.New Years Day is coming and that means lots of us will be making New Years resolutions. One of my resolutions is to get around to my writing projects each and every day. You may have resolutions, things you want to change about your life too. Some things are hard because they’re no fun, but I love writing. Still, so many things can pop up distracting me away from this work. What to do? Let’s get some advice from a great American psychologist, William James.
William James, one of my “dead friends”, suggests that to change one’s life we must start immediately, do it flamboyantly, and make no exceptions. I’m thinking this is a good way to handle New Years resolutions too. Make the resolution and implement it immediately, adding a little snazz just for fun, to spice things up.
As I think of my resolution, writing, I reflect on the fact that most writers who amounted to anything at all saw to it that they wrote every day, no matter what. That is, after all, the way to get things done. We have to make the important things in our life a priority. Laundry can’t get in the way, nor phone calls, errands, or anything else.
One of my favorite writers, Edith Wharton, created more than 50 works — novels, short stories, poetry and non-fiction. She had to be very disciplined in order to accomplish so much work. Consistent daily writing was part of her secret for success. I did find it interesting though that she did most of that writing from bed. Servants would bring in a breakfast tray each morning and there, in bed, Edith would write till noon every single day– comfy-cozy, enjoying the morning light from her East window, she worked. (She was very particular about her bed facing East and we should be particular about the details in our rituals too.) It goes without saying Edith’s bedroom was a gorgeous setting in which to work. Mansions are like that and Edith lived in a grand mansion. I saw Edith’s bedroom for myself when I was passing through western Massachusetts a few years ago. I visited her home, The Mount, and I wouldn’t mind having a Mount of my own , a few servants too, servants who could refresh my coffee and bring me treats as I worked, but this probably won’t be happening soon… or ever.
Still, I could try her approach, for I have a nice enough bedroom and a breakfast tray too, and if I’m to take William James’ advice about flamboyancy, well, writing in bed till noon each day would do it.The most important thing though is to identify what would make us happy and work toward achieving those ends. Making solid resolutions is a positive first step toward achieving any goal, and having goals will help us make our dreams come true. You do have dreams, don’t you? I hope so. As another “dead friend”, Oscar Hammerstein II, wrote – “You’ve got to have a dream. If you don’t have a dream how you gonna have a dream come true?”
Start backwards. Identify your dreams and then turn those dreams into resolutions. Once the resolutions are created begin working at them immediately and add a little flamboyance just for fun. Finally, once you plot your course, make no exceptions.
Let’s do it!
We can check in with each other a year from now to celebrate our success. Deal? Deal!