by Trienah Meyers
There are those of us who have made a commitment to listing resolutions for the new year. And there are those of us that have not.
My experience with New Year’s resolutions is that they are mostly a set-up for failure. The idea that on one particular day of the year one can make a decision to change some very major aspect of life seems more than a little nonsensical to me.
How Do We Change?
Change, particularly of something major, is generally a process, and a slow one at that. You resolve, for example, to lose weight. As if by magic, or by resolution, that will happen. Nope — it is a long, slow process that involves discipline, work, and consistency of action.
You resolve, for example, to sort and organize your old photographs. As if by magic the photo-sorting elves will come during the night and on the first of the year, or maybe the second, it will be done. Wrong again. It is another process that involves both effort and consistency.
Perhaps you resolve to organize your finances, to obtain better control of your spending, saving, bill paying and the like. As much as we’d like spending to come down and saving to go up leaving us with fatter bank accounts, that’s not something that happens by magic, either. It is a process of organization, awareness, consistency and commitment.
Commit to the Questions
By now you may have noticed that there is a common element in each of these examples and that is consistency, something that, by definition, is a process over time. Which brings me to reality and writing.
There you are, sitting at your desk, or preferred workspace, laptop, pen and pad. Maybe you are in your garden, maybe you are in bed: one never knows where the magic will happen. But there you are, thinking and wondering about what is next. What are the words? What is the form? What is the next good idea for plot or character? And while an idea may form, while the essential plot or theme may come to you overnight, the writing does not happen by magic. It is a process that takes work, commitment and, yes — consistency.
Consistency of Commitment
So instead of a momentary resolution, what do we do? When it comes to the process of writing we are all different. But I think the very first ingredient for being successful at it on any level, is consistency. If you are a short piece writer, like me, and you drop off the map regularly, like me, your audience will get bored and disappear — like mine.
If you are a fiction writer of novel length, you are likely to get bored or stuck if you don’t keep going forward with it. Some fiction writers bring a meticulous plan to their plots and some let the characters take them for a ride but, either way, you will never finish if you don’t keep going.
If you are a non-fiction writer, you most likely have to continue to research in order to get your content right and to develop it to what you want it to be. An article? A post? A book? The same quantity, quality, and drive to do ongoing research could apply to writers of historical fiction or any work that is based in fact. I could go on but you get the idea.
Is deciding to be more consistent a resolution, which by definition is a fleeting moment of decision? Or is it a commitment, which, in order to exist has to proceed into the future? And that seems even more true when I contemplate a commitment to increased consistency.
Bird by Bird
So there you are, sitting in your favorite spot, hoping the words and ideas will come… but you’re just not feeling it. What to do? Write something, anything. Make a note about something you observed. Write a sentence about a person or character you know or have thought of, even if you have no story to go with either person or the character.
Write a letter to someone you miss without intention to send it. Write a sentence about a flower, about your mother, about anything. It doesn’t matter. Perhaps you will discard it later, perhaps it will blossom into something lovely. Who knows? The point is that you wrote something that day and, if you are trying to build a robust writing practice, it’s a fine start. You showed up and you took action. Tomorrow you’ll do it again. That is the meaning of commitment and consistency.
I hope your new year brings you interesting characters, spellbinding plots and beautiful language as well as happiness, health and prosperity. All of these are within your reach with consistency and commitment.
Trienah Meyers is a musician, writer, and friend who is exploring the boundaries and learning to live a different life in this new stage. Travel, food, religion. Everything old is new again. Everything is interesting. She is a vital member of Amelia Indie Authors where, in addition to her many co-op contributions, she is sometimes called upon for proofreading and edits.