Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

One of the things I love about starting a new year is that for a few weeks at least, I'm not behind. I've filed all my opinions on the pop culture of the previous year, and there's not much going on yet in the way of movies and music. I can work my way into 2007, promising myself to do everything a little better.

And don't we all love starting fresh? Maybe it's because of what I do for a living, but I have a series of rituals I follow when I start a new book, or listen to a new CD, or watch a new DVD. I love marking off the first noteworthy passage, or jotting down that first note. I don't know what I'm going to do with any of it yet, and I don't have to know, because deadline is days away–in the case of a book, maybe weeks away–and for now "working" can be a little aimless. I probably squander a lot of energy on my processes, but I'm almost physically incapable of working any other way. When I read a book, and I have a pen nearby, I can't keep reading if I see a passage I want to mark. If I don't have a pen, I usually have to stop reading and go find one.

And while I'm not what you'd call a neat freak, when it comes to my work, I can't stand clutter. I don't like having a lot of word or music files on my laptop–whenever possible, I move them to my desktop, or my external hard drive–and I try to keep my e-mail folders trim. I need to have that "blank page" feeling, as much as is possible, in order to stay on task.

Of course, with computers, true blankness is practically impossible. My laptop conked out last month–after only a year-and-a-half!–and I hoped buying a new one would be a chance for a new beginning in my work life, with smarter habits and more efficient systems. But because my old computer was more or less down for the count, I had to start working with my new one right away, by importing as much as my old data as I could–including a lot of useless crap.

But before I go too far down the wrong path, I'm going to try and purge the junk. This is my resolution for the new year. To quote one of my favorite albums, when it comes to work at least, I'm going to be perfect from now on.

How about you? Any rituals or resolutions that accompany new beginnings?

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