The last days of 2016 are coming at us quickly now … just 8 more shopping days until Christmas and Facebook is prompting me to make New Year’s Eve plans with friends. Another week or two, and we’ll be on to New Year’s Resolutions and goals for 2017. Some of us will choose a word for the year; others will start a new exercise plan. As writers, we also will start mapping out our next writing projects and setting up word-count and submission goals.
But before we waltz swiftly into the New Year with our champagne, confetti, and convictions, let’s take a minute to look back on the year that’s about to end. How did 2016 go for you as a writer? Here are a few questions to help you reflect. Follow each yes or no answer with why or why not.
- Did you make writing the priority you want it to be in your life?
- Did you make time and space in your life to write?
- What strategies worked well for carving out time and space? What strategies didn’t work well?
- Did you send out your work for publication? Did you send out as many projects as you expected? Were you able to place your writing for publication?
- Did you earn money writing? Were you expecting to?
- Did you grow your audience this year? Were you expecting to?
- Did you invest in your writing through books, classes, conferences, and workshops to help you improve your craft?
- Did you network with other writers? Were you expecting to?
Once you answer these questions for 2016, then adjust them to help you begin planning for 2017.
- How will you make writing the priority you want it to be in your life?
- How you make time and space in your life to write?
- What strategies will you use for carving out time and space?
- Will you send out your work for publication? Where? When?
- How will you earn money writing? Is that a priority to you?
- How you grow your audience this year?
- How will you invest in your writing through books, classes, conferences, and workshops to help you improve your craft?
- How will you network with other writers?
The writing life isn’t a once and done endeavor. It’s a gradual process of honing your skills and accumulating words. You look back and plan ahead. Year after year you grow your body of work. But don’t stop there, thinking only in terms of years. Narrow it down: How will you spend your days? Because as Annie Dillard writes in The Writing Life, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Plan to spend your days in 2017 writing.
Our friends at The Write Life take it one step further by recommending you conduct a year-end evaluation of your writing life, just like an employer might do for her employees. If you want to take the self reflection even further, give it a try!