I’ve never been one for resolutions, but I’m always up for trying something new, so here goes: I resolve to only write what makes me happy. No matter what agent or editor is waiting to see it, no matter the deadline, no matter the money, no matter anything I will not write a word of anything that does not bring me pleasure. I have tried the other way and it is as impractical as it is unpleasant.

I resolve to keep learning. In preparing to send a finished draft to my agent, I had this thought: I’ve got a lot to learn. Stunning, that, but I must remember it. Yo-Yo Ma said he wanted to play a perfect concert. And he did. And he said it meant much less than he would have expected. Perfection is a Platonic ideal that resides in our imagination and remains purposefully, continuously, thankfully, out of reach. Things are only interesting when I’m learning. I grumble when the learning comes slower than I want, but as long as it continues to come, I can be content.

I resolve to listen. Everything I’ve ever needed has come when I’ve slowed down and listened. What I need is like a song that never stops playing, but I lose track of it in the hurly-burly circus of my life. No matter, it plays on and doesn’t care how much or how little I’ve listened to it on a given day, it plays, and plays, and plays.

I resolve to think kindly of all the people who have ever said no to me. There are a lot of them, so this could take some time. Still, it’s worth the effort. All those people who said no were guiding me toward someone who might say yes. Hard to remember, but true nonetheless.

Perhaps you have a resolution or two of your own to make. If so, I recommend the kindest resolutions possible. Resolve only to do something, never resolve to not do something. Don’t be critical in your resolutions. Criticism has no place in your life. Turn toward what you want, and find the first step possible toward it.

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