Hello, blog readers, and welcome back! I hope you all had a lovely holiday season. Now the new year has begun and I have no doubt that many of you have come up with writing-related resolutions for 2015. Personally, I have a new year’s resolution to write or edit something every day in 2015. Everyone who creates a writing-related resolution has good intentions of completing a project or of simply maintaining a writing routine. But keeping the resolution is where the trouble arises.
It’s likely that I have written about this before on the blog, but it’s an important principle to keep in mind as the new year begins and you set your writing goals. Writing requires time. Each day has only 24 hours. Some of those hours are spent sleeping, and some of them are likely spent at work and/or school. The leftover hours are what you have to work with. When you get home in the evening or wake up in the morning, you probably have something that you like to do. Maybe you read the news on your phone, scroll through your Twitter feed, and eat breakfast in the morning. In the evening, you might plop down on the sofa and watch a few hours of Netflix.
I hate to break it to you, but something in there has to go. If you want to work on your writing this year, you have to sacrifice something else from your schedule.
In a recent article on Writer Unboxed, Lisa Cron conveys this very sentiment. She says, “That’s why you have to be bold. You have to take a good hard look at your life and see what can go, even though it hurts. And maybe, just maybe, the unease we feel letting something go is a good thing. Maybe the lingering fear that we’ve made a mistake isn’t regret. Maybe it’s the point. Maybe it’s saying: You’ve given me up in order to get something done, so you damn well better give it your all. At the end of the day, isn’t that what having skin in the game is all about?”
I love this quote. “Having skin in the game” is a really good way of describing the investment that writing requires. And if you long for and pine for your old Netflix-watching days, then I guess you’ll understand what it’s like to suffer for your art. You have to be in it to win it. You have to want to write to get the writing done. If something else in your schedule trumps writing, then just don’t worry about it. People have plenty of other hobbies and plenty of other things that fill up their schedules, and that’s completely fine.
But if you really want this, you’re going to have to give something up and it’s going to take some work. To stick to those lofty resolutions that you created on January 1st, you’re going to have to stop watching Netflix so much and maybe put off seeing your friends a few nights a week. You’re going to have plant yourself in front of your computer, or on the couch, or at your desk, and get the actual words down on paper or into the word processing software. Just put one word after another and before you know it, it’ll be March and you’ll have been keeping your new year’s resolution for much longer than those folks who said they wanted to get to the gym.
Happy writing in 2015!
— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan