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Sometimes our writing doesn’t go the way we planned. Things come up, it’s inevitable, but often we can get down in the dumps toward the end of the year. We look back at all the plans we made and realize we weren’t close to achieving the many goals we made for ourselves during the year.
It can be frustrating to look back and not see the progress we thought we would make. We thought we would be published, we wanted that book to be a success, and we wanted to make a ton of money from writing.
Just because we didn’t check off every one of our goals, there are still positives that can come out of your reflection. Besides, it’s 2020. Not only are we looking at a new year, we are looking at a new decade. We can start this off right.
2019 might not have gone your way, but here are reminders to help you turn toward 2020 with new motivation.
It takes time to make adjustments
Sadly, the odds are not in your favor to suddenly pick up writing and be the greatest thing to ever exist. It’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of work. Maybe you tried writing in a new style, a new genre, or a new storyline. You might have set out to make fixes in your writing and develop your craft.
It’s not going to be an overnight success, unfortunately. There is no magic pill or magic technique that, after discovering, will make you wildly successful. It takes time to make adjustments that work for you, and it takes practice. Stick with it, because I guarantee you made progress, even if it wasn’t as much as you hoped. There’s help all around you.
Life is going to get in the way. There are going to be emergencies that require your attention. Projects are going to take up your time. Life is going to throw you curveballs that make you drop your writing work.
Though your priorities changed, it doesn’t mean you failed. Understand that the circumstances that allowed you ample writing time in the past might not last forever. You can still make adjustments as your schedule allows and find the time to write. Just because you need a moment to readjust to that new schedule doesn’t mean you failed at writing. Stick with it and you’ll find a new rhythm.
Your goals will change
Perhaps you set out to write a book in 2019 and self publish it. Let’s say for the sake of argument, you wrote the book. In fact, that book was so wonderful, your editor (or you) decided that this was too good to self publish. You are now tasked with sending that manuscript out in the hopes of finding an official publisher.
Your goals will change. Things take time, and your priorities change too. Just because your goal changes doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Throughout your writing process, as you improve and learn, your goals should be changing with you. The goal you started with might not be the goal you finished with. Keep that in mind as you reflect on your writing year and make new goals for 2020.
Strengths and weaknesses change
As you grow as a writer, your strengths and weaknesses change. Perhaps you started out with a grammar weakness so you set a goal to focus on that. In the process, you discover that it’s not a grammar weakness, it’s something else. As these things change, and you improve, you’re going to find little things to continue to critique within your work. Take note of the things you’ve improved on throughout the year. Small changes can make the biggest impact on your work, even if you don’t think it’s a big deal.
You are still learning
When you first start writing, you aren’t that great. Don’t worry, you’ll improve. In fact, you’ll improve exponentially. Your first ever manuscript will be trash, but the second draft will be insanely better. Of course it will — you’ve learned how to write, seen the manuscript through to the finish, and moved towards improvement.
As you continue your writing journey, however, those improvements won’t be as dramatic as the first. There will be less glaring things to fix and more minor changes. Your writing won’t seem to be improving, even though you are branching out into new territory. That’s natural, but it doesn’t mean you’ve stopped getting better. You continue to learn each time you read and write, even in small measures. Don’t take that for granted.
You have time
Remember that overnight successes take years. You aren’t going to be an overnight bestseller the first time you write. You aren’t going to have millions of followers the minute you post an article. Your blog is not going to look professional when you first start writing on it.
That’s okay, because you’re making small changes and you’re still making improvements. Learning and improvements take time, and it takes a focused person to stick with that long process. Know that your changes are making a difference and keep working at it. This is your year.
Just because your writing year didn’t turn out exactly as you hoped doesn’t mean you aren’t a writer. Plans aren’t always concrete and sometimes things have to change. Be flexible throughout this new year and make adjustments where needed. Life is going to get in the way and your progress might not make leaps and bounds, but it’s still making a difference. The name of the writing game is time, so keep working and stick with it, even when it’s tough. Small progress is still progress.