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Approaching another year with caution, as one does. Photo by the incomparable Stephanie Eberle. Copyright 2017.

Resolutions are funny things. Every year, I make myself a series of promises and every year, I break most of those promises. And yet, I keep making resolutions on my birthday, because while I’m not good at fulfilling them, I still find value in the tradition — in aspiring to do better and be better each year.

This year, as I dive headlong into my late-20s, I’m making three resolutions and if I’m lucky, I may even keep them this time. Hope springs eternal.

1. Complete the first draft of my novel

Astute readers of this blog will probably recognize this one. Last year, I laid out an ambitious goal to write a novel by my 30th birthday. In my original plan, I was going to finish the first draft last year and, well, it didn’t quite work out that way. So, this year I’m going to attempt a new first draft, this time based on a different premise that I’ve been cooking up. With my self-imposed deadline looming, I’m giving myself until November to complete the draft (around 100,000 words). This is a monumental undertaking, but I’m excited about this idea and I’m determined to get it finished.

2. Learn to Accept My Limitations

As I get older, I like to think that I also get a little wiser and a little more humble. I used to think that I could do it all. It turns out I don’t have unlimited time, boundless energy and barrels of talent that I used to believe I possessed — and that’s okay. I have obligations that I must keep; relationships that I must nourish. I can’t follow every harebrained idea that pops into my head. This year, I want to continue to learn how to reel myself back in. Limitations are necessary and by respecting my own limits, I’ll have to be more discerning in my endeavors. From now on, I want to devote my resources to doing a few things exceptionally well, rather than taking on multitudes poorly.

3. Enjoy the Process

In writing and in life, I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to either dwell on the past or start imagining the future. I like spending time reflecting and dreaming, but I don’t want to be so distracted from where I am in the present. I’m writing a novel. I’m young and living in a vibrant, interesting city. These are the years to soak in my experiences and savor the details so that I can draw on them later. I cannot write about fictional lives without living my own life. I want to remember that this year and enjoy the process of accumulating stories.

What are your resolutions for this year? Let me know in the comments!

— 30 —

Jonny Eberle is a writer in Tacoma, WA. Today is his birthday. His latest short story, The Disappeared, appears in Creative Colloquy Vol. 4, which you can find at King’s Books in Tacoma. Follow him on Twitter and subscribe to his monthly newsletter for exclusive content and recommended reads.

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