There's a state law in Oregon requiring you to go outside once a day and hug all the trees in your yard.
I might be making that up.
Nevertheless, it's true we're known as a very green state (a fact not due entirely to excessive foliage or legalized medical marijuana). Our emphasis on all things eco-friendly is probably one reason I always make one New Year's resolution designed to form a positive habit concerning the environment.
One year it was a pledge to always bring my own bags to the store. With a little help from ChicoBags, I haven't brought home a plastic sack in five years.
Another year I resolved to reduce my electricity consumption by eliminating dependence on my clothes dryer. This wouldn't be such a challenge if I lived someplace like rural Southern California, but here in Oregon's mountainous high desert it's a different story. The fact that it's snowy in the winter and blowing dust in the summer means hanging clothes outside isn't an option.
That's why I've spent the last three years using the bridge that spans my home's second story as a makeshift clothes dryer.
I haven't actually decided on this year's environmental resolution, so I'm open to suggestions if you've got 'em.
In the meantime, I'm mulling what sort of writing-related resolution to make. As I've learned from my environmental ones, the most successful resolutions tend to be those I can not only measure and control, but can use to develop long-term habits. Pledging to reduce our household use of plastic bottles is easy on all those fronts (particularly when I buy my husband a home soda maker for his birthday).
Pledging to end global warming – er, not so much.
Likewise, those New Year's resolutions about getting an agent, landing a book deal, or hitting a certain sales number with your debut novel are admirable, to be sure. But how much control do you really have over that? Believe me, I know from experience that all the hard work in the world is still no guarantee you'll get what you want, when you want it.
Like I said, I still don't know what my resolution will be on the eco side of things or in the writing realm. But I do know what it won't be – something I don't have total control over.
Resolving to write a certain number of pages a month, or to query a certain number of agents, or to blog with a certain frequency – those are all things you can control.
Well, assuming you aren't abducted by giant mutant penguins. That's always a possibility with the whole global warming thing.
Are you making New Year's resolutions? What are some you've had success with in the past? Where have you crashed and burned?
Please discuss while I remove my husband's bike shorts from dangling above the living room before the house-guests arrive.