Around this time of year, I think seriously about my accomplishments for the past year and goals for the next.
Assessing 2012 accomplishments
Here are some questions to ask yourself about 2012:
- Have you sent out your work during the past year?
- What creative and submission strategies worked for you? What didn’t work for you?
- Were there any obstacles that prevented you from having the creative life you wanted?
Planning for 2013
- What can you do to increase your opportunities for success in 2013? This could include finishing first drafts, finishing revisions, crafting queries, setting up a submissions manager spreadsheet, attending workshops and conferences to meet agents and editors, etc.
- In what ways could you overcome last year’s obstacles?
What I Learned in 2012
I’m big on goals and assessments — they’ve been a staple of my corporate life for decades. (Yes, I have a day job.) Answering the above questions for myself, I’ve learned that:
- Exclusive submissions to agents and editors haven’t worked for me.
- Engaging in a regularly scheduled writing practice has worked well. I’m constantly creating new material.
- Reading, reading, reading is a good thing.
- Teaching as an adjunct has enabled me to nurture young talent and gives me a reason to read, read, read. In 2012, I taught Introduction to Children’s Literature and Advanced Creative Writing at a local university. In 2013, so far, I’m teaching Effective Business Writing and Introduction to Creative Writing at the same university.
- Attending the annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference was inspirational and spurred me to expand The Whole Megillah to poetry and memoir. In 2013, I’m chairing a panel, “The Whole Megillah: The Jewish Experience in Children’s Literature,” featuring fellow Vermont MFA alumnae Sarah Aronson, Sarah Lamstein, Micol Ostow, and Meg Wiviott.
- Traveling, especially to Jewish sites, adds dimension and depth to my writing. I’m still writing about my 2008 trip to Poland and my 2011 trip to Prague.
- Participating in getaways and retreats gets me to write and revise. I need them to get the job done.
What’s Your Megillah?
What have you learned during 2012 and what are your plans for 2013? Please share.
What an active writing life outside your day job, Barbara! In 2012, revision was the name of my game, and I plan for it to continue through 2013 – allowing the time and patience for the re-seeing epiphanies. I’m also looking forward in 2013 to letting go of a volunteer commitment that takes up too much of my time. I need an open field to do my own work in the time allotted my aging brain.
Thanks, Sarah, for being the first to share!
It’s tough letting go of volunteer activities. I had to do that a couple of years ago. I realized I was spending more time on that than on writing and it was getting in the way.
A literary agent decided to represent me in 2012 for my unpublished sci-fi novel, “Lost & Found.” Then, she discovered my Holocaust novel, “Jacob’s Courage” (2007, Mazo Publishers) and raved about it. She thinks it should be a huge success with a big-time publisher. Go figure. When you just write as a hobby, luck finds your doorstep. If I was trying to earn a living as a published author, I would likely still be strugging for attention. Life is strange and when the strangeness is good, one must savor it completely.
G-d works in mysterious ways! After years of writing YA novel manuscripts, my first book for kids will be a picture book (coming out in Fall 2014). Go figure. Thanks for sharing?
Barbara, I notice that you did not use the dreaded word–Resolutions. I like thinking toward assessment and goals as you have for 2013. Great approach. I just wrote a blog post on: Why I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I make “revisions”. http://wp.me/p1g33i-6z
Resolutions don’t work for me. I prefer to think in terms of goals – what are the things I want to do. The word “resolution” conjures up things I need to fix – hardly motivating, right? I also like to create vision boards.
I just read your blog post and commented. I, too, segment my goals and accomplishments: Home and health (both physical and financial), relationships, creativity, and work (day job). Needless to say, creativity is by far the most populated section!
I’d love to hear more about your experiences with contests!
Thanks. I’ll update you when I blog about contests. It’s another way to set short term goals.
Thanks – I’ll look forward to that!
As 2012, quickly draws to a close, I am reflecting on all of my accomplishments. Since returning to the US in December of 2010, I have spent time learning the ins and outs of writing and editing a memoir, designing and running a website, blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, self publishing, and marketing. My journey has included several highs and lows. Frequently, I became overwhelmed with my endeavor. Overall, I am thrilled with my recently published book, MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE. I am lucky to have met many wonderful people along the way. Hopefully, my circles will continue to grow in 2013. I plan to travel abroad and read numerous multicultural picture books so that my blogs will include posts that my audience will enjoy. My interactions with people on social media and during the course of marketing my book will hopefully be fruitful. Ideally, there will still be time to plan my next book. I’m not sure the genre, but I’m leaning toward a kid’s book. Best wishes for a wonderful 2013. I look forward to following your blog.
Thanks, Sandy, for sharing. Where had you been prior to December 2010 and where will you be traveling in 2013? I’m a big believer in travel to spark one’s creativity. Have a fabulous 2013 and I hope we hear from you, wherever you are.
In 2010, I was in India. My memoir, MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE, chronicles the events that led up to my decision to move to India as well as my culture shock, teaching experiences at an international K-12 boarding school, traveling in India, seeking my Jewish identity while in Asia, and my eldest son’s Sephardic Jewish wedding in Delhi. My situation was a bit unique. Most middle aged Jewish women do not opt to live outside of their comfort zone. My international teaching experience along with my husband’s near fatal ski accident has inspired me to travel and write about my experiences. My blog at http://www.sandrabornstein.com includes travel postings. Most recently I wrote about Jewish Rome and visiting the pyramids in Egypt. I will be writing more about my November European/Middle East cruise in the coming weeks as I balance guest blogs for my upcoming virtual book tour. I will be returning to Europe in the spring. I highly encourage anyone interested in exploring the world to visit my site.