It's mid-December, almost time for me to begin thinking about The I Did It List – my small act of defiance against all the emotionally upsetting lists we humans tend to mentally make as the year draws to a close: the one that ticks off the things we failed to do all year. We didn't lose weight, clear out the basement, organize the photos, cook better meals, take that trip, call that old friend.
As writers we do our own version of the miss list – we take ourselves to task about the books or chapters or essays not completed, the conference not attended, the acceptances not received, the work not submitted, the agent not contacted, the class not taken, the revision left undone. We tend to see our writing year as a finite lot of things not yet achieved instead of a valuable step along an infinitely curvy road.
Give yourself a break. Please.
Write your own writer's version of The I Did It List.
Make it a good one. Please. Write down everything that's happened in your writing life in 2012 that's been good, maybe even great. At least positive. Little steps accomplished. Medium goals reached. Medium ones broached.
What did you do that moved your writing life ahead? What did you get done? Who did you help with their writing goals? Were you published someplace that meant something to you? Did you begin a project? Finish something, anything? Did someone you respect say something encouraging to you about your work? Were you invited to participate in a writing project you are pleased to be involved in? Did you finally "get" some aspect of writing craft you'd been stymied on before? Did you write more regularly? With more conviction? Did you?
In my own I Did It List, I include all the small and the big things. Why not? The tangible and the intangible. The noteworthy and public, the private. Not only does everything add up, it's all part of the whole. Without a lot of small "I did it's" the larger ones can't have transpired. That's how I choose to see it.
I know you did something, many things good for your writing life in 2012. You know you did too. Write it down.
That's the challenge. Some time between now and December 31, write your own "I Did It List" all about your writing year.
You can even get started now, and share one "I Did It" in comments.