So, fun fact: I have never made a New Year’s Resolution before this year. At 24 years old, I find that to be both impressive and slightly ridiculous. Growing up in a fairly typical American suburb as a self-proclaimed overachiever, it seems slightly ludicrous that the lifelong lectures on goal-setting never really stuck. Still, besides one failed attempt at writing down a five-year plan as a high-school sophomore (it lived above my bed on off-set pieces of neon pink and orange construction paper: don’t ask), I have somehow resisted the collective cultural urge to make lofty promises to myself each January.
That being said, here we are. This is me, making my first ever New Year’s Resolution, and that’s to write a little something each and every day. Seems simple, but for a person who tends to do my best writing during the intermittent insomnia-fueled 2 AM haze, it’s a trickier challenge than you’d think. This past year was the first time I’ve gotten paid — on a semi-regular basis, even — for the words that I create. The more jobs I picked up, the more I realized that, just like any of my other marketable skills, writing takes practice. A lot of it. As much as I’d like to consider my late night scribbling sessions adequate training, I’m big enough to admit that they are decidedly not.
Another thing to know about me: I’m a professional singer. Opera mostly, musical theater too. Pop when the occasion calls for it. When it comes to singing, I know what a standard practice regimen consists of, and that’s a minimum of two-hours of focused work per day. It seems really clear that if I want to get the same kind of work as a writer I get as a singer, I have to put in the same amount of work. That means that no matter how tired, or cranky, or sick, I have to carve out the time and put in the hours. That’s the only way this will work.
Right now, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after a New Year’s Eve filled with good red wine, sumptuous roast beef, and a raucous round of Cards Against Humanity with a feisty 86-year-old, this resolution seems like it’s going to be a piece of cake. Write a little everyday? No big deal at all.
Still, I’ve seen the articles. Read the sidebars that pop-up on my Facebook feed. ‘Resolutions are a waste of time’. ‘Want your resolution to succeed? Don’t start January 1st!” I get it; I do. Setting rigid benchmarks for accomplishment and behavior make it incredibly hard to achieve success. If you’re prepared to beat yourself up for every small transgression, or to take away the things that bring you joy, then sure, adhering to these pesky resolutions is probably hard. In this case, I don’t think I’m asking myself too much.
The thing is, this writing stuff? I love it. I’ve loved it as long as I can remember, through elementary school journaling and melodramatic middle school plots. From ambitious high-school essays and sprawling collegiate term-papers. Plus, beyond the academic, I just love telling stories. Storyteller? That’s how I best define myself. So living up to that moniker is a goal I can definitely get behind.
I’m skeptical, of course. My track record on following through isn’t the best. Change takes work though, and I’m ready to put it in. So I resolve to love my resolution, to cherish it, embrace it, and do it. It’s been set. I’m here. No turning back now.
Day 1: January 1, 2017