A Mid-Year Resolution Check-In

Hey look, Louise kept all her resolutions. Rah, rah, Louise. (I’m sorry, did that sound sarcastic? Because it was TOTALLY SUPPOSED TO!)

Since this is a new year’s resolution check-in, it’s going to be really short. Because the answer to the question “Have you achieved your goals?” is swift and easy: No.

Okay? End of post.

[What do you mean 56 words isn’t long enough for a post? You want more? Should I pull a Jack Torrance and just write over and over “no no no no no no no no”? How do you like it?]

Sigh. Okay. I’ll elaborate a bit. At the beginning of the year, I resolved to:
1. Write.
2. Eat more fiber.
3. Write some more.

Where do I stand on this?

Nutrition facts for Haribo gummy bearsLet’s start with the fiber. Because that one’s easy. I thought maybe I had achieved this one as I’ve upped my intake of gummy bears, but a quick check tells me that, contrary to common sense, that has done nothing to help my fiber count. Although I realize the nutrition label is clearly wrong, as it marks a serving size as 17 pieces, when clearly everyone knows a serving size is the amount you eat that makes you physically ill plus another 27 pieces. So a 5lb bag will give you approximately two servings. Okay, one and a half. (So shoot me! We all know it’s one serving, but let me try and retain a shred of dignity here, please!) And if they got that wrong, then perhaps they got the fiber wrong as well, and I’m sure I’m doing just fine.

Then there’s the writing. A resolution so nice I had to say it twice. Okay, to be honest, I haven’t actually failed at this. If we judge it by the action, I’ve succeeded: I am writing. But if we judge it by outcome, it’s a bit slower. I have written the first third of my next novel. I’ve written that first third four different times. And given that I will probably write that first third about twelve more times, it doesn’t feel like so much of an accomplishment, but given that I can’t produce a decent final draft without thirty zillion drafts, it’s a necessary evil. So yes I’m writing. But it doesn’t really feel like I’m making forward momentum, even though objectively speaking, I am. Plus I’ve been writing other things: blog posts (for here, as a guest blogger on other sites), a few articles and essays, and I’m really trying to master the op-ed.

But here’s the deal: I’m okay with this. True, my belly would be happier with more oat bran and fewer Peeps. But I’m writing the best I can as I balance it with the kids (they’ve been out of school just a week), promoting MODERN GIRLS, and being present in the moment. If I need to quantify the writing, then no, I haven’t done much. But if I look at it as a whole—I’ve got some solid thoughts and a rough start to novel two, I have a few articles I’m psyched to try and submit, and pages and pages of free writing brainstorming ideas. I have been doing the writing even if I haven’t achieved the writing. Writing is a resolution-in-progress as it should be now, and should be always.

We can check in on our resolutions. But the year is only half done. I don’t need to have them all resolved. My writing is a work in progress. As it should be.

And the fiber? Well, perhaps I’ll try with that again one next year.

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Jennifer S. Brown is the author of MODERN GIRLS (NAL/Penguin). The novel, set in 1935 in the Lower East Side of New York, is about a Russian-born Jewish mother and her American-born unmarried daughter. Each discovers that she is expecting, although the pregnancies are unplanned and unwanted, in this story about women’s roles, standards, and choices, set against the backdrop of the impending war. Learn more at www.jennifersbrown.com.

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This article has 6 Comments

  1. Jennifer you made me laugh….so many gummy bears can’t be all that bad…The good thing is you are writing and writing and writing…so maybe for the fiber thing….a good friend of mine suggested that she ate grape nuts every day. Since I had a problem I tried it also and now that’s what I have every day also. Maybe you could even top yours with gummy bears….sorry just had to include that…:) ! I can’t wait to read Modern Girls!!!!!

  2. “The amount that leaves you physically ill plus 27 more.” You kill me! I love this post because I often have that feeling of “the page/word count isn’t going up, I’m not accomplishing anything,” but really you are because if you didn’t do all those beginning drafts (or in my case research about what the neck of a horse is called – spoiler, it’s called a neck), you’ll never get there. And if you say “It’s part of my process,” everyone leaves you alone about it.

    1. You just made me laugh out loud and I’m sitting in a cafe and the people next to me are looking at me funny. I have researched the craziest things only to find they really weren’t worth researching (and I will always remember now that the neck of a horse is called a neck!). Thanks, Kaela!!

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