Friday, January 19, 2007

Kathleen asks: Which Road's Paved With Good Intentions?

I'm late! It's not noon yet, though, so here I go. It's January, and it feels like I've been blogging my brains out this month, but I still haven't really put my 2007 intentions out there for all the world to see, thereby carving my commitments in stone. I have terminal "good girl" syndrome, you see. Will work for approval. Give me a gold star, an A, a little plastic trophy and I'm in for a pound. So declaring my intentions is a biggie.

2006 was a difficult year for me, but I succeeded in more ways than I realized. Last Saturday I attended the first Midwest Fiction Writers meeting I'd been to in several months. Mainly I was there because months ago I'd agreed to give the program, so even though I was hacking with a horrible cold and dangerously contagious, I dragged myself out and kept my promise. Good girls, after all, grow up to be super women, at least in their own minds. So there I am, spreading germs and wisdom in the same breath, and our new Veep who's running the meeting takes out a list of declared intentions for 2006, to which a whole bunch of us had signed on exactly a year ago. I'd forgotten about it, but, lo and behold, I've achieved my goal! Finished the WIP (and I was way behind when I made that declaration) in record time and I've written 200 pages of the current WIP. Woo-hoo! Our dear Veep presented me with a certificate right then and there. I felt all warm and happy. No kidding. I made my writing goal and my weight goal. Maybe 2006 wasn't as bad as I thought.

So now I'm psyched for 2007. Because 2006 really was tough in many ways, and frankly by December I was feeling pretty overwhelmed. I thought the chest was empty. But like Pandora, I finally took a moment to look into the bottom of the box, and there lies hope in the form of a couple of gold stars. Silly gold stars.

Heck, I can use those! I've gotten healthier. I resolve to keep my health on the front burner. Eat right, get back into the exercise swing, take what I learned in '06 and work it, girl, work it. I resolve to finish the WIP in a timely matter AND kick the quality up a notch. I've reached the point (at 200 pages) where I see what the story is really about and I know the characters well. I know the potential. It's my job to fulfill the promise.

Here's something I wasn't thinking about so much this time last year, but I am now, so for 2007 I'm resolving to live by the Serenity Prayer. It's dawning on me (for probably the bazillionth time in my life) that the philosophy at the heart of that prayer is the key to keeping me sane. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

I'm a control freak, you see. For me, that's part of being a "good girl." I have this obsession with getting ducks in a row. Everybody's ducks. When the going gets tough, the good girl/control freak starts herding ducks. Exercise in futility. I swear, I'll end up flat on my ass with both feet in my mouth and I'm still trying to herd ducks. It only works if you're the mother duck and the ducklings are still ducklings. And even then....

I understand that goals must be achievable, and even though I won't be able to measure this one in pages or pounds, I know what kind of results I'm looking for. I've seen the top of Mount Serenity a time or two. I know what it looks like and how I feel when I'm there.

So this year I'm going to concentrate on my own personal ducks. I'm going to leave other people's ducks alone. Let me know if my ducks get in your way and I'll take care of them. If you need me to supply one of my ducks (how far can I take this little cliche?) for something--to feed hungry children or whatever--just ask. I reserve the right to say no, but you can always wave the gold star at me. You want me to bring my ducks over for a playdate with your ducks? That can be arranged. Joint efforts are good. But from where the sun now stands (and it's shining today in Minnesota!) I shall stop trying to apply my idea of order to all the ducks in the pond. I'm just not that powerful. And I don't even want to be!

Anybody else care to share any personal improvement goals for the year?


lois greiman said...

Best of luck on your duck-herding endeavors, Kathy. Sometimes those damned fowl just go whatever way they bloody-well please. Just let them scatter, I say. Which is much easier advice to give than to implement.

Christie Ridgway said...

Okay, I'll play.

1) I want to find a successful way to juggle diet/exercise and writing. It seems like I'm only able to really focus on one at a time.

2) I want to stop worrying so much about the writing outcome and enjoy the process more. I want to practice every day the act of being in the moment of being a storyteller.

3) And after Debra's blog more with affirmations. They are helpful!

Cindy Gerard said...

Okay. I tried to post once - here we go again. I think we were talking about ducks. My ducks play well with others so here they come. Like you, I have pledged to take better care of myself and my ducks. I'm eating better (already lost 5 - count 'em 5 pounds) and have committed to a less than rigorous exercise program so that I won't peter out right away. Have also vowed to approach my deadlines with something other than a term paper mentality where I have to race to the finish line and drive myself nuts.
so, thanks, Kathleen for being such a great example. You look wonderful.

Helen Brenna said...

You guys are killing me here. To a basically negative person, all these affirmations and goals are like ... like ... killing me!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Helen, you. basically negative? Nuh-uh.

Cindy, 5 pounds is great! and probably enough off you. I hear you on being reasonable with the exercise. If I try to do too much I'll burn out quickly. Exercise is like housework.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Congrats on your goal, Katleen. Mine? This will sound funny, but it's to ask for help. I feel good helping other people; it's what I do. But I forget other people feel the same. I'm also going to stand in place, in the moment, and say, "where can I go from this point," rather than, "oh, if only that hadn't happened, or something had gone differently." It's working already. :)

lois greiman said...


What the hell are you doing on this blog? You get out there and burn Vegas down, girl. That should be one of your enjoy the moment...the watch a stripper...or something.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Hey, Lois, give Michelle a break. She just got married again. Elvis officiated. She's probably getting a private strip show as we speak. (photo at

Sing along with me, Riders: Michelle, Dave's belle (Bella doesn't rhyme)sont les mots qui vent tres bien ensemble...she's got a hunka hunka burnin' luv....

Adding renew vows and redo honeymoon to my list of resolutions.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Whoops. I just read what I said last night. There's no photo of a strip show at RBTB! It's a sweet photo of the bride and groom with Elvis. Yet another example of Kathleen with her size 10 in her mouth. I'd better bop over to RBTB and see if I posted the same faux pas there!

Debra Dixon said...

Coming late to the party here...

I would like to get a grip on irritation this year.

My husband says, "Don't sweat the small stuff and it's all small stuff."

That's a little too "okay with the universe" for me. (g) But I would like to have the same patience in my personal life that I have with my clients.