Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Evaluating your year

Everyone is reflective on New Year's Eve, which is to say, everyone is mildly depressed. This is the time when we look back on the previous year and realize that our achievements are, however great, still in the past. Our more stubborn faults and tendencies, the ones that have defied our will year after year, have returned again to tweak our noses and dare us to give it another go. If we are lucky, we are thankful, and mindful of the preciousness of our passing time. If we are not so lucky, we are downright morose. No wonder everyone gets blotto.

So, how should we evaluate the year? There is a strong temptation to go back and tally up your progress in quantifiable terms: how much money did I make? How many hours did I bill? How many projects did I complete? How many books did I read? How many books did I write?

Or, you could look at things at a process level: did I do things better this year? Have I improved the way I live and work? Am I more efficient, less wasteful, kinder, gentler, less filling? Am I better off?

There are no absolute answers to those questions, so we have to settle for the relative ones. You can only tell if you're succeeding in your life if you are hitting your explicit goals. If you set out to do something, something that is worthwhile and in accordance with your deepest values, then you go do it . . . what could be better than that?

So . . . how'd you do?



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