Welcome to 2014 – a magical year of possibility for you as a writer. At this pivotal time, I’d like to invite you to pause and reflect on your writing journey….where you’ve been in 2013 and where you’re going in 2014. This is a time to be gentle with yourself. If a good friend came to you for advice, I bet you’d be compassionate and encouraging. You’d also be honest, but in a caring way. Why not adopt this same voice in your inner dialogue with yourself?
Life coaches help their clients find their own answers through the use of great questions. There is also something very powerful about writing down both your reflective responses to important questions and your goals or intentions. As Henriette Anne Klauser, author of Write It Down, Make It Happen says “Writing it down is about clearing your head, identifying what you want, and setting your intent.”
I’d like to share a series of questions to help you reflect on your writing journey in 2013 and plan for 2014. I hope the questions will enable you to see the big picture of your writing life. So grab a cup of your favourite beverage, take some time quiet time just for you, and write down your responses to the following:
What were the highlights for you as a writer in 2013? It’s time to celebrate them!
For example, did you:
- complete a major writing project?
- win a contest?
- have a story published in a literary journal?
- publish a book?
- complete a memoir that you shared with family members?
- take a writing course, or attend a retreat or conference?
For what and whom are you grateful on your writing journey?
- think of your teachers, mentor(s), supportive partner, family, friends, writing partner, writing group, critique/workshop group
- consider books, local bookstores, workshops, retreats, and your writing community
What do you need to grow as a writer in 2014?
- do you need to develop specific aspects of craft through attending workshops, courses, conferences, retreats, working with a mentor?
- what about joining a writing workshop/critique group? If there is no group in your area, consider starting one yourself. A great resource for doing this is a book entitled: The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide by Becky Levine, published by Writer’s Digest Books, 2010
- why not join a local writing community? Writing is a solitary pursuit, and being part of a writing community will enable you to network with other writers, enjoy great industry speakers and attend workshops. Click on the acronyms to be taken to writing community web pages for the Writers’ Community of York Region (WCYR), the Writers’ Community of Simcoe County (WCSC) and the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR)
- would you like to subscribe to literary journals or magazines about writing?
- is time an issue? Brainstorm creative ways to give yourself more time to write. This could mean working out reciprocal babysitting arrangements with a fellow writer, or getting away a few times a year on a writing retreat
What are your writing-related goals for 2014? Be specific.
Imagine it’s December 31, 2014. You’re relaxing in front of a cosy fireplace, thinking about the past year. What writing-related goals would you like to have achieved by that time? Write them down. Your answers will help you formulate your goals for 2014. Here are a few examples:
- the completion of the first draft of a novel, six short stories, enough poems for a chapbook
- a commitment to how often you will write. You are the only one who can decide what’s best for you. Will a daily word count work? Will frequency work better – thirty minutes a day x 3 times a week? Will you participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and if so, how can you plan now for the time and support you will need to write a novel in a month?
- are you interested in registering for a creative writing course, workshop or retreat? Make a note of the dates, requirements, deadlines, and cost
- do you plan to enter writing contests? Which ones? What are the deadlines you need to meet?
- are you ready to start sending your work out to publications? Which publications? What are their submission guidelines and deadlines?
For more suggestions about goal-setting for writers, CLICK HERE to be taken to my May 2013 post entitled: “Goals That Work For Writers.”
- do you long for a dedicated space in which to write. It’s possible that by clearing some clutter, you can carve out a writing niche in your existing living environment
- you could also consider regular writing dates with a writing friend – meet in a local cafe to write and share
In what ways can you nurture yourself?
- it can be difficult to be creative when your stress levels are running high. Consider ways that you can implement self –care, such as: regular walks, massage, sleep, a day of pampering at a spa, gentle yoga, meditation
After you have written out your writing goals for 2014, post them in a place where you see them everyday. Check in weekly – are you moving in the direction of your intentions? I wish you well on your writing journey in 2014.
Until next time,
Our next writing retreat will take place on Sunday, January 19, 2014. We hope you can join us.
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All photographs in this post are by Janis McCallen.