Like all craftspeople, writers need to keep a bag of tricks handy. A set of tools for the job (writing), if you will. Some of these traits or tools are obvious--like the need to have a hide as thick as a brick, for instance. Some are not. This month, I've been challenged to do a post every day of the week (excluding Sunday) that begins with a letter of the alphabet. I'm going to use this challenge to examine some of those necessary writing tools, both conventional and not. Hold on to your #2 pencil, here we go!
NOTE: I've added a page dedicated to my A to Z Writer's Toolbox posts. I figured I'd soon have a bunch of these things and it'll make it easier for you to browse any of the letters you might have missed. You can find a link to the page under the, "MORE STUFF" heading at the top of the right-hand column of this page.
Q & R are for quiet resolve
Thanks for the birthday wishes, gang! I've had a blast the last the couple of days, and eaten WAY too much. (I've noticed that fun and food are directly correlated in my world, btw. @ BECK: no Papasitos this year, but it's one of my favorites!) It was really cool to see so many of you drop me a line. I truly appreciate it. Now back to your regularly scheduled A-Z post ... (yes, it's still going)
To resolve to do something means that you've come to a definite--permanent--and earnest decision about something. When I think of words like resolve, I often think about heros or heroic acts. I also think of unyielding stubbornness in the face of impossible odds.
Superman regularly faces unimaginable threats to truth and justice because he resolved to use his considerable power to protect them. By never giving up when all others seemed ready to, historical legends like George Washington were able to overcome great adversity to attain victories that they'd resolved to achieve at all cost.
But resolve doesn't always have be the stuff of legend. Quiet resolve means you've decided to do something without declaration or preamble. You don't qualify your actions, you just do it, and many times with zero recognition. When I think of the phrase 'quiet resolve' I'm most likely to think of my father.
Unlike Superman or George Washington, my dad didn't do anything worthy of books or stories. He didn't have a super-villain threatening to destroy our little town, nor did he have a cause so important that scores of people supported him. He simply went about his business every day with a singleminded purpose, and his business was taking care of his family.
While he's never once said so, I have no doubt that my dad made a permanent, life-altering decision when he married my mother and had his first child. Part of that decision meant that he'd get up every day (except for Sunday) and work for as long as there was sunlight, and sometimes when there wasn't. It meant he'd do the work he was able to do, which required back-breaking labor and a lot of dirty clothes. It wasn't glorious, and it didn't earn him much renown. (Unless you had an engine acting up, or a carburetor that needed cleaning, in which case you might think that he was a Superman of sorts.)
We writers need that kind of quiet resolve. We need the attitude of: I'm getting up and writing today even if not-a-soul knows (or cares) about it when I'm finished.
Too often I get caught up in the big rewards, or the big payoff, when it comes to the hoped-for fruits of my writing resolutions. I want to be known. I want to make some money off of my writing, if not a living. I can get distracted at times simply by hoping someone is going to someday read what I'm working on and love it. Occasionally I get frustrated that I'm not to that point yet.
That's when I need to reach into my writer's toolbox and find my quiet resolve. I need to remind myself that I'd be doing this everyday without a hint of notoriety, because I made that promise to myself a few years back. I resolved to give the development of my writing abilities my full effort for as long as it took, regardless of the obstacles and frustrations.
So tomorrow I'm going to get up, put on the coffee and hammer on the keyboard. I'm going to do the same thing the next day, and then the next. That's what it's going to take, and I'm the only one who can make that happen.