December 28, 2007

On Comebacks and Carrying On

I don't write resolutions.
I am horrible. horrible, horrible at consistency. The only routine I have is randomness, so there's really no point in resolutions for me.
What I do like to do is create opportunities to start over again. The end of a season, the beginning of a new year -- these are reasonable times to start over.

I was replying to AF's thoughts on the new year, and my comments got long enough to be their own post! So, no goals to share, just a few thoughts that can be applied to anything:

“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.” - Sir Winston Churchill

Need a bit more? "When you're going through hell, keep going." - also a Churchill quote.

I think of salmon swimming upstream, when I think of writing. Yeah, it's about that hard sometimes, but every year, salmon get the job done. Bears, shallow water, eagles and losing their way don't stop that homing instinct from operating. They make the effort regardless of the difficulty.

Our writing group has a mock "wall of shame" where we report to each other our rejection letters. Even as we admit our failures, we are also admitting our attempts. Failure, in the face of unremitting attempt, is transient. It, too, shall pass...

Another skill salmon possess is the ability to change the direction of their attack. They're always heading home, but the difference between leaping up between these two rocks on the left, and above this chipped rock on the right is small. I think human beings don't know how to change direction enough. Sometimes as writers we feel our identity is tied up in a certain kind of writing. It's worth considering nonfiction if you only write fiction, a female protagonist if you only write males, a story about a mother and daughter if your work is overpopulated with fathers and uncles. And it can go deeper than that. Really looking at your work will show you themes and theories that you constantly espouse. Are they true? Could they use an update? A change might do you good...

Salmon can't quit. It's not up to them to decided, "Ah, didn't want to go back to the spawning ground anyway." If you have a writing group and friends to keep you honest, you'll find you have no choice, either. People in your corner are the best gift you can give yourself. A writer is sometimes only as strong as their writing group.

Persist. The only way to make a comeback is to continue onward. Think of all of the entertainers and sports personalities who have made comebacks -- repeatedly, in some cases. They simply trained and rehearsed and leaped into the national consciousness again. It's possible for anyone.

Attitude, they say, is everything. Since it's not over 'til you say so, don't.

*Click on the graphic if you can't see it clearly. The little puzzle says, "What's the difference between what you think and what you do -- and what you're doing?" Seriously: a point to ponder.


divatobe said...

That puzzle is my desktop!

Kelly said...

I'm still thinking about the resolutions. I'll get back to you when I've come up with something :)

Thanks for the writing group, though. I'm sure I'll have entries for the wall of shame when I finally submit something this January!

Sarah Stevenson said...

I've got another quote for you, too--a silly one, from a Futurama episode I watched last night:

"When push comes to shove, you've got to do what you love, even if it's not a good idea."