We are in a brand new year, our annual clean slate, our second chance to turn our lives into what we want them to be. I’ve spent some new years saying goodbye to years that I couldn’t wait to put behind me, and others marveling at the previous year’s opportunities and accomplishments. In survival times I’ve spent new year’s saying, “Okay, I lived through that one, now let’s do it all again.” As we begin 2013, I am acknowledging how hard I worked in 2012, and how I was able, for the first time in a long time, to say exactly what I want from my life. I want to write, I want to adopt a small person, I want to choose my own adventures instead of waiting for things to happen to me. I recently wrote and posted my bucket list as a way to further define what I want. There are two items on that list that are specifically blog related, and they will help provide me with a structure and focus for my writing. The first item is number nine on the list: attend at least 12 concerts in one year and write a review of each one. The second is number nineteen on the list: read 50 books in one year and write a review of each one.
I love live music. Music has always been my native language, and there is something kind of magical about seeing my favorite musicians perform in real time. Every time I return from a concert I ask myself why I don’t attend concerts more often. I didn’t find any reasons not to see more live shows, so I filled the first half of 2013 with concert tickets. One show a month fits my schedule and budget, and it gives me something to look forward to. I will also write a review of each show I attend in 2013, similar to what I did when I saw the Toadies show in Tulsa.
Seeing a live Lady Gaga show went directly onto my bucket list as soon as I knew who she was. I enjoy listening to some of her songs, but they’re not my favorite. How much I like her songs is quite irrelevant to how much I want to see a live performance. This is the woman who wears meat, people. I have a feeling that it will be impossible to be unimpressed by a live performance. I bought tickets to the show back in summertime, and I paid more for them than I will ever admit to anyone for the rest of my life. But being able to cross off a bucket list item…priceless. (That’s what I told myself when I entered my credit card number, anyway.)
Another of my life’s loves is reading. I always have at least two books going. I read at red stoplights, I read in line at the grocery store, on my lunch breaks, in bed past my bedtime. I read with more intensity now that I am trying to write more. It helps provide a context for good (and bad) writing that is already out in the world. Stephen King mentions in his book On Writing that if you want to be a writer you have to read a lot. King’s success is in fiction and science fiction, and he says to start by reading and writing what you like. It makes sense and is very good advice. My own writing ambitions are continually shaped by what I read and enjoy. I have written a few book reviews in the past, and they leave a lot of room for improving. So I’m going to turn my reading addiction into something productive, and I’m going to write a review of each of 50 books that I read in 2013.
Both of these commitments I’m making to myself for 2013 will not only be a lot of fun, but it will give me a structure and specific goals for writing. It will also guarantee that I post at least 62 times this year, even when I hit the writing dry spells. I very much need this structure and direction, but what better way to form a structure than by building it out of the things I love the most? The only way I can get better at writing is to keep doing it. This will help me out of the writing rut, and once I am out, I see a lot more than 62 posts in 2013. Happy new year!