Monday, December 30, 2013

Do Writers Benefit From A Review Of The Past Year?

What happened in your writing life this year?

During the final days of each calendar year, newspapers and TV journalists inevitably do a wrap-up of news that occurred that was of importance or interest. Some people enjoy the looking back but I have never been among that crowd. Nope--I'm done with this old year has been my attitude. Let me get on with the new one. What happened this past year is water over the dam. It's done and I can't change whatever happened, be it good or bad. I don't want to revisit any of it.

For a writer, that's a crummy attitude to have. I admit that I have finally learned to go back over my writing year with a considerably better results than for what's in the news. I know now that I can learn from whatever occurred with what I wrote, what I submitted for publication, and which ones made it as well as which came bouncing back to me. It took me several years into my writing world to step back at the end of the year and make those assessments. I started doing it only when I realized how much my next year would benefit. 

I didn't start reviewing the old year because of a personal epiphany. It was no brilliant idea of my own device. No, I read in writer's newsletters over and over about other writers setting this task for themselves. I took note of the writers in my critique group who mentioned their year end review. It finally hit me that, if so many writers were doing this, there must be some worth in it. Some of us need to be bonked in the head before the light dawns!

I waded into this unknown territory cautiously at first. I did a general look-back one year. The next year, I went a little deeper and found to my surprise that I noticed several things about my writing and the submissions I'd made. Little red flags popped up here and there. Besides seeing what I might have done differently, I also had some reasons to be happy with some of what had happened during the year. It didn't take too long to change my attitude. Each year, this review is easier to do because I'm more aware of what I'm looking for but often something entirely new will emerge.

I'm now a proponent of reviewing your personal writing world for the year that is about to conclude. It's not true that you can't change what happened. Of course, you can't undo the negatives of last year, but you can most definitely make changes in 2014 to improve on what you deemed as 'not so hot' ideas in 2013.

One way to begin making those changes is to make an attitude check. In tomorrow's post, I'll look into the ways you can do that as you prepare to move into the new year. 

What will 2014 bring to your writing life?

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