Wow, hasn’t the past year just flown by?
I think we can all agree that 2020 will be difficult to forget.
No matter where you happen to be based, I bet you feel the same way.
For some of us, the slower pace of life due to Covid lockdowns allowed us to take a step back from the world and focus on our writing. For others, the stress and anxiety of the situation made it difficult to focus, let alone write.
No matter how your year’s been, it’s coming to an end. The holiday season is upon us!
Whether or not you feel it’s the most wonderful time of the year, it’s certainly a time to take stock, reflect, and celebrate whatever writing you got done during the last year.
Look back on your writing progress in the last year
If you didn’t manage to achieve all your writing goals in the past year, don’t be hard on yourself. It’s been a tough year. One which will probably be the source for a lot of great writing in the future, to try and look at it positively.
However, I’m willing to bet you made some kind of writing progress. Even if you managed to read blog content like this regularly, that’s still something worthwhile. It’s easy to dismiss what you’ve done and be overly self-critical. You need to stop if you catch yourself doing that and try and take a more positive look at things instead.
By evaluating the progress you’ve made, you might find out some surprising things. You might also be pleased with subtle improvements that weren’t obvious at the time but become so upon reflection.
If you’re not sure how to evaluate your progress, don’t worry!
Try these three ideas for size:
- Try and look back to the start of 2020. Do you have an author journal you can look at? What about a blog? Even emails or messages you sent to other writers can clue you in on what you were thinking and hoping for the year ahead. Make a note of all your expectations and hopes on one side of the page. On the other, write down how the year went in reality.
- Take a monthly review of your writing. This is easy to do if you write in Google Docs, for example, by sorting your work by date. You can do the same kind of thing on your hard drive if you write offline. Make a note of what you worked on each month and how it went.
- You can also simply evaluate all your different projects. Which went well? Which did you struggle with? Were there times where you were more or less productive?
Looking back on your work in 2020 isn’t about being harsh or critical. Whether you managed to publish an entire book, or just contribute to your blog occasionally, it all counts. It’s simply a way to understand yourself better and get thinking about what you want to achieve in 2021.
Learn an entirely new writing skill
With the colder weather and shorter days during the holiday season, it’s a great time to get cozy at home and learn something new.
How do you currently spend your leisure time? If you’re like a lot of people, you probably spend a lot of it watching Netflix and browsing social media. That’s fine, in moderation! But why not consider doing something like halving your Netflix time and using those hours to take a course related to your writing?
You could consider learning:
- Copywriting to help your online content became more effective
- Novel writing skills if you’re ready to make the leap to a full book project
- Craft tips to improve whichever areas you feel are your weak spots
- Nonfiction writing skills like outlining and mind mapping
- Poetry writing for beginners to express yourself through verse
The possibilities are endless. Choose something that will help move your writing career forward or something you love just for the sake of it. The holiday season is a fantastic time to hunker down and study.
Set goals for the upcoming year
Don’t wait until the New Year to set your goals. Do it during the holidays. That way, when 2021 rolls around, you’ll be ready to take massive action and start going after what you want to achieve.
But what kind of goals should you set?
The goals you choose will be aligned with the kind of writer you are. Whatever you end up settling on, you should make sure that your goals follow the SMART methodology so that you can easily measure your progress. It’s also worth writing them down and even using something like a tracking app to measure your progress toward them.
If you’re not sure of what kind of writing goals you could go after in 2021, here are some suggestions.
- Writing a nonfiction book that speaks to your biggest personal pain point
- Turning your writing hobby into a fulltime pursuit
- Offering paid writing services to boost your online income
- Starting a course to teach others what you know
- Mentoring younger writers directly
- Outlining an entire fiction series
- Choosing an entirely new style of writing you’ve never attempted before
There’s nothing quite as inspiring as the blank slate of an entirely new year. Have some powerful writing goals ready to go so you can hit the ground running.
Give yourself and others thoughtful gifts
No matter what faith you have, or if you have none, the holiday season is a fantastic time for giving.
If you have friends or family who also write, or just happen to be lovers of the written word, you should try and align your passion and your gift-giving.
Also, keep in mind that great gifts don’t have to be expensive. Thoughtful gifts or even acts of service are often greatly appreciated and very much in line with the spirit of the season.
Need some ideas for great gifts to give other writers or readers? Here are some that are sure to be well received.
- A framed print of someone’s favorite book cover
- An old or even first edition version of a classic book
- A subscription to a magazine focused on writing or books
- Access to an online course for writers
- A luxury, high-quality notebook for planning writing projects
- An e-reader device such as a Kindle
- A personal object or something signed by a favorite writer
So, there you have it! A writer’s guide to making the most of the holiday season.
However, and wherever, you end up celebrating this year, I sincerely hope you have a peaceful and positive holiday season. May it lead to great things for your writing life in 2021.