The Yes Game may be the thing to do but, quite frankly, it’s exhausting. And, much of the time, it goes against what feels right.
Last year taught me a huge amount, as I transitioned from working as a freelancer, living in a quiet Cornish town, to becoming an in-house copywriter for a global brand, living in city of 4 million. I said yes to everything, all at once, and turned my world upside down.
I rented an apartment in the inner city after years of pottering about in my own bungalow on the coast. I shared my home with flatmates again, for the first time in a decade. I spent weekends walking busy streets, rather than padding around on the sand and jumping in the ocean.
Socialising became eating out, not popping round a mate’s house. I drank killer cocktails in tall glasses instead of seeking solace in a soft glass of red. I found my quiet time inside a building, not out there, where the wind blows.
I said yes to the footie when I’d have preferred to see an art-house film. I opted for a festival instead of a quiet night in with a buddy. I competed in a swim relay when I’d have much preferred to be let loose in the open water.
I tried to read business books in place of colourful novels. I talked theories and models over characters and stories. I began to write in another voice, and my words lost their magic.
Hell, I said yes so often I lost myself.
Last year was immense, as I pushed boundaries and played in unfamiliar spaces. But it’s now time to listen to my belly again. I’ll still leave my comfort zone, but not every second of every goddam day.
My mantra for 2016 is Instinct. I’m digging up gut feeling, and moving away from that niggling voice in my head that tells me to follow the crowd. It’s probably going to mean I’ll become insanely anti social, holiday with Bukowski and drink a bottle of scotch on a Monday. But, hell, isn’t that the life of every successful writer?
And I have a goal for the last day of 2016, something I’ve been instinctively drawn to for years. This will be a Very Important Measurement for my mantra’s success.
I’m picturing snuggling up with my other half, reading a darn good novel and tucking into a meaty shiraz. No fancy food or fireworks. No loud music or crowds. No teenagers on white powder or seeing in the dawn. Just quiet loving and lights off by 1230.
I hear a belly sigh. Yes, that definitely feels right.