The year is dead. Long live the year.
Today is the day traditionally ascribed to engaging in the high speed destruction game, called ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ which is like Brockian Ultra-Cricket, but somewhat faster and nastier. I’ve already managed to break three of mine, beating the previous record 2.5 seconds. The Umpires are deciding on the fourth. How are you going?
I will concede: ‘spend less time on facebook’ was really an easy target. ‘Concern yourself more with writing than current affairs’ was always playing breaker on the easy setting too. ‘Be inspired, bounce out of bed eager and fresh to face each day’ was rather handicapped by a late old year’s eve and the aches and pains of yesterday. ‘Write more’ is still with the umpires.
It’s a strange game, but I like it. It’s a bit like me, short, coarse, nasty and brutish, and with no particular reason to be. You might say it has natural audience appeal, which, after all, is something well-selling writers advise wannabes to try to target.
Seriously: I have decided that 2018 is the year of getting things done. The world is changing all by itself, a lot of pendulums have been pushed as far (or close) as they’ll go. We can second-guess the future to heart’s content (or dissatisfaction, more likely). That after all is part of being a writer of speculative fiction, because if you’re going to do that well, it has to be plausible. Reality can be and often is implausible. Fiction can’t be, because it has to suspend disbelief by being believable. Reality, of course can just be real (and people still won’t believe it). These things will happen.
But getting finished won’t.
I say this as a guy with far more unfinished projects than I like to admit to. And I also say this as the guy who may not be very good at it, but DOES finish most of them. Look, no matter how inspiring a story is, or the dream of new shed is… there is a lot of work, and quite a lot of it tedious and repetitive, between the desire, the start… and done.
For many of us – me especially – the line between ‘done’ and ‘perfectly-finished-to-my-satisfaction’ is the perfect illustration of Xeno’s paradox. In fact, rather than making tortoise-on-arrow kebabs, the tortoise keeps getting further away. Which is why I have decided that 2018 is the year of getting ‘done’. Yes, it’s not perfect, but it’s time to declare it done and move to the next book. I have several projects like that, just not quite over the edge. I know several friends who have been refining books for years. I also know a fair few who refuse to declare an unwinnable prospect ‘done’. I’m one of them. Sometimes, of course, it’s just a matter of persistence. But when persistence is stopping you from ever doing anything else…
‘Perfectly-finished-to-my-satisfaction’ may have to try again in 2019.
OK, I’m done here.
It could be better, but I’m done. Time for the next project.
May the New Year be a better than the old year.