Thursday, January 26, 2012

A January 26th Resolution: No More Excuses

In last week’s paper, a fellow local columnist wrote about her New Year’s resolutions. Her title even said so, “My New Year’s Resolutions.” I won’t lie to you; it was the last column in the paper that I read. I don’t typically participate in setting any New Year’s resolutions for myself, so they aren’t something that are terribly interesting to me as a rule. I think it’s great that you want to lose weight or take anger management classes, but I’d rather read about your journey doing those things...not just a declaration that you will be doing them. That’s just me. 

However, I’m glad I put my prejudice against New Year’s resolutions away long enough to read this column. To begin with, it was a typical New Year’s resolution column. Eat less sugar. Exercise more. This is going to be the year I get healthy and lose weight! Inspiring stuff, indeed, but what I found most inspirational about this typical resolution column was a “Finish What I Started” resolution that hit close to home for me. 

This particular columnist is a marketing writer, a freelancer. Her columns are written, much like mine, in her spare time. Her day job is writing copy for other ventures, but like most writers, she dreams of writing a book and being published. This dream relates closely with her “Finish What I Started” resolution. Because of her “day job,” she doesn’t have the time to finish a novel that she’s been working on for many years, but even more than the time problem, there’s the entire issue of going from writing copy for work and writing for pleasure. 

You’d think it would be easy. Writing is writing, right? Well, the more I thought about it the more I realized that that’s not entirely the case, at least not with this writer. 

I’ve told you how I sometimes transform into a badger when I write. This happens no matter what I’m writing, be it blog, column, or fiction. I get in the zone and just don’t like to be disturbed. It’s my little writing quirk, I guess. Interestingly enough though, I transform in other ways, too, depending on what I’m writing. Since realizing this, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have Multiple Writing Personality Disorder, a conclusion that’s given me reason to pause and reevaluate my writing habits. 

Allow me to introduce you to my different Writing Personalities, in no particular order. 

First, there’s Katie the Columnist. She writes for a small-town, Conservative, Southern paper. She shares personal stories of cooking disasters and hanging out with her husband, opinion pieces about how politics annoy her and the joys of pet adoption and rescue. She has to remember her audience and keep some things to herself. Not everyone in her hometown wants to know EVERYTHING. She’s a pretty happy gal, and her voice reflects that happiness to her readers. Amazingly, she always manages to get her point across in about 600 words, which is her limit for the paper. 

Second, there’s Katie the Fiction Writer. She’s weird. Imaginative. Kooky. Dark. She likes to write about ghosts and murders. She pretty much is all over the place and likes things that way. There’s no reigning in anything with this Katie; whatever crosses her mind goes onto paper and becomes a story. She sometimes even dabbles in bad poetry, because with her, there are no boundaries. Writing is a passion, an art form, and she covers the canvas with her words, be they good or bad. 

ALMOST all Katies converge with Katie the Blogger. She’s the same Katie as Katie the Columnist but a little more...Katie-like. She doesn’t worry about over-sharing in this space. She shares neuroses and worries, self-doubt and self-reflection. She tells everyone about her cats and her dinners, the way she’s bitchy and weird and sarcastic. She even shares her fiction and poetry sometimes. Mostly, she writes about life, the good days and bad days, the boring and exciting...anything and everything. 

But then, there’s Katie the Freelancer. This Katie is living the dream: getting paid to write!! To think, someone would actually give her money to do what she loves! She works hard at her craft and manages to squeak out decent work under her deadlines...despite a lifelong struggle with procrastination. She gratefully accepts her editor’s assignments and pours everything she has into every article. To put it simply, she writes within the lines. 

Unfortunately, Katie the Freelancer is starting to take over all the other Katies. I no longer have the time I used to have to dedicate to writing for my blog and writing my fiction...particularly the novel I’m working on. Time constraints aside, it’s difficult to go from following-directions Katie the Freelancer to write-outside-the-lines Katie the Fiction Writer. My fellow columnist was right. The transition is strangely hard. I get in a certain mindset, and it's like I forget how to write anything else...

But that may just be my excuse. It seems like there's always a reason to not do something. 

Through writing, I have been able to be myself and to love myself...all four or five versions of me. :) I love how honest and open writing let's me be, and I love that I'm able to do even a little bit of it professionally. But as I move forward into a new year, I'm going to set more time aside for finishing what I've started. Novels. Short stories. Dozens of blog drafts. I'm going to work on making that transition from Katie the Freelancer to Katie the Everything Else a little easier. No more excuses. As far as resolutions go, I think it's a pretty good one. 

Author's Note: Do you have a hard time juggling your different writing roles? Do you ever find yourself making excuses for yourself when you can't finish a certain project? Do you have any January 26th Resolutions?

Linking up this week with one of my favorites, "Thoughtful Thursday"! Be sure to click for great blogs!

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