What’s Your Excuse?
January 9, 2019
The new year has begun. I’m already a long-term gym addict, and a “lifetime” member of Weight Watchers (now renamed “WW”). So, what’s there to focus on for a New Year’s resolution?
Oh yes—writing that next book.
My guess is that I’m in good company here on this website when I circle back to that goal. After all, I’ve not been entirely derelict. I’ve sketched out and even done annotated outlines for more than three books of creative nonfiction, but so far they exist only in the deep and dark corners of my hard drive. I summon them onto the screen from time to time, to gaze upon them wistfully. If only…
My old excuse was that urgent social justice and human rights issues required that I prioritize my blogging, a longstanding practice for which I’ve carved out a particular home on my personal website. Yet, somehow, I’ve allowed the deluge of current egregious political challenges—foreign and domestic—to stun me into relative silence and inaction in my advocacy writing. I’ll get back to it … sometime. It isn’t like there’s no longer any need to speak out and take a stand, but where to start?
I can always claim that old chestnut of excuses: I’m too busy to write. Since joining AWP last April, learning my way around the fascinating complexities and norms of AWP, and the multitude of important and exciting undertakings that define us, has taken considerable time and energy. Yet as an excuse not to write, it’s a thin one. That particular type of busyness is energizing, not energy-depleting, and there are still all those long winter weekends to fill when it is much too cold outside to distract myself by riding my motorcycle.
“Too busy” really doesn’t cut it.
This month we’ll be commiserating about all those lingering projects that we each harbor, despite all our good intentions. On AWP’s social media, we’ll share some advice from those with the demonstrated wisdom and fortitude to forge ahead (with or without resolutions) and see what we might learn from their examples. We’ll lean on each other for some encouragement, seeing if we might just solicit the “right amount” of good-hearted pestering from those whom we trust to push us along. We’ll set some goals, strengthen (or create) some productive and creative habits, and some of us will actually carve out the space and motivation to pursue the passion that moves so many of us. We’ll write. Yes, we’ll keep the wastebasket (real or digital) close at hand, and trudge through innumerable drafts, but we’ll be resilient. Won’t we?
Here’s to your next book! And here’s to helping each other out (myself included) to make it happen. Despite it all…
Happy New Year.
Chloe Schwenke, PhD
Interim Executive Director, AWP