Actually, that blog post title's a little harsh, because all SJS did to deserve it was blog about New Year's resolutions here before I could. Oh, well. How about the next best thing, i.e., a list of all the things I resolve to stop doing in 2013?
Because the key to being happy and successful, it seems to me, is not only a matter of developing a host of new, constructive behaviors, but putting an end to those things we habitually do to sabotage ourselves. For instance, I am promising here and now that I will try my damndest not to do the following things in 2013:
Putting things off that need doing is a sure-fire way to guarantee they'll either get done poorly at the last minute, or won't get done at all. In 2013, I'm going to take care of business now, not later, no matter how boring or inconvenient it may be to do so.
- Make excuses
There are no doubt several reasons your latest manuscript failed to sell, or the last six agents you queried turned you down, but using them as a rationale for not working harder is a recipe for disaster. Nike may have turned the expression "Just do it" into the punch line of many a joke, but as a philosophy, it's sound as hell. Don't obsess over why you can't do something; just do the damn thing already.
- Work without a plan
Zoë touched on this subject last week, and it really struck a nerve with me. Creating a work schedule that you're absolutely, positively committed to following has always sounded to me like a great way to make widgets, not write a book. We creative types need to be free from such conventions, right? To do our best work, we need to allow it to come naturally, not in accordance to some predefined set of parameters.
At least, that's how I've been approaching my writing up to now, and the results would suggest it may be time to re-think things. Structure is not a four-letter word. Neither is discipline. Writing like a free spirit is okay if you're a poet with no career ambitions whatsoever, but if you expect to make a decent living as a writer, attention must be paid to output. This year, I'm going to write as if my life depends on my making a daily page quota --- because it just might.
- Devote more time to social networking than is necessary
Yes, I've made a lot of professional contacts and brought more than a few new readers into the fold via Facebook. But more than half my FB time of late is spent on highly entertaining nonsense, and that's time I can't afford to waste any more. In 2013, I'll continue to have a strong and regular FB presence, because dropping off the site completely would run counter to contemporary laws of productive self-promotion, but anybody expecting to find me "liking" this or commenting on that thirty-five times a day is destined to be gravely disappointed.
- Renege on any of the above
Making promises is easy. Keeping promises is hard. Highly successful people do what they say they're going to do, when they say they're going to do it.
You guys are my witnesses. If any of you catches me making a liar of myself, please don't hesitate to call me on it.
Happy New Year!