I have been traveling and dealing with family issues, so have not written my annual summation of 2021, but we were all there, and we all know it sucked balls. ‘Nuff said.
Followers know I like to pick a “word of the year” to guide my mindfulness and meditations, a sentiment or notion to circle back to on those days when I’ve lost my “oomph” or need a little brain-trick to stay on the path of health and wellness I have chosen for myself. Past words have included “change,” “vibrance,” and last year, “sthira and sukha” (effort and ease).
This year got off to a rough start, with a difficult Christmas holiday spent with my parents. We all got the Vid, and on top of that, Pa was hospitalized due to a sodium imbalance caused by alcoholism; and my mother’s dementia, in addition to the damage she suffered after her stroke decades ago, is now undeniable.
Their medical challenges are at least partially because of habitual daily drinking, and the negative effects I started to notice a few years ago on their minds and moods, was one of the reasons I quit drinking in 2017.
I haven’t really picked a “word of the year” yet, other than having NETWORKING very forward on my mind, but I’m going to write a book about my decision to quit using alcohol, one that will hopefully persuade you to do so too.
I feel grateful that I have grown enough as a writer over the past few years that, instead of having to work on motivating myself to write, I have created sustainable habits–daily journaling, meditation, regular blogging and fresh content–to support the following achievable commitments:
- Three months to write an outline and submit book proposal;
- Network with my fellow author friends and publishing contacts to do a formal book deal;
- Finish the book by the end of year.
I have been practicing behavioral modification for the last couple of years. One of the reframing techniques I use is identifying when I am suffering from cognitive dissonance, which is just a fancy way of saying, “moments when my behavior and my thoughts are not aligned.”
Because I’ve had other careers, including working as in-house counsel at Fortune 500s through the dotcom era, I have always treated my writing as a “hobby” instead of a job. This is the year this changes.
In my quest for clean living, I’m actively seeking natural ways to get more dopamine hits, and the feeling I got when my first book, The Ecstatic Pessimist: Stories of Hope (Mostly) was published, rates right up there on my internal satisfaction scale. It’s a feeling worth chasing! Every time I see my book, I get a little thrill. As I was journaling this morning, I realized I can replicate that feeling more often if I churn out more books. Go me!
Years ago, before I got cancelled for my views on gun control, I worked with locally-known New Hampshire journalist and historian, John Clayton. He said something in a workshop that’s always stuck with me. He sold his first story for a nominal amount when he was still in high school. Fine. But the important part was he told himself he would never publish anything for which he was not remunerated. As I shift more seriously into writing career path, I am going to apply this to my own life going forward.
Of course, I will still blog and write for the sake of communicating important ideas, but I will also seek to monetize my efforts… Which is just my way of saying: writing is no longer a hobby, it is a calling for which I want and deserve to get paid.