I’VE BEEN THINKING BACK (a sometimes dangerous thing to do) — journaling and reflecting on the activities, achievements, and failures of this past year — in fact, this past decade. After all, what better time to look back with perfect hindsight than year 2020 — a number that doubles as code for perfect sight?
I spend time writing and reflecting deeply in order to understand the decisions I’ve made in my journey to where I stand today, because I have found that it helps to occasionally turn, look back, and gain perspective on where I’ve come from and how far I’ve traveled. This process helps me gain clarity about where I want to be as I turn my gaze to the future.
Do you also engage in this ritual of reflection and dreaming forward?
It’s astonishing to realize how much can be accomplished in ten years. During this past decade, I have —
- published six books and two anthologies
- earned my MFA degree in Creative Nonfiction
- built this blog
- taught classes both online and in person
- created my own online school
- presented workshops and spoke at conferences
- coached writers, and created covers for and edited countless books for others (primarily memoir and nonfiction)
— all while holding a day job, raising the last of my four children to adulthood, and dealing with more family drama than I care to remember.
And yet, I have this tendency to think and feel (one follows the other) that I’m not achieving enough, even though I’d be impressed by that list if it were anyone else.
If you also suffer from an overly difficult inner critic, I highly recommend taking the time to look back, acknowledge, and celebrate all that you’ve accomplished in spite of the curveballs that life has thrown at you. And in spite of that mean inner critic.
And then, it’s good to look forward — to dream about where you want to be and begin to take small steps to move in your desired direction.
Where do you want to be at the end of 2020?
What do you want to accomplish and how do you want to grow?
These are the questions I ask myself — not only for my personal and private life but also for my life as an author, editor, and coach. For WritingThroughLife.
I’ve decided to dedicate this month, January of 2020, to the theme of “Renewal.”
Renewal implies a reset. We get to set all the clocks back to zero and start over with a full supply of energy. We get to wipe the slate clean (such a great metaphor, even though I know it’s a cliché) and write something new. What a refreshing thought!
Do this with me:
- Celebrate your accomplishments.
- Erase last year’s slate of dreams and goals. Completely. Wash it clean.
- Now sit, put your hands in your lap, and dream. Imagine you’re sitting in this very same spot exactly one year from now. What would you like to be able to look back on with a sense of pride? In what ways would you like to say that you’ve grown as a writer and human being?
I’m sitting here with a shiny clean slate wondering what goals and dreams should be committed to chalk.
I know a few things:
- I know I want to (finally!) complete the first draft of my novel in progress and I want it to be great!
- I know I want to increase the value of what I offer you here on this blog and build this community.
- And I know I want to expand on and offer more online classes.
Beyond that, I need your help.
In order to successfully accomplish those last two items, I need you to click this link to complete a brief reader survey. Tell me what you struggle with, what topics you’re interested in reading about, and what you’d like to achieve this year.
I’d love to know how I can better support you in your writing journey this year — whether you’re journaling for personal reasons or writing to publish.
And when you’re done with the survey, come back here and share in the comments what you dream about for 2020 — so we can all support one another and celebrate our 2020 successes come January 1, 2021.
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