The 52 Lists Project 2017

I posted the entry below to Instagram and Facebook a little while ago, but I’m going to begin the project in earnest on the blog this week, so I thought I’d include it here, as an introduction.

My number one resolution for 2017 is to get back into a regular writing habit. Between book edits and marketing plans, and my anxiety, 2016 was a year of fits and starts and far too few words (which, of course, produced even more anxiety). I’m not a daily writer–never have been. But structure, routine, practice, these are things that soothe and center me.

I’ve decided, instead of trying to write everyday, to give myself small, manageable projects to complete at least once a week. Paper projects (for some reason, writing on the computer has lately been causing anxiety spikes). I’m writing in a notebook every day. I’m reading every day. I’m keeping a research journal for the two new book projects alongside my internal writing, to see what comes together there. I’m keeping a paper planner again and checking things off physical to-do lists.

And above all, I’m honoring my own natural inclinations. I’ve always loved writing lists. Everyone whose ever taken a writing class with me knows this; it was a running joke in my MFA program that I’d write my thesis as a list if I could. They come naturally to me, and they calm me. So for 2017, I’ll be using the 52 lists journal to ensure I write something new every week. After I complete a list in the journal, I’ll write a post here extending and reflecting on it, but I’ll allow myself to be a week behind (so I write the Week 2 list in my journal, but won’t post it to the blog until Week 3, etc.)

I want 2017 to be a productive year, but I also know the danger of setting myself up for unreasonable expectations. This is how I’m striking a balance: set standards that speak to my strengths, do the work that feels good. Breathe through it all.

PS: For fellow notebook nerds, the planner pictured above is the Signature Planner from Sugar Paper, which I got as part of a special collection they developed in conjunction with Target. It is gorgeous and excellent for my organizational strategies.

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