Fingerprints and Freedom

Elvis Costello -
Elvis Costello – Photo Credit: Mary McCartney Donald

“Who put these fingerprints on my imagination?” – Elvis Costello –

How many times have you come to the turn of the New Year and approached it in the same manner as all the others? If your approach yields good results at the end of 364 days, then by all means, keep doing the same thing. If, on the other hand, you find yourself like me, staring at a planner six days into the New Year (an all too familiar situation) looking at a week full of well-laid plans that have all gone awry, it is truly time to rethink the whole “this time I’ll get it right for sure” attitude.

As I stare at my planner and the blank page upon which I now write, I can’t help but think of the quote by Elvis Costello with which I headed this post. I have a tremendous imagination. If I didn’t, I would be a lousy writer. Yet in so many circumstances that occur off of the page (planning my year or my day, running my blogs the way that feels and works best for me), I seem to feel that other people’s approach is the only way to go – after all, they’ve been successful at it.

Other people praise and advocate the method of planning out one’s day with precision, laying out a blog chart of specific content and its release date, of following a specific regimen for one’s business or life or fitness. As much of a planning junkie as I am (I truly do love for things to run on schedule and as planned), I am reminded every day that my life at this time does not work that way and that every time I try to make my life and my art fit into other people’s methods, I fail miserably. I fail, not at my life, but at my life their way.

I have spent the past five days trying to write this post according to a schedule I set for myself according to all of the Gurus’ advice, on a topic I thought was required, and in a style that just didn’t suit me. With so much inherent pressure working against my very nature, I realize that I set myself up for failure. I finally found myself shaking my head and asking, “Who put these fingerprints on my imagination?”

This question is one that I kept myself from asking last year yet struggled with the sense of pressure and failure nonetheless. This year, I will write more regularly, trying to stick to the schedule I planned because it is a good one; one that will stretch me out of my comfort zone and one that will allow you and me to touch base more often. This year, I will not shy away from monthly themes; rather, I will use my smudge-free imagination to stretch those themes in any direction they take me. This year, I will work hard to remind myself that it is O.K. if what works for other people does not work for me; that there is a version of their advice or their example that will work for me and that I will find it by using my imagination.

Happy New Year, Everyone. May the year ahead be infinitely better than you could ever dream.

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