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 his steps.

(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.

Moving Forward

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.

Candyce Carden is a writer, educator, and nature lover whose teaching experience ranges from preschool to college. She’s written for a variety of magazines, devotionals, and compilations. Currently fine-tuning a devotional with a beach setting, Candyce and her husband divide time between north Georgia and Destin, Florida. The answer may not be at the beach, but should we not at least check?


  1. I appreciate the encouragement to do this. When we see it on paper we have a better picture.

    1. That is true. And it doesn't really take that long to do. Very worth the time investment. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Awesome advice, Candyce. When we consider the accomplishments we made we can be motivated to keep going. I am glad to be in the Lighthouse group with you and other writers. I have read your writing and I think you will be published on some of those platforms you mentioned soon. Keep looking forward and thanks for encouraging us to do the same.

    1. You are right, Barbara. By nature, I focus on my failures rather than successes.. This exercise showed me how motivating it can be the flip that script.Thanks for your encouragement.

  3. Great idea. Thanks for the inspiration Candyce


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