Monday, January 2, 2012

Looking Back at 2011: The Review Is In

It's January 2, the start of a new year. Since Monday is my review day on this blog, I thought I'd do a little review of my 2011, and encourage you to do the same. After all, new year's resolutions do no good if they aren't practical and if they don't meet your most important needs for growth. I'd say it takes a good look back at 2011, the good and the bad, before you set your course for 2012.

What worked for you in 2011? How did you meet your goals? And what was the good news?

For me, 2011 has been the year I built up consistency on the blog. I asked myself what I wanted to write about, what I wanted to achieve. More than anything, I wanted to meet a set schedule for posting, and develop a plan for what I was going to talk about. That way, I'd always have something to say, and you as readers would have something stable to look forward to. If you want to know how I'm able to post three times a week, in spite of being busy (see last Friday's post), it's because of my goal to develop that consistent theme and timing for this blog. That's why it's important to have clear goals to meet. They really do help you go somewhere.

I've discovered several things that have helped my writing in 2011. First of all, planning ahead and writing posts ahead of time. When I can manage that, I'm much more effective. 

Second, having a writing group of friends who are also writing has helped me move forward in area where I have trouble, aka procrastination. Knowing that I have people expecting to see my latest writing (accountability) has forced me to buckle down and do more work than I otherwise might. 

Third, setting a goal to get published or win contests and then moving towards it has helped me to move beyond myself to getting my writing out there for others to read. Many people are content to write for themselves, and I think that's great. But for me, it's not enough. Recognizing that I want the recognition has meant that I also need to do something to get that recognition. No one's going to knock at my door to let me know they discovered how great I am through ESP. I have to go find readers and prove I'm worth reading. So I'm doing that.

And it has led to some of my achievements this year. By getting out and taking risks, I've made some good new friends on Twitter. I've been interviewed for articles on writing and been invited to guest post (thanks, Lynette Benton!). I won fifth place in a flash fiction contest. And I've won some great books to review on my blog, some of which are hard copies that I can give away on the blog later.

Knowing what I've achieved (and you knowing what you've achieved) is essential to setting new goals for the new year. Take a look at what worked and build on it. And then consider what didn't work. Is it important enough to tackle it again in 2012? Maybe go about it differently. Is it not worth it? Okay, then drop it and make room for a new goal.

I'm going to build on the success I've had with my blog by working toward exposure to new readers. And I'm going to work harder to bring that same level of consistency to my novel-writing, which frankly is much harder for me, but is something I want enough to tackle it again.

I also want to be much more consistent about Twitter and building relationships there. I'll need to consider practical ways to make that happen.

What successes have you had in 2011? What are you going to build on? And what are you going to jettison as unneeded baggage? What new goals do you have for 2012? Share them here. Maybe we can hold each other accountable for those new goals. Maybe we can swap guest posts or share links to each other's blogs. I'm open to the possibilities. I hope you are too.

Best wishes for this new year to you. As Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite might say, "May all your dreams come true!"

Copyright (c) 2012 by M.A. Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Napoleaon Dynamite! I hated that film. My teenagers forced us to watch that thing... *grins*
    I applaud your goals for the coming year and everything that you have accomplished so far in this crazy business. We learn something new all of the time, don't we?
    I look forward to getting to know you better and watching as you tick these goals off of your to-do list.



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