This is the only place you’ll hear me saying that word, and the only time.
David Farland said in a recent blog post, “I hate the word “resolution.” Whenever I think of it, I think of soldiers circa 1800, marching resolutely into battle, knowing that they’re going to die. Yet every year I make resolutions anyway. Maybe if we had better attitudes about resolutions in the first place, it wouldn’t be so hard to keep them.”
“It seems to me that if I approach my goals properly, then reaching them won’t be too hard.
For example, let’s look at writing goals. What if instead of saying, ‘I’m going to write twenty pages a day for at least three days per week,” I decided that, “I will approach each day of writing calmly, training myself to be excited about the task, and anticipating the rewards of a job well done’?”
I can certainly agree with that. My goal for each day is to spend at least an hour working on my second novel. Notice that I didn’t say ‘writing’, because this book was drafted years ago, and part of my time is spent editing out the superfluity of words that litter my first drafts.
But the second part of my goal is to move ahead and finish at least 1000 words a day. By ‘finish’, I mean have them polished enough so that I can move on to the next scene or chapter instead of endlessly futzing around with the same cluster of lines, repeatedly polishing them like they are some gem that must be perfect before it sees the light of day.
I’ve realized that is arrogance but also fear. Fear of not being good enough [whatever that means], fear of rejection, fear of being mocked for thinking that I’m a writer…the list can go on. What am I going to do to get beyond my fears? I’m going to enter more contests, submit my first chapters for scrutiny and critiques, crank out more, more, more, self-publish some of my work and see what happens afterwards.
I read a timely blog on January 2nd by a Toronto writer, Sonal Champsee – Publish Your Damn Work, and wrote to her to say how she had inspired me. Here is what she replied:
“Perfectionism is a hard one to get over, because perfectionism wears a mask of productivity. It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that all the fiddling and tweaking is really necessary work. But you know, it’s just fear. Every writer I’ve ever met has fears. You just have to put fear to the side and say okay, I see you, but I’m writing anyway.”
And from time to time, I’m going to search the sewing pattern libraries to find an outfit like this Amazone is sporting. The o0ld saying was, “Clothes make the man.” Perhaps this time, wearing fewer clothes will make me more productive!