While packing for my big move in December, I went through my writing files. I’ve got stacks and stacks of paper, from my most recent drafts all the way down to the embarrassing, sugary-sweet stories I slammed out on my typewriter as a pre-teen.
As a writer, I’m always learning and looking for ways to improve my craft. But on this particular day I took some time to look back over what I’ve written in my life so far and how much progress I’ve made.
Sometimes it’s easy to spend so much time trying to improve ourselves and our writing that we lose sight of what we’ve already accomplished.
Personally I always think I haven’t written enough, or read enough, or finished enough. Going through my files I discovered:
- Finished manuscripts,
- Heaps of story ideas,
- Printed writing articles from years ago, each lovingly highlighted and studied,
- Notebooks full of handwritten notes from writing conferences and writing books I’ve read,
- Research on topics I wanted to write about, and
- Lots of little pieces of paper with quotes that have kept me motivated over the years.
It was a wonderful reminder that I’ve been a writer for many years, and that I’ve done a lot of hard work during those years. The writer I am today is built on the back of the writer I’ve been.
I took a few minutes to admire my younger self’s hard work, tenacity and belief – elements that usually go unnoticed while I concentrate on my writing.
So I encourage you to do the same.
- Set aside some time to go back over your writing life so far.
- Look through your old files, journals, manuscripts and any other items related to your writing.
- Tally up the time you’ve spent on your writing so far. Look for areas where you’ve improved. Discover things about yourself and your writing that surprise or encourage you.
- Spend a few minutes patting yourself on the back. Recognise your hard work and your progress as a writer.
- Now set your sights on the future. What would you like to accomplish this year?
Remember, make sure you focus on the accomplishments and positive aspects of your writing life. This should be a rewarding and encouraging activity.
Leave a comment below and let us know what you discovered about yourself as a writer.