Way back in December 2020, I started writing a post about ditching New Years’ Resolutions and what to do instead (setting intention). That was before I ended up in the hospital and even my intentions, such as a wildly successful book launch, got hit by a tidal wave.
Here’s how the original post began…still fitting, and stay with me: I know that resolution month is over…and that’s where the surprise comes in–and I promise it relates to writing a book!
Discovering My Grammar School Diary
A decade ago I found my old diary from elementary school. It included six or seven years of New Years’ Resolutions. And you know what shocked me?
The same darn resolutions every year.
Sure, by sixth grade I could spell “biting” rather than “bitting.” But every year my list contained the top three:
- Stop biting my nails.
- Be kinder to my siblings.
- Control my temper! (Actually, many years, all my resolutions contained multiple exclamation points; I hadn’t yet learned the rules of writing from Frank Conroy and Strunk and White.)
Talk about “shoulding” on myself. And setting myself up for failure.
New Years’ resolutions rarely work. So, ditch ’em.
What to do instead: Set Intentions
Try setting intentions.
When you intend, you invite in possibility, rather than resist your “bad habits” and judge yourself. It’s a different energy.
In fact, intentions can be fun and playful.
You can intend more fun in your life. You can intend to notice the positives. You can’t fail at intentions.
As you may know, I love to journal…
That’s where the post ended. I was probably going to write, “So I’m thinking of ‘Enjoy journaling’ as my intention” but I’m not sure, so feel free to fill in whatever you think I was going to say!
After the hospital, I’m still drawn to the idea of intentions, but I also realize that there’s something even more important before intentions come into play…Silence. Listening. Being.
And after setting an intention, more time for silence, listening, being. Stillness. Letting the inner voice guide one’s actions.
With my energy still going into healing, I spend a lot of time on the couch. And sleeping. And recording my dreams from the previous night’s sleep, looking for the layered meanings and messages I’m sending to my waking self.
In the Stillness
I look out our living room window at the new view (we pruned our out-of-control forsythia and the bushes in front of our porch and now, in the winter at least, we see a lot of more of the expansive winter berry bush with its dark branches and bright red berries, and, beyond that bush and a border of green yews, patches of the wintery ice-blue of Narragansett Bay).
Today, it’s especially magical with the snow falling and forming a bright contrast on the stark, branchy trees.
In my dream-work, I’ve set intentions about healing. Now, I listen for guidance and clarity. And I let that be enough.
Work waits. My book launch waits without a date. I’m clearing space for life to show up and teach me what it’s asking of me right now. It feels strange. Yes. It requires something new of me. Sometimes it feels scary, but it also feels like a new beginning. And new beginnings need space to form.
It’s Not That Different with Writing a Book
At the beginning of my Bring Your Book to Life(R) Program, I invite participants to create a vision statement for their book. A setting of intention, of sorts.
And now, with my new insights, I think I will add a step before creating a vision: time first for quiet contemplation—walks in nature, meditation, just sitting still. And, then, set your intention and create your vision.
If you’ve already created a vision statement and you’re already working on your book, that’s okay. Take a step back every once in a while; be in the stillness, the field of possibilities. Perhaps even start your writing practice with the silence. Breathe. Be. Wait.