I’ve felt stuck lately, writing-wise.
Not because I don’t want to write or don’t know what to write about. But because it’s the time of year everyone typically starts reflecting on everything they’ve accomplished over the past 365 days. And all I want to do is move on.
It’s been a long and hectic year for me, and I’m honestly amazed at how much writing I managed to get done despite the insanity that has been my life. But I’m about a week away from a much-needed end-of-year vacation, and 100 percent ready for 2018 and all it (hopefully) has in store for me.
But are we supposed to spend time looking back at our years? Thinking about what we did? What we wrote? What we accomplished? What we wish we had?
Or are we supposed to just put it all behind us, create new goals, and try to write better and more efficiently than we ever have before?
Maybe it’s not one or the other. Maybe we need both of these things, if we want to grow as writers and level up our skills.
Reflecting is just as important as looking ahead. You have to be able to recognize where you’ve been, in order to appreciate how far you have come — and how much farther you could still go.
You need something to remind you that you have the potential to learn and grow and achieve so much more than you think you do.
I believe we have to look behind us. But only as a means of propelling us forward, into the unknown that excites yet terrifies us so much.
There are a lot of things I didn’t accomplish or even start this year that I wish I would have.
But looking back on my year, I can better understand why I didn’t. And I know what I need to do differently next year to make more creative things happen.
Don’t look back on what you have or haven’t done and let yourself feel too disappointed.
No. Feel excited for all the things you’ve yet to do — knowing your greatest weaknesses and shortcomings, but also your biggest strengths.
Growth is a balance between reflecting on what used to be and having faith in what’s yet to come.
It’s OK that you didn’t start that blog or finish that book or solve that problem. But you don’t have to put it completely behind you yet. Let yourself learn from it. You can do better. You haven’t failed. You just haven’t succeeded yet.
If you look back on what you have or haven’t done, and that doesn’t help you rebuild, that’s OK too. It’s OK to just turn around and move forward. But don’t let yourself keep making wrong turns as you go. Even small, slow growth is still growth. Find a way to make it work for you. You got this.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.