Do you make resolutions? There’s a lot of snark (enough with the snark already) out there especially about how resolutions are useless and meaningless, but I say they are a sign of hope and hope is a good thing. I don’t know how you have perseverance as a writer without hope. Hope that you will finish a book, write a lot of books, be published, have a bestseller, or write a book that will deeply touch even one other person – it doesn’t matter so much what your particular hope is, so much as it keeps you going, keeps you coming back to the page. So yes, heck yeah! make resolutions, realistic ones. You can’t resolve to write a bestseller (well, you can, but recognize that there are a host of factors out of your control) but you can resolve to write a page a day or finish your book or start your book (!) but break it down into modest steps that are achievable.
In addition to hope, there is preparation and once again, Steven Pressfield has an excellent post in his “When It Crashes” series. Prepare now, today, for when your writing doesn’t go well in order to soften the impact. You don’t want to be waylaid for weeks, months or years. One of his commenters noted that when things don’t go well, our focus shifts to ourselves and the task is to get that focus off ourselves and back to the page (good advice for most crises). Whenever unpleasant things happen, we tend to think it’s all about us – keep that in mind for character development – but it’s not always the case. Maturity is about discerning the difference when we’ve really caused a problem (then taking responsibility for it) and when it’s about forces out of our control. People tend to think mostly about themselves (again, note for character development: it’s a big key for conflict). As writers, we spend a lot of time thinking about why people do things and about our characters. We explore motivation, expectation and rationalization. All of those things are part of resolutions so you may as well use the process to benefit your life as well.
Today, take a little time to hope and dream. Let’s all resolve to be a little better.