Give January a Chance

When I first started writing this blog post it was Blue Monday – officially the most depressing day of the year, scientifically calculated by factoring in the weather, broken resolutions and post Christmas debt. January is also a peak month for death and divorce. (I’m specifically talking about those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, of course. If you’re in the height of your summer now then please stop reading immediately!)

Now we are very nearly into February, so how was January for you? Well, my husband and I had a great time, as we always do in January.  We have our annual holiday over the new year and usually start back at work around the second week of January. This is mainly due to our work schedules but also because there’s something wonderful about stepping off the plane into warm air or being poolside in a bikini when it is minus 5 at home. Who wants to leave the UK in the summer when the weather is hot here?  In January we go out a lot, eat and drink loads – and spend a lot too. We had our UK black tie and diamonds Bond-themed wedding reception in January six weeks after our December Caribbean wedding. Last year we had our housewarming in January. It’s always great to have something to look forward to after Christmas and I never find it a problem to entice people to events in the gloom-filled first few weeks of the year.

I’ve never seen the need for the harsh regimes and self-flagellation that almost seem mandatory for a UK January.  It helps that each brand new year is heralded by my New Year’s Day birthday and this year I enjoyed a double celebration with a good friend who shares the same birthday. I love the idea of new beginnings: the writer in me likens it to starting a gorgeous new notebook blank with possibilities. It’s definitely not the time to deny yourself or diet or detox like mad when comfort food is the order of the day.

And there’s so much to look forward to.  The nights are slowly getting lighter, spring is round the corner, the sales are on, great new series are starting on the telly and it’s time to start thinking about a new job or a house move or an exciting new project. Every year, I truly believe that this is the year I’m going to finally finish my ‘work in progress’ novel.  Ok, the weather sucks but there’s nothing like a dog walk on those beautiful crisp brilliant days. (The flip side, there’s nothing like a wet excitable dog on a freezing foggy day either!)

I guess that it is all a matter of perspective. I’m of the view that life is what you make it and that applies to January. Having said that, I haven’t stepped on the scales yet or received my January credit card bill!

A Very Belated Happy New Year …

… even though it’s way too late now for new year greetings, but apologies for the delay in posting: I’ve been on my annual holiday. January is always much easier welcomed in with a bit of sunshine and as it’s my birthday on New Year’s Day the new year always brings the promise of fresh starts, a bit like opening a brand new notebook and anticipating the endless possibilities on each blank page. (Like many writers, I love stationery and regularly need a Paperchase fix).

Everyone’s resolutions are nearly all broken by now.  I always begin January with the same writerly resolutions: finish my book, a work in progress since 2009; pitch more articles; and care less what others think.   It was so easy to make plans from my sunbed and feel inspired and fired up, but back in the January gloom with jetlag and a mountain of laundry to do, feeling broke and depressed (and having to return to the Day Job) it’s a real struggle to recapture that optimism.

Quiet determination and sticking power are the key.  It’s a bit like exercise: writing needs to be done every day until it becomes a habit, to keep those writing muscles honed and the brain lean.  Little but often is the secret.  A friend wrote her book on her daily commute and as I have previously commented, successful writers use the magic formula of “bum on seat, fingers on keyboard” every single working day.    Similar to weight loss, there’s no quick fix, just discipline.  Knowing all this doesn’t make it any easier though, especially as my personal resolutions also involve diet and exercise!

Wish me luck as I embark upon 2015 and I wish you all a happy and productive 2015!