Monday, January 24, 2011

Celebrating Accomplishments

The other day I had a novel thought – “Wouldn’t it be uplifting to focus on what I’ve done, rather than what I still need to do?”

I’ll admit to being a glass-half-empty kind of person, so it shouldn’t be surprising that I look back at the previous year and take note of the things I *didn’t* do. But recently my sister encouraged my writing accountability group to make a list of the things we *did* accomplish in 2010. Though writing down things I wanted to accomplish was easy, looking back it was hard to remember all the things I had actually done. Selective pessimist’s memory, maybe? It took 3 tries, and I still forgot to list the online classes I took in 2010.

But when I was done, I felt so good. I’d done a lot more things than I’d originally thought. Here’s the updated version:

This year I have:
~Attended all HOD meetings and Orlando National Conference (where I went to many workshops)
~Entered 3 contests, finaled in 1
~Submitted to agents/editors 7 times
~Received 6 rejections
~Pitched 4 times
~Completed 1 novella
~Wrote 2 proposals, 3 cover letters, 2 synopsis, and did light revisions on 1 full.
~Wrote 3/4 of the sequel to my GH finaling book.
~Blogged weekly.
~Plotted novella and 3 book southern gothic trilogy.
~Taken 2 online courses about characterization.

Often we focus only on pages written, but I did a lot to get my work out there and improve my writing craft too. Looking over this list filled me with pride. Last year was rough, but I still found time to write. I sincerely wish I had one for every year I’ve been writing. Though I have calendars where I track some of my progress, it isn’t the same as seeing a succinct list in front of me.

Look! I DID ALL OF THAT. It may not have led to the exact results I wanted, but I still had proof I worked my ass off last year. Most of us don’t pat ourselves on the back (mentally or physically) for the things we do. I know especially as a mom I look at everything I should have done for my family, instead of everything I have done for them.

What a terrible shame! One of the reasons I started writing, besides the creative outlet, was that as a mother of a 2 year old, I wanted something that was mine alone, and something that would stay done for longer than 5 minutes. Okay, 2 minutes.

How sad that I accomplished that without realizing it. I want to embrace the pride and positive energy of a job well done, whether anyone else acknowledges it with me or not. So I’m making Accomplishment Lists part of my annual January ritual. To make it easier, I’ve started a file on my computer to add to as I journey through 2011. :)

What would you add to your Accomplishment List?


Coming Soon!

Join us this Wednesday when author Vicki Dreiling visits the Playground!


susanwilson44 said...

I won the Harlequin Medical Pitch in March and got the chance with 5 others to pitch to one of the medical editors.
I took Shirley Jump's online class from Good to Sold.
I went to the RNA conference in London and had the time of my life!
I started an editing course at Editpalooza on 2 Jan.
And on Friday I got The Call from Mills and Boon offering me a two book contract for Medical Romances!

I am liking this year so far!

Problem Child said...

Yay Susan!!!! Many congrats!!! You are definitely off to a great start this year!!

Welcome to the M&B family.

Angel said...

OMG, Susan!!!!! That is totally awesome! What an exciting start to your year.

But I'd like to point out that you wouldn't have had that call without all the smaller steps you took last year. Congratulations on putting yourself out there to get that pitch! Enjoy the benefits of those small steps, and the wonderful places you are going now!


Smarty Pants said...

Congrats, Susan! That's wonderful news.

What I've done this year... (I'll admit I'm copying off you to an extent since I haven't sat long and hard to think)

- Attended all HOD meetings and National Conference in Orlando
- Taught a workshop at RWA National
- Sold a short story to the Trues
- Pitched to 2 editors and 2 dream agents and revised/mailed the requested manuscripts in a 'timely' manner
- Completely revised a book to submit to a new line when it was passed around to another editor/line
- Didn't completely melt down when the new editor still rejected it
- Got a revision request off a slush submission and completely reworked the book to resubmit it.
- Completely changed my frame of mind / writing focus to see if it gains me any ground
- Completed 2 follow up proposals and plotted 2 more for that line in case they like my writing
- Began working on a completely different cozy mystery series
- Blogged weekly
- Kept up with all my articles, book revies and interviews for the Playground
- Have yet to pull out all my hair knowing the editor has sent my MS to the senior for consideration and I still haven't heard anything!
- Kept up with all my receipts and was able to easily pull together my 2010 taxes.

Not a bad year, I'd say. It's a shame we tie up our success in how many books we wrote and if we made a sale. I didn't write anything new last year at all. Just revised old projects and did a few short proposals.

Yay us.

Playground Monitor said...

Yay Susan!

Last year wasn't my best and I don't even want to type out my paltry list of accomplishments. But this year is going to be better.

And yay Susan!

Angel said...

PM, you accomplished something major last year! You kept your sanity while enduring a major life change, and took proactive steps to help yourself and others in your situation. I'd say that's 1 major accomplishment!


Angel said...

SP - Haha, I had to do that too. Looking at other's lists helped me see where I hadn't counted things I did myself.

Wow, girl, that's a great list! And some major things on there too! Changing your writing perspective may seem small to some people, but that's a major project all on its own. Just keep chugging along.


Angel said...

Ah, man. The word verification showed up automatically for like 2 days, and now its gone again. :(


Word Actress said...

Now I can't remember if u said what did we accomplish in 2010 or 2011 (ugh!) I am trying very hard to finish my second book, first novel Night Surfing, which I've been working on for two years. I try to Guest Blog at least once a month, I read a lot of writer's blogs and try to comment on several a day. I am trying to sell more copies of my book The Shadow of a Dog I Can't Forget' which is a small, beautiful book always in need of my PR attention! I am trying to be more creative about getting PR opportunities for myself, always to sell more books! What else - oh, I've been a Judge in several writing contests and continue to get more gigs doing that.
Mostly, I have to finish the darn novel!!!

Angel said...

I hear ya, Word Actress. And from what I can tell, publicity can sure eat into the time! Good luck with trying to balance that with writing.

Looks like you accomplished a great deal last year. See, if you have focused simply on "I didn't finish the book" or how many pages you'd written, it might be very discouraging. But you wrote on your book, AND did all those other things. Congratulations!


Katherine Bone said...

Great achievements, Angel. ;)

Fantastic news, Susan. Major Congrats on your sale!!

I had a lot of great opportunities last year and can only hope this year is even better. I'm not going to list everything here but this week I sent out 10 submissions. Putting on a brave front: priceless. (Now, I didn't say it wouldn't be painless...) LOL!

Angel said...

Yep, those submissions are tough stuff! Congrats on the courage to get them out there, and prayers for many happy comments when they come back.