I stopped making resolutions years ago – probably around the same time the CD Walkman was all the rage, which should give you an idea of just how long ago that was. However, I am a serious goal nerd. I have a working bucket list of about 130 items, treat my daily to-do list like a Hunger Games challenge, and am a card-carrying member of the Get Sh*t Done club.
But I’m anti-resolution mostly because a focus on taking things away (chocolate, pounds, coffee, stress, social media, alcohol, caffeine…) is no fun, hard to do, and primed for failure. Instead, I like to focus on things I can add, which is a much more positive and productive way to approach making changes. Plus, as an author I believe chocolate, caffeine, and social media (also known as “prime procrastination enabler”) are critical to the writing process, and removing any of them might result in missed deadlines and failed plotlines.
So in the vein of “the more the merrier” and KISS (Keep It Simple Stup*d), here are my three anti-resolution resolutions for 2016:
DO something different. When I’m drafting a novel I typically write every day until it’s done, sticking to a daily word count even if it means everything else in my life has to pause (except for parenting, of course – there is no such thing as a kid pause button, am I right parents?). This has worked well for me in the past, but with this third book I’m sensing the need for a change. So even though I was in hard-core draft mode, when I got stuck the week before Christmas I simply stopped writing. For SIX WHOLE DAYS. While it caused great anxiety and the occasional heart palpitation when I thought of my approaching deadline, I stuck to the no-writing thing and came back after those few days refreshed. And guess what? The words flowed. So as I work toward this next deadline, I vow to honor the ebbs and flows in my writing so the story can bake as required BEFORE the words get committed to the page.
LEARN something new: My view on this is simple – life without learning is boring, uninspired, and stagnant, and that is not what I’ve signed on for here. So every year I aim to learn something new (last year was yoga, and how to spell five of my most frequently misspelled words: vacuum, rhythm, accommodate, exhilarate, mischievous), and this year’s winner is … screenplay writing, because a) I think it will be fun and fun is important, and b) I believe it will help me become a better novelist. I may never write a screenplay (in fact, it’s worth noting I have no plans to write a screenplay), but it will force me to look at writing differently and only good things can come from stretching the writing muscles.
GIVE something back: As I’ve skipped and tripped down the newbie writing path these past few years, I have been blessed with help from a number of experienced, wise, and generous authors who offered their support without expecting anything in return. I’ve been involved in writing contests and critique delivery in the past, and plan to say, “yes” to as many opportunities as I can in 2016.
So what’s on your list for 2016? Are you a resolution maker and keeper? If so, what’s your secret?
Get to know Karma Brown.