"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

IWSG: Year-End Review of Your Writing

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

I can hardly believe it’s December already, and this is the last IWSG post of 2015. The pressure of the season is already mounting. I’m feeling overwhelmed, and not yet enjoying the Christmas cheer. How about you?

Perhaps it’s time for a reflective mood, and a year-end review. We should take a breath, remember, and be proud of what we’ve accomplished so far this year. DO NOT use this time to stress about what you didn’t do. It’s not about judging yourself. Instead, use this time to experience pride and gratitude. Remind yourself what you DID accomplish.  You’re still a writer and reader, you haven’t given up, and hopefully you still find joy in exploring your creativity.

How do I successfully perform a year-end review?

1)      Collect all your writing in one-place - You will need a lot of room. If most of your writing is on your computer, you might consider printing it out. Collecting everything into one place may be the most difficult and rewarding piece of this process. The act of simply handling your work from the last year will do magic for the next.
2)      Read - Read a little of everything. Whether you simply skim over everything, or dive deep into several pieces the outcome can be just as rewarding. The goal is not to read everything, but instead to become familiar again with what you’ve written.
3)      Enjoy - You are your own worst critic, but this is not a time for critiquing. Read your writing out of a place of appreciation instead of judgment. Rediscover the pleasure you found when first creating these works.
4)      Categorize - As you read, you may notice themes in your writing, images that come up again and again, or moods that you seemed to slip into often. If you like, you can use highlighters or colored pens to visualize these different themes, but simply noticing is enough.
5)      Consider - Why did you write what you did? Why these pieces? Why these forms (blog posts/poems/novel chapters)? What motivated you to write over the last year? Why were you drawn to this theme or that image? Who are you as a writer? And what are you about?
6)      Forgive - You may find that you are unable to give up judgment and enjoy your own writing. In this case, you must forgive yourself. Let yourself out of the expectation of genius and perfection. Accept that the year is what it is and choose to be content with it. Do not compare yourself to others, or even yourself (What you’ve done in years past, or feel you should have done this year). Only seek complete acceptance.
Don’t worry about goals, that can come later (January 1st perhaps). For now, remind yourself of why you like to write, and what you’ve been able to do so far. If you don’t appreciate your own writing and abilities, how can you expect others to?

I hope you’ll try this. What did you accomplish this year? Please remember to praise YOURSELF!


Unknown said...

This is great advice. Sometimes it helps to just physically see what you've accomplished in front of you. Good luck in the coming year!

C.D. Gallant-King said...

This is a really cool idea. I might just try this.

IWSG December

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You know, that's a good idea. I'm sure I'd find common themes in all of my work.

Elizabeth said...

This is a great idea! Just listing my accomplishments from the past couple months has helped me feel a little more confident with my writing.

Sylvia Ney said...

Congratulations! I hope you all remember to appreciate yourselves during this hectic season.