Laura Diamond has a great post on her blog about the importance of Self-Evaluation which reminded me of last week's meeting of my writer's group. We were setting goals for 2011, but first we took a few minutes to tally and share our writing accomplishments in 2010. You know what? When you actually write down what you've done in a year, it's pretty impressive.
Here's my list:
Joined a writer's group
Wrote/revised 30,000 words for JanNoWriMo
Started a blog and attracted 130 followers
Hosted my first Blogfest
Wrote a Doctor Query-approved query letter
Took an online writing class worth college credit
Beta read a novel and wrote a long commentary (requested by the author)
Completed nearly 80,000 words by the end of the year on my own book
One of my writing friends recently bemoaned the fact that no matter what else he accomplishes in a given day, he feels like he hasn't done anything if he hasn't written. That is so true!
I think it's because we tend to focus on what we *want* to get done rather than what we actually do. This is true in other parts of life as well. Don't laugh, but I have made lists for myself of what I accomplished on a given weekend: laundry, cleaned the bathroom, food shopping, etc. It really helps keep things in perspective.
Two other things really help with the writerly woes:
1. Try to make sure that the things you do are the things you wanted to get done, as much as reasonably possible. Don't offer to critique someone else's work if it means not finishing your own. Write first, blog later.
2. Accept the fact that there is no such thing as balance. A balanced life - like a balanced diet - is an illusion. You can't eat freshly picked blueberries in January (at least not here), and you can't write 1,000 words a day every day (or whatever your goal is.) But everything you do adds to the life experiences you can draw on.
During the past four years, I went from being a stay-at-home mom to full-time professional and I changed my career three times. I also spent a year in night school getting a certification I will probably never use again, but the experience was definitely worth it.
There is a time and a season for everything. Learn to appreciate the season you are in!