Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I’ve kept a regular writing journal since 1994, and there are even some entries dating to before that. After updating today’s file, I decided, on a whim, to take a gander at my journals for previous years. I discovered something that might be worth sharing.
My journal entries focus primarily on what I do each day in writing, what progress I’ve achieved on projects and what successes/failures I’ve had. I do mention major life events going on at the same time, and occasionally what books I’m reading at the moment. I almost always start each new year with a retrospective on the past year.
I began my journal primarily as a motivational tool. I’m a fellow who needs visual evidence of my progress as I work toward long-term goals. The journal provides that. I can see from my entries when projects were started and finished, and can get a feel for what was happening in my life to either distract or focus my thoughts. I can see when I have a series of days where I enter over and over again, “no writing today.” That upsets me. It makes me want to get back to work because I know I’ve been lazy. I know the effort isn’t there.
As I went through my older journals tonight, I also found that I used to begin each year with a list of goals that I hoped to accomplish. Though I never completed all those goals, I believe that putting them into my mind on January 1st helped me work toward them over the next twelve months. And usually I did make progress on them, enough so that I managed some writing each year that was important to me, enough so that these days I usually start the year with projects already underway and no longer need to put my goals into print.
I wonder, do any of you out there in blogland pick yearly writing goals for yourself? If so, do you find that it helps you? Hinders you? Or do you think it might help to give it a try? Would it help you to plan your year’s work more consciously? Looking back at my earlier years in writing, I find that it helped me.
The new year is coming up soon. That’s always a good time for a retrospective look at what you’ve been doing, and whether it has been successful. It’s also a time to look forward, and—just maybe—to plan, to goal, to give your desires life by putting them into words.
PS: Shauna has a great interview over on her blog with C. S. Harris, a writer of historical mysteries who more commonly goes by the name Candice Proctor. It’s well worth a look.