Slightly late to the party, being the 5th, but: Happy New Year to you all!
Also, being the 5th, I’m thinking that a pep talk about resolutions is unnecessary?
No doubt, though, you have set yourselves some goals for this year. Perhaps you’ve decided to carve out a specific slot of time for your writing, or to finish that WIP the world is waiting for. Those are worthy ambitions, but the ability to achieve them relies on more than the intention that got you started. You discover very quickly that the chief trouble with resolutions is that they offer incentive but not the wherewithal. They are simply not enough.
I receive several weekly newsletters from various Christians across the globe, offering motivational tips. Often, they really hit the spot, quoting a Scripture or something else I needed reminding about which lifts my spirit and – like landing on the glowing green patch in Mario Kart – propels me that bit further than I could have done on my own. Sometimes a bit of turbo-boost really does help us achieve our goals. However, I still find that my energy levels dip, I can’t always sustain the optimism and life simply gets in the way.
This is where we need not resolutions, but resilience. They might start with the same 3 letters but, as we all know, it’s not about how we start but how (and if) we finish. Resilience is the ability to keep turning up to our writing desk even when we haven’t a single idea. It’s what keeps us going when we’ve taken a wrong turning in the plot and feel completely lost. It’s being able to keep believing in ourselves when everyone around us voices doubt. It’s picking up the pen after the rejection letter comes in, and applying ourselves to the task with as much hope as before we opened it.
I recently completed an online survey to discover my personal levels of resilience. I thoroughly recommend you do the same, it’s quite an eye-opener. Find the i-resilience link on www.robertsoncooper.com Its topics reveal your areas of strength and weakness, so you can see clearly which reserves you can draw down on in times of challenge, and which you need to consciously guard against in times of stress. It’s really useful!
Faith will help us. Encouragement from others will, too. But, of far more use to us when we’re on our own in our writing garret is resilience, stickability, brute determination. Let’s see how much further we get in 2019. I look forward to reading the results!
Jane Clamp is Groups' Coordinator for the ACW. She is the author of Too Soon (SPCK) and writes regularly for radio.