I’ve spent the past few days thinking about what I’d like to accomplish in the coming year. A conversation yesterday with Kimberly Wilson, soon to be turned into a new podcast episode, helped me solidify my thinking about the coming year and finally put pen to paper on the following:
1. Do a writing residency/workshop
Over Thanksgiving, my artist Aunt Amy told me about a fellowship she’s planning to apply for at an artist colony near where she and my Uncle Paul live–AND that they also offer similar programs for writers. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while–and have long been promising and failing to visit Amy and Paul–so this summer I’ll be doing both by attending a memoir writing workshop.
2. Run a new marathon
I took 2019 more or less off from running after completing the New York Marathon in 2018. It wasn’t intentional; I signed up for a number of races and then ended up being too sick or injured to complete them.
My original goal was to run Chicago in 2020, but after failing to get a bib in the lottery, I’ve decided to run Detroit instead. The race is half in Canada–you have to run with your passport and talk to Border Patrol mid-run. Just the kind of weird shit I’m into, and it’s a flat course! (Props to my mom for telling me about this race!)
3. Publish 12 podcast interviews
I’m deliberately setting this goal low so that it’s achievable. I currently have two episodes recorded to publish by the end of January, along with a third in the works. My goal between now and January 1 is to start emailing the people I reached out to over the summer about interviews so I can get them on my recording calendar for Q1. I finally have energy again after a rough autumn, so I want to make the most of it before I hit another low period (ahem, February, peak SAD season).
4. Publish 20 blog posts
I started to write 24 blog posts–two per month–but something gripped in my chest that told me not to overdo it. Truly, writing five blog posts would be an accomplishment compared with this year. This goal feels like the perfect intersection of manageable and stretchy.
5. Have one essay published
I’m deliberately setting this goal to be super tiny and yet it’s the one that terrifies me the most, possibly because it’s the least within my control. I need this to be the year that I finally start writing and pitching essays (likely creative non-fiction but maybe some more straightforward stuff as well). I have a lengthy list of publications to pitch, so my hope is that one of them will be a home for something I produce in 2020.
6. Live as my alter ego
My alter ego, Élodie Clyde, is American but with the energy of the French Olympic logo:
As I wrote in a recent Instagram post:
I went to an event a few weeks ago where we created alter egos and then went out to a bar in character as them. Since that night I’ve spent so much time thinking about mine. How differently she would navigate relationships, creative practices, finances, her social life. How much less she’d care about what other people think, how she’d never take responsibility for anyone else’s feelings, how much cleaner her apartment would be, how much more comfortable she’d be with other things being messy. The books she’d read, the movies she’d watch, the eyeliner she’d wear. Her insouciance, her last-minute trips abroad, her hours-long dinner parties. A bigger life, but never suffocating.
This is what I’m using to guide my decisions in 2020.