Keeping Score

Work in ProgressI decided that today would be a good time for a little reflection and a look at 2013–a decision partly inspired by several writers I know who are in the midst of 2014 goal setting, and partly because I have work waiting for me that I’m just not ready to face at the  moment. Yes, I’m at “procrastination station” this morning.

I want to begin by thanking the 21,903 visitors from 140 countries who have dropped by the website since January 1. You can’t imagine how thrilled I am that you come by to use the writing prompts and check out the other resources. I’d love to hear more from you about how you or your students use the material on the site, so I can make changes or add things that you might be interested in. Please don’t be shy in 2014. 

I had a look at my invoices for the year, too–always an indicator of how my part-time freelance life has been going. It certainly was a feast or famine year–some months absolutely nothing and others swamped with deadlines. At final count, the year turned out a lot better than I thought it would–I still have two more gigs to finish by the end of the year, and I broke into a new market that actually calls me with work–always a plus.

In the famine times I wrote 7 short stories and a 23,000-word middle readers fantasy, edited and published The Dragon’s Pearl and 201 Writing Prompts, participated in 4 daily-writing challenges, and finally found the answer to a problem I’ve had for ages with a middle readers mystery series–my next project. And that doesn’t include all the starts that didn’t result in a final product or an editing project that is partly finished, or blogs or monthly writing prompts, or …. Could I have done more? Probably. But I’m actually content with what did get done–a bit of a surprise actually for someone who finds the leap to the dark side extremely easy.

All of this tells me that my writing life is a pretty good one, and that, though I get seriously frantic, worried, frustrated, and gloomy about it while in the midst of the famine or the crazy feast times, at the end, I’ve met more goals than I missed and there’s lots to look forward to in 2014. This has been a definite lesson for me in patience and the value of taking time to look back and get things in perspective. Next time I won’t wait a year to do it. In fact, I think I’ll take the time today to put a quarterly writing-life-check-in on next year’s calendar.

Do you take time every year to reflect on your writing accomplishments? How do you decide if you’ve had a successful year? Do you reflect on your writing life throughout the year? Set goals? I’d love to hear about your strategies and accomplishments.

4 thoughts on “Keeping Score

  1. You’re so organized, Heather. I guess that’s why you accomplish so much in a year. I’m not very good at setting goals, although I do find it helpful sometimes to keep me on track. I find smaller goals work better for me. at least I then feel as though I’ve accomplished something. I think that’s one of the things I liked about short story writing, and who knows maybe I’ll write a few next year. I actually just submitted one today that I’d written a few years back, something I haven’t done in a very long while. It felt good. 🙂 Truthfully, I don’t accomplish nearly what I’d like to. I fear I jump around too much from one project to the next. I really think that’s something I need to work on in the future. Here’s wishing you continued success in 2014. 🙂

    • Thanks, Laura. The only things that help me survive and be remotely organized are lists and calendars. I write lists every day and keep my deadlines on a paper calendar. With a mind like a sieve, I have no choice but to write down everything I have to do in a day–and, on the plus side, I get the pleasure of crossing things off. During crazy, busy times I can barely remember my name, so my list is my life-saver. I’ve only lately written short stories. I find them a real challenge, but I love the fact that they are done in a relatively short period of time. Good luck with your latest submission, and I wish you all the best for 2014, too!

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