Every New Year’s Day I make a determined resolution to make a change in my personal life. For example, every New Year’s Eve I pledge not to wear my tin suit in lightning storms. So far, so good.
This year, I have resolved to write.
I have learned that the more I write, the better I write. The words flow easier. The characters come to life with personality quirks I never dreamed they had. Plot becomes more than a four-letter word. Tension and conflict roll off my fingertips.
I have learned the more time I take off, the harder it is to get back on the proverbial horse. I get lazy, and it reflects in my work.
The analogy I use is my protagonist. I would never let my hero get away with such an easy out. He has to climb the highest mountain, cross the swiftest current, slay the dragon – you get the point.
I believe the best work I do is when the huge obstacle the protagonist must overcome … is … himself.
So why should I be any different?
I’ll call a spade a spade. The number one reason I don’t have more quality work completed is … me.
Every time I get on a roll and stay on it, the result is quality as well as quantity. Therefore, I resolve to write. Now, to say that is the easy part. To follow through on it, hmm …
I decided that I need metrics. I need to be able to honestly and accurately measure and evaluate my progress. Without metrics, my resolution is just cheerleading.
When I write a story, I resolve to write 500 words per day a minimum of four days a week.
When I edit and/or revise, I resolve to work two hours per day a minimum of four days a week.
When I write poetry or children’s work, I resolve to write two hours per day a minimum of four days a week.
I resolve to track my metrics with a spreadsheet. At the end of the day, I resolve to enter my timekeeping in my spreadsheet.
When I put these resolutions to paper, I was exhilarated. This did not sound like work. My writing is not “work” to me. It is my escape from the drab world where people have such mundane expectations, like, oh, pay NIPSCO on time.
Yeah, like that will get the kids back through the wormhole, or make the sun reappear. Sigh.
If you have found yourself saying, “I need to get back to writing” or “I need to write more” then perhaps you, too, can find your way by making your resolution into a story.
A letter appears. It contains a picture of your long lost love. Still alive – for now. However, you must finish the (story, poem, novel, pick your poison) before the stroke of the clock … or else.
How can you resist?