New Year's Resolutions and Sunk Cost Fallacies

I feel like some reasons for doing things are better than other reasons. In principle, this has to be true. If I give a hundred dollar donation to a charity because I believe in the importance of their cause, am I equivalent to or better (in some way) than the individual who gives a hundred dollar donation to a charity because they are going to get a discount on their taxes? Does it matter?

I honestly don’t know what I need to do to get myself to write. I feel like I’ve tried so many things already, none leading to my developing good writing habits. So I’m making one last ditch effort using the sunk costs fallacy. In economic, a sunk cost is a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered. The fact is that the more we invest emotionally in something, the more invested we become in seeing it through. Even if it is an endeavor that is doomed to failure, you’ll struggle to abandon it because of your sunk costs—once you’ve poured time, sweat, and effort into something, it’s impossible to get that back.

It’s not wasted if someone down there can use it.

It’s not wasted if someone down there can use it.

To that end, I have paid for a very (reasonably) expensive course with a very competent teacher and writer named Richard Thomas. For all of 2019, I will be engaged in writing a novel, and I will occasionally be posting about my progress. The course will take me through the process of planning, outlining, writing, and editing a full-length novel. I’ve tried to do a full-length novel in the past, but now I’ve paid a lot of money to have a very skilled professional show me how. Because of my sunk cost, I must engage with the course and do my best. I have no other choice. I’ve given myself no other choice.

Truthfully, a sunk cost only becomes a fallacy if the investment is a bad one. In this case, I feel like I made a good one. Richard Thomas is an accomplished writer. He even has a Wikipedia page! No, the only variable here is me. So, if I want my sunk cost to give fruit, I have to sow something. Here I am. Sowing away. Because if I don’t, if I stop, then I will have made a bad investment. I desperately don’t want that.

Through this all, I’ll still be working on The Knave and the Fool, which will not be out for a while longer, I’m afraid. Commitment is something that’s hard for me to make, and I think I’m struggling with the long-term commitment of the Stormborn series. What have I done? What I’ve always wanted to do. That’s the answer. I just need to remind myself of that instead of freaking out. Here’s to a fabulous 2019 for us all.