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FXXK WRITING: CAUTIONARY TALE 5 — RESOLUTE, NOT RESOLUTIONS

You are a sucker for inspirational messages, task lists, and resolutions. And all of these are good things in moderation. But the end of the year is fat with affirmations and goals. Sure, you want to sell more books, write more books, make more money, grow your audience, etc.

But instead of buying into the New Year Industrial Complex, you will try to offer something else as 2019 rushes into being.

The need to be resolute.

Be resolute in the face of

  • Shifting job stuff that has eaten a lot of your time for writing and exercise.
  • Shifts in your own writing and career you could not have anticipated.
  • Shifts in priorities in life, art, and more.
  • The distance between desire and reality (because as much as you want to look a the unvarnished reality of how this world works, you are often a kid-on-Christmas-get-your-hopes-up-mutherfucka).

You have a lot of great things in play, much of which are in flux because of the holidays, and the horizon seems a lot brighter than in years past.

Which is why you must be resolute: to make the best of these opportunities, to endure their failures or success, and do the next thing.

Because to be resolute does not mean to just endure hardship. It means to keep going. And for the purposes of this column, that means keep writing, keep building your career, keep practicing your vocation.

There is one truth in publishing, as opposed to art—you cannot rest on legacy unless you’re the 1% of success. You have to keep growing and making stuff. Period.

In classes at Google and other companies, that’s your battle cry to the students who are worried about perfection. “Make the thing. Then make another thing. Keep making things. In the end, it is the only part of the process that you have 100% total control.”

Be resolute. Make the next things. Make the best of all that shakes out.

Jason S. Ridler

Jason RidlerJason S. Ridler is a writer, historian, and actor. He is the author of The Brimstone Files, and his latest historical work Mavericks of War was called a “visceral read that is also an important piece of scholarship” by Pulitzer-Prize winner Richard Rhodes. He is a Teaching Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and teaches creative writing at Google, Youtube, and for private clients.

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