New Years



One new year for an entire 365 days is not enough for me. It seems I need more than one fresh start. I need three. If you can come up with a fourth, please let me know.

The first is when our year changes – welcome to 2018. I make plans that encompass the next twelve months. While Christmas shopping, I found a gift for myself, a journal with the title Master Plan. It’s a blank journal but includes sticky notes titled Notes, To Do:, For Now, For Later, Remember. This book was meant for me. I’m hoping it will be filled with goals, steps to achieve those goals and more plans as they occur to me by the end of 2018. I love making plans. Probably more than I like actually doing.

According to my Libra Horoscope this year may be a challenge for me to keep up with my work. This is the nature of Neptune in my work zone. I should do what I think is right and ignore the comments of others. From January 21st, apparently I will be attracted to getting out and about and will love entertaining people. By the third week of February, the fun will cease and I’ll get back to work.

I already do not like nor do I agree with what is foretold. If I follow this, I’ll be wasting a good six weeks of productivity. I have to have the first draft of my nonfiction adult  book done by March. There must be hidden meanings in this horoscope. I hope.

The second is the Chinese New Year, starting on February 16th, ushering in the Year of the Dog. What does this mean to a me, a Dragon? The Dog will offer support and aid to each Dragon. The only thing which it cannot help with is inspiration. With such a down-to-earth nature, this canine is not capable of creating, which means that even Dragons who think in unorthodox ways will have to spend the whole of 2018 without major flights of fancy.

Holy Moley.

The Chinese Horoscope also says on the whole, during the period when the Dog is ruling, Dragon’s careers will have every opportunity to lunge forward.

Okay. Whew.

Apparently I need to work with other people on creative endeavors. Which is exactly what my adult nonfiction requires. And those people are in place, ready to go.

Finally it’s October first and the last of the new years. My birthday year. When that comes, my astrology  will be more specific. I will reevaluate previous plans and make new ones.

Three months later we celebrate another New Year and I start all over.

I have two projects on my desk but they’re big ones. Both will need to be broken down into sections. Taking them step by step is the only way for me to not be overwhelmed. I plan each step. I celebrate each fresh start.

I’m pretty this fixation has a lot to do with my on-going struggles battling time and aging, but there’s something optimistic and hopeful about having three new years.

Wishing all of you, constant readers, (and you two know who you are) a happy, healthy, productive, successful New Year!


So Much To Do


I have heaps piled on my desk: my Alex Bullied edit (finally finished), lists of agents who promise they’re looking for books just like mine, Morning of the Mermaid revisions (thirteen critiqued chapters, waiting for corrections), notes for this blog. There are novels to read, how-to books to study, scraps of paper with notes on them and file folders galore.

I organize and reorganize, use stacking trays or wire baskets or file folder holders. I still have heaps, though. They’re just stacked or upright.

I keep thinking I’ll whittle these heaps down into something manageable, but they keep growing. They become crushing mountains of white. Eventually there will be an avalanche and I will be buried alive. And still unpublished.

Then I stop and think about Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. It’s a must-read writer’s book, but really, everyone should read it. The central lesson concerns Lamott’s brother and his school project about birds of America. He didn’t know where or how to start, it seemed so overwhelming. So his dad told him to take it a bird at a time. And really, is there anything else we can do? Bird by bird.

When I got involved with my son’s school’s PTA, one of the things I took on was to organize the school’s annual Family Fun Day. Talk about overwhelming. I’d never done anything like it before. I had some moments of gut-busting fear. The solution was as simple as breaking it down, bird-by-bird style. Focusing attention on one thing at a time. It’s a philosophy that works for everything.

Then, to really help remind me, there’s my name. I wasn’t born Brix. I never cared for my given name. I was always on the lookout for a new name, something that felt more like me. When I was about twenty-five I had a friend who was something of a guru to me. One day, this being my mid-terrible-twenties, I asked him to fix my life.

He said, “The problem with you is that you want the wall to just be there. You don’t realize you have to build it a brick at a time.” This was years before Bird by Bird, so for me, it’s more brick by brick. My friend dubbed me “Bricks.” I loved it and spelled it with an x and changed it legally. So I am always reminded.

That’s what I’m doing now. Perfecting a book and getting it published is my wall and I’m building it a brick at a time. In that way I can face what seems insurmountable and make it manageable. I can organize my desk and my work. I can stop being so hard on myself. As someone recently reminded me — people with messy desks are creative. From the looks of mine, I must be the Queen of Creativity.

Do you also have a lot going on? Work piling up? How do you stay organized? Do you have a special trick that helps you? I’d love to know.