Lovely old friends from Melbourne visited us this Christmas, and as we approached the new year, we looked back at some of the resolutions Tara* had made over recent years. They went something like this:
- Get your shit together
- Get shit done
- Get rid of shit.
We were mulling on what 2019’s resolution could be. I suggested:
- Do less shit
- Let shit go, or, perhaps
- Don’t lose your shit (I suspect I was projecting with this one).
I’m not sure what Tara went with in the end, but when I talked about New Year’s resolutions with my kids we agreed it would be useful to have one philosophical resolution, and one practical one. They had to be simple and possible.
It didn’t take long for me to nail the practical one: finish the manuscript I’m working on. That might sound like a big task, but actually it’s not. Psychologically it’s a bigger deal than it is practically. So, I have to take some of Graham Greene’s advice here: sit down for a couple of hours each day and write 500 words and by the end of the year you’ve got a book. It’s an approach I’ve relied on with all my books, never having been a thousands-of-words-a-day kinda writer. So that’s the plan for this book, too. I just have to trust in the process!
The philosophical resolution? Be more in the moment. Sound simple? Simpler than writing a book? I reckon it’s much harder—for me, anyway. Being in the moment means less worrying, less planning, more stillness.
And now it strikes me that it’s when I’m writing that I’m most in the moment. I’m still—of mind, trying to capture the essence of a feeling, or a sound, or an action. Perhaps these two resolutions are really just one, the philosophical and the practical commingling perfectly.
So let me revise and make a single, pared-back resolution (sounds like editing, Deb!):
- Still the shit, or, perhaps
- Let the shit be still.
Whatever yours is, I hope you remember it occasionally over the year.
* Not her real name.