Dear Queer Diary: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Dear Queer Diary_Rory Midhani_640px

I am a New Year’s Resolutions skeptic.

While I love lists as much as the next Rory Gilmore-type, I have to admit that there is something about a list of New Year’s Resolutions that sort of freaks me out. Maybe it’s just my 4.0 personality, but I put enough pressure on myself to do everything harder, better, faster, and stronger without making an itemized list of things that I can fail to do each year.

How’s that for a really positive attitude?

Optimism at work!

Optimism at work!

The good news, my dear queer diarists, is that I am thinking about making an exception to my no-resolution rule—right here in this very column. Because if I’ve learned anything from National Novel Writing Month (besides the fact that writing dialogue is the number one easiest way to increase your word count without making any real decisions about plotting), it’s that the possibility of public humiliation is the absolute best way to force yourself to do a thing. Way back in November of 2011, I managed to write 50,000 words during the month of November almost exclusively because I couldn’t bear to show up in my detective fiction seminar (yep, I took one) and tell my writing buddies that I hadn’t made it. I am hoping that declaring my New Year’s Resolution to the Straddleverse just might have a similar effect.

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So, here goes nothing:

I resolve to write in my journal at least once a week for the entirety of 2014.

Are you disappointed in me, my journaling geniuses? Are you still laboring under the delusion that a person who writes a column about journaling must spend at least one hour each day thoughtfully recording her feelings and thoughts into a gorgeous kraft paper notebook while drinking a free-trade herbal tisane? Were you hoping for a resolution more along the lines of “secretly release an entire album of acclaimed popular songs and a collection of seventeen music videos”?

Beautiful resolutions to make you weep with feelings of inadequacy. via Design Sponge)

Beautiful resolutions to make you weep with feelings of inadequacy. via Design Sponge

Let me remind you of the talk we had a few weeks ago about attainable goals. In an attempt to take my own words to heart, I am trying to make a resolution that I can realistically keep—and perhaps even surpass—over the course of the next 365 days.

If I journal once a week for the entirety of 2014 (which I will do!), my journal will be filled with at least 52 journal entries. Some may be short. Some may be long. But they will all exist. I will have brought 52 little bundles of word-filled joy into the world, like some kind of exceptionally fertile diary-writing matriarch. No, my resolution is not about quality. It’s not about genius or deep thoughts or (god forbid!) joining a gym. It’s about structure, something Aimee Bender does an amazing job of describing in this great/terrifying/inspiring Aimee Bender piece about forcing yourself to write that I found (all too fittingly) while perusing Pinterest as I procrastinated during the composition of this column.

With all this talk about realistic goals and the futility of making resolutions, I will freely admit to being a New Year’s Grinch. And like the Grinch, I will admit that I am slightly attracted to the more hopeful of my fellows, who make big goals and pursue them fervently—even if only for a few weeks. Do New Year’s Resolutions have to be about attaining something? Isn’t the act of putting our goals into words as powerful, even if we don’t necessarily live those goals in the next twelve months?

In my journal, there may or may not be a single Post-It note with a list of ten hopes for the next five years. I wrote it in my smallest handwriting and hid it in between the pages of my journal because these are hopes I am a little bit scared of. Scared of being disappointed if they don’t come true. Scared of what will be next if they do come true. Probably a little of both.

For me, journaling is about telling myself what I want, whether that’s a New Year’s resolution or a hope for the next five years, or yet another (increasingly stale) Christmas cookie—which I guess makes me much of a less skeptic than I initially made myself out to be.

Maybe I will go write about it in my journal. Once a week. For the entirety of 2014.

Way back in 1881, Sarah Etta Freeman resolved, “To be unselfish. Always ready to extend a helping hand to one who needs it.” That's another resolution I can get behind. (via Filiopetism Prism)

Way back in 1881, Sarah Etta Freeman resolved, “To be unselfish. Always ready to extend a helping hand to one who needs it.” That’s another resolution I can get behind. (via Filiopetism Prism)


Dear Queer Diary is a column about the joys (and occasionally, the pains) of journaling. We crack open our tiny notebooks and break out the rainbow-colored pens on the regular, so get ready to limber up your writing hands and document all your beautiful feelings!

Header by Rory Midhani

Maggie is a freckly, punctuation-loving queer living in the Boston area. She supports her book-buying and tea-drinking habits by teaching America’s youth how to write topic sentences and spends her free time writing postcards and making sandwiches for her girlfriend.

Maggie has written 53 articles for us.

5 Comments

  1. This sounds like an awesome resolution! One of mine is in a similar spirit; I plan to try and write in my journal every day, even if it’s just an sentence. I have a bad habit of buying lots of pretty notebooks and leaving them empty, so this year I aim to try and start filling them up. :)

  2. I too am a New Years resolution skeptic, but I’m always in favour of self-improvement. For the first time ever, I’m going to try a variation of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Don’t Break the Chain” method. Having a little calendar with neatly marked little Xs will give me a realistic idea of how well I’m keeping up with my goals. I’ve also written my goals for the month of January on a post-it note and stuck it to the wall above my calendar. I wrote down my goals last year, and I think it helped a bit to see it written down.

  3. I too decided to make a very attainable resolution. After the comment sweepstakes in December I realized I really liked commenting on articles instead of thinking of comments and never actually posting them. My resolution is to keep commenting on articles on AS. At least one to two a week.

    I also want to pass my classes and stay in touch with my friends better.

    I think I’m gonna start reading this column too. :)

  4. I resolve to start reading Dear Queer Diary columns in a timely fashion instead of “saving” them in my Feedly (because they’re such a treat) and then stacking up three or four and starting to feel guilty and not getting as much out of them as I should when I finally give in and read them all at once. Which is what I’m doing right now.

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