Some Things I Plan to Do in 2017, Not Work Related
Posted on December 30, 2016 Posted by John Scalzi 15 Comments
Do I have personal goals for 2017? I do! Here are a few of them, in no particular order.
1. Get more organized. I’m actually good at getting organized; I’m shit at staying organized. Welcome to my life for the past 47 years. For 2017, however, I have three books due and a lot of other things I want to do, so if I don’t get better at the organizing thing, I’m going to be unhappy. I’m pretty sure I’d rather be organized than unhappy. I mean, if those are the choices available to me, and for 2017 it kind of looks like they are.
2. Better manage my online life. This is a subset of number one, but inasmuch as I can lose hours just crawling Twitter, a fairly important one. I already keep off online media while I write books until I meet a daily quota, which is super-helpful for concentration. This next year will be about finding a better balance of enjoying social media — which I love, especially Twitter, which is where I hang out with friends — and enjoying everything else, since I have a pronounced tendency to fall down the Twitter hole for hours at a time in lieu of other entertainments. Which brings me to the next point:
3. Read more books. 2016 was a year I noticed I read notably fewer books than in other years. I had reasons for this, relating to work and other factors, but regardless of that it’s not something I want to get in the habit of. So I plan to take at least some of the time I’ve been frittering away on social media and turn it back into reading books for enjoyment. And maybe also other forms of entertainment! Rumor is there’s some good TV out there.
4. Family time! I get a lot of this anyway, I should note. But Athena will be going off to college in the second half of the year, and that’s a hell of a thing, isn’t it. So I think it’s fine to make sure I enjoy the time we have left with the family in its current “all under one roof” configuration.
5. By the same token, more face time with friends. This is slightly more of a challenge, in that most of my friends don’t live in my area. But you know what? I want to see them anyway and spend time with them. The good news (for me) is that many of my friends are writers/creative folks/geeks who go to conventions/book fairs/geek-themed cruises which I will also be at, so that helps. And there’s also the book tour, which in many ways is not ideal for quality time (since I have to be a performing monkey most of the time) but which does get me all around the country. Also, I can actually go places without a work element involved to see people too! (You laugh, but I actually do forget this sometimes.) So, yes, this is what I want to do more of.
6. Try to exercise more. Stupid middle age, man.
If there’s an overarching theme to this list of plans, and there is, then it’s this: Balance. I’m not good at it; I want to get better at it, because the alternative is to feel stressed and annoyed. I have a very strong suspicion the rest of the world will give me enough stress and annoyance in 2017; I don’t need to generate more on my own. So these are the goals. Let’s see if I make progress toward them in the next year.
Number two is also something I need to work on! When I am writing, I try to have one browser window on the left monitor open to research stuff on Google, and the right screen for Microsoft Word. That scheme quickly evaporates into a plethora of open windows. Google+ is what sucks me in. I am going to try your method of setting a word count.
More exercise for me too!
You go, girl!
Balance is hard. Balance is a bitch. Balance is difficult when you’re young and difficult when you’re older, except you feel more need for it as you get older. Reading, though, is important for a writer. Without it, you start writing more and more like yourself, which is the worst trap a writer can fall into. I think one of the reasons Stephen King is still writing so well is that the guy reads a shitload of books. (TV’s great now, though.)
I’ve tackled 3 and 6 together by taking up long walks (counts as exercise to me) every day, with a bluetooth headset and an Audible subscription. Good luck with your goals, you do seem to have a busy year ahead!
maybe the subject for another piece, but any goals related to politics / social justice?
I’m getting to the gym a couple times/week. And believe me, if I can do it ANYBODY can do it!
A bicycle is a great exercise tool, and if traffic isn’t a problem, you can combine it with audio books.
Indeed I will likely be talking about that another time.
Balance can be next to impossible in the middle of a job search.
These are all great goals! As for your last one, might I suggest long walks with audiobooks? This was how I got in more reading last year AND I got exercise. I actually read your entire backlist this way! In 2017, I have a goal to walk 1000 miles. I had been walking 65-70 miles per month, and now I’m going to up that to 84 miles to get to 1000 in one year. I think you live in a pretty part of the country that will be great for long walks! :) Good luck on all your other goals. I also hear ya on the organization one. Lol.
As Confucius sang:
Get more organized
Better manage your online life
cut off trolls with a linoleum knife
Read more books
like a hard SF buddenbrooks
Family “all under one roof”
your DNA is shatterproof,
more face time with friends
as opposed to through a telephoto lens
Stupid middle age, man,
and here I am onstage with just this plan
My vague plan for 2017 is seeing whether I can build up a certain amount of writing discipline. I’ve been doing 5 minutes of daily journaling as the first thing I do when the computer is turned on each morning (it’s usually about the fifth or sixth thing I’m doing after waking up) for the last month or so and I have plans to increase this to 10 minutes starting tomorrow, then 15 minutes on 1st February, 20 minutes 1st March and so on until I’ve built it up to thirty minutes daily journaling each morning. Depending on how I’m going with getting the actual writing done, it may vary on the timeline. I don’t plan to add another five minutes until I’ve really got to the point where the current interval is something I feel I can do without too much effort on early morning brain. Once I’m up to thirty minutes of personal journaling each morning, I’ll start the next increment of 5 minutes of fiction writing, and see how I go from there.
I also want to get into the habit of clearing at least one box of stuff out of our “store-room” each month, but that’s going to require a bit of co-operation from my partner, because he’s the one who’s going to need to be taking the boxes off the shelves, or taking the “bye-bye bag” of stuff we’re getting rid of down to the local op-shops.
I also want to continue with doing up the “three things that went right” posts of articles from the mainstream media I read.
We shall see how all of those combine with the joys of going back to university (again) in the hopes of actually getting a degree, damn it! I suspect it’s do-able, but it may require shuffling things around on the schedule.
Looks like a great and balanced list. I’m with you on 1, 2, 3 and 6; fortunately, I am able to spend a good amount of time with my local friends and family, and unfortunately really can’t do anything to see my other friends and family more, so 4 and 5 aren’t big issues. Number 6 is perhaps the hardest for me, because it’s the easiest thing to find excuses for not doing. There’s always the fallacy that “right now I have to get work done; once I get caught up, I’ll do exercise.” I find that when I actually do the exercise (usually just going for a good walk and listening to podcasts), I get more work done, but getting up off my derrière is easier said than done…
When I retired I said I wanted to read more books. Unfortunately, when I got a tablet (Don’t get me wrong; I love my tablet) I discovered that it’s very easy to “just do one or two puzzles” as a break from reading, and the next thing I know, hours have passed and I didn’t read all that much.
It’s a good thing I don’t do Twitter.
Also, what Matthew Green said. If you do the exercise first, you get more done afterwards than if you don’t do the exercise at all.
Saruman the White
never took time to write
just a New Year’s card