Are you the 42% that makes promises?
Or the 8% that fulfills them?
After the gifts, the choices, the paper tearing, the movie marathons, and the shopping eating drinking frenzies that are the holidays, you’ll get another go.
There’ll be this magical door closing behind you.
And another one will simultaneously open into an unknown, impossibly exciting future.
Despite the obstacles, you’ll sit there reflecting on what you did wrong in the past year. You’ll think about what you can do better this next time around the sun. Who you’ll be. And how you’ll turn into that person.
Like the time last January when I decided I wanted to find out if I was a writer or not. And I knew, for the first time, that in order to determine if I was, I would actually have to see if I could write regularly . . . and then figure out how that affected me.
Was I a writer? It wasn’t a decision to make, a “yes” or “no” question. It was a process based on a series of habits and nothing more. I had to make it simple. Achievable. So I had to define being a writer as someone who writes.
First the verb “to write” had to be present.
Then the noun: “writer.”
So, I guess what I really wanted to do was start a new habit and let it transform my identity.
The word “resolve” is also a noun and a verb. It can refer to the action of making a firm decision or finding a solution. It can also refer to the state of being firmly decided towards a course of action.
I did both. I decided to figure something out and then I made a commitment to the process it would take to figure it out.
But I didn’t do this unsupported. I actually had a toolkit and process I have used over the past 6 years to help support me in any resolution I made.
In a Nutshell, Here are the Basics for Making a Resolution Happen:
- Start a Journal and Don’t Stop. Writers and artists who journal have a much higher chance at succeeding in their goals (i.e. not quitting) than those who don’t. I don’t remember where I saw this but it was a respectable study on writers and artists. And the connection between journalling and achieving any goal is well-known and well-researched. I started this blog as a way to journal about my resolution . . . I can say without hesitation that it helped motivate me more than anything else. You know, I like to give myself pep talks on here . . . and find reasons to stay excited. When I’m full of doubt and self-loathing (about half my life), the blog is an opportunity to re-group.
- Write Your Resolution Down and Have Tea with It (often).There are so many awesome planning tools out there. You can use your journal but I need more structure and guidance. My favorite are Leonie Dawson’s Business Planner and Life Planner. I’ve used it for years and love the “BIG 100 THINGS TO DO” section. No, I never get to all hundred. Especially when they involve living wills and weekly bookkeeping. But I have noticed that this list is an amazing little engine that lasts throughout the year. It energizes me and ensures I don’t lose myself. Any random thing can go on there — like last year, I put down that I wanted to “build an indoor fort” and “take a letterpress class” and “go off anti-depressants.” Well, as for the fort and letterpress, I might migrate those to next year because they didn’t happen. I tried the anti-depressant thing twice and I thought the second try would stick. But I had to go back on them. I’m taking 5000 mg. vitamin D and (maybe) I’ll try again later.
- Find Books and Other Resources that Help. What compels us to change habits is the unavoidable suspicion that we’re officially sick and tired of ourselves. Change sucks. It sucks because it’s scary and hard. But it’s also exhilarating when done right. Check out 30 Unmissable Resources for Writers to get the tip of the iceberg.
- Do the Eff-ing Work.
- Celebrate Your Successes Along the Way. Build forts, eat ice cream sundaes, drink whisky sours. Whatever whispers life is sweet! on any given day.
- Don’t Expect Immediate Results. My friend just got her first poem accepted by Poetry Magazine. She’s already published 2 books, has 2 on the way, is an editor for one of the most prominent U.S. literary journals, and has won numerous awards. For Christ’s sake she was just in Oxford giving a special week-long lecture. True, all she could talk about was how Harry Potter was filmed in the Bodleian Library but whatever . . . she’s obviously successful and better yet, doesn’t take herself terribly seriously. And she’s been turned down by Poetry Magazine for 15 years!!! You have to develop that kind of perseverance. If you have trouble, study up on the rejection and “making-it” experiences of successful writers in your genre. You’ll suddenly find yourself in fantastic company!
Speaking of Changes, I have a Few . . .
It’s a fresh start for me in more ways than one. My blog is moving to Cynthialindeman.Com by the New Year. My good friend Kiere over at Lucid Creative Studios helped me design it & I’m VERY excited!! I’ll be migrating all you lovely wordpress followers soon so you won’t miss anything.
I’ll also be sending you some initial e-mails so you can get to know me better. You can also decide if what I have to offer has the value you want. I might even encourage you to unsubscribe if it’s not because I know that information-overload won’t help you. I hope to be one of the top 5 peeps in your inbox & I’m willing to earn it.
And . . . just so I don’t have to play the guessing game, I would love to hear from you in the comments about what types of things that WOULD make the top 5 in your inbox. What I don’t want to EVER do is waste your precious time (& then think I’m actually providing value to you!) Horrors!
And you won’t be getting any more e-mails from me till after the New Year. I’ll be working on spiff-ifying the new site.
I have a free GIFT for you! It’s my way of saying thank you for putting your faith in me and taking a few minutes out of your week to read my blog. It’s a vintage-inspired poster with one of my favorite Ray Bradbury quotes! Get it HERE.
I’m also putting together a free 60+ page workbook called Write Now! that will be available very soon. Why is this so special?
Because I’m putting 8+ years of teaching writing at the university level and my experience as a working writer and avid self-development geek to create a deeply transformational tool that will get you writing and keep you writing. It’s what I wish I would’ve had . . . and I’ll e-mail it to you once it’s finished.
I can’t wait to make my resolutions and watch them happen (and I’m proud to be in that sweet 8% this year!)
What about you?
Love You, Writers!