Re-calibrating

by krstaten

Everyone always says that your goals should be measurable. Every New Year’s Eve (and in the weeks beforehand), there are countless articles about how to stick to your New Year’s Resolutions, and one of the first tips mentioned is always to make them measurable–vague goals are easier to fail.

So I always push myself to do that. Read to a certain page count; write a certain number of words. Something I can tangibly measure and check off: Yes, I did this, or no, I didn’t.

I always end up checking no.

This year, I’ve decided to change those goals, and re-orient myself in terms of how I view words. I’m going to be vague. And I think that’s going to be better.

Because when I get too specific, I end up writing for the sake of a word count or reading for the sake of a page count, and I forget to enjoy words. So my unmeasurably vague New Year’s Resolution is to actually enjoy words.

I’m going to read every day, and if I’m not feeling it or can’t focus, I’ll put the book down after a couple pages. But I will at least try to get in that zone. If I can, I’ll get sucked into a story the way I used to. If I can’t, I’ll set the book aside knowing I at least tried, and won’t force myself through pages I won’t remember.

I’m going to write every week, even if I scrap it. And I will probably scrap a lot of writing. It’ll take the pressure off to write something “postable” (so I’ll probably write fewer postable things–meaning fewer poems here, but I think it’s for the best), so that I’ll be less afraid of taking risks and more willing to do something exciting with my writing. And it will probably mean a lot of failures that go nowhere, but I’ll learn from them and have fun with them.

I know that I can be the voracious reader and prolific writer I once was. I just need to remind myself how. So forget measurable results. I’m going for results that are so vague or immeasurable I can only “feel” if they’re right. Because for me, that’s what words are supposed to be for.

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