Making New Year’s Resolutions are a tradition for most people. Most resolutions are things you know you should do but you lack the will power to actually follow through on them. I know that sounds harsh but it is January 1, 2009, and you need to be brutatally honest at least one day a year. As the Bard says, "But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we’ll not fail." (Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 7)
Back in late 2005/early 2006, I took a six month sabbatical from work with the stated intention of writing the first draft of a book. When January rolled around, I wrote out my goals/plans and called them my New Year’s resolutions (you can read it here if you’ve a mind). While I didn’t complete them all, I did complete some of them.
The time management types will tell you that goals need to be measurable if you are going to achieve them. So, "go on a diet" is a meaningless goal but "stop drinking caffinated beverages" is a valid goal because you can track it. They will also tell you that you are more likely to complete "positive" goals than "negative" goals, i.e., "I will do X" rather than "I won’t do Y." I think that has to do with your investment (or commitment) in meeting a goal and the notion that it’s a rewardable behavior; negative goals frequently feel like punishment. But then I’m not a psychologist so I can’t tell you for sure.
I don’t know about you, but I need a certain amount of definition in my day. I don’t need to have every minute mapped out but I function best with at least a basic plan. The routine does not have to be the same every day or even week to week; in fact it’s better if it isn’t the same. The essential point is to plan what I am going to do so everything gets done or deliberately rescheduled. That was hard to do in 2008 with all the medical events. Hopefully things will be better in 2009.
2009 New Year’s Resolutions
My job can be intense and time consuming, so a certain amount of realism has to creep into my goals for the new year. I’d love to write a book or spend large blocks of time on my photography but that isn’t going to happen right now. So, some of my goals for this year include…
- Write one short story every two months. I don’t know that I can focus enough to write a novel right now but I can work on some short stories. My target is 2,000 words per story. This year, I’d like to do three fantasy stories set in the Lands of the Six Planes, and three "neo-political" stories. And unlike during my sabbatical, I’m not going to think about "publishing" what I’m writing. I’d be happy to get stories on paper.
- Spend at least four hours a month shooting new images. A lot of my photography in 2008 was accidental rather than intentional; in 2009, I’d like to change that. The best way to do that is to go out and shoot.
- Shoot a roll of B&W film once a month. I bought a used Nikon F3 HP last fall because I would like to get back in to shooting black and white film. B&W film has a different look-and-feel, requires a different eye for composition. You can simulate B&W film in a digital workflow using tools like DxO’s Film Pack or Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro but it just isn’t quite the same. If you have ever worked in a darkroom doing your own prints, you know what I mean. When you get it right, it’s magic!
- Print and frame three 13" x 19" photographs this year. I did one of them in 2007(a shot of one of the interior gardens at Windsor Castle) and really enjoyed it. I’ve got all the tools to make the prints (software, printer, inks, and paper), I just need to do it.
- Register copyrights for images every two-three months. Another "I just need to do it" kind of thing. Scott Kelby and Co. have been talking about copyright a lot recently (see this or this). The bottom line is if you want the full protections of copyright law, you’ve got to register your images. Even if you make versions of your images available under one of the Creative Commons‘ licenses, you still need to register your copyright. You can submit them on CDs (multiple images per CD), and the cost is $45 per submittal ($35 is you do it online). See the Copyright Office’s web site for details.
- Make monthly back-ups of files. Yeah, I know, this is a no-brainer. I work in the tech industry, I know you need to do this. And I just spent four days (Saturday to Tuesday) rebuilding our Mac mini and rescuing movies and images from a failing hard drive. Multiple copies on multiple hard drives, copies on DVD’s for the safe deposit box.
Those are my main resolutions. I’ll drag the list out mid-year and let you know how I’m doing.