The notion of a resolution has always been a little bit uncomfortable to me.
You see, I have no issue with people attempting to better themselves. Attempting to live fuller lives, enjoy themselves more, doing their best to revel in each day as much as they can…except I’ve always felt there was a bit of a lie when it comes to resolutions.
Resolutions are less like promises to better yourself and more like promising to promise yourself that you’ll better yourself. If you get what I’m saying. I suppose what I mean is, resolutions are the promise, flimsy and sometimes unattainable. They can be anything from “I’ll go to the gym five days a week every week” to “I’ll start eating healthier”. “I’ll spend more time with my family.” “I’ll take the dog out on one extra walk a week.” The promises are almost always quantified with some sort of justification of success. As if there’s some way to really succeed by having some personal goal you’ve set for yourself. As if the promise becomes a goal with a reward and prize at the end, a finish line where people are waving flags and throwing confetti and screaming your name.
Except, there’s no finish line. No horns, no chorus of chants in your honor. When you cross the finish line – if you ever manage, because as we all know many people drop their resolution’s like a hot potato a month after they make them – there’s no one there but yourself, most days. That can be a little disappointing.
In the months of October and November of 2015, I did something I didn’t realize was possible for me to do. I finished two novels. The first – finished a week before November, and a week before I diving into the madness that was Nanowrimo – had begun last November. Two weeks before National Novel Writing Month I’d started working and planning, painstakingly so. Thinking of nothing but this new novel with this heroine wandering around in my head, fulfilling some secret destiny I hadn’t even properly thought out for her yet.
Now roughly called “Claire & The Wolves”, once called “Georgia & The Wolves”, it’s nothing like originally planned. It took me a year to finish it. A year of angrily hating myself and hating my writing and hating my characters and feeling like I had forgotten how to do it. Then…I did. It happened quickly and all at once, like a flash, the last words suddenly on the last page and it was like the world stopped for just a few seconds as the reality came crashing in on me. I’d finished it. I’d finally finished a novel. Years of dreams in the making, years of me pushing myself but never pushing hard enough. It all happened with one little world and one little punctuation and…there was no finish line, no choir of chants, nothing but the deafening silence that was my own mind.
Fuck, I thought. You did it.
I had. And besides a box of cupcakes and some candy thrown at me by a few friends, no one cared in the world but me.
Then I got over it, told myself I had another novel to start – because once again, I was diving back into Nanowrimo – and insisted that I would start editing in December. January at the latest. November was like a whirlwind. I’d already gotten a good repertoire with my writing schedule from the nonstop work that I’d begun in September and October, and so sitting down every day and writing a minimum of 1,667 words was nothing. I wouldn’t write on my work days, so three days of out the week were null for me, but the rest I made up for. Most days I wrote upwards of 5,000 if I could, because 1,667 felt like nothing to me. Not a single dent. I was finished a week before November came rolling around – 50k was easy to hit, and the last words were penned – no, typed – on Thanksgiving. It felt lackluster. Felt uninspired. Felt…under appreciated.
Except there was really no one else around to appreciate it except for me, and I was doing all of the under appreciating.
Since then I’ve taken a break from both stories, knowing full well that they need to be reworked and reorganized. I’m not sure how I plan on going about it. I’ve got a binder full of pages, a bag full of highlighters, and a Sharpie that’s ready to do the work. I’ve got two chapters done and twelve more taunting me. But I guess I’ve done it. I guess I’ve started.
The new year is kind of meaningless, if we’re honest. It keeps track of time – something we could all do with losing more of. Despite the fact that I don’t believe in resolutions I always have the slightest inkling that perhaps I should fall in with the crowd and make some of my own. Maybe I should focus on something. Maybe I should have some goals.
After everything, all I can say is this: I think my only goal is starting something. Starting, and finishing, and seeing where it will get me.
The only reward I’m going to get is the ending, and for the first time, I think that kind of feels like enough.