flagging energy, I came up with a lot of ideas (many of which I’d actually been nursing during the deadline-driven months of November and December). And all these ideas gelled together and pointed in one general direction:

create

2011 is my year of creativity.

I’ve missed being creative. Last year, I added writing back into my life, and it has been a very joyful experience. But there’s more to what I want out of life than the writing. There are a lot of things that interest me, and this year, I’m giving myself permission to enjoy exploring and playing with all the things that catch my fancy.

So this means:

More Writing. But I’m not going to narrowly define “writing” anymore. I’m going for the everything-including-the-kitchen-sink approach. So that means not just novels and short stories, but playing around with writing prompts, writing essays, and (this is very tentative indeed!) more regular blogging here.

Janel has been my inspiration when it comes to my writing intentions. I am totally in love with her bowl of inspiration, and plan to pair it with this other idea I got from her blog – coming up with a story idea a day.

More Art. Once upon a time (read: pre-Dylan, my seven-year-old), I actually spent a great deal of time mucking about playing with paints and glue and paper and clay. I was never particularly good, but for me, making art isn’t about the end result, it’s about the process.

I’m going to start slowly; right now, I’m contemplating the idea of a Zentangle a day, or, more accurately, a Zentangle mandala. I found this great video on YouTube which makes me want to reach for my set of Pigma Micron pens and just do it – except, I don’t have a set anymore. So a trip to the art store is in order!

I’d also like to learn how to create digital art; I bought the Sketchbook Pro app for my iPad, and have a stylus on its way to me (in the same package as that Bluetooth keyboard I mentioned yesterday).

And digital photography! Molly posted today about her interest in photography, not just as a memory keeping device, but as a form of artistic expression. Photography is something I’ve been interested in ever since I was a teenager; I’ve just never made the interest much of a priority before.

More Reading. I also intend to read a lot more – for me, reading is a very creative thing. It’s rare for me to put down a book without it having stimulated an avalanche of new ideas. But this year, I’d like to add interesting non-fiction back into my TBR stacks as well.

For many years, after I had my kids, I read nothing but nonfiction, because fiction was just too gripping and I didn’t have the time to give to it (if you’ve ever found yourself having a really hard time putting down a novel, but it’s inching really close to 2 in the morning and you have to get up in a handful of hours to get the kids off to school, you’ll know what I mean).

So a few years ago, I made the decision to let myself read more fiction again, and I am so very glad I did. The more I read, the more I find myself itching to write. At the same time, though, fiction doesn’t quite appease my curiosity about things the way a very good non-fiction book can. So I’d like to have both types of reading in my life.

I suspect the Kindle app on my iPad is going to play a huge role in my reading life this year as well. It has been so easy reading on it (I recently finished Kathy Reich’s Virals, a real page-turner, and am in the middle of Naughty: 9 Tales of Christmas Crime, by Steve Hockensmith), and I’ve been finding myself looking through the Kindle store feeling very, very tempted by the selections there.

Morning Pages, My Way. I’m contemplating writing Morning Pages again; they were a part of my daily practice for about eight years, but I found myself outgrowing them. This time around, I’d like to do them with an added twist – I’d like to use them as a way to hold a conversation with myself, the deep-down-me who often gets buried in the unintentional busy-ness of life.

Meditation. And finally, there’s the meditation. I find it terribly challenging sometimes to quiet my mind (as you can probably imagine, by the length of my blog posts …) But I’d really, really like to incorporate meditation into my daily practice.

As a gift to myself, I bought a copy of Abraham-Hicks’ Getting into the Vortex Guided Meditation meditations; there are four 15 minute meditations on the CD, and 15 minutes is SO much easier to manage. It’s like the short timed writing goal for me – it’s nearly impossible for that naysayer part of me to tell me “you don’t have time for that”.

So these are all the things I’m looking forward to doing and being in 2011. What about you? Do you make resolutions? Mini-goals? What has worked (and not worked) for you in the past when it comes to new year changes in your life?