sharing a poetic LIFELINE with the world

The end of the year is a fantastic time to evaluate one’s writing life with an eye to the future.  It’s a time to look at the big picture and see if you have met, exceeded, or fallen short of your self-created writing goals for the year.  This self-evaluation was inspired by the Graduate School post, Check in With Yourself: End of Semester Self-Evaluation.  I’ve found that doing a regular self-evaluation is a great tool for reflection on my graduate school experiences.  This evaluation is not an excuse for you to beat yourself up; instead it will allow you to get a clearer picture of your writing life.

Consider your responses to these questions.  It might help to actually write them down.  🙂

Consider the last year:

  • How did my year begin?
  • What were my submission plans, writing goals, and marketing plans (if applicable)?
  • Did I allocate enough time for writing, typing and editing my work?
  • Were my expectations met?
  • What surprised me this year?
  • If I could do anything over, what would I choose?  What would I do differently?
  • What are my writing strengths and witnesses?
  • How might I address these weaknesses?
  • How can I augment these strengths?
  • What have I learned this year?  About writing?  About subjects of interest to me?  Personally?

After thoughtful consideration, what can you conclude about your year?  What will you do differently next year?

Some ideas to think about for 2012:

Set aside regular times to write.  Be flexible.  If you are a morning person write in the mornings, if not, write in the afternoons or evenings.  Consider investing in writing prompt books or get writing prompts off the internet, so you are not stuck for ideas.  Remember, writers write!

Consider collaborating on a writing project with a writing friend or online critique group.  Collaborating is a great way to support one another while holding each other accountable.

Take time at the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012 to revisit your writing goals.  Are they too ambitious or not ambitious enough?  Can you break your goals down into smaller, more manageable steps?  If you haven’t made any writing goals, is it time to do so?  Think about sharing your writing goals with supportive family members and friends.  Do you have any deadlines looming?  Make a note of those and give yourself time to meet them.

Reflect on any Works in Progress (WIPs) you have.  Is it time to let your WIPs go or is it time to breathe new life into a WIP?

Every year is a new beginning.  A new year is a great time to establish good writing habits and to reflect on the past year.  It’s also a good time to congratulate yourself on what you accomplished in 2011 and realize what you did right. See you in 2012!

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Comments on: "Make Visible: End of the Year Self-Evaluation for Writers" (5)

  1. Yikes! Anne, those are tough questions.

    How did my year begin?
    Editing the Nano novel I wrote the previous November to overcome my phobia of writing sci fi.

    What were my submission plans, writing goals, and marketing plans (if applicable)?
    {grimace} I’m not much of a planner, but I did plan to submit (and did) said Nano novel. I’ve been falling behind on the poetry submissions, though.

    Did I allocate enough time for writing, typing and editing my work?
    Yes, actually. What I didn’t allocate enough time to was cleaning my house — but then, that is so much compelling than writing.

    Were my expectations met?
    Exceeded — lifelines accepted, as well as said Nano novel.

    What surprised me this year?
    See above. And that the world creation that had been such a phobia turned out not to be a problem.

    If I could do anything over, what would I choose? What would I do differently?
    Nothing — I had a good year. I have another sci fi that I’m close to finishing up the editing on, and another that I just finished the first draft of — and, yes, my prepositions are dangling ..

    What are my writing strengths and weaknesses?
    I’m a terrible speller, but fortunately Word has a built-in spell checker, and I’m strong on grammar and synonyms and such. In the past, I’ve had a hard time with plotting, but I’ve been working on that, and it’s improving. I still have to fight my tendency towards passive writing, and if I find a workshop, I’m going to sign up. I want to work on more range in my characters’ body language.

    How might I address these weaknesses?
    Firstly, by being aware of them, especially when I revise, and secondly by taking workshops as necessary.

    How can I augment these strengths?
    I’ve actually taken a couple of grammar workshops that I loved .. who knew?

    What have I learned this year? About writing? About subjects of interest to me?
    I enjoy writing sci fi. My characters live and breathe in my head. Coming to terms with oneself is one of my major themes. Relationships are a central theme in both my poetry and my fiction.

    Thanks for the great questions. I had a blast answering them.

    • Peggy, thanks for answering the questions! After such a fabulous 2011, I’m wondering what your plans are for 2012. Clue us in?

  2. Finish editing the novel I wrote last spring, and submit it (it’s in the hands of my second beta reader). Work on revising the novel I wrote for Nano this past November (I’ve signed up for a workshop in January), revise it some more, and then submit it, too. Submit more poetry for publication. Decide what to do with the poems I wrote for the novels — I created two poets — I worked some of the poems into the novels, but there are lots more, natch.

    Decide what to write next.

    That’s all for the moment.

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  4. My year started in upheaval. I had no sure footing, no idea where I’d be at the end of the year. I found it incredibly hard to come up with goals. I had three works in progress, so my only plan was to finish one of them.

    I had plenty of time I could have used, but got too caught up in insecurities and distractions. Felt like I wasted my year away.

    The surprise was getting Lifelines published. That was my writing highlight of the year.

    My strengths are in grammar and world building. My weakness is not torturing my characters. The story gets too predictable, not unique or grabbing. I need to take my stories to the next level! I need to apply my poetic description to my prose, and use more story in my poetry.

    If I could get a do-over, I would spend less time stressing over the unknown and put more energy into my passions.

    Still working out goals for this year. My projects still lie unfinished. I have my first book which is calling me to revise it again, but I worry that it still wouldn’t have a strong enough hook for publication. My goal is to come up with goals by the end of the week.

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