I used to love starting each new year at school with brand new stuff. Fresh school books, new pens and pencils, a whole ruler. Such an invitation to create when everything is fresh and clean and new, much nicer than the tatty books, stubs of pencil and broken ruler from the end of last year. Unfortunately my proclivity towards messiness meant it never took long for the newness to wear off and the ruler to be snapped in two.

So, now I have a fresh new website, shiny and unspoiled by my lousy taste and general scruffiness. What I do not have is a school teacher to tell me what I must write on it. Faced with uninhibited choice my brain has fritzed and left me uninspired.

Although I enjoy writing, it is much easier to read what others have written or to dick around playing computer games. And thus a month has passed, I have paid for web hosting and used it for owt.

If nothing else, the many hundreds of once pristine pages which became filled with scrawled notes and cross-outs have taught me that although the ‘finished’ product never really feels finished to my satisfaction and always disappoints me, the process of getting to it is what is most valuable. After those pages have been incinerated upon another ritual bonfire of freedom, it is the ability to create them again that stays with me.

This realisation acts as a catalyst to overcome the barrier to publishing on this nice new blog. Although Google and the so-called SEO experts will spout forth that ‘content is king’, it is in fact the process which reigns. The little, messy, muddled steps of writing posts which in time I will want to cast upon a bonfire serve to help a writer grow.

So here’s to the ability to write a little better tomorrow than we do today. Cheers!

More and less in 2013

Well, a new year – time for resolutions, a fresh start, renewed energy – all that jazz. For me it is just another day at work.

However, despite my own cynicism, the start of a new year does mean something more than ‘just another day’ to me. After the draining rush and stress of Christmas and the ‘end of year’ wind up, there is a sense of needing a fresh start, a chance to get things moving ahead on the right foot. Fortunately for us who live ‘downunder’ we get to start each new year in the middle of summer so there really is a chance to nurture new growth, to get out into nature and unwind a bit, or read that book we were given for Christmas.

As yet I haven’t made any resolutions or specific goals for 2013, but I did drag out my old notebook in which I’ve written goals for years already gone by and noticed a few interesting patterns:

  • Some big goals that initially appeared out of reach have been achieved, particularly ones regarding jobs and income.
  • My goals of eating and spending less are the ones I put least effort into reaching!
  • Personal challenges that God has allowed into my life have forced me to work harder on some ‘personal development’ goals that had been on my list but slightly neglected – should have done that work sooner!
  • External pressure is a huge motivator for me to work on my goals; for example, I had a goal of studying the psalms more deeply which was neglected for several years. Then our church began preaching on the psalms and so that year my goal was more than fulfilled.
  • Spiritual growth/disciplines such as Bible reading and prayer are super important, hard to measure, never ‘complete’, and difficult to sustain without external motivation.
  • Small daily steps working on personal values can get me a long way, conversely – neglect of daily discipline can lead to wasted years.

So, goals for 2013?

I’m still not sure what my goals are for this year. There are a few ideas rattling around in my head but I’m suspicious that their origin is more from my own heart than anything God is wanting me to aim for. Last year was pretty tough so there is an obvious desire to try to make this year better, whatever form ‘better’ might take.

An idea which may be worth pursuing is of making 2013 to be a year of ‘less’. Less incoming clutter into my heart, mind, inbox, and hard drives. I’m a compulsive gatherer of information, to the point of becoming overwhelmed by too much to read, listen to, think about, process. I also eat too much and spend too much so aiming for less in 2013 seems like a good plan.

To immediately contradict myself, I also have a goal of more blogging here on Words of Eternal Life. Having not posted anything here for weeks means that ‘more’ should be easy to achieve! Over the last few months I’ve considered a couple of web projects that have diverted my attention from this blog but my focus is now back here and I’m keen to infuse some more life into this site. I’ve got a few plans of what I like to blog about this year but will keep these to myself until the writing has been done!


Image: iStock