Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year Guest Blog -- from Frank Cook (aka Husband No. 1)

Ahhh, the New Year. The sheer magic of flipping over the calendar.

What I like about the New Year is the sense of renewal I get – that all the failures of the past year are over and I can start all over with a clean slate. New plots, new characters, new story twists. Ready to go.

Somehow I convince myself that all the things I didn’t accomplish last year, I will accomplish this year. And, what the heck, I might as well add a few things to this year’s list – after all, I’ve got 12 long months to get everything done. Lots of time.

If you think about it, we all get several opportunities throughout the year to remake and rededicate ourselves.

For me personally, if I’m not seeing a lot progress on my New Year’s manuscript by, say, early February – I feel free to abandon it for the moment and convince myself with utmost confidence and that I can restart the engine on Feb. 25 – the first day of Lent.

For the last five decades, Lent has been a great time to stop bad old habits and develop new good ones. Ten pages per day. How hard can that be? All I need is dedication. Lent: A great time to stare steely-eyed into the future and know I’m just 40 days away from a finished manuscript (as well as being healthier, 10 pounds lighter, and having a clutter-free desk).

On the other hand, if the pages, pounds and clutter still aren’t flowing by the time Lent ends in mid-April, I’m never too concerned – and I never ever concede failure.

Fortunately for my zen self, my birthday comes at the end of May. And what better time to start life-changing programs than on your birthday? Every year I look at my birthday and know a better me is just on the horizon. It’s simply a matter of prioritizing and keeping one’s eye on the prize.

Of course, if somehow the weakness of those around me manages to undermine my birthday dedication, it is not a big deal. Coming up is Sept. 1, the traditional day of new beginnings for almost everyone in America. Sept. 1 is the day we all went back to school. The day we all started with a new teacher, a new attitude, empty notebooks and an open mind. Beginning on Sept. 1, anything is possible. What better day, even as an adult, to clear the clutter of the last many months and look forward to a tomorrow that is full of promise.

But, if my September makeover hasn’t quite caught on by mid-October, an ominous chill sets in on my psyche. I look back over the last 10 months. Are those few pages all I’ve got? Have I really gone 14 chapters without murdering anybody? Has my protagonist really not had sex since page 1?

What started out as a pleasant pursuit those many months ago now turns into a dark forced march. Thanksgiving looms on the horizon and then it’s a steady slide toward Christmas.

Progress must be made. Now! Manuscripts must be typed. Pounds must be shed. A new me must emerge, dammit!

And finally Christmas. Acknowledgement, concession, reconciliation and resignation. Too late to do anything about me now. I must accept who I have been throughout the year and graciously forgive myself my little setbacks.

Besides, there is no time to dwell on the past. New Year’s resolutions must be written! A new me awaits!

Along with being a great husband, Frank Cook is a multi-genre author -- writing mysteries, four non-fiction books including the best-selling "21 Things I Wish My Broker Had Told Me," as well as newsletter and magazine articles.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So many chances for a fresh start. I thought New Years Day was it but you remind us that a new begining can come at almost any time. Of course, patients could use a liitle more focus on their goals, and although we welcome rededication, progress is our most importsnt product (the old GE theme)