I have never been much for making New Year’s resolutions. For one thing, hunkering down in our 170-year-old farmhouse next to the wood stove and feeding it cord after cord of firewood seems more a time for self-preservation than for ennobling self-improvement. Nor is January 1st so radically different from December 31st that it should provide a sound logical basis (emotionally speaking!) on which to adopt uncompromising behavior change literally overnight—I have enough trouble remembering to adjust the year when dating my checks to pay the bills that never seem to stop coming despite the numeric onset of another year.
However odd as it might sound, I do seem to be able to achieve some deliberate positive lifestyle changes in conjunction with the changes in the seasons. I think one of the reasons why this is possible for me is that each new season offers, and in fact forces us to recognize, a new context for looking at the world and new necessities for operating within it. Each season has its own distinct markers, so for example, with autumn now upon us, the regular summer time chores of mowing the lawn and weeding the garden give way to splitting and stacking firewood, stoking the woodstove, and perhaps raking leaves out of the driveway, if the windier days fail to provide the service. We are obliged to change the very clothes we wear to warmer ones as the average temperature drops incrementally.
Another reason this seasonal approach seems to work is that, like anyone else, I am apt to break one of my wonderful new resolutions from time to time. With a New Year’s resolution, which feels so much like a rigid and abrupt decision to change one’s behavior or outlook overnight, a slip-up on any given day is apt to feel like a major and unforgivable transgression—you broke your resolution! Whereas, in trying to adopt some improvements over the course of the several weeks of a particular season, a slip-up on any given day feels like…, well, just a minor slip-up, that’s all; a temporary setback. Behavior change is a lot easier if you’re provided sufficient time to work on it until you may get it right—most of the time—hopefully getting better as you go.
Sometimes a new season actually presents new opportunities to successfully embrace a new action resolution. I confess that “get more exercise” is always on my new season’s resolution list, though to be fair, keeping physically fit is always a challenge for anyone whose livelihood requires sitting in front of a computer screen for hours upon hours during the day. I mostly do my writing very early in the mornings when I am at my freshest and creative best, but I like to break for a brisk walk before, say 9 am. However, this summer was consistently and intolerably, already hot and humid at that hour and even earlier, from the moment the sun rose. If exercise isn’t at least a little enjoyable, I won’t do it. And I didn’t.
But now, the moderating cooler temperatures that have arrived here in northern New Jersey over the past month have made my morning walk simply exhilarating, such that as of this writing I’ve gotten out there at least four or five straight days a week since Labor Day.
As for my passion for writing and editing, this fall I’ve decided to reach out a bit more, not just to potential clients but hopefully to a general audience of aspiring (and even established) writers and lovers of the printed word. To get more involved the writerly and literary community around me. This renewed blog represents a small part of that effort. I hope, humbly, to provide helpful ideas and information to writers who want to tell their stories, even to have them published, and to do so in a way that is both entertaining and judgment-free. After all, I have a few decades of panoramic experience in the publishing world that I would love to share. I may also try to offer some passing observations on our unfolding cultural and social media landscape; sometimes informative and thought-provoking commentary, yet also commentary that occasionally will be inquisitive; because change is constant and unrelenting, and I certainly don’t profess to know everything. But absolutely no partisan politics, I assure you.
Finally, my other new season’s resolution is to try to pursue more aggressively my own creative fiction writing, which I have put off for far too long. And perhaps in this blog I’ll talk a little bit about that effort, both the bright successes (I hope!) and the anguishing setbacks, and the lesson I will learn from either. I would be humbly delighted if you would look for more regular articles or blogs that I plan to post in the coming months—and which I hope will be useful to you.