Lenten Commitments

(if you couldn’t tell from the title…)

I don’t do very well with New Year’s resolutions, but I’m pretty decent about keeping my Lenten commitments. It seems to be easier to keep myself in line for a religious obligation than for some strange new-beginnings ritual that everyone knows pretty much exists just so you can forget about it by mid-February.

Thus, when I’ve got some self-improvement project in the works, I usually kick into high gear at the beginning of Lent, when I’ve got forty days to turn it into a habit that (hopefully) can last the rest of the year. (That’s what Lent is about, by the way. Giving stuff up for the sake of sacrifice is all well and good, but without delving into too much theology, the real point of preparing for the coming Kingdom and stuff is to make yourself better in some way. So unless chocolate is a damaging vice for you, giving it up doesn’t produce much result. Far better to adopt a new habit that helps instead of giving up one that doesn’t make much difference either way. It’s a mindset that truly doesn’t have to be confined to Catholicism.)

This year, part of the self-improvement project is writing speed. God gave me some moderate skill with words, and I’ve worked hard to bring that moderate skill to its full potential, but I’m still slow. It took me eight years to get through In the Shadow of the Mountains, and I feel like that was more than a bit of a waste. It produced something I’m fairly proud of (with some reasonable reservations; I have no illusions), but getting stuck on the same thing for eight years limited my improvement and expansion.
So my goal for this Lent is to push out a first draft of The Sparrow’s Fall. I have 25,000 words written, out of an anticipated 80,000, and I mean to have it completed and published some time in May. In more specific terms – because I will procrastinate otherwise – the goal is at least 2,000 words per day.

In fact, that’ll be my big goal for this year. I’ve got way, way too many projects collecting dust, and I had better pick up my pace, or they’ll never get finished. Wish me luck.


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