Labor Day weekend proves an excellent time to review the year’s writing journey. Two-thirds through the year is the perfect time to pull out the list of writing goals you set at that other good time for reflection, New Years.
What, you didn’t write down your goals? Writing down goals is a must for all writers. How else will you know if you are succeeding in your quest to become a better wordsmith? Writing down goals makes them real, tangible, and something to cross off when completed. I love that last part as it opens a door into a new story idea I’ve been mulling over, or the next item on the list.
For a writer, reflection requires an analytic mind; it is not the time for emotion. Push negative thoughts of how much you did not accomplish from your mind, and focus on what you completed. Only two short stories and not the six you planned? Good news: there are four months remaining to reach that goal. Without the goal written down in the first place, and thereby entrenched in your subconscious, you may not have completed two stories.
Your novel slugs along and vanquished the excitement when you first started? It’s okay. Now is the time to regain focus. Reread the book with the eye on adding conflict where the story lags; read a How-To book on how to increase tension—reading books on how to improve skills catapults me into my own writing.
Review your list of goals to identify not only what you have accomplished and what you want to accomplish, but also to determine what is still relevant. Ideas noted nine months ago may seem stale or need more time to germinate, and that’s okay. New possibilities may have opened up and taken precedence over other once highly-thought-of goals, and that’s okay too. Writing is adaptation, revision, and review (not necessarily in that order), but the most important aspect is forward movement—even if it’s not what you previously had in mind.
A word of caution: do not make your list so long and bulky that even while writing it, you know you are not going to finish the majority of them. Make a list of items that are achievable and within your grasp—you can always add more when you finish all the items listed!
Labor Day can be a time of rejuvenation when things are possible again. Take an hour and review what you want to accomplish over the next four months; it will get you back on track to being the writer you want to be.
See you on the next page,