Wednesday, December 30, 2009

End of the Year Reflections

This is the time of year when newspapers and TV journalists look back at the events which occurred during the past year. Sometimes it irritates me to be subjected to the constant flow of what happened in the business world, politics, the entertainment industry--even the interior decorating and food world.

I've always been a person who looks forward rather than at what happened in the past. What happened is over, and I'm ready to move on. But in retrospect, I have to admit that there is something beneficial in reflecting on these year's worth of happenings. Mistakes were made, and we should be able to learn from them. That doesn't mean we always come away with the knowledge of how to fix what was broken, but the opportunity is there. It's up to us to make it a positive for the future. It's also a means to realize that maybe we did something right, a time to give ourselves a pat on the back.

Writers should give thought to the writing life and what it brought them over the past year, too. If you're a writer who keeps records of your submissions, rejections or acceptances, and money earned, give yourself a gold star. By looking over the numbers and comparing this year to perhaps the last five, you may find a distinct pattern emerge. Look at the kinds of submissions that were accepted. Were they all memoirs? Or perhaps every one was a non-fiction feature article. Or maybe the only thing you sold was poetry. Doesn't that say something to you?

On the other hand, if you sold all manner of writing, you know you can continue to try different genres and be successful. If you sold only one kind of writing, maybe you should concentrate on it this next year.

Next, ask yourself what new thing you tried in your writing life this year. The most important new venture for me was in starting this blog. I hemmed and hawed over doing so for a long time, and finally decided to give it a try. Worst case scenario was that I'd hate it and would just plain pull the plug on it. So, off I went into the deep, dark waters of something I knew very little about. And guess what? I've enjoyed it tremendously!

Another area to look at is what you did to improve your writing this past year. Did you join any new professional organizations? Did you increase time spent with your critique group? Did you try to read books about writing? Attend a conference? Discuss writing with other writers in a social setting? All of those things can help you become a better writer.

By looking back at what you did in 2009, you can easily create a list of Writer's Resolutions for 2010. If you succeed with even half of them, you'll grow as a writer.

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