What Not to Do Wednesday Looks at New Year’s Resolutions

Dear Grasshopper,

It’s that time of year again when one must pick oneself up by the chocolate-smeared reindeer slippers and give some thought to resolutions. What’s more, grasshopper, one must put those thoughts into something more than your holiday-befuddled brain. What one must do, I’m afraid, is write the goals and whatnot on paper. Or at least a sticky note. And write your resolutions with some sort of, um, resoluteness. And don’t leave out the particulars. Here’s what I mean:

DON’T say “I’ll become a better writer this year.” (Well, of course you can say that. But it will help tremendously if you actually do something.)

DON’T say “I’ll write the Great American Novel this year.” (Trust me when I tell you that a goal such as that doesn’t work. Unless you’re a Great American who happens to be a Great Writer.)

DON’T say “I’m going to make $20,000 as a writer this year.” (And for heaven’s sake, don’t say something like that around someone else, like, just to throw a “for instance” out there, the Beneficent Mr. Hall. Some people, like for instance, the Beneficent Mr. Hall, may think you have a business plan. However, if you have a monetary goal, one of those business plan thingies would come in mighty handy.)

I could go on, grasshopper, but I think you can see where this whole resolution thing is going. Besides, I’ve got my own very specific, scathingly brilliant goals to think up. (And write down.)

Dear New Yorker: Thank you!

It arrived! It arrived! It finally arrived!

Those beneficent folks over at the New Yorker sent Mr. Hall their wonderfully splendiferous and the totally best all-around year planner in the world!

When January came around and my New Yorker planner hadn’t come in the mail yet, I was forced to buy another planner. I felt just like Goldilocks (with shorter hair): This planner is too small; this planner is too big; this planner doesn’t have enough space, etc., etc. I picked out a planner that was lovely, I’m sure, but it wasn’t the same.

Now, my New Yorker planner has arrived (despite all of Mr. Hall’s talk to the contrary). I can keep up with all my writerly goals so much better. I have lots of room for all of my writerly notes. I can enjoy a laugh when I read all the New Yorker cartoons. Can there be any doubt that my Fame and Fortune shall pick up now?

And all because, dear New Yorker planner, you are just right!