I did make a New Year’s resolution once. When I was working on my first novel, The Mud of the Place, and desperately afraid that I’d never finish it, I resolved that I would work on it every day until it was done.

Note that I did not vow to write a thousand words or two thousand words or any number of words. Nor did I vow to write for an hour or two hours or for any set time.

Just every day.

mud cover2This turned out to be a brilliant move. There were days when I was so panicky, so sure that everything I’d done so far was crap, that I didn’t work up the nerve to open my Word file till ten minutes before midnight. And this was enough. Just opening the file and reading what I’d already written was enough to reassure me that this thing was good, this thing was worthwhile, I really needed to keep going till I finished this thing.

And that was enough to encourage me to add a few words, and sometimes to keep going till two in the morning.

Had I vowed to write so many words or for so many hours, there would have been no point to opening the file at ten minutes to midnight.

I haven’t made a New Year’s resolution since.


4 thoughts on “Resolutions

    • It sure worked for me. 🙂 I had a hard time making the transition between stories, essays, poems, etc., and a book-length work. The shorter pieces I could finish in a few sittings, or almost always within a month. The novel took years. It’s probably a little like the difference between a sprint and a marathon: the long haul requires some skills that shorter hauls don’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A great resolution and one that might work for me this year. Traditionally, as I can be discipline-impaired, setting a goal for a minimum amount of words a day has worked for me. But in my current circumstances, any number, no matter how small, might be impossible. But to just do _something_ every day on the wip might be a goal I could actually achieve! Thanks!!

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    • My general approach is “whatever works — and if whatever works stops working, try something else.” 😉 If I were more of a planner, and if I had a final word count in mind, a daily word goal might work for me. But I’m not and I don’t — and I do my first-drafting in pen and ink. Counting words ain’t easy! (I could count pages, though.) I usually have a pretty good idea of what the next two or three scenes are going to involve, but I often don’t know exactly where they’re going or how they’re going to get there. 4,000 words of first-drafting may distill down to 1,500 when I type it into the computer, so did I write 4,000 words over the course of three or four or five days or did I write 1,500? Mostly I have faith that if I keep going I’ll get somewhere worth going to. But the longer I’m away from a project, the shakier my faith gets.

      Liked by 1 person

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