“Instead of telling our young people to plan ahead, we should tell them to plan to be surprised.”— “Dan in Real Life

Temporarily sucked into a whirlwind of tying brightly colored packages with string and swept up in my determination to get my apartment all sparkling and shiny by the new year, I’ve finally managed to pull myself away from the world of stove-cleaning and wrapping paper. The exhausting buzz of energy has sent my thoughts wondering down the path of New Year’s resolutions. Do we need them, and do they work?

Resolutions can range from the mundane—weight-loss regimens, healthy eating, or exercise—to the abstract, such as finding happiness or self-acceptance. I wonder how many of us keep these resolutions. Personally, I’ve made resolutions I didn’t keep, and I probably realized this before I even declared it. “I’m going to go vegan.” “I’m going to exercise four days a week. “I’m going to meditate daily.” Yep, I’ve run the gamut from promises of yoga or jogging to assurances that I’d eat more edamame or celebrate each cycle of the moon.

So this year, I find a number of those old “one-of-these-days” promises rising up to greet me: Take two yoga classes a week. Read two books per week. Finish reading [insert series name here].

Considering how much has happened in 2010, I don’t feel too bad if any dusty resolutions didn’t make center stage in my life. Even if there’s a lot that I haven’t finished, there’s a lot that I have finished. So I think I’ll resist the temptation of resolutions for next year.

Yet I can’t hide the fact that there are a few things that I find myself resolved to do next year. I have one manuscript crying out to be revised. It’s just not ready to collect dust on the shelf. And I have another manuscript in the works that continues to surprise me. I don’t know where this story will end up yet. Urban fantasy? Paranormal romance? It’s somewhere in the middle right now, sometimes veering off onto one path for a while, only to swerve right back.

This blog is one lovely step in my journey, part of my writing and my life. So I think I’ll just resolve to continue on with my writing voyage and see where I end up. It means putting faith in the uncertain and the unsettled. But so does anything in life that’s worth doing. I have goals, but I think that I’ll also just plan to be surprised: by my characters and by their stories, and also by life.

So here’s wishing everyone a happy Yule, happy holidays, and happy New Year’s!

Now tell me: What are you resolved to do in 2011?

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