Writing Goals 2017: Just Hold It Together


anxietySo. 2017, eh? That shouldn’t be a difficult concept to grasp. Coming year, fresh start, New Year’s resolutions, long-term plans. But for those of us who are having a hard enough time wrapping our minds around something more immediate…like…oh, I don’t know…tomorrow, maybe, or even a couple of hours from now…”next year” and its goals can be a big scary monster we’d prefer to pretend isn’t lurking in the bedroom closet. Long-term plans? I cannot even.

That state of mind is weird for me, because usually I can (even). However, every once in a while we all get into one of those strange life phases where either we’re spinning out of control, or we seem to be standing still and everything else is going haywire. Kind of like what it must look like if you stood on the central contraption of a Tilt-o-Whirl and watched the cars go by as tipping and spinning red and blue blurs. Betcha it’d make you kind of “pukey,” as my son would say.

I’m feeling a little “pukey” lately. (No, not for that reason. I’m so far out of that range it’d be laughable…or a literal miracle. Unless I’m Janet Jackson—really, woman? a baby at 50? by choice? bless…and better you than me. Spoiler: I’m not Janet Jackson.)


Even without the soap-opera-level plot, though, my life has turned into a top-speed Tilt-o-Whirl, and it doesn’t leave me any time for writing or, often, even thinking about writing. My current “wut r werds?” phase has been influenced by changing living situations (house hunting is nowhere near as fun as HGTV would lead you to believe), taking care of my 91-year-old mom with squiffy health, and keeping my son calm while he gets acclimated to a new school. That includes helping him tie a tie every day (o the horror!), making an hour-long round-trip to said new school twice a day (my poor little car!), and helping him out with hours’ worth of homework because this school actually (gasp!) makes him work for his grades.

With all of that going on, I could watch the Tilt-o-Whirl spin until I barfed. Instead, I repeat a sort of mantra to myself: One thing at a time. Don’t stress about hypotheticals. Stay organized—make lists and cross things off those lists—but stay loose enough to prepare for the unexpected. Just hold it together.

hold together

That’s my goal: Just hold it together. And…writing? Wazzat? Oh, but I miss it. Everyone has that one thing they like to do to keep themselves from flipping out, right? It could be stilt-walking, binge-watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, underwater basket weaving, parkour, painting landscapes, or doing calculus proofs for fun and profit. Writing happens to be mine. (And binge-watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Really, if you don’t watch that show, you should! It’s brilliant!)

Will writing be back on the agenda in 2017? It had better be. I’m tired of being pukey. In the meantime, I’ll take good life advice wherever I can get it—in this case, from a fish: I’ll just keep swimming.


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13 responses »

  1. I absolutely hear you: if dealing with tomorrow is a big deal, long term goals are not so meaningful. Good luck with all that you’re juggling and I hope you can squeeze in tiny bits of writing as a “self care” strategy, at least.

  2. Holy cr@p girl. You have to keep writing. You’re so good at it.

    But I get it. I totally get it. I feel like I’m in a community of writers who are running circles around me because I’m always running four kids, two dogs, and one husband around. I have a similar never-ending carpool and endless homework schedule. (Kill me.) Most nights, I plop down in a chair, exhausted, only to look around at what hasn’t gotten done that day.

    It’s awful.

    But girl, you can write. Can you squeeze 100 words in each day? That’s half a page. Now, I know I’m being insensitive to a poor woman who just wants to swim another day, but can I say? You’re gifted. Stick that into your family calendar.

    i heart you, Jayne Denker. i heart you.

    • Aw, thanks, honey. I heart you back! Of course I’ll keep writing—I’m one of those weirdos who can’t NOT write. This is just a small hiccup, a pause full of weirdness that I have to take care of. Then I’ll be back at it! 🙂 I’ve already got new characters taking up residence in my brain. I’m sure they won’t be quiet till I let them out!

  3. Love your post and your writing, Jayne. You have a gift with words that makes me smile. Your year almost makes me feel mine was a piece of cake, and you know that story. You read my post. However, I love that you are surrounded by family no matter how challenging it is to keep everyone in place. Of course you will write – you are a born natural.

  4. Two words. No, four: self care & yes, write! Or maybe writing IS to be your self care? Of course you’ll hold it together … by writing 😉

  5. I hear you! With a child with special medical needs and a hubby who travels ALOT, I’m about the holding it together. AND, I have two Dory’s that stare at me form above my desk, reminding me to ‘just keep swimming’.
    I hope you get back to writing soon, Jayne, if for no other reason than it’s your happy place. Good luck.

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