Like Terri said last week, I’m not big on resolutions, but there’s something inherently reflective about flipping the calendar from one year to the next. Looking back to where you were at the end of last year, thinking about where you are at the moment, and where you’d like to be at the end of this new year. What did I accomplish over the last twelve months? What did I fail to accomplish this year? What would I like to change about my current situation? What do I want the next year to bring? Resolution-maker or not, most of us can’t help but taking a moment to ask ourselves these questions.
So, here I go. (NOTE: I’m sticking to writing only. Not touching those old favorites of lose weight, start exercising, get organized or save money. Not going there. Nope.)
What did I accomplish? I finished a book! Always a great accomplishment, but this one, Darcy’s Dilemma, I knocked out in a year (mid-2015 – mid-2016). Major-huge feat for me. I finished a thorough rewrite/second revision of Peace of Heart. I wrote 12 blog posts. I roughed out a website. I judged a contest and went to a conference.
What did I fail to accomplish? I didn’t self-publish. I didn’t start the third book in my series. I didn’t come up with a “thread” or a “theme” for my current series. I didn’t show up to every critique session with new material.
What would I like to change? I’d like to remove, “I’m working on self-publishing this time around.” from my vocabulary and add, “I’ve moved into self-publishing.”
What do I want from 2017? I want to finally hit the PUBLISH button for Peace of Heart! I want to polish and publish Darcy’s Dilemma. I want to educate myself on the business of publishing, both traditional and self. I’d like my writing to progress enough that I can justify attending an “away” conference so that I can reconnect with writers and speakers outside my normal pool.
All in all, these questions and answers showed me that I have been moving forward! Not as fast as I should or could, but forward nonetheless. This reflection has also reminded me of an ongoing weakness: I worry about publishing book one and/or two until all three books in the series are ready to go. My shoot-for-the-fences thinking is that if my first (and second) book find an audience, I want those readers to be able to get all three books in succession – you know, before they forget they like my work!
Guess I need to add another answer to last question. Be confident and don’t let fear rule my choices. (That’s one that I should probably apply across the board, not only for 2017 but all years that follow as well.)
Give this quick exercise a shot. It can be motivational and satisfying to quantify your accomplishments. Even listing your failures isn’t as demoralizing as you might fear. And getting an idea of what you’d like to accomplish in the next year isn’t the same thing as making resolutions. It’s more like planning, and you know what the oft-quoted they say: Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Another insight I’ve gained from these few minutes of reflection: don’t be afraid to update your process. Recently, we’ve changed our WoC consequences (pie in the face rather than ice-bucket dunking) and our new critiquing / goal-setting timelines (minimum of 20 pages every other week/90-day goal periods), and these tweaks are sure to help me achieve more in 2017. This revamped system has already worked wonders at keeping me productive through the year-end holiday season.
I encourage us all to take a moment or two for reflection without getting bogged down. Take a quick peek at where you’ve been, then turn around and face the future. We don’t have to be perfect today. We only have to be better than yesterday.
Now, let’s get out there and rock 2017!
Back when her twin sons were young enough for daily naps, Dawn Temple took advantage of those quiet moments to pursue her dream of becoming a published romance writer. Sneaking in an hour here and there paid off in 2005 when she sold her first book, To Have And To Hold, to Silhouette Special Edition. She managed to secret away enough time to write and sell the second book in her Land’s Cross series, Moonlight And Mistletoe, but alas, her boys outgrew naps and Dawn let go of those stolen moments with her laptop to enjoy life with her two little guys and her big guy, hubby of 21 years.
But now, as an officially retired stay-at-home mom, Dawn has once again found the time and the creative drive to return to writing, and this time around, she’s set her sights on independent publishing. Her first self-published book, Peace of Heart, is scheduled for release in 2017.