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Writers Take Note: Wherever You Ended Up This Year Is OK

by Jennifer on December 30, 2009

By Jennifer Blanchard
Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve…which means 2009 will officially be over.

How did you do on your writing goals for the year? Did you reach them? Did you fail? Did you fall somewhere in between?

Remember, it’s difficult to create habits and make changes. Changing a habit–especially a habit you’ve had for years–is a big challenge.

Habits are our comfort zones. And stepping outside that comfort zone takes work and effort.

But as I’m sure you’ve found this year, it’s not impossible to change. You just have to do it one step at a time.

And if you really think about it, you’re doing great.

To become a doctor it takes about seven years. To become a journalist you have to go to school for two-to-four years. To be an expert, you have to spend years and years honing your craft.

So what makes you think that you can change all your procrastinating ways in a single year?

News flash, writers: You can’t.

Overcoming procrastination takes years and years of action, commitment and practice.

You’ll fail and you’ll fall down and you’ll make mistakes and you’ll learn what works for you and you’ll find a way to make writing a priority and you’ll become less and less of a procrastinator as the years go on (if you keep working at it).

So wherever you ended up with your writing this year is OK.

Tell yourself that over and over again; every time you want to berate yourself for not hitting all your writing goals, tell yourself that where you are right now is OK.

Maybe you didn’t finish a novel this year, but you probably did some novel planning. Maybe you didn’t consistently post on your blog, but you at least started your blog. Maybe you didn’t find a publisher, but you learned how to write better query letters.

See, if you look for the good in everything–even your mistakes–you’ll find that you’re doing a lot better than you give yourself credit for.

One of my writing goals for this year was to re-write my first draft of the novel I wrote in 2008. That didn’t happen. But do you think I’m sitting here complaining?

No way!

Because while I didn’t quite get my novel draft re-written, I DID grow this blog from zero visits a month to 5,042 visits a month.

That is a huge accomplishment.

While I might not have hit all my goals, I did hit some of them. And I even accomplished things I never had on my list to begin with (like my 30 Days of NaNo Tips newsletter, which was a smashing success).

So as you spend the next few days evaluating 2009 and making a plan for 2010, take a moment to give yourself credit for all you accomplished–the big things and the little things.

What writing goals did you accomplish this year? What are your writing goals for 2010?

About the Author: Jennifer Blanchard is founder of Procrastinating Writers. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ami@40daystochange December 30, 2009 at 2:35 pm

thanks for the post. I have been waffling between disappointed and thrilled with my year – maybe because I didn’t declare myself as a writer until the end of the year! I will take your advice and veer toward the celebrating side 🙂

Once I declared myself, I started looking for writing blogs – and found this site. The header alone drew me in. I’m home!

2 Susie McCray December 30, 2009 at 10:38 pm

This was a pretty productive year for me. I did finish a novel during NaNoWriMo, which was a great feat for me. My social media involvement has even boosted up. There are still writing goals I need to work on but I have a plan.

3 Laura Lee Bloor December 31, 2009 at 11:22 am

Such an excellent post, Jen! As you know, I failed NaNoWriMo, but at least I got my blog up and running this year! For my writing goals, I want to get a better, more consistent posting schedule going and try again on that novel. I’m sure I’ll also do a ton of writing in the MBA program, too, so I want to ace all those projects. Good luck to you and Procrastinating Writers in 2010!

4 jblan December 31, 2009 at 12:19 pm

@ami Welcome home! Glad to have you here.

@Susie McCray That’s great! I’m so happy to hear you have a plan. Having a plan is the best way to ensure you hit your goals.

@Laura Lee Bloor Thanks. Good luck to you, too. I also failed NaNoWriMo…kinda. I actually decided 3 days before not to attempt it because I knew nothing about story structure, and without story structure you’re wasting your time.

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