A steady pace in still water.

Don’t know about you guys, but I am so very ready for 2014.

This isn’t a slam on 2013, not at all. Yes, there were a lot of sad, hard things towards the end. But in many ways, 2013 was one of the best years of my life. Goodness knows I crammed an awful lot of wild and new experiences into it:

  • starting a new job (one of the most challenging I’ve ever had)
  • becoming a published author (like, eight times)
  • attending SXSW and San Diego Comic-Con and The Princess Bride Experience

But it was also, in many ways, like trying to sprint for a mile. Sprints aren’t supposed to be long-distance. And the kind of pace I set this year probably wasn’t healthy to try and maintain for a whole year. Still, I couldn’t have accomplished all the things I did at a slower pace. I can’t honestly say I regret having one year of crazy, manic, jazz-like riffs of pursuing everything that seemed fun and interesting.

drumer-798351-mChris once asked our friend Miguel Monroy (who writes the excellent LouisvilleDrummer.com and contributes articles to Modern Drummer magazine), what was his favorite thing to play? I think we were expecting something with a big elaborate solo. But Miguel said something surprising.

“For me, it’s about finding a really good rhythm and just hanging in there, staying in that groove.”

I think that’s a good metaphor for what my goals are like for next year. I want to find a good, comfortable rhythm of rest and activity, dig into that, and just see how long I can keep it flowing. For someone like me, whose life has often been defined by a pursuit of novelty, and cycles of passionate intensity and exhausted burnout, I think finding a nice groove and sticking with it might be my “final frontier.”

morning-on-the-lake-1213467-mBut it’s not completely foreign ground. There’s something exciting when you’re learning, say, tennis or volleyball, in just keeping a nice volley going back and forth without a break. I enjoy kayaking, and as thrilling as a riffle can be, there definitely is something hypnotically challenging about just keeping a steady pace in still water.

Another thing that this year taught me is what my real limits are. Because God knows, I hit them. Multiple times.

But now, going into 2014, I can set a writing goal of 5,000 words per week, and know that’s in the realm of “challenging but maintainable.” It’s a goal I probably won’t hit every week, but I’ll hit enough weeks to still make my macro goals (projects completed).

I can set a fitness goal, and know it’s not going to get derailed by some other thing that has swallowed 100% of my time and attention for a brief period.

So what about you, reader friends? How was your 2013? How would you like 2014 to be different? Are you a slow and steady person who would like to experiment with some “sprint goals” or a sprinter who’d like to try finding your groove?

2 Comments


  1. ·

    I am happy with my new routine of writing two hours per day on two projects. It’s not tons of time, but I think it will be just enough for what I hope to achieve.

    I’d also like to get on the treadmill every other day, and do something else physical on the alternate days. 🙂

    Reply

  2. ·

    I guess I’m a sprinter quite often in my writing. I’ve done (and won) NaNoWriMo 6 out of the last 7 years, and that’s when I get the bulk of my novel writing done. I would like to do a more steady pace, but that’s been difficult for me. I do plan to write some more short stories this year, so that may help build a regular writing routine. I’ve been working on lots of editing projects this past year, revising and improving my older works to be put out by small press publishers, so I’ve had a solid writing-related project of one sort going on most of the time this year at least.

    I too, need a slower pace. Much of 2013 was challenging or way out past my limits at times, but it was a great year too. If 2014 could be calmer and still productive (and I mean the day job and other home projects here too), that’d be great.

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