As yet another year comes to a close, it seems like a good time to reflect on the past year. In my first post of this year, I stated that my resolution for 2014 was to write. I wanted to spend less time making excuses for not writing and more time actually writing. As part of that goal, I was shooting to have a finished, polished manuscript ready to go by the RWA National conference in July of 2014. I was quite confident that my goals were both reasonable and achievable. As one might predict, however, things didn’t quite go according to plan.
Resoloptimism [rez-uh-lop-tuh-miz-uhm] noun. The sense of confidence experienced by individuals as they vow to make changes in their lives. ~ Urban Dictionary
Although I resolved to write this year, the trick was figuring out the when and how. With a full time job and the associated full time commute finding the time to write was a real challenge. Although I did find time to organize my dresser drawers, reconfigure my home office, and refurbish my parent’s home, so my real problem was more a lack of energy and inclination than a lack of time. In my January Baby Steps post I listed several tried-and-true ideas from other authors about how to stop thinking and start writing.
- Treat writing like a job
- Be realistic when scheduling writing time
- Plan what to write
- Set small, achievable goal
Using these ideas, and a few others, I made definite progress on my manuscript this year (first draft done – yay!). What turned out to be most effective, however, was a series of mini-writing retreats. Each month during the second-half of the year I took a three- or four-day weekend and treated it as focused writing time. I was often able to make more progress during these sessions than I was during the whole rest of the month. You can read more about one of my successful mini-retreats in this post of mine from November.
Although my resolution to write didn’t work out quite the way I had planned it, this year did have several successes on the writing front that I think are worth celebrating:
- 52 blog posts right here at Eight Ladies Writing. No matter what else was going on, I was able to put together a blog post each and every week, even when that was the only writing I did for the week.
- 3 writing contest entries / 1 contest final. I entered my manuscript in three romance writing contests this year and was a finalist in one (The Northwest Houston Lone Star Writing contest). Not only did I get some really great feedback from each of the contests, but it was a real kick to open up the December issue of the RWA magazine and see my name in print in the “contests” section.
- 1 request for a partial and synopsis. This was from an agent appointment at the RWA National conference. It was the result of my pulling up my big-girl pants and putting my self and my story out there in the writing world.
- 1 request for a full manuscript. This was the result of the Lone Start contest. I’m currently buffing and polishing the manuscript, prior to sending it out.
So, I’ve made some progress this year. Still not where I want to be, but I’m further along the road today than I was a year ago and I have a better idea of where I’m going. Next week I’ll talk more about my plan for 2015, but right now I think I’ll pour myself a glass of champagne (pink, of course) and take a moment to celebrate my accomplishments.
So, when you look back at this year, what will you celebrate?