I just did my nails in the uber-fashionable, yet timeless, design of blue sky with white fluffy clouds. I once painted my daughters’ ceiling like that, with a roller and sponges, so they could lie in bed and dream of sunny skies. This looks the same, on a very small scale. I appreciate the nudge for a new look from my 20-something daughters (I have four of them) because I tend to get in the rut of pink or red nails. Same as last time, because it’s so easy. Too easy, maybe.
That’s how we do — same as last time. I’ll have the usual. Whatever’s easy. But sameness isn’t going to teach me anything. All it will do is leave me behind. In a world that is changing all the time, whether it’s technology, fashion, trends, politics, the weather — you don’t have to jump on every bandwagon, but awareness of where we’re headed seems like a good idea. You don’t want to self-publish? That’s fine. But you do have to self-promote. Don’t want to post selfies? No prob. But be aware of what a selfie is.
For writers, it’s part of the job (one of the many, many facets) to stay relevant. With social media apps and the Internet changing on a weekly basis, if not daily, it helps to stay on top of things. Read the news. Follow some blogs. Check into current topics so you know what’s going on. I have a number of Google alerts for various topics dear to my heart — like the environment, the Roaring Twenties, and my own name, in case I get any random publicity. I read the news every day, and retweet topics that intrigue me. You can do more than repaste the same tired (not so funny) meme. Have you checked your Klout score lately? Have you looked into Twylah for a free Twitter analysis? Updated your cover photo or headshot? Figured out what a hashtag is?
But for yourself — have you tried a new cocktail lately? A new snack? Added a squirt of wasabi or Sriracha to your plate? Ordered something different from the menu of your same old favorite hangout, or tried a new place? Had coffee with someone new? Bought a different colored lipstick? A different kind of shoe than your same-old Keds? Watched a new program on TV that you’ve heard about but never seen? Listened to the new Beyonce album — even a smidge of it for free on iTunes? Actually read a book on your Kindle or other e-reader? Tried your coffee black instead of sauced up?
It’s a new year. New things for you this year? Why not? What are you doing to “new” your life?
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Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.