Right, well that’s 2012 done with. All 365 days (365.25 if you’re feeling particularly scientific) have passed, and there is never a better time to look back over the year and make a note of everything that was a blinding success, everything that was a horrendous blood-gutted catastrophe and everything in between. It’s always difficult to be impartial when you look back over your own achievements, you can either be too lenient or too critical. Neither of which do you any good. Me, I’ll probably be to critical, so you’ll have to bear with me.
So, what didn’t go well in 2012?
We’ll start with what didn’t go so well because I always think it’s better to end on a good note, but being critical of myself has always been easy so we should be able to fly through this bit.
My lack of confidence has probably been the largest single reason why nothing has been published or printed this year. I’ve just been too darn scared to send anything off. I can only assume that subconsciously I feel that if I was to send something off that was anything less than 100% perfect the entire literary and journalistic community would hunt me down like a dog and burn me at the stake, must be a witch-dog damn mixed metaphors. In short, I found it very difficult to send anything off, be it short stories, reviews, articles, long diatribes on the inner workings of a badger-controlled irrigation system, everything. My entire list of things I sent off for external publishing comes to nothing more than three letters of about 50 words.
The second biggest gun in the not-so-good arsenal was my ability to procrastinate and the problem I had with writing without setting myself a date in the future to do it. If something came in, either an idea or a legitimate request it would be something I’d do “tomorrow” or on “Monday” even if I was doing nothing when the idea came to me, I’d still have to designate it a time and date. This is likely to be part of the whole OCD thing, but if I could overcome it I’d get more writing done.
The final one is not a particularly bad in comparison with the other two, but when I have written something; specifically something that is to be published online I don’t check it through enough or thoroughly enough. This is down to my excitement and eagerness for people to read my stuff rather than a deliberate lack of care. I’ve written something and goddamnit I want people to read it now. The trouble is that typo’s and crap content creep in, then the joy of writing something is quickly preceded by that horrible feeling when you know you’ve made mistakes.
Those three things, though mainly the first two are what has held me back over that last year. Not writing when I could and should and too scared to send anything off once I’ve written it are the two areas I really need to work on. Don’t get me wrong editing and checking still needs to be looked at, but if I’m not writing stuff in the first place what is there to edit and check?
…and What did go Well in 2012?
Now onto the better stuff, it hasn’t all been doom and gloom, failures and errors there’s been some good stuff that I have learned as well.
Rather surprisingly, it turns out that I have some writing skill. How much skill is still unknown but there is some there. I still have an endless amount of practice… is practice the right word? No, I still have an endless amount of experience to gain but the bones of a writing style are definitely there. I’ve written a fair amount of flash fiction and have received some pretty good and constructive comments about them and a big thank you to everyone who has commented, whether you provided me invaluable knowledge, the benefit of your experience or a simple yet positive one word comment you’ve helped even it just gave the encouragement to keep writing.
The Flash Fiction Challenges namely the ones hosted on Terribleminds.com, have given me the opportunity to try my hands at different writing styles and genres of fiction. Challenges like these have helped me more than you might imagine. They bring writers together to share and to help each other. If you have never done a flash fiction challenge it’s worth popping over and giving one a try.
Finally the best thing I learned about my writing in 2012… I still want to do it. Despite my dips in enthusiasm, the doubts, and the periodic lack of confidence it’s still something I enjoy doing and want to do more of. I need a little discipline and experience to keep me pushing alone but I’m ok on the enthusiasm front.
I know it looks as if the good points are less important than the bad, but that’s not true. The good points may be a little more fundamental but the enthusiasm to keep going is the biggest positive I could hope for. Well, outside being a multi-million pound bestselling author anyway. The bad points can be as large and as nasty as they want but if you still want to do something despite the difficulties, it can’t be a bad thing.
Thanks for all your support, and hope to see you again in the new year.
- Resolutions for Writers: 10 Ways to Hone Your Craft in 2013 (omnivoracious.com)
- Resolution time – don’t dwell on 2012 (megapaopu.wordpress.com)