A few years ago I attended a writers retreat. Aside from a chance to write in a different venue and hang out with other writers, I enjoyed an unexpected benefit: I recalled my writing journey over the past twelve months.
It’s wise to periodically look back and evaluate progress, yet we seldom do. As writers we too often go from one day to the next, plodding forward but not seeing any headway.
The opposite dilemma is sliding from one day to the next, with the implicit promise to write tomorrow. Days become weeks and weeks pile up to take months and months turn into years, all with the intent to resume writing tomorrow.
Neither perspective is good. When we don’t see the journey, we lose the opportunity to celebrate progress. Yet, if we procrastinate, we miss even taking the trip. Yes, seasons come when we can’t write or don’t write, but those should only last for a time; that’s why it’s called a season. Then we resume writing.
Take a pause today, and look at the past year. What do you see?
- If you’ve moved forward in your writing, take a moment to cheer. And then get back to work.
- If you’ve not been writing—whether for a good reason or not—don’t despair. Shrug off the guilt, remove the excuses, and stop explaining why. Forget what was and resolve to resume writing. Start today.
- What if you progressed but not as much as you hoped? Simply realize you’re normal. We seldom accomplish as much as we want or think we should; that’s life. Celebrate what you did, cast aside what you didn’t do, and pledge to keep moving forward. That’s what writers do.
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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.