Wow. It’s hard to believe that we’re now in the final days of 2015. What a year it has been! Now that things have slowed down due to holiday season, I’ve had an opportunity to reflect and plan for the coming year. Over the course of this 2015 I graduated from college, moved, started working fulltime, and made forward strides in my writing career.
As I have previously mentioned (and will continue to mention in the future!) it has been my lifelong dream to be a fiction writer. This year I made several steps to make my dream come true. In 2015, I’m proud to say that I:
- Started this blog
- Published two novellas
- Had a short story accepted into a publication
- Wrote a guest post
- Got interviewed by another author
- Read a gazillion books and articles on writing, blogging, and marketing
Along the way, I learned some major lessons about writing and self-publishing:
1. I can face my fears
Only a couple of years ago I had dreams of becoming a published author but was too fearful of criticism to take the steps to put my work out there. Last Fall I joined a critique group, which I found immensely helpful in learning how to give and receive feedback.
This helped prepare me for submitting my work to the world, where my stories are open for rejection or harsh critique. But I’ve learned that even if I do receive a particularly stinging piece of criticism, it’s not the end of the world. Instead of dwelling on and internalizing the criticism, I’ve learned to look for nuggets of truth that can help me improve my writing. At the end of the day, I believe in my writing abilities while also accepting that I have room to grow and improve. This is just the beginning of what I hope to shape into a long and fruitful writing career. And as I’ve said before, being afraid is not a valid reason to not pursue my writing aspirations.
2. Crushing my perfectionism
I read awhile ago in If You Can Talk, You Can Write just how much perfectionism can lead to paralysis, resulting in never getting any writing done. While I’ve learned the importance of overcoming my desire for perfection when writing a first draft, this year I experienced my perfectionism flare up in regards to the self-publishing process, sometimes too caught up in my fear of making a mistake to choose a course of action.
I particularly found myself falling into the trap of drowning myself in books about writing, hoping I would find the perfect solution elsewhere. While there is definitely a lot of value in soaking up the wisdom of others, it’s also necessary to go out and use the advice instead of simply reading about it. I’ve learned to give myself the room to make mistakes and learn not just through books and articles, but also trial and error.
I am thrilled to take all that I’ve learned in 2015 and do even more in the coming year. Among other things, I hope to make 2016 a big year for Kindred and release more stories in some of the other worlds I’ve created. I want to make 2016 an even more successful year for my writing than 2015.
One of your best blogs by far. This list ties in to so many other life factors that it may influence others beyond writers. I can dig it!
Thanks! I’m glad you found it helpful.
As I reflect on my past year with chagrin at not achieving very much–as far as writing goes–I found this post particularly uplifting. Kudos to you on all you’ve learned and achieved. I’ll definitely keep your post in mind as I plot my writing goals for the coming year.
Thanks for stopping by, and I’m happy you enjoyed the post! When reflecting on the end of the year, I also needed to come to terms with the items that did not happen as hoped, often due to planning with a too-optimistic timeline or not thinking about the learning curve I needed. I thought that I would have released a third novella before the end of this year, but I realized mid-November that that simply wasn’t going to happen. Instead of counting this as a non-achievement, I try to focus on how setting a new deadline for early next year will allow me to devote more time to editing and create a better story. Good luck with your 2016 goals, and Happy writing!