Calling the Idle Man to Action

By: Aryanne Ferguson


Welcome to the New Year, Reader! Any resolutions? Resolutions were never much of a tradition in my family. Every year, I’d make a dozen vague promises to myself and then forget what they were in a week. So this year, I made one concrete resolution – no, it isn’t to go to the gym. Any guesses? Here’s a hint – it was inspired by this quote:

“… we have to act. But often the idle man does not act, not because he is lazy but because he is afraid in some way. He does not know that action should follow thought simply and pleasurably with absorption (like the child stringing beads). He thinks action is painful and hopelessly hard and almost certain to end in failure.”

–(60), If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland

There are those of us who are perfectly comfortable thinking about writing. We’re planning out the twisted childhood of our main character, Johnny, which will never be included in the book, but which shapes his actions. After a childhood like that, of course Johnny must kiss his snake every night before bed. Of course Johnny put green highlights in his hair in middle school and ate so much junk food that he never grew to his true height of 5’10”. We dream up this world and we never start writing.

This New Year, I will not be the idle man who does not act! Yes, I’m going to fail, but I’ll get over it. I need to try. But, Reader said, isn’t this resolution another vague vow you’ll forget in less than a week? Point taken. Then I’ll type up an outline of the story I’ve been dreaming up for the past two months. I’ll write whatever paragraphs feel right to me, no matter when in the story they happen.

In 2015, I hope you act too, Reader. It doesn’t have to be writing-related. Did you always mean to take swimming lessons? To travel to Costa Rica? To apply for 100 jobs? Here’s hoping you act.

What actions do you plan on taking in the new year? 

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