Today is my birthday. And five years ago, it was also a day when I couldn’t think of anything to write about. My blog was just getting off the ground and I knew I needed to write about something to keep myself in the habit and grow my small audience. I was drawing a blank, so I decided to take a risk and talk about something more personal. For years, I’ve been making birthday resolutions instead of New Year’s resolutions and that year, I shared my resolutions with the blogosphere. Five years later, that first blog about how I wanted to grow and change is one of my most viewed posts.
Most of us make resolutions this time of year. We want to lose weight, cut back on the amount of time we spend on Facebook, put more money into our savings, but most of those resolutions are quickly abandoned. It’s hard to change the course of a river once it’s found a course and human beings are no different, in my experience. Perhaps it’s no surprise that 88% of resolutions fail.
Historically, I have struggled to keep my resolutions (except for that one time when I resolved to move across the country — that one worked out), but I’ve found more success when I limit myself to one or two, put them down in writing and hold myself accountable by telling people what I’m trying to accomplish.
So, as I mark another year of wandering around this crazy world, I’m making one resolution. Just one. Possibly the most ambitious pledge to myself that I have ever made and the one that will have the most potential impact on my literary career. In light of that, I have also resolved to give it the time it deserves, by setting myself a three-year deadline.
Okay, enough build-up. Here it is:
I will complete a final draft of a novel by the time I am 30 years old.
I have tip-toed around writing a novel for the better part of a decade and have little to show for it. Half a dozen unfinished (read: barely started) novels are cluttering my hard drive, but I have never devoted the time necessary to seeing any one of them through to a final draft.
Writing a novel is big. Bigger than any writing project I’ve ever embarked upon. But I think that now is the time. I think I’m finally up to the task. I am fortune to have a loving spouse and a supportive web of friends and family to urge me onward. I’ll be documenting the ups and downs of the process from the initial idea to final draft right here — and I’m grateful to have you along for the ride.
The clock is ticking. Wish me luck.
— 30 —
Jonny Eberle is a writer and soon-to-be novelist in Tacoma. You can find him on Twitter.
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8 responses to “Revenge of the Birthday Resolutions”
How about instead of luck, I wish you success? As we know, luck has nothing to do with it. Speaking from my own experience, I struggle daily with finding motivation for writing and, as I settle comfortably into middle-age, it doesn’t get any easier. For myself, NaNoWriMo was just the structure I needed to get me from blank page to an extremely rough, barely baked, really smelly draft. I know it’s not for all writers but I can’t caterwaul its praises loudly enough.
Wishing you motivation, inspiration, success, and a Happy Birthday.
Success is way better than luck. I’ll take it. I’ve had trouble getting into NaNoWriMo. The procrastinator in me wants more time to put off writing before the mad dash to hit a word count, but I know lots of people for whom it’s exactly what they need to get motivated. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Go for it, Jonny. You can do it.
I’ve found that breaking a huge project down into bite-sized pieces helps. Instead of worrying about the final deadline, I focus on the small milestones. Might this help you?
Thank you! I think that’s excellent advice and precisely what I’m planning to do next. My next steps are to break down the Novel into smaller pieces with individual deadlines that are more manageable.
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