Take counsel in wine, but resolve afterwards in water.
New Year’s resolutions are for suckers. Well, ok, maybe that’s a bit harsh: There’s a certain logic to trying to turn over a new leaf at the start of a new year, and it’s an easy way to track progress, because you always remember when you started.
But there’s another famous (although apocryphal) quote that applies, which is “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” For years, I would start the year with my journal pages marked “Upcoming projects” and a list of plays that I would have completed by the end of that year – 3 one acts, two full lengths, a pantomime and ten, no, fifteen sketches! The thing is, I didn’t have any more time available for writing in the new year than I had in the old, and I didn’t have any fewer commitments. All these wonderful plays were going to be written in the time that I would otherwise be “wasting”, watching tv, or playing games, reading books.
After all, other people get writing done, and they must have jobs and children and houses. And it’s not that I don’t get time at the keyboard, it’s just that it’s easier to open Twitter and complain about people not buying my existing plays than it is to get down to writing a new one. You can’t use the excuse of “not having anything to write”, because the experienced writer doesn’t wait for the muse to arrive, they sit themselves down at the keyboard and write regardless, because rewriting is easier if you have words on the page. A rubbish draft of a mediocre story is still better than a blank page. And yet…
So, this year, no resolutions to write a certain number of plays, because I know I won’t hit the quota. But what I have done is get a meeting with my writing partners.
We looked through the list of projects that we had started but not finished and found the two best prospects. We put them in order and agreed another meeting date to talk about progress. So, the chances that we will have done something to add to the first project by the next meeting are pretty good. That first project is at least half-finished, and we’re all reasonably enthusiastic about it. Fairly confident it’ll get done.
Writing isn’t my entire life, so I’m not making resolutions about other things too.
Since I haven’t been juggling for a couple of years, cosplay has become my main hobby. Mrs Dim is constantly baffled by the notion of a hobby that actually makes you miserable, instead of cheering you up and refreshing you. I try to explain that it’s not the hobby that makes me miserable, but my own hamfisted incompetence, which is compounded by the fact that I only grab five minutes here and there to try and do things that should be done carefully and with the proper tools over the course of several hours.
I have my own workshop, which is a privilege I should be more grateful for, and I certainly should keep it tidier, which would make it easier to do the work when I have five minutes, since I don’t have to spend four of those minutes sweeping enough of the bench clear to place the actual piece down.
I explained (as much as I could) to Mrs Dim that I do enjoy the hobby, most of the time, but it’s not always easy to find the joy. She suggested that I take one project, plan it out properly, buy the actual materials I need (rather than grabbing cheap maybe-this-will-be-ok substitutes). Then I should take the appropriate amount of time to work on each stage of the project. That all sounds very sensible and proper, but I don’t think it will actually happen. Aside from the guilt about spending money on a hobby that doesn’t benefit anyone, the time to do this work isn’t going to materialise any easier than the time to write all those plays did in previous years.
So, those are the resolutions that I am not making, and I’m definitely making them in water – last year I had six beers altogether, and I don’t plan to drink any this year. More of this thing, less of that, here’s to success through being vague in 2022!