I'm not making any specific resolutions this year, for Vocal, or for anything else.
As most people who set New Years Resolutions can tell you; that rarely ends in anything but disappointment, guilt, a lingering sense of shame and failure, and a general feeling of futility.
Instead, I'll be cautiously trying new things.
Again, I'm not making any specific goals, but general plans that will hopefully get me closer to where I want to be.
In previous years, I've played the game of numbers, entering every story that qualified into the Vocal Challenges. This year, I intend to curate them better, polishing my efforts into the best entries that they can be.
I'm also going to worry less about the Challenges. I used to get my hopes up, which made my Anxiety worse in the lead up, and my Depression all the harder to struggle back from when I was disappointed.
This year, I intend to focus on the fact that I've been named a runner-up twice in the past two years, which is more than many have achieved. Perhaps I'll make keep the record going, perhaps I won't. Either way, it won't be for a lack of effort, and that's a success in itself.
I'm also not going to force myself. In previous years, I was determined to enter every challenge, and wound up stressing myself out. I'm enjoying Vocal's exploration of new poetry techniques, and if I get inspired I'll try them myself, but I'm not going to put additional pressure on myself if I don't. I have enough of that in my life already.
My main focus this year is likely to be self-publishing. I'll be using Vocal as a platform for book teasers and short stories. (The Time Traveller's Mission Logs are going well, and I may have enough for a Crime anthology soon...)
If I vanish for long periods, don't worry, I haven't died. I'm probably just caught up editing. Or struggling with Writers Block or Imposter Syndrome.
In previous years, I've struggled with trying to do everything at once. ("why do you write like you're running out of time?")
Barring any unexpected Acts of Fate, I'm going to be around for a while yet, so I can pace myself. I don't have to see all the places of the world at once (and some of them might be better avoided for a while, until things calm down). My saved Leave isn't going to vanish if I don't use it all at once.
This year, I'm going to pace myself. A long weekend here and there for bookstalls. Mental Health days when I'm starting to feel burnt out. A hop over to New Zealand for a SCA event, perhaps. Saving my leave and fun money account for a longer holiday next year or the year after.
I'm also going to look into rejoining a gym. I stopped going during the pandemic, for obvious reasons, but now that I have a far more sedentary job, than spending an entire shift on my feet, scurrying between call bells, it might be time to consider starting back up again. There are a number of options near my, so it's just a matter of getting off my backside and signing back up.
The final thing I have in mind for the next year is looking into a cleaning service. Executive Dysfunction means that out of full-time work, domestic cleaning, laundry, and cooking... I can only do two out of four, and that only when I set the weekends aside as recovery time. I don't want my house to be a disaster zone, though, and I might be able to budget a fortnightly or monthly service to keep on top of things.
We'll see how it turns out...