Deb: The C Word

You’ll recall we made quite a fuss here at 49 Writers over our writing resolutions this year, hosting Resolve to Write events in Anchorage, Juneau, and Homer. But the fun didn’t stop there. At our January Board meeting, president Don Rearden opened by asking our Directors to share their resolutions for our still-young 49 Alaska Writing Center.

Our Directors complied, but not without some banter about whether sharing or writing resolutions helps or hinders when we actually try to follow through and get them done. Someone had of research showing a negative correlation between stating resolutions out loud and seeing them through, as if by speaking them we feel we’ve done plenty. Opposing research was also cited, contending that people who write down what they hope to accomplish are more likely to follow up with action.

Though I can’t claim the last word on that particular debate, I did learn that people who make resolutions are ten times more likely to achieve their goals than those who don’t.  Ten times: that’s a lot. Now for the down side:  According to Psychology Today, the average rates of success with those resolutions could be a lot better. Twenty-two percent of those who make resolutions fail after one week, 40% after one month, 50% after three months, and 60% after six months.

Determined to beat the odds with your writing goals? Support systems, monitoring, and feedback are recommended by psychologists if you truly intend to translate words into action. Writers must intuitively know this, because several of you have told us you wanted a course where students would set specific writing goals and work together to help one other achieve them. In addition to great dialogue, instruction, and analysis, you told us you want to emerge from a workshop having conquered the C word: completion.

That’s why I’ll be continuing our upcoming Fiction Workshop for an additional four weeks after the talented Mattox Roesch has led us in responding to other people’s stories so we can better discover our own. . We’ll each set a reasonable goal for a fiction project. It might be a finished chapter, or a revision, or a query. No project is too small or too ambiguous. Our shared goal is completion. Won’t you join us?

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