My New Word Focus — Six Weeks Later

Like many others, a few years ago I switched from making resolutions to fixating on a single word focus at the beginning of a new year. All of my words tied to specific passages of Bible scripture, equipping me with a support system for my resolve. And they enhanced my writing, as well as general life choices.

In the past, various encouragements came to mind:

Joy by Anita Brooks
One of my past Word Focuses — JOY

All very positive affirmations. And each one transformed me more into the person I wanted to become.

But this year, I’m compelled to focus on a very different word. Mostly opposite of concentrated efforts in my past. This year, I guess God’s using a little reverse psychology on me. My New Year focus word?

Lazy.

As in, don’t be the wicked and lazy servant who buries her talents. Matthew 25:14-30.

Besides the spiritual application, there are practical applications as well. Especially when it comes to succeeding as a published writer.

  • If I fritter my time away on television, or other useless endeavors, I can’t be about my Father’s business of writing.
  • It takes practice, learning as a good apprentice, to become a professional. 
  • Allowing myself to wallow in tiredness stifles my ability to be a doer, and makes me a dreamer only. (I’ve learned I can talk myself out of being tired, can move around for a few minutes, or even allow myself a short nap to revive. Sometimes, fatigue is a mindset.)
  • A person has to start where they are in order to get where they want to go.
  • I only get so many seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months in a year, and wasting them will only leave me discouraged, guilty, and depressed. This can spin me into a hamster wheel of failure.
  • Publishers don’t like working with lazy writers.
  • Being lazy with my marketing means missed opportunities to get my message into the world.
  • Building a writing career takes time, energy, and persistence. Laziness steals momentum from what we’ve invested thus far.
Anita Brooks Ready to Write
Crawling Into My Writing Cave

The reason I’m writing about this now, versus week one or January 1, is I know myself. Often, about six weeks into a focus of this nature, I start getting lax, allowing apathy to override my renewed concentration on a specific act. I need something to propel me into my Writing Cave.

So this post isn’t just about you, although I certainly hope it encourages you to revisit your resolution or New Year’s focus, but it’s also about me. I’m creating a tickler for myself, to help me avoid the pitfall of so easily forgetting the promise I made to me, before God.

Ecclesiastes 5:5 says, “It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.” A resolution or word focus is a vow you make to yourself.

I’m not saying this to make anyone, including myself, feel guilty. But I can’t ignore the truth of the statement, and the reminder that I need to do a better job of acting on my God-given ability and opportunity. After all, a lazy attitude toward learning new things, or accepting new challenges, will make me stagnate.

Anita Brooks, Dare to LiveAs the tagline on my website says, “It’s Never Too Late for a Fresh Start with Fresh Faith.” I believe it, and I live by it.

So this year, my focus is on the word lazy — something I hope to learn to live without. Each day dawns bright with new hope, and each moment burns deep with opportunity.

What have you resolved? How are you doing in your renewed efforts?

Resolved to Clarify

Over the past week, we’ve been inundated with articles, blog posts, tweets, and Facebook updates about New Year’s resolutions. To make or not to make them – that seems to be the question.

Just what is it about a brand new year and vowing resolutions?

Many writers tend to possess the maddening, albeit necessary, drive to be word smiths. To grasp precise definitions that give life to our stories. Sound familiar? Welcome to the club.

After reading and hearing people opine about resolutions and maintaining resolve, I headed straight to the bookshelf. I found my old dog-eared, yellowed copy of The American Heritage Dictionary, Third Edition, and flipped back to the Rs. Not able to recall the last time I looked up the word resolution, I was completely unprepared to find this definition:

Resolution: the fineness of detail that can be distinguished in an image.

I re-read that definition several times before the full meaning sunk in: A resolution needs to contain such precise detail that it evokes a vivid mental picture.

In our techno-age, we relate resolution to pixels in an image. High-definition on a movie screen. Something so clear that details pop. Brilliant color that ignites our senses.

So why do we craft our New Year’s resolutions with vague language and colorless imagination?

Resolving to “get published” isn’t really a resolution – it’s a dream (and a pretty good one, I might add). But those two words lack fineness of detail and contain faceless people and blurred images. But resolving to attend the next local writer’s conference in order to network, learn the craft of writing, and pitch an agent or publisher stirs a focused mental picture. You can see the steps to take.

I’ve resolved to read through the Bible in 2012. I’ve already got my Bible reading checklist tucked in my Bible ready to go and an alarm set on my cell phone to alert me when it’s time to wrap up and get ready for work. I can clearly picture my quiet time each still morning as God whispers life into my soul. Just writing that brought to mind the comfy, overstuffed chair in my study where that wondrous, transforming time will unfold.

The bottom line? If you’re going to make New Year’s resolutions, add as much detail as you can. The more vivid the picture, the more focused your striving becomes. 

If you’re having difficulty seeing it, you’ll have difficulty attaining it.

Blessings to you and yours in 2012.

Let’s chat: If you’ve made resolutions, do you see fineness of detail that can be distinguished in an image?