The New Year's resolutions that worked

The New Year's resolutions that worked

I haven’t made new resolutions for 2018.

This is the story of why, or at least how, two resolutions — count ’em, two — have worked for me and lasted for decades. (Don’t count how many decades.)

For Christmas when I was in sixth grade, I got a “day-by-day” book from my parents. It was (and is) paperback, with Peanuts cartoons for each day. I resolved to write in it every day, so I wouldn’t miss a cartoon. (Seriousness started early.)

Then, on Jan. 1 of that year, I wrote my two most significant words: Dear Diary.

Now, even a long nap will find me waking up needing to write — it’s that hard to sleep without writing something. That’s helped a lot in my life as a writer. It’s made me a writer.

My other resolution began with the diary I started halfway through my junior year at Valparaiso University. I was reading “tons” of books for classes, but I didn’t know how much I was reading outside of classes. I resolved to keep a list of Books Finished in 19–, which has become an annual fixture now headed Books Read Completely — 2018.

(I raced to finish the third part, but first book, of the Winston Churchill biography I was reading, “The Last Lion,” and got it onto 2017’s list — as book 31 — around 11:30 p.m. That must be why I adjusted this year’s title to Books Read Completely. As of Jan. 5, that’s all the list has — the title.)

Now, as long as I can recall when I read a particular book, I can look up a review, or at least a reaction. Also, it’s fun to look at trends of who and what I was reading at a particular time.

Looking up what I’ve read by particular authors can be treacherous, however. Cross-indexing the list (back into the past century) would take away precious time from reading — and from writing.

Seriously, you wouldn’t want that, would you?


Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook. Resolve to stop by!

Filed under: Writing


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  • "Cross-indexing the list (back into the past century) would take away precious time from reading -- and from writing."

    Not if you had them in a database, but someone would have to do the data entry. Seriously, there are companies in India that do that for the publishing industry.

  • You nearly had me there, Jack, thinking someone would have to do the data entry on my private diary. Gold star for using the word "Seriously," though!

  • I came an annual list of books read in their entirety too. In those little spiral notebooks. GMTA. BTW, right now I'm whiling away time and space with "Einstein" by Walter Isaacson.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    I keep, that is.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Noted. Thanks.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    That's a good one, time and space with "Einstein." I hope you're enjoying it.
    Meanwhile, what's GMTA stand for?

  • Margaret, when I read that Seriousness started early, it reminded me of a line from Amor Towles' A Gentleman in Moscow: "Nina Kulikova always was and would be a serious soul in search of serious ideas to be serious about."

  • In reply to folkloric:

    Thank you, folkloric. I must find that book, for obvious, serious reasons!

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