I can barely believe it but the day is finally here. I had the idea for Love Will Tear Us Apart for a long time and I’d actually written the first few chapters before I submitted Try Not to Breathe to agents… I was the mother of three young kids when I wrote those first lines, which never changed through the drafts.
First up, I love Arnold. I’m not being snidey and ironic, I really love Arnold. My dog is called Arnold Strong, FFS.
Whatever you think of the muscles, the politics or the philandering, there is no denying that Arnold takes care of business. He gets stuff done. Irrespective of circumstance and raw materials, he focuses on something he wants to achieve and then achieves it. In his book Total Recall, he likens this to weightlifting: reps, reps, reps. Maybe because I also love to weightlift, this stuck with me. Everything is improved with practise, it just is.
The other thing that struck me in Total Recall, was Arnold’s annual list. Yes, 99% of everyone seem to blast out new year resolutions on Facebook every year, snivelling their hangovers into their January 1st cup of tea. But the Arnold List – as I call it – is different. And not just because drinkers’ regret isn’t the basis.
Every year, Arnold writes his list of goals for the year ahead, one by one he crosses them off as the weeks pass. This is a lot more focussed than a resolution, and can either be achieved through reps, reps, reps or by seeking out a good teacher. (Arnold is a big believer in reaching out to get help and advice from experts).
My Arnold List for 2013 was a mixed bag and I didn’t achieve them all. It wasn’t focussed enough. The things on there weren’t of equal top priority to me, so of course I didn’t give them all the same attention and effort. I didn’t even attempt one of them (the short story, what a silly aim). What I did achieve was what mattered most.
So for this year, I am stripping it to absolute top priorities, what really matters? Yes, I want to achieve a sub 50 minute 10K, I want to squat 100kg, I want pay off my credit card (okay, one of my credit cards) but if I’ve not done these come 31st December 2014? Meh. A shoulder shrug. They don’t belong on the list.
This year, outside of my job – which I’m ALWAYS focussed on, in case anyone’s watching… Haha, no I really am – it’s all about the writing. No diversions, no distractions. I’ve deferred my Open Uni (I couldn’t give it the whole ass last year and I hate doing a half-assed job of things), I’ve chilled out on the gym a bit.
It’s all about the writing. And the rewriting. And the writing. And the rewriting. Reps, reps, reps.
And I’m happy to say I’ve already struck the first thing off my 2014 Arnold List. And it’s a whopper.