Last week, I shared how going on a writer’s retreat gave me the opportunity to pause and reflect on my writing journey over the past twelve months.
I had written nearly every day during the prior year, making progress but not seeing it. I ground out words with methodical repetition, not realizing I had reasons to cheer. Yet I did have cause to celebrate, in terms of both quantity and quality.
Quantity: At last year’s retreat, I started writing a book. Just before this year’s event, I finished it. (Never mind that a book is never truly done.) That was quite an accomplishment, but until I paused to reflect, I hadn’t appreciated how far I had come.
What amazed me even more was that I started researching another book last April and just finished that one, too. I also took time to write a short e-book, How Big Is Your Tent? (download it for free). Plus, there were a couple hundred more blog posts. I also worked on my platform and published some shorter works.
Quality: Sitting at the writers retreat also reminded me of how I’ve improved over the past year. I’ve learned so much—and applied most of it. I don’t make the same basic errors I made twelve months ago. I still make mistakes, it’s just they’re more advanced ones—ones I was too green to even see last year. I’ve plugged into critique groups, attended webinars, and taken online classes. I’ve gotten better.
But instead of reveling in all this, I was tired and discouraged, Sheesh. I forgot to celebrate my accomplishments.
There’s certainly more I could have done and more I wanted to do. But I refuse to focus on what didn’t happen, instead celebrating what did.
Your journey is different from mine. You may have less time or more time to write, fewer distractions or more, a slower lifestyle or a busier one. So don’t compare yourself to me. Compare yourself to you. That’s what matters—and then celebrate what you’ve accomplished.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.