A good service at church this morning and an interesting conversation with someone who has bought all of my books.
Feedback to a writer is rather like gold dust. This morning one of my readers said a number of things about my books which was wonderful. Firstly, on 'Cessation', he said that he could see it making a successful TV series. Secondly, on the Steele novels, he felt that he could picture the places I've included in the stories.
Two simple statements of appreciation that have made my day. Perhaps I'm easily pleased but they were both unsolicited and made me feel that my work is appreciated. So why is it so difficult to have 'fans' actually post their feelings on review sites?
I know there are plenty of friends and relatives who say that they've enjoyed reading my work and yet the things said to my face are not being put down to encourage others to sample my work.
A half-hearted Resolution
We’ve all been there. Your nearest and dearest, or work colleague, perhaps a friend will ask the dreaded question,
“Have you made a New Year’s Resolution?”
I don’t know about you but the accumulated years of making resolutions that have lasted such a short time have sickened me to the ‘game’. Over the last three or four years I’ve given up altogether, or publically at least. If anyone asks the simple answer is ‘No’ and that actually serves two purposes. Firstly, I don’t beat myself up in the event of failure, and secondly, if I have something I want to change about my behaviour it is internalised.
The word behaviour is the key of course. You hear people say that they can’t change in all sorts of ways and yet they are probably the same folk who put themselves through the resolution process. It is my firm belief that people can change but it is something which is very difficult to achieve. Hence the high failure level in such situations as re-offending rates in criminals. For a person to change a firmly embedded behaviour takes great internal resolve and probably some quality support.
So having explained how difficult it is to create a resolution that is achievable I am going to look at some areas that I feel are rewarding and with a reasonable chance of success.
I watched an interview on Christmas morning on TV between a presenter and an officer in the Salvation Army. The officer’s wish was that the feelings of good will generated by Christmas should pertain throughout the year. It was such a simple statement and yet I found it to be really powerful. When you consider how things are at Christmas it probably comes from the fact that we are almost ‘forced’ to think about other people before ourselves. In reality that may be linked to what we can get them for Christmas presents, but we are still thinking about others. I have a theory that the process of considering others for this small fraction of our year spills over into how we think of all other people and so you see examples of a higher level of respect and generosity between people at this time. As the officer in the Salvation Army wished these behaviours can last longer than just a few days and can be achieved through some very simple steps.
I attended a business management course a number of years ago and some of the lessons have been retained. Take driving for example. It was pointed out that we were probably not very nice to other drivers when we get behind the wheels of our cars. There is a pretty good chance that many drivers harbour negative thoughts towards others they perceive as being in the way, causing a delay or break the rules of the road. All those negative thoughts are internalised and they make you feel bad! One strategy to help overcome the negative feelings is to give way to three other drivers on every journey that you take. It could be letting someone into the line of traffic in front of you, giving way at a junction or many other situations. I’ve tried it and you feel less stressed, but also you often receive a grateful acknowledgement and that feels good. One other aspect that I’ve noticed is that if you let someone into a line that person will often do the same for another driver so the good will spreads.
The second aspect of this humanist sort of resolution would be simply try being nicer to others. Show respect and you will receive respect.
So these would be the resolutions I would hope others will adopt for 2014 but what of my own? Well as I said earlier I am no longer sharing and hence the title of this piece. I h
ave aims and ideas which are really resolutions but which will not be shared, but I have one which is to do with writing and which I have already made public to a degree. I actually published it on a fellow writer’s blog and only a few hours ago.
My writing sort of resolution is to exercise more imagination. It would be easy to say that if you write stories you are exercising imagination but there are exercises that can be undertaken that allow a writer simply to imagine. Writing poetry is one of those exercises. If you wish to use your imagination and the pictures that form in your mind then write the down. Don’t worry too much about format just write what you see in your mind and enjoy the freedom.
Happy New Year.