I know it’s been two weeks since January 1st, but bear with me. I’m still shaking off the holiday hangover.
1. Write more.
This is pretty obvious, right? Write. No matter how much I write, I’m never satisfied with how much I’ve produced, but lately (and for a while now) I’ve been writing next to nothing. I haven’t had the time. Forty hours a week takes a lot out of a person. So, in 2017, I’m going to write more.
2. Read more.
When I was a kid, I never stopped reading. I started reading Harry Potter when I was seven, started reading Lord of the Rings when I was eight. And reading taught me to write. The more I read, the more I learned about spelling, grammar, word choice, character development, storytelling. I learned to write from other writers by reading what other writers had written. But something (and hefty college textbooks are most likely the culprit) stopped me. It’s been ages since I’ve finished a book. The rows and rows of unread books on my shelves need some attention in 2017.
3. Take risks.
This is the real point of this post, I guess. Taking risks can mean different things to different people – and what’s considered “risky” can change throughout the course of a person’s life. Me getting behind the wheel of a car is a bit less risky now than it was when I was four years old (though, that’s probably debatable). For some people, taking a risk this year might mean writing a thriller when they usually write romance, or going to a movie alone when they’re usually too anxious to go without a group. These are worthwhile risks. They’re risks that will probably help a person grow.
My risk, this year, was a big one. For me.
I quit my job. My comfy, cozy, $14.00/hour, 9:00-5:00 (actually, 7:30-4:00, ew), safe, reliable desk job. Only, it wasn’t so comfy, and it wasn’t so cozy. Not for me; not at this point in my life. I’m 22. I’ll be 23 in just about three weeks. How can I already feel like I’m wasting my life when I’m not even one-third of the way through it, when I’ve only been able to drink legally for one-tenth of it, when I’ve spent all but one-fifth of it in school?
When I started, this job was a way to provide for myself, a way to keep my apartment and my car and my internet and my rats while I worked toward the life I wanted. I would go to work during the day, write during my free time. And I did go to work during the day – but I didn’t write.
I’ve been a writer since I learned how to hold a pencil, so how the hell have I spent so much time not writing?
I know it’s risky. I know it takes time to build up a freelancing career. I know my income won’t be as reliable as my not-so-comfy, not-so-cozy desk job.
But I don’t mind pinching pennies, as long as those pennies bring me joy.
Whatever your risk is, take it. If it helps you grow, if it’s good for you, if it brings you happiness – take a risk this year.