This time of year is always a little bit difficult for me.
I am at once confronted by the results of the previous year compared to what had been planned, and at the same time, feeling the weight of outlining the next twelve months. There are plenty of holiday parties and New Year celebrations, and there are always the high points to celebrate, but I’m the kind of guy that tends to focus more on the shortcomings and the failures of the things left undone and the challenge of what lies ahead.
I sometimes find in the pursuit of goals that we lose our passion for the course we’ve set. The light at the end of the tunnel changes colors or directions or routes or disappears altogether. We’re then confronted with a choice of pursuing it to be true to the plan we’d made or acknowledging that things change and evolve and it might just be best to let go.
The same questions are raised in writing a book, especially those that take a few years to write. The things that interest us as authors, the truths we mean to explore, the characters we think we understand shift, become harder to hold, and as a result what was once seamless in the forefront of our mind becomes a bit more amorphous on the page.
On the one hand, part of us nags, “You’ve come this far, just finish the damn thing.” But another part of our brain hears doubts. In my case, it’s in the voice of the legendary Harry Crews—
The hard truth that Crews is espousing is good for writing and at least semi-applicable to our lives in general. Sometimes we know we're on the wrong track, but we're too stubborn or too prideful to stop or change direction.
And then another 365 days pass.
Have you been to that fork in the road? How do you choose your next step?