Today is my 33rd birthday, which means for the next week I am going to transition into my new self-schooling.
This year I am going to focus on writing, but there are a few other things I want to do as well...actually, a lot of things, but I am trying to focus on the most important ones.
I have made myself a chart modeled on a pretty one I discovered this year, and it looks like this:
Basically, I will fill in the squares with colour if I have accomplished my pre-determined goal for the day. It will keep me honest, and show me if I need to step up my work in any of those areas. These are the four things I really want to make into daily habits this year:
1. Writing 2. Raw Food 3. Exercise 4. Meditation
Raw food will be an easy one since I have been doing it for 2.5 years, though I could do it BETTER - I will write out some guidelines for myself (like...instead of cacao/honey/cashew for breakfast, have a green smoothie or some micronutrients instead, like bee pollen).
Exercise will consist of walking, hiking, swimming, hooping, and yoga/pilates - something I have been meaning to do for so long, and with the future purpose of making me strong and limber for my surfing year (when I was previously living in a surfing town and going surfing on a regular basis, my endurance, upper body strength, and flexibility sucked, so I want to be very in shape and nimble when I start again - I did have great paddling skills, though, after a while).
Meditation is something I want to do to center myself when I wake up, and look deep within myself. I have overcome a lot of issues in the last couple of years - at least for the most part. I still have a lot to work on, especially regarding my irritability levels and procrastination. Mostly the former. I constantly work on my patience because it is an important attribute I desire to have. It is not something that comes naturally to me - since changing my diet (which used to be VERY HIGH in sugar) and living with 19+ people in the surf town (Tofino), my patience levels have increased...a LOT.
And of course, writing. I want to do this as a daily practice, and more than just journaling, which I already do every day. I have kept diaries for 21 years and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. For the past year I have kept it up every single day, which I've never done before. Even if it's a short entry, I still do it. There have been times where I go long periods without, and instead wrote in an online journal (which I have done for 10 years), but nothing is like writing for yourself.
I am going to school myself in writing. I have chosen the following as "textbooks" - 2 per month for 2011 (most of these I have owned for years and not read yet):
1. Sin and Syntax - Constance Hale
2. A Passion for Narritive - Jack Hodgins
3. Bird by Bird - Anne Lammot
4. Zen in the Art of Writing - Ray Bradbury
5. The Creative Habit - Twyla Tharp
6. Writing Down the Bones - Natalie Goldberg
7. On Writing - Stephen King
8. If You Want to Write - Brenda Ueland
9. Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life
10. Negotiating With the Dead - Margaret Atwood
11. The Elements of Style - William Strunk + E.B. White
12. The Right to Write - Julia Cameron
13. Writing Life Stories - Bill Roorbach
14. The Artist's Way - Julia Cameron
15. On Writing Well - William Zinsser
16. Becoming a Writer - Dorothea Brande
17. The Writer's Journey - Christopher Vogler
18. The Art of Non-Fiction - Ayn Rand
19: The Hero With a Thousand Faces - Joseph Campbell
20. The War of Art - Steven Pressfield
21. The Art of Fiction - Ayn Rand
22. Word Painting - Rebecca McClanahan
23. Eats, Shoots & Leaves - Lynn Truss
24. The Joy of Writing - Pierre Burton
+ The Renaissance Soul - Margaret Lobenstine
+ The Heroine's Journey - Maureen Murdock
+ Style Statement - Danielle LaPorte
+ Problogger - Darren Rowse
I don't want to assign myself too many books because I find new ones to read all the time (it happens even more than it used to since I've worked in a bookstore for 2 years) and need some freedom, or I know I'll deviate and go on a tangent. As long as I can stick to my original goal most of the time, I'm golden. I do well with structure.
I will also review all of these books!
I've set up my table to be a desk for writing with lots of goodies - all the books I want to read that I currently own, plus some new delicious Moleskines (check out the giant sketchbook one!) I just got myself for Christmas presents.
My goal is to write for at least 2 hours a day. I have an entire book sitting in my head (it has been there for years) and a series idea, too. Both need to be written, so these are mainly what I am going to work on, though I want to branch out and try different styles of writing to broaden my horizons and get a lot of variety in there. Variety is good soul food.
If you know of any other fantastic books or resources, please let me know in the comments!