Looking Back Before Moving Forward
By Candyce Carden
Do you review your writing accomplishments at the end of the year? I never did. I told myself I couldn’t waste time on the task because I needed to get on with my writing. Or maybe it was because I’d failed to meet my ultimate goal of securing a book contract. Examining my writing would surely leave me as deflated as New Year’s balloons the day after the party.
How misguided my thinking.
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes
(Proverbs 16:9 ESV)
In December 2022, a helpful writing newsletter I subscribe to, The Lighthouse Connection, included a free End-of-the-Year Roundup. The inviting PDF implored me to fill in its spaces. So, I did.
The amount of work I published surprised and delighted me, including guest blog posts, personal blog posts, print, and online publications. I made progress on some specific goals, such as pitching an article to an intimidating market. They didn’t respond, but I pitched them!
Another goal was to submit to a contest. I won one and placed in another. I didn’t achieve all of my discrete goals. For instance, one was to query The Quiet Hour and another to apply to write for Crosswalk. Although nothing came from those efforts, I carried them out. Instead of discouraging me, simply doing them boosted me.
I urge you to conduct a year-end review of your writing. It’s not too late, especially with this form to guide you. Feel free to print and use this, but please keep in mind that it is intended for personal use only.
Not only will completing the review make you proud of what you accomplished, it will fuel and shape your writing for the new year. Reflecting on these sections especially—Progress to Celebrate, Goals Unreached, New Goals for Next Year, and What I’d Do Differently—guided my new goals in the following year. For instance, in 2023 a goal was to seek an editor’s evaluation on my book proposal, which I did. A priority goal for 2024 is to rework the proposal based on the feedback.
No doubt you have an end-goal in mind for your writing. You probably also know reaching it takes planning and time. We have to meet several smaller goals, often baby-steps, that lead to the big one. Look at your most recent accomplishments. It’s okay to celebrate the victories for a moment. Then get to work. Use the review to help formulate new goals for 2024, and move forward with confidence.
Writing Resources to Consider
Consider subscribing to the quarterly newsletter, The Lighthouse Connection, authored by Katy Kauffman of Lighthouse Bible Studies. The newsletter offers freebies, such as the End-of-the-Year Roundup, in each edition along with writing tips and open writing markets.
Do you currently do a Year-End Review of your writing progress?
Please share with us what you do.