It seems that everywhere I go, I overhear someone talking about New Year’s Resolutions that they admit they’ll never keep. I can’t help but wonder: then what’s the point? I’m not arguing that we should do away with resolutions because I think it’s important to pause, clear the air and then establish goals for the New Year. However, I think the key to success is not only to set goals that are within one’s power to keep, but to establish those goals with positive intention.
When it comes to writing – whether its the goal of starting or finishing a book, hiring an agent or selling a book – establishing intention with a negative, snarky attitude is the first step towards failure. Taking from my own experience, last year I told myself “this year I will attempt to sell my mariachi book … yeah right!” Note the word “attempt” and the “yeah right,” both of which immediately implied that that goal wasn’t going to happen and guess what, it didn’t.
Instead, this year I’m not going to “attempt” anything. I will continue to abide by the law of least effort in which I establish my intentions, set reasonable time lines and even more important, detach my death grip on the expected outcome. For example, today and every day “I will make the most of the time I get to write my book – whether its 15 minutes or an entire day.” Or, “I will bring a positive, open attitude to my desk when I sit down to work, even when approaching a challenging scene or a story that’s not yet working.” Better yet, “I will pay attention to how and where the story wants develop, rather than me dictating it how and where to go.”
These are goals that I established four months ago and because I’ve kept them every single day, I’m a successful writer. When it comes to writing, let go of the rules and resolutions and goals and soften your attitude. Love what you do or else it will become a huge weight around your neck and then who’s more miserable? None of us knows for certain if we’ll publish our book or if it will remain on our hard drive; or if it will become the next New York Times Mega-Bestseller or another book on the clearance table. What we can do is choose whether we enjoy writing and being in the fictional worlds that we create. I’ve chosen to be a successful writer by setting goals that are true to my nature rather than dependent on external forces. If that speaks to you, I’m glad. If not and you think I’m full of hooey, there are plenty of blogs and organizations who will back you up!
Wherever the writing takes you, I wish you peace, playfulness and joy. Happy New Year!