Sunday Mail column for Sunday 27 December 2009
It’s hard to resist. At this time of year the temptation to write a list of resolutions is as strong as the one to sneak a spoonful of leftover trifle at four am.
What is it about our desire to start over? I think it’s more than just about self-improvement. I think those last few days of December are like the days before I start writing a new novel.
Ask most writers and they’ll tell you that their next novel is always going to be the best one. The one with the most intriguing characters, the most sparkling dialogue. The next novel is always going to be your greatest work. Until, well, it isn’t. You write that first page and in an instant this new story transforms into something as colourful and intriguing as cold porridge. And you are left to trudge your way through this – what you know now is a rather flawed – story. But hey, you’ve spent the advance from the publisher, so you’d better write something. And what keeps you going? Well, not having to repay the advance (always an incentive) and the notion that actually the NEXT idea you have is really the best one. EVER. And you can’t wait to start that one because, truly, it’s perfect.
See what I mean?
So right now, we think of how golden 2010 will be. How much healthier and fitter and slimmer and smarter and less stressed and more focused and more organised we plan to be while we learn Spanish and tennis and make our way through the Miles Franklin winners of the past ten years and learn to make our own pasta. Because who doesn’t love home-made pasta, right?
And we hold on to this notion until about March when we realise that making your own pasta is over-rated and hello? – fattening and right now you don’t want to know about Miles Franklin unless she can come round to your house and do a load of washing while you try to stop your toddler from eating all the crayons. Again.
So this year I’m cutting myself some slack and going for just two goals. First up, I’m going to try harder to live in the moment. I’ve been quietly patting myself on the back all year about being a full time mum and spending so much time at home with Ava until I realised that actually, Ava and I were sharing space not spending time. I was racing around emailing, writing, cooking, cleaning, living while she crawled around my feet. So my goal next year is to give her my full attention more often. The washing can wait.
My other goal? Well, I’m determined to have more meaning in my life. And I’ve come up with an idea – it’s a journey I’m hoping readers will take with me in 2010. More details next week. Til then, happy new year.
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Over the past 25 years Rebecca Sparrow has earned a living as a travel writer, a television publicist, a marketing executive, a magazine editor, a TV scriptwriter, a radio producer, a newspaper columnist and as an author.