Veronica Roth's Resolution: Fight for a Better World
Is there power in a new year? As 2016 comes to a close, Goodreads asked Veronica Roth, author of the Divergent trilogy and the highly anticipated YA book Carve the Mark, to share her thoughts on resolutions and change. New Year's Day may be just another day, but to Roth it's also a chance to "fight for a better world, a better story, a better self."
I didn't always believe in New Year's resolutions. If you want to make a change, I thought, why not just make it now? New Year's is just someone drawing a line between two days and saying, "Here." And we don't even all have the same calendar.
For me this upcoming year, 2017, is going to be something new. Not because it's inevitable but because I say so. And to make it a little easier on myself, I thought I'd share with you the way I've been thinking about it, in case it helps you, too. I call it the daily SIT, STAND, STRETCH. (I like alliteration.)
SIT means every day be sure to take care of yourself mentally, physically, emotionally. You can't do much else if you don't do this, so do it first. For you maybe it's eating your vegetables or taking a bubble bath (not at the same time, probably). For me it's taking my anxiety medication, exercising, and getting in some slug time on the couch. Once a day be kind to yourself on purpose, and let yourself feel good about it.
STAND means Doing the Thing. You know—the thing you've got to do. Getting your homework done, writing 1,000 words, taking out the garbage. Sometimes it's all I can do to just walk the dog and feed myself. Other days I knock out a few chapters and still have energy left for my trash fire of an inbox. That's all right. Just because you're wobbly doesn't mean you're not doing it.
STRETCH means challenging yourself. Making yourself a little bit uncomfortable. A few weeks ago, for me, this meant calling my local representatives about an issue I felt was important. I hung up in a panic on my first attempt. But on my second attempt I did the thing, I became a little more of the person I want to become. The meaning of stretching changes every day, but what matters is the habit of it—the habit of speaking up, reaching out, and being OK with feeling a little uncomfortable. That's how you grow.
This applies to my writing, too. Some scenes are easy, some are necessary, and some seem downright impossible. If I don't have the easy scenes, I won't have the strength for the impossible ones. And if I don't have the impossible ones, I'll never become a better writer. I need a good balance—in my work and in my life, too.
This way, one little step at a time, I can do what needs to be done, and I can fight for a better world, a better story, a better self, without becoming overwhelmed.
2017 will be different. Not because it's inevitable. Because we say so.
Veronica Roth's Carve the Mark hits bookshelves on January 17. Add it to your Want to Read shelf here.
How will you make 2017 different? Share your resolutions in the comments.
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