This Writer’s Resolve: No More Resolutions!

Reading a post by Valerie-Anne Baglietto on the Novelistas Ink site the other day reminded me of something I’d forgotten: the original meaning of resolution. It’s all to do with breaking things down into their constituent parts, basically, similar to its meanings in the fields of chemistry and physics. And because I’m a sad muppet, this led me to write a business article based around the chemical and physical meanings of ‘resolution’. (Honestly, it was a cracker. But it’s not out yet, so I can’t link to it and show you).
In case you’re interested, here are those chemical and physical definitions.

CHEMISTRY resolution: the process of reducing or separating something into constituent parts or components.

PHYSICS resolution: the replacing of a single force or other vector quantity by two or more jointly equivalent to it.

My article for business owners and freelancers encouraged them to study their existing work patterns, projects, clients, products and services, and assess them as separate entities, considering their value and time/stress to income/satisfaction ratio, possibly with a view to outsourcing tasks that didn’t make the best use of their time or talent – such as bookkeeping or web design.

After writing it, I realised that using these meanings of resolution for reflection and change could be just as valuable to my life in general as it was to my freelance writing career.  And as last year’s resolutions were never revisited in this blog (despite my stated ‘resolution’ they would be!), and were mostly unsuccessful, I decided not to make any New Year’s resolutions. Not of the typical, modern, ‘eat lettuce every day, give up donuts, write 3 squillion words a week, walk to work’ variety, anyway.

I would be different! I would make scientific resolutions, breaking down what already exists and examining the separate parts to see what needs eliminating, replacing or pursuing.Having let this thought swim about my head today, so far these magical insights into general home life have occurred:

  • the whole sharing-the-emptying-of-the-dishwasher does not work
  • the allocation of cooking duties doesn’t fit new circumstances (Arty Daughter starting work and now usually being the last one home Monday to Thursday).

Nothing profound, but I’d already made plans for managing our weekend commitments better as a family, so there’s a whole swathe of changes involved there. More thoughts might occur later.

As for work – well, to quote my own article:

“It’s time to identify the parts of your working life that don’t work and either eradicate or change them, rather than cling to them out of habit.”

She who advises it and writes it should, er, follow it. So I did, any conclusions were:

  • I need to stop feeling guilty about not pitching for new editing/proofreading work (although I may do so towards the end of each week, if I want to). I have enough regular writing work and semi-regular clients not to stress about it. In any free time, I should be writing stuff I want to write, even if it does mean I get disowned by a certain freelance marketplace site. I’m not too keen on its increasingly heavy-handed blackmail tactics that force you to do all your work through it anyway, or how it penalises you for being busy with independent projects. The t&cs for new starters are lousy, I’ve discovered, and if they’d been in place when I first looked at the site I’d never have joined. Their customer support is pants too.
  • Before I was a writer, I was a reader. Two of those ‘constituent parts’ of my life that aren’t working too well are reading and blogging, and I’ve been intending to get seriously stuck into book reviewing for ages. So that’s the nearest I’m getting a standard New Year’s resolution; more blogging, and more of it about books.

Again, I’d already designed a weekly timetable to schedule in sessions in school, doing school prep at home, regular writing commitments, household chores, blogging and writing whatever takes my fancy (because I’d realised scheduling designated time for these was important – and the only way they’d get done). It was all getting quite resolved, in a chemical and physical sense, before I even stumbled on the idea.

So that’s the plan. Or more accurately, those are the changes to the separate bits that were already there.

Have you made any resolutions? Did you stick to the ones you made last year? Perhaps you should try ‘loosening, undoing and dissolving’ the big sticky knot of your life into its separate parts to take a good look at it.

Good luck!

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