Years Don’t Wait for Permission to Start Anew and Neither Should You

I can think of nothing more soul-crushing than watching all of your valuable, non-refundable time tumbling and crumbling away like dead leaves, as Neil suggests here.

“Try to make your time matter: minutes and hours and days and weeks can blow away like dead leaves, with nothing to show but time you spent not quite ever doing things, or time you spent waiting to begin.”

Neil Gaiman’s wishes for us all in 2016

(he’s crushed my soul lots, but always for a good purpose in the end)

I don’t know about you, but that image makes me want to vehemently, deliberately, lovingly embrace this coming year and forge something meaningful with it. Not just “try” but DO! Rake all of last years’ dead leaves into a pile and compost them to fertilize 2016’s budding plans!

Here are a few of the tools I’m using in 2016 to make my time meaningful:

just begin

The purpose of this blog is as true now as when I started it a year ago. I wrote early on that:

“This is a blog about the hard-fought battle with the hydra Confidence (the heads regenerate when severed from the body only to hackle your lousy writing abilities—the nerve!). The never-ending quest for the illusive Grail of Confidence. Confidence is the dream that fades upon waking.”

 Those of us that have to work at confidence often find that it is work that doesn’t end. But this work is not without its rewards.


Once you begin, keep yourself going with Jerry Seinfeld’s strategy to fend off procrastination by not breaking “the chain.” Here is a free and helpful 2016-at-a-glance calendar to hang above your writing desk and watch your chain grow day-by-day.

Also, also,

I’m revisiting Joe Williams-Nelson‘s book Lights, Cameras, Take Action: 52 Weeks to a Better Life, One Movie at a Time to build a Life Plan for 2016 to fulfill all of this year’s writing goals. Last year, my plan revolved around my family relationships and my service to them, and I can look back on a year of great memories and now enjoy more meaningful relationships with the people I love most. To focus your energy for your 2016 writing plans (and for a sample of what her book has to offer), reread this great advice she offers specifically for writers!

And whether you’re reading this on January first of this or any other year, around 3:13 the third Thursday of October, or you’re so off your game you don’t even know what day it is, it isn’t too late to start treasuring your time and making it matter, to write the friendly letter, blog post, or novel you’ve always dreamed of.

We created the hours and days, months and years. You can create your own beginning.

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