This time last year I was immersed in weekly writing classes up until December, which not only inspired and encouraged creativity through the exercises we were set and the advice given, but also created links with other local writers and generated critical feedback. Indeed, the course inspired this blog and encouraged me to write short stories, which I had previously stayed away from.
So, whilst the New Year is generally the time for reflection, reviewing goals and assessing achievements from the year past, I have decided to take stock now and can only proclaim that, with my writing – time will tell.
On paper, I have achieved a lot of what I set out to do (both consciously and unconsciously). I could make a list and check off each item. In fact, let me:
- Finish my children’s novel – check
- Write a synopsis – check
- Submit my manuscript to publishers and agents – check
- Write more short stories – check
- Produce poetry – check (and published! – check)
- Connect (and maintain connections) with other writers – check
- Read more (an endless ambition) – check
- Attend more writing/literary events – check
However, whilst this all sounds great, there are many things I can uncheck as well:
- Write my second book (or possibly the third, given the length of my first!) – ?
- Secure an agent – ?
- Get my first book published – ?
- Maintain daily writing discipline – ? (this has slipped!)
- Keep motivated/inspired/encouraged etc etc ….. you get the picture
Does it mean I’ve failed at my goals and am not a ‘proper writer’? Well no – I know I’m a writer and as I’ve said before, publishing success isn’t the only success worth seeking. It’s good to have goals and the point of my reflection is to see with hindsight where I’m at, where I was at and where I might go next.
It’s a balancing act trying to juggle journalism with fiction writing (along with my forays and side-steps into short stories and poetry), and perhaps moreso now with the addition of freelancing pressure, which requires an altogether different discipline, but every writer has much to juggle along with their ‘writing life’ and the fact is – time will tell with my writing, and what’s wrong with that? I’m in this for the long run and prefer to pace myself.
Writers often berate themselves over not writing enough – if I had a pound for every time I’ve heard a writer say – ‘I wish I had time to write more’ or, ‘I haven’t written anything in ages’, then I’d be a more profitable writer than I currently am – but, while ‘real writers’ write rather than simply talk, sometimes talking helps spur on creativity. Be it a writer friend, class or article – it all helps.
As long as you do write and keep at it, time will tell if you’re on track to achieving what you really want to achieve. It’s like the idea of the sculpture chipping away at the marble to finally create a masterpiece statue – for a long time it seems a fruitless task and the shape is indistinct but bit by bit, a form emerges, until at last – there stands a finished work of art.
It may take weeks, months or longer for such a work to be produced, but what matters is that the artist keeps at it and remains patient with the job at hand. I’ve been reading short stories about patient women this week – most of whom waited years to see their desires accomplished and not always in the ways they expected. It’s a reminder to me that the good things take time to create and that patience is key – waiting to hear back from agents or publishers; waiting for the right time to give over to writing your next novel/short story/poem; waiting to hone your technique until it catches the attention of ‘the right person’ (by which I mean you work at creating the situation but wait for the opportune moments!); or simply waiting until you – the writer – are satisfied with the works of art you have produced.
It’s my thought that if you want to write, you will; if you want to develop, you will; and if you really want to achieve your goals, you will. These things may not happen in the timeframe or indeed, in the ways you expect or want them to but… persevere and it is my belief that you might just be surprised.
Time tells a lot and, whether or not goals have been accomplished or have floated out of sight, I for one, intend to keep chipping away – and see what takes shape.