True, most of us are still coming to grips with the fact of Christmas decorations having been up for weeks. But before we know it, Xmas ‘11 will have been and gone and New Year’s Eve will be upon us. Which means only one thing: resolution time again. Now, be honest. Do you remember a single resolution made for this year? I’m guessing not. Most people struggle to remember, let alone implement, their annual commitments to themselves, largely because they are made in haste (and sometimes stupor) to the strains of Auld Lang Syne.
So here’s a novel idea: make your resolutions now, before the rush. Write them down, stick them on the back of the toilet door (or some other place of regular review) and come January 1 you’ll be good to go.
To start you off, here are five quick undertakings you could make, any of which would make you a better writer:
One, get into the habit of writing down what you’re thinking. If you have a blog, post at least fortnightly. If you don’t, start one. Or try an old-fashioned journal. Or write to your mother once a week – you might even get a letter back.
Two, read one piece of good writing every day. Good writers are good readers. Read books, or quality newspapers, or stuff on the web. (I highly recommend the ‘Shortlist Daily’ at www.themonthly.com.au/shortlist, a curation of the day’s best news writing from all around the world.)
Three, learn, then use, at least one new word each month. This is easy if you read: instead of skipping over a word like ‘insouciant’, take a moment to look it up. Then don’t be afraid to use it properly. Some of your audience won’t get it (they can look it up themselves) but those who do will thank you for it. (Hint: if you have teenagers, you’ll have lots of insouciance examples.)
Four, commit to avoiding the use of ‘outcome’, ‘impacting’, ‘moving forward’, ‘incentivise’ and ‘committed to’ for the whole of 2012. Yes, it is possible.
Five, resolve to think before you send (email, text, etc.) … every time. You’ll save hours of confusion and possibly a friendship or two as a bonus.
Hopefully that will get you started, but the main point is this: whatever resolutions you make, make them now and write them down. As for that other resolution – the one about going to the gym more often – perhaps it’s time to stop pretending.