Here it comes: New Year’s resolution time. I’ve always fancied myself as somehow above the Resolvers. I think the faulty thinking goes something like I’m always striving; how could I work any harder? Or maybe it’s something like–Why should New Year’s be any different than any other day? Or simply: Resolutions don’t work. I’ve even–I have to admit–rolled my eyes when the Resolvers flooded into the gym. I might have even once said something disparaging like, “Can’t wait for mid-February when the Resolvers are gone.”
Okay, so we’ve established that I’m deluded AND evil.
But the truth is I don’t make resolutions because–I’m sure you see this coming–I don’t want to fail. While I work pretty hard at my life as a writer–promoting my work, blogging, freelancing, teaching writing–the one area where I know I could make more effort, want to make more effort, must make more effort is the writing itself: Spending more time on what I consider “my own” writing. There are two ways to measure writing output–time and amount (pages or words)–and I’ve played with both of those means of measurement trying to up the amount of myself that I devote to my own work. I will write a page a day, 1000 words a day, 1500 words a day. I will write an hour a day, two hours, 1.5 hours. Even 15 minutes. And all of these “resolutions” (although not made on New Year’s so my superiority still reigns, right?) have had short-term results, but frankly, I’m not satisfied with the measuring approach as an enduring means to get to the page more often and stay there longer.
I guess I feel like as long as I’m measuring my work and trying to meet a certain number, I’m trying to impose “desire” from the outside. The reason I began writing in the first place was because I WANTED to. I want to keep writing from the wanting place, not from the imposed place. I envy writers who have a daily number count and write until they get there, but because I’ve never been able to get that to work for me consistently I feel like I must explore new ways of inducing greater productivity. And, I think it’s possible. Resolutions about exercise (i will go to the gym x number of times a week) have never worked for me either, but coming to love certain types of exercise (yoga, hiking) has made me bustle over to yoga class or the trail.
So this coming year I resolve to keep my love for writing alive–to really enjoy my writing time and to follow my writing wherever it wants to take me. And part of what inspires love, for me, is the absence of rules and regulations.
What about you? What have you got in mind for your writing for the new year?