Tuesday, January 1, 2008

From dissonance to consonance

Whether you were happy to see 2008 arrive or looked back at the last twelve months and wish you could have stopped the clock, you probably marked the coming of the new year with a set of resolutions.

We all make these--eat better, spend less, exercise more, lose weight, write more, and so on.

It's also a tradition that we make these resolutions with the almost sure knowledge that we're going to break them. Oh, we'll last two weeks, maybe a month, but soon habit or life or the combination get in the way. It's probably safe to say that many of us make the same resolutions year after year, and year after year we break them in short order.

At least we're consistent.

So we make and then break our resolutions. Then comes guilt, and with guilt comes--well, cookies. And so we feel better.

In Novelist's Boot Camp we teach and preach methods to discipline your creativity and so make more progress. In the book and accompanying workshops (the first of which will be the first weekend in February at the Love is Murder readers' and writers' conference--ya'll come) we offer strategy and tactics to get your imagination and creative energy in formation.

At the same time, a key point in the book and the workshop is that while writing a novel is hard work, it should be rewarding, pleasant hard work. One of the key principles is to celebrate success. This is critical for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that life is short and success is much more fun that failure.

So how does this philosophy impact on making--and perhaps even keeping--New Year's Resolutions?

One way would be the strictly logical method of breaking your resolution into very small, very attainable steps or goals and then rewarding yourself for achieving those goals. In so doing, you'd set yourself up for success and increase the likelihood that you'd take the next step, meet the next goal, and eventually achieve what you resolved to do.

That's a perfectly sound method--except that it overlooks the fact that New Year's Resolutions are made to be broken and that what we offer in Novelist's Boot Camp is to have fun, be mischievous, let your creativity loose, make not just waves but trouble, and think bigger and bolder and more exciting.

And in Novelist's Boot Camp we also tell writers to stop doing what doesn't work.

Therefore, in the spirit of resolutions that we all make only to break and with an eye to making progress and reinforcing success (and making trouble), here are my New Year's Resolutions for 2008.

I will write less, and if I do, it will be junk.
I will eat like horse--and junk food only. If it says "natural," out it goes!
No fun this year--nope, none. Done with that.
I am definitely staying out of the health club.
I refuse to deal with things in my life that bother me--I'm gonna let 'em fester good.
I'm closing my mind to new ideas and experiences--don't bother to even suggest any.
No promotion for the next 12 months--you want my book, look for it on your own.
Patience-hah! I'm gonna be cross and grumpy.
Forget reading--turn on the TV! I'm going to record episodes of "Maury" for playback!
I will make the credit card companies adore me.

There, that's a start.

I see a great year--and cookies--in my future. I hope there's a great year, great writing, great progress, and cookies in your future as well.

See you at Love is Murder


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