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New Year Blues 2013

January 15th, 2013 Matt Leave a comment Go to comments
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You’d be forgiven for thinking the New Year is an energising time for all the way blogs and podcasts talk about it. But for some of us it can be enervating instead, making us weary when we should feel refreshed. It doesn’t have to be this way!


Should be showing 31 really, but you get the idea. Image courtesy of Dafne Cholet.

They’re right of course, all those excited folk looking forward to their great achievements in this, the newest of years. Yes, it’s an arbitrary point in time – just another day – but the dawn of a new year should make us feel inspired and motivated. It’s a new start! A chance to push on for greater and better things!

Not so this year for me. Instead I’m tired, a little grumpy, and weary of the trudge of daily life. I’ve got a case of the “can’t be bothereds” and I suspect I’m not the only one.

After all, despite the justifications for happiness above, there are just as many for misery – returning to work, losing all that free time, chastising yourself for taking a break. Take your pick.

But this post is not about being maudlin! No! This is about how to avoid these ridiculous feelings. And they are ridiculous, and I’m a stupid, stupid man! Because I know why I feel this way and I know the cure (actually, prevention is better than cure, isn’t it), but again I’ve not followed my own advice.

So, I will be detailing why I feel so glum in a moment, but know this – the solution follows. And I’m going to make damn sure I read this very post again before the year ends.

pity party

Oh dear, someone needs cheering up. This excellent image is courtesy of Evil Erin on Flickr.

Woe, Woe, Woe Is Me!

So, below are the reasons I’ve been feeling all poopy:

  • Out of my routine. Actually that’s out of every routine, so includes:
    • Not getting up early every day. I genuinely tried to do this, but my neighbours New Years party kept me awake and screwed me up
    • Not listening to inspiring writing podcasts
    • Not reading inspiring writing blogs (erk! Sorry fellow bloggers!)
    • No train time, due to not going to work
    • And worst of all – no writing
  • I still have hangups about last year. I’ve been disgruntled about my lack of achievements then, and in fact, over all the years since I made the decision to take writing “seriously”. I put the quotation marks in there because clearly I haven’t been taking it seriously enough.

Okay, now I feel depressed again. Quickly moving on…

The Answers I Already Knew

It is frustrating being me. I wish I took my own advice more. I should really be paying more attention.

The answers are scattered throughout this blog no doubt, but they come down to two simple things:

  1. Stay in my routine as much as possible.
    • Do get up early every day
    • Do listen to podcasts, even if it’s just while doing the housework or going on my morning run (which I should also still be doing by the way)
    • Do spend the rest of that morning time writing
    • Do keep reading blogs. There’s plenty of time in the evening when crappy TV is on
  2. Take a long run up to the New Year.

    I should start at the beginning of November I reckon. I started sorting out my Christmas shopping then and it worked out great! I should do that with everything else too.

    This includes (and probably in this order):

    1. Reviewing the year so far. This will help me get over my hangups early, and is good preparation for the next step
    2. Plan the next year – what I want to achieve, and roughly when. Quick note – I should treat project completion goals as more important than word count – all those words count for nothing if they’re sitting in a drawer

These two sets of rules should make holidays less of an interruption, and get me set up to hit the New Year running, rather than trudging.

I’m starting to get my mojo back now. Writing this post has helped. But as I write I’m already in the second week of January. maybe I’m being too harsh on myself, but I’ve wasted enough time!

Over to you:
How was your holiday, if you took one? Were you able to relax? Did you comfortably step out, then back into your routine, or has it been painful? I’d love to know how you handle the New Year, so please comment below!

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  • Craig

    So far this year I have stuck resolutely to my routine from last year. That is to say that I’ve done f*** all writing at all.

    I could draw up a whole list of excuses, but it all boils down to the fact that, realistically, I am a massive massive failure, in pretty much every aspect of my life. As much as my brain still churns over ideas, ultimately, I cant really develop… not the energy… more the will, perhaps? to sit down and write (or rather edit) because ultimately I think ‘well what is the ultimate goal? Is this going to go anywhere?’ and I think to myself ‘no, it isn’t. I have long since missed the window where I could achieve something noteworthy.’ Then generally I reach for the vodka bottle. Or the razor blade.

    But wait! You don’t want more despair and depression, do you, you want more positivity! Part of what made last year so tough, personally, was having my focus divided between ‘my’ writing, and this long gestating collaborative piece that imploded in on itself. That was a pretty hefty blow, not necessarily to my confidence, but to a more deep rooted issue that I have in regards to the overall viability of my writing in general.

    Basically, I need to figure out which of my many projects is the ‘most viable’ (or rather most likely to find success) and get myself into the mindset for that.

    Or… just write something with a computer generated name along the lines of:

    12 Weeks of Sin, 40 Nights of Black, 60 Chapters of poorly written painfully embarrassing sexual deviancy that you hope your mother wont actually read.

    No, I’m still not over it.

    • http://getmewriting.com Matt Roberts

      50 curds of whey!

      I think that might be original. Haven’t seen it anywhere on the Twitters. I’m not going to check, lest the dream shatter!

      Energy and will are interchangeable! As in it takes actual energy (you know, physical energy – the same stuff you use to exercise, and replace with eating) to resist something. Or to do something. I don’t know how knowing that helps, but I feel like it should somehow.

      Also, I think routines are totally the answer to this problem of sitting down and getting stuff done for most people.

      And focussing on one project, giving yourself deadlines… all that stuff.

      But I’m guessing you’ve tried all that? And written it down, on paper where you can see it?