The week between Christmas and New Year’s—when the regular world almost stops (except for those after Christmas returns and shoppers), business go to skeleton staff, and writers don’t expect contracts may have a January 3rd deadline looming. (I have two due on February 1st).
I won’t talk about goals ... it’s not quite the New Year. But I will reflect on the past year. Has it been a successful year in terms of my writing career? All in all, I would say, yes. I’ll look at four areas of writing (Janice Thompson talked about the four books she was writing at any one time, and it’s stuck with me): the book I’m developing, the book I’m actually writing, the book I’m editing, and the book I’m marketing. To those four I’ll add a fifth: how I’ve helped other writers.
• Development. I’ve pushed out at least five proposals between deadlines this year, and have come to trust my judgment about what stories “work” for my publisher. In other words, I’ve increased my chances of landing contracts. At the moment I have two contracts pending. I also went on a research trip to Texas.
• Writing. I am writing better. My first drafts require less work to polish than they used to, most of the time. And I’m more aware of nuances in writing to improve my craft. I write fast—when I write. I need to improve my discipline.
• Editing. I faced my first truly negative content review—and survived. I just learned the book has gone on to the next stage. Phew.
• Marketing. While I feel like a neophyte, I must be doing something write because people are beginning to recognize my name. And oh, yes, I’ve discovered a talent for selling books one-on-one in unusual venues, like craft fairs.
• Helping other writers. I’ve spoken to a couple of writers groups, but two new ventures for me were judging the Carol awards for ACFW and, more importantly, partnering with a new writer who will get her first contract in February!
As you look at those five areas, how have you grown? Have you grown in ways you didn’t expect? Where do you see the need for improvement?