The first time I ran across this quote, I was at one of my online writers' group conferences in Sterling, VA. It was early morning, before the sessions for the day had started. I was in the cabin catching up on email when the quote popped up. Definitely an 'Aha!' moment for me. It's good advice for our writing world and the rest of our lives, too.
However, there are times when looking back might be of some benefit. We have only one more day left in this year of 2016. It seems to me to be a good year for you and me to look back on our writing life. Do you remember those writing goals you set early last January? How did that turn out?
A few questions you might ask yourself regarding your writing this year:
- What percentage of my writing goals did I achieve?
- Which goals were complete flops? Why?
- How many submissions did I make?
- How many acceptances did I receive?
- How many unfinished projects do I have?
- Did I put the right amount of time into writing?
- Did I make the best effort at all times?
- Did I look for motivation or sit and wait for it to hit me over the head?
- Did I read enough about writing?
- Did I read the writing of others on a regular basis?
- Am I as passionate about writing now as I was at the beginning of the year?
- Was Writer's Block a factor for me
- Was I willing to follow the advice given to me?
- Did I help other writers in any way?
- Was I passionate about writing?
- When rejected, did I look at my work objectively to learn what needed to be improved?
- Do I want to continue writing in 2017?
If you had a lot of discouraging answers, perhaps it's time to do some evaluating. If you're willing to work on those problem areas, you will grow as a writer. If not, it's time to reassess your writing world. I don't encourage anyone to just dump the whole process. You obviously wanted to write or you'd never have started. If it meant something to you in the beginning, it's salvageable. But it's up to you.
It's almost a new year. When you turn the calendar to January on Sunday, it's a new beginning. When I open to page one of a book to read, I'm always filled with the anticipation that the pages beyond will be pleasing to read. I feel the same way about my writing when each new year dawns. I feel motivated to begin strong and I hope you will, too.
Now that we've checked back into 2016, it's time to look forward. I wish you your best writing year ever in 2017.