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Publetariat Dispatch: New Year’s Resolutions Be Damned, These Things I Will Always Do

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!
In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, author Alan Baxter explains why he’s done with making New Year’s Resolutions. WARNING: Post contains strong language.

I don’t really believe in new year’s resolutions. I get the concept, and it’s an entirely admirable pursuit, but it’s often like crash dieting or NaNoWriMo – it’s fundamentally unsustainable. People make all these promises to themselves in the heat and excitement of a new year, and then sink in guilt and stress when those things may not come to pass.

After all, January 1st is only one day after December 31st and it’s entirely arbitrary that we choose to tack onto that day a new identifier for the year. The Chinese aren’t celebrating their new year until February 10th next year, for example. It’s all bollocks, as is all time. As Terry Pratchett said, we just invented time to stop everything happening at once. Which is funny, but also not true. Time is a purely human invention to help us make sense of things and organise when to meet at the pub.

My simple point is this – making specific resolutions for the new year is a fine sentiment, but it’s often very hard to follow through. For example, saying, “I will lose 20kg in 2013″ is potentially opening a person up to failure. But if you say, “I will be a healthier person in 2013: eat healthy, exercise and try to lose some weight”, then that’s more of an attitude than a particular goal and easier to hang onto for a longer period of time. It’s easy to look at that sentiment throughout the year and try to stick to it, as there’s no specific measurement involved that might slip away. And if you fall back from that attitude for a while, it’s pretty easy to look at it, remind yourself and get back on that horse to ride again. Giddy up, motherfucker, there’s no point in crying when you could be trying.

So instead of making new year’s resolutions, I’m going to list a bunch of things I intend to hang onto all year. Not resolutions, but attitudes to never forget. These are ways of being that I’ve always tried to maintain, and intend to maintain into the future.

So, in 2013 (and beyond):

I will continue to work hard at being the best writer I can be, because this shit isn’t easy, nor should it be.

I will finish all the things I start.

I will continue to pursue publication in all the places I’ve yet to crack and further publications in the places I’ve already been featured.

I will have more work published.

I will write novels, novellas and short fiction, because stories are great in all sizes.

I will grab every opportunity that comes my way, because I am a fucking professional and time is made, not found.

I will celebrate the successes of all other writers, because their success is proof I can succeed too. And they deserve it.

I will share the good shit and ignore the rubbish.

I will help my writer friends wherever I can, because I didn’t get where I am now without help.

I will strive to excel and improve, because where I am now is nowhere near where I want to be. I want the moon and the fucking stars, baby.

I will continue to read like a voracious word devourer, because a writer who doesn’t read is a crappy writer. And a bad person. A really, really bad person.

I will look after my health.

I WILL WRITE, because the only actual requirement to be a writer is that you write. Being published, being famous, being rich and successful, being happy with your creative endeavours, none of it comes unless you write. First and foremost before everything else: WRITE. You will not find the time to write – you MAKE the time to write. If you really want it, you will make it happen. Only got one hour, twice a week? Fine, start there. Write for two hours a week, every week. Guess what? You’re a writer now. Then make more time. Make. It. Happen. Then all that other stuff can follow.

These are only my writerly attitudes, of course. Similar philosophies apply to my life as a martial artist, instructor and personal trainer, and to my life in general as a human person of Earth. It’s good to focus on these things and remind ourselves of them regularly. New year is a fine time to take stock, but so is every other day of the year. These things are not resolutions. These things are constants.

May 2013 be everything you want it to be. I wish you all (and myself) happiness, health and success in all you do. Now get out there and make it happen, motherhumpers. I want to hear your names sung from the mountaintops, and mine sung along with them.

This is a reprint from Alan Baxter‘s Warrior Scribe.


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