Monday, December 28, 2015

5 Tips to Finish up the Old Writing Year

At the beginning of every new year I like to make a list of the things I hope to achieve in the new year in my writing journey. It only makes sense then, that at the end of every year I like to check back on the progress I've made or didn't make. Sometimes I like to look back at goals I set in prior years to make certain I am moving in the right direction.

So let's quickly look back: I did get at least one book published in the last year, Blues at 11, though I knew that was coming because it had been contracted, edited and proofed earlier. But two very good things also happened that allowed me to get two more works published. I participated in an anthology offered by The Heart of Denver Romance Writers, so I had yet another fiction work published. I also worked with my non-fiction writing collaborator Sue Viders on a new project, and as a result I am now also an independent published author as we started the "Let's Write a Story" series. The first book -- Seven Ways to Plot is now available at Amazon. It came out in November and that is a wonderful way to end the year.

So how do you check back on how you did this past year? What can you look to get done with just a few days left in the old year? Here are five tips to looking back at your past successes that can help you get ready to enjoy new success in the next year.

1. Don't shortchange yourself. Just as I celebrated the success of my publication on a book that I did know was coming out, don't pass up the chance give yourself a pat on the back for accomplishments that came in this past year that you had been working for or completed earlier.  That new work is now out there. Whether it's starting a new blog or finishing a short story that had been started earlier, enjoy the completion of that project.

2. Enjoy and celebrate the success you did achieve.  This past year when I hear about the Heart of Denver Writers working on a new anthology, I immediately remembered an old story idea I had wanted to write but never completed. All I really had was a germ of a thought and a first line. After that I was off and running and put my name up for consideration with my story idea. Don't overlook what you did accomplish this past year, no matter how small or large.

3.  Look for the little things or steps that you have taken. This past year I promised myself to get more written and that includes writing almost every day.  I have set up a chart similar to the one used in NaNoWriMo that shows how much I write every day. I also include editing time so I can see how much time I actually spend in the writing process. And yes, that includes blogging time!

4.  Look for new opportunities.  One thing I did this past year that really re-energized my writing was to volunteer.  While I have volunteered to work with my writing groups in the past this time around I volunteered to work with a group of women on a historical project.  The whole experience was invigorating to my writing. I had been bogged down on a story I'd started the previous year and what I found as I conducted research for this project was new enthusiasm for that old project. I'm ready to really get into finishing this year. I have new places to research that I had not thought of in the past and new ideas for the story itself born of the research I did for that volunteer project. I have already volunteered for their next big project!

5.  Look forward as well as looking back.  What were the things you wanted to get done last year that didn't get done? Maybe it's time to put them into the forefront or let them go for a new project.  Look for new ways to work on your story, whether it be a new way to research or a new story idea.

There are so many things to be done in preparation for the new year and next week I'll look at what you can do to set realistic goals for the new year.

Happy Writing!

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