Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Year of Writing Decisions

Happy New Year!  Here's to a wonderful year of  rewards. I hope this is the year we cross the finish line with our writing goals and get that medal. Or maybe several medals. Maybe this is our Olympic year. 

Or maybe it will be next year. 

Oops.  Did I hear a screech like an old record makes when the music is interrupted?  Sorry!  I didn't mean to make the music stop, but I just want to put out there that it's OKAY if our Olympic events aren't right around the corner.  We're working on it.  After all, the athletic Olympics only come around every four years so maybe we're still deep in training.  (Well, every two years of alternating winter and summer games, but you know what I mean.) 

This is why I don't like to make resolutions that seem to say we start the race on January 1 with no consideration for the training,  habits or practices of the past.  These resolutions assume that somehow we will know how to fly because we've changed from a caterpillar into a butterfly.  We forget that even this does not happen overnight.  Or that a newly emerged butterfly has fragile wings. 

And maybe our characters are also like these changing creatures.  We're like coaches/choreographers to a team of caterpillars and newborn butterflies dreaming of competing in the Butterfly Olympics. It's our job to get them there...

We start by building our team around two star players.  Long before this pair gets their wings, they will have brought with them an entourage of characters/caterpillars for our team.  Relatives, friends and co-workers all get in with a good word from the stars.  And sometimes villains and new players come to us from parts unknown.  Some make the team and sometimes we have to cut a player or put him or her on the sidelines.  Maybe their turns will come. 

And during all the tough days of training we make decisions and search out the best advice for our team.  We consult with experts and voraciously read their how-to manuals.   We try to emulate the starring teams from the last Olympics.  We might have exhibition matches for feedback and tally up the judge's scores. 

We try to do all the right things for preparing our Olympic team but at some point there still will be a string of dark days in the training.  We might even miss the scheduled Butterfly Olympics we put down in red ink on the calendar.  Some of the caterpillars refused to metamorphose into butterflies and the ones that did are out there fluttering around flowers and teasing cats.  We think nothing can salvage this group or bring them together.

How can this be?  It isn't as if you don't have a lot of advisers.  Only it seems like for every expert brought in to say one thing there is another who says the opposite.  For every judge or critique group reader that says one thing there will be another who says the opposite.  Everyone has an opinion on which direction to go until you, the poor coach/choreographer, don't know which way to turn. 

Who do you listen to?  Who are you to decide on a game plan when surrounded by experts more experienced than you in Butterfly Olympics?  Never mind that they've frightened away the butterflies.

Maybe if you sit still long enough one of your butterflies will land on your finger.

She trusts you. 

Only you are allowed to know which direction she wants to fly.  And one by one, the rest of the butterflies will be drawn to you too. 

Before you know it, the team is anxious for your advice and hovering close by for the next idea.  They want to be a part of the Butterfly Olympics.

***   ***   ***

This year I'm thanking my advisers, but putting them "on call."  I respect them and know I'll need them again but I will be careful not to let them frighten off the butterflies.  I know my decisions are right when the butterflies land.

Thanks for joining me for another year and best of luck to you and your team of butterflies!


  1. This is absolutely perfect! Such great reminders here, about our expectations of the beginning of a year. You've inspired me. :)

  2. Thanks, Donna! I'm thrilled you are inspired!

    I think I exhaust my creativity with all my second-guessing and want to figure out how to trust my instincts. It helps if I imagine my characters (butterflies) trust me first. :)


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