The new year’s promise
I hope your new year’s resolution involved fostering your creativity rather than your business success or your abs.
I’m not against gyms and I’m certainly not anti-success. Happy new year, by the way. But our lives are so busy that we need that other dimension for true happiness. We need time to day-dream, time to exercise our creative muscles.
I truly believe it’s essential to our mental and spiritual health.
We get any number of people attending our creative writing courses who simply want to find their lost ability to imagine. They’ve spent their lives in corporate or doing other things, and suddenly they realise they’ve allowed something important to disappear from their lives.
I do believe in setting intentions. Resolutions are an important way of building discipline. We challenge ourselves to hold to our promises. But they don’t need to become the albatross we’ll dangle around our necks to make us feel bad about ourselves.
When it comes to writing, make your resolution manageable. Perhaps even more than manageable. Then, when you exceed your expectations, you’ll feel really good about yourself. Writing is largely about discipline and if you can entrench that discipline in your life, it will start to become second nature.
What you don’t want to do is make a resolution like: Write War and Peace for the modern times. Or even, write that book you’ve been meaning to. It’s too large and threatening.
Why do people do that with writing (and to themselves?) They say: this is the year I’m going to take piano lessons. They don’t say: this is the year I’m going to play at the Albert Hall.
Decide rather to develop your characters. Or, if you’re not at all sure where to start, take a writing course. Sign up for a workshop. It’ll get you writing, entrench a discipline, and the ideas will flow from there.
If you’re busy on a project, but you’re feeling stuck, set yourself the task of writing three great sentences. Don’t scoff. Even one good sentence is better than none at all, and once you’ve written three, you may find that it starts to flow. It may be slow as treacle, but if you write four good sentences, you’ll feel great about yourself.
You may not be stuck at all. You may know exactly where you’re going with your project. But I still say: set yourself a manageable target for your writing regime. Success is good for the soul.
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