Weekend Writing Inspiration: Wrapping Up Your 2019 Writing Year
January 10, 2020
We are a week into 2020; now is the perfect time to take stock of your writing experiences this year, as well as set the stage for what’s to come.
One of the challenges we face as writers is being so involved in the nitty gritty of day-to-day writing and our current screenplays that we can forget to acknowledge and celebrate what we have accomplished. We tend to only see what we have left to do on the road ahead to where we want to end up. Reflecting on what you’ve accomplished strengthens your belief in yourself as a writer, as well as gives you an opportunity to applaud yourself for where you’ve been and what you’ve done.
Reflecting on your writing year—and even the whole past decade (if you’d like!)—also allows you to review what’s worked and what hasn’t when it comes to your writing, which can guide and inspire you to make changes in the coming year ahead.
Here’s a set of reflection questions designed to help you take inventory of your writing year.
What did you accomplish with your writing in 2019? What are you most proud of?
Your writing accomplishments might include how many pages you wrote, minutes or hours you spent writing, queries you sent out, submissions you made, contests you entered, contacts you made, or other major milestones you reached. It might include how much progress you made on a rewrite, or how many new ideas you generated. It might include getting your screenwriter’s website up or updated.
You’ll notice I’m focusing on measurable activities. Measuring accomplishments allow you to objectively assess your work. So often we only assess our progress subjectively, and often negatively, so taking a legit stock of what you’ve done is a critical part of self-care as a writer. You might even want to make a practice of logging your work throughout the year, so you’re less likely to forget all the awesome work you’ve done.
- Challenges overcome
What writing challenges did you overcome?
How did you navigate them and what were the steps you took to overcome them? Were you able to take a screenwriting contest or fellowship in stride? Did you take emotional risks by putting your work out there in a new way? Did you find a way to solve a story problem you’ve been wrestling with for a long time? Did you overcome a spate of writer’s block or resistance?
These are valuable and important parts of your accomplishments and your growth as a writer—and worth noting. Write them down!
- Writing practice successes
What worked with your writing practice this year?
Were you successful in writing as much as you wanted to? Do you feel good about the writing time you set aside or the boundaries you kept around your writing? Did you get the support you needed and wanted in your writing life? What went well? What do you feel good about?
Make a list of what worked well for you this year in terms of your writing and writing life. This will guide you in terms of what you will want to keep doing as you move forward into 2020 and reinforce the good efforts you made.
- Writing practice issues
What didn’t work when it came to your writing practice?
Were there places where you got tripped up or your writing was disrupted? What went wrong or got in the way? Were these internal or external challenges? Were there any personal challenges or issues you were dealing with that affected your ability to write? If you could do it all over again, was there anything you could have done differently?
Make a list of any ways in which your writing went off the rails or didn’t quite hit the mark, so you can reflect on any changes you might want to make for 2020. Remember, it’s not failure, it’s information.
Is there anything to forgive yourself for or accept about your writing this year?
If you didn’t accomplish as much as you’d hoped, it can feel discouraging. But you also have to remember that you’re writing in real life, not in a fantasy world. You might have kids or a day job, or you may have been through a major life transition this year (like a move, breakup or loss). Or you might be struggling with resistance and self-doubt. All of these fall into the realm of reality, which doesn’t always match up with our big hopes and dreams.
Didn’t write as much as you wanted to? I forgive you.
Made less progress than you’d hoped? I forgive you.
It’s okay! You’re human. Are you willing to forgive yourself?
Regardless of the cause, letting go of last year’s expectations and desires and moving ahead without judgement is a powerful way to begin a new writing year.
- Lessons learned
When you look at the entirety of your accomplishments, challenges, writing practice successes, writing practice issues, and places you want to forgive yourself, what lessons stand out to you?
As a writer, one of your biggest jobs is to continue to grow and improve, not only in terms of your craft skills, but also in the growth of your character: your discipline, self-belief, determination, courage and responsibility. Paying attention to where you’ve been will help you move forward more consciously, intentionally and joyfully.
Where do you want to go from here? What lessons will you take away from 2019 and make it even easier to write in 2020?
Your Weekend Writer’s Assignment
This weekend, reflect on the questions above to help you bring a sense of completion and closure to 2019’s writing year so you can move forward in an inspired and empowered way in 2020. Happy New Year!
Written by: Jenna AveryJenna Avery is a screenwriter, columnist, and blogger who redesigned her life and career to support her calling to write. She specializes in sci-fi action and space fantasy, and her most recent project is a post-apocalyptic coming-of-age story for a Canadian producer. Jenna is also a writing coach and the founder of Called to Write, where she has helped hundreds of writers overcome procrastination, perfectionism, and resistance so they can get their writing onto the page and into the world where it belongs. Jenna writes about writing, creativity, and calling at calledtowrite.com, for ScriptMag, for Final Draft, and teaches for Screenwriter’s University. Download Jenna’s free guidebooks for writers when you join her mailing list at https://www.calledtowrite.com/mailing-list