I’m not keen on New Year’s resolutions. It’s too easy for us to end up in a mire of guilt, weighed down by our failure to meet our own expectations. On the other hand, defined goals can help those of us who might otherwise become TV watching, junk food eating couch potatoes, with nothing more to show for 2013 than an empty file entitled First Draft and five extra kilos around the waistline.
This week, Facebook is chockers with people’s summaries of 2012 and their goals for 2013. There’s some over-sharing about last year’s highs and lows, and some lofty goals for this year. Good luck, people. If I’d been you, I might have made those goals slightly more achievable: a steady, gradual weight loss rather than losing 20kg over the year, completing a certain number of pages a week rather than writing an entire novel before Christmas, reducing chocolate intake rather than giving it up altogether.
Making your resolutions public may steel your resolve, because of the shame you’ll feel if your entire social media circle sees you fail. (Not that they’ll care, but you’ll feel the shame anyway.) Or it may place unnecessary pressure on you, making it almost certain that you won’t meet your goals. Of course, if you are the kind of person who thrives on order, and if your resolutions are well thought out, the list may encourage you to stretch yourself and help you to stay on track.
I didn’t share my highlights and lowlights of 2012 on social media. Mine would have been a jumble of veterinary emergencies and scrambles to meet writing deadlines, a couple of novels published and some family ups and downs I choose to keep private. And I’m not making resolutions. I won’t put ‘finish both books before deadline’ on a list, because it’s something I have no choice about. I’m a professional; writing is my job. If there’s a deadline, that’s when the manuscript has to be ready. I won’t put ‘keep weight down’ on a list because, as a cancer survivor, I need no reminders of how important that is.
Instead of offering you 2013 Resolutions for Writers, then, I wave my magic wand and present you with nine good gifts for the coming year. [Read more…]