Wednesday, January 26, 2011

List Your Accomplishments

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!


  1. I should work on the "write first, blog later" rule. Having 4 book/writing blogs and such can feel overwhelming and I'm not quite writing as much as I want to on my novels. I can't wait till march when I have a goal of writing a novel in that month, a new novel. Last year march helped me reach a goal since I wrote 67k during that month.

    Great post.

  2. Times and seasons, that's a good way to think of things. My life would probably be more balanced, though, if I spent more time on house work.

  3. I recently came up with a "me in 30 seconds" and was amazed at how accomplished I sounded! It took me half a day to come up with it and say it without laughing.

  4. This is great advice. I've been having a hard time with accomplishing what I need to get done. It's true write first, blog later. I also have to keep in mind that my journey will be unique to me and I should not compare it to others.

  5. Blerg. I keep on taking on projects I shouldn't, 'cause I want to be nice, and then I end up languishing on my own work. I should be meaner.

    That's it...from now on, I'm just going to be a jerk. Wish me luck!

    Um...yeah. Maybe there's a better solution than that. Let me know if you think of one. Oh, just did.

    Thanks! :)

  6. Thanks for the shout out!

    It's true, when we write down what we've done, it takes on a whole new meaning! You've accomplished a lot in a year's time--congrats! :D

  7. I realized that this morning I did blog as soon as I woke up, rather than write. I think I need to modify that principle of "write first, blog later" because often blogging helps warm up my brain. Let's face it... blogging is much easier than writing any day. The important thing is not to let it usurp time that could truly be productive.


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