The end of the year is a great time, as writers, to reflect on the progress and achievements we have made in our writing careers over the last twelve months.
As a creative writing teacher, I encourage the writers taking my courses not to emphasise what they haven’t managed to do, but on what they have accomplished.
Every aspect of writing, whether it is the initial plotting, first draft, editing, etc, always takes far longer than we could ever initially envisage.
Therefore, if a writer was to say to me, I haven’t managed to finish the second draft of my novel, rather than focus on that, I would encourage them to think, ‘I’ve finished my first draft and I’m halfway through my second draft now.’
Or if a poet was to say, I have ten half-written poems that are stuffed in a drawer, I never finish anything, I would get them to celebrate the fact that they’ve had the inspiration for these ten poems and they’ve already managed to capture their beginnings on paper.
What still needs to be done can become part of goal setting for 2020, rather than a stick to beat yourself with at the end of 2019. (see next month’s blog post for more on this.)
Here are some examples of 2019 successes I am proud of as a creative writing teacher:
- The provision of two successful writing retreats: one on my own and one collaboratively with Ali Standen (Life Coach)
- The fact that a dozen writers have enjoyed and gained time and progress from attending one or all of the four Winter Writing Space days, currently underway.
- The continuation of my content-packed creative writing courses, which inspire other writers towards achieving their own writing dreams.
Your Turn Now!!
Make a list of all the achievements and aspects of your writing career you have been proud of during 2019; perhaps use the questions below to prompt you:
How many short stories have you written this year?
Have you attended a one-off writing workshop or attended a course, thereby investing in yourself as a writer?
How have your writing skills developed?
How many words have you written altogether this year?
How full is your writing notepad with observations you have made and ideas that are bursting to get out of you?
Have you entered any writing competitions?
Are you managing to spend time with other writers? Buddying up and peer encouragement is brilliant for increasing motivation.
How many more chapters/scenes have you written of your novel or life story?
What do people say about your ideas and your writing?
Have you identified your big dream as a writer? Your definition of success?
These questions should get you thinking in a positive way about how much you have accomplished this year. Many people don’t get much further than thinking about how much they would like to try, but what marks a ‘true writer’ out is that they actually write!
It doesn’t matter how quickly or slowly you finish something, the only thing that matters is keeping going and setting small achievable goals along the way.
So be proud of the progress you have made in 2019. Maybe you will get chance over the Christmas break to fit in a little more writing time, or at least be thinking about it. Or maybe you are planning to enjoy a complete break so you can return to your page or your screen, rejuvenated and motivated in the new year.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the writers who follow my blog posts and are supportive of me as a fellow writer and as a creative writing teacher – it means the world to me. My work never feels like work, I am so blessed to be able to use what I know to inspire and motivate so many interesting and talented people.
Have a lovely Christmas and I’ll be back in January with a blog post to support you in setting all your new and exciting writing goals for 2020.
With best wishes, Maria
PS: The dates for Spring Writing Space are now up for grabs. If you want to bag yourself some uninterrupted writing space with a one-to-one slot with me to discuss your work in progress, click here for more details.