Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Resolved


by Sophie Perinot

Writers, like non-writers, often mark the New Year by committing themselves to a collection of resolutions, usually in the form of an earnestly drawn-up laundry list of thing we want to accomplish to forward our work in progress and our careers.  For example, “write 2,000 words a day” is, I would posit, the writer’s equivalent of the average person’s “lose ten pounds.”

I am skeptical of the power New Year’s resolutions.  I think they have, for the most part, forgotten where they came from, and so have we.  They have become nothing more than vague promises we make ourselves at a particularly optimistic moment (when the world is new again and everything seems possible).  And if we don’t keep them later. . . well. . .

Yep.  Pretty darn useless.

This year I suggest that we—wordsmiths by trade—cast our minds back to the root of the term resolution—the word “resolve.”  Resolve is powerful indeed.  True resolve impresses and gets things done.  Take a look at this definition (from Merriam-Webster):

Resolve (noun): 1) fixity of purpose: resoluteness.

Pow! That’s an old-fashioned, commanding concept.  I sit up straighter just reading the definition, don’t you?

So, instead of picking half-dozen specific writing resolutions in these first days of 2013, jotting them down and promptly forgetting where I’ve stuck them, I am going to rediscover my fixity of purpose (I know I set it down somewhere—maybe behind the pile of research books).  When I locate it, I am going to wield it like a sword and treat my work with the urgency and determination that true resoluteness demands.  If (or rather when because set backs are inevitable) I fail to meet the weekly goals for my latest manuscript I am going to recognize my justifications of this failure for what they are—excuses.  Pitiful excuses.  I am going to remind myself that this is a job.  A real work ethic and not just good intentions are needed to get it done.

That’s how I am starting 2013—as a taskmaster who knows true resolve generally involves perseverance, suffering and even self-castigation, NOT as a starry-eyed, optimist who believes that wishing something done will make it so.  How about you?

Sophie Perinot's debut novel, THE SISTER QUEENS (which tells the story of two 13th century sisters who became the queens of England and France) released in 2013.  She is currently working on her Sophomore novel, a task that requires considerable resolve. You can find Sophie at home here, or on Facebook at her author page or the page for her novel.  She is also active on twitter.

11 comments:

Jennifer Bogart said...

Exactly. Determination, purpose, deadlines and goals. Good luck in 2013.

Matt Sinclair said...

I like that, Lit. I'm feeling a need for fixity.

Mary Tod said...

There's a young woman who writes a blog called F the Desk. She has a good post on this very topic. http://fthedesk.com/2012/12/30/no-resolutions/
Enjoy.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm not a resolution maker either - but I do like the idea of firming up my resolve! :)

Sophie Perinot said...

Mary, thanks for sharing!

robertatrahan said...

Well said, Sophie. "Fixity" is my new favorite word.

Hannah Kincade said...

I make a to-do list for the year, but that's as far as I go. Anything from that past year that I did well, I strive to do more of. That's really it. Goals and to-dos. I'm buying a house this year, so saving is a big thing. I want to query my novel, so revising and editing is a goal...etc.

Sophie Perinot said...

Hannah, I agree goals are good but I think the language needs to be that of "I will" not "I want to."

Debra McKellan said...

Fixity of purpose. I like it. :)

JeffO said...

I think the big problem people have with resolutions is that they enter them too lightly, without a plan. Resolutions are too vague, or the 'resolver' has no real clue how to go about achieving them. So you get "lose weight" or "get in shape" or "publish my first novel" without any idea of what goes into it.

Now, I'd say I wish you luck with your resolutions, but it luck leaves it too much up to chance. Maybe congratulations are in order, instead?

E.J. Wesley said...

I said much the same thing recently Sophie. Resolving to do something IS powerful.

Much of the trouble stems from making resolutions to overcome too complex of a thing. For example, if I make a resolution to curse less this year, I probably first need to understand why I'm cursing the first place. Instead, I should probably resolve to take anger management classes or simply not drive an automobile ever again. :-)