3 Reasons Why a Year-End Review is Important, Especially for Writers

A couple of weeks ago I joined the Female Entrepreneur Association after fangirling over their posts for weeks. As I continue the transition from being a writer to being an “authorpreneur”, I’m increasingly drawn to the business side of the process, which will become more relevant as each month draws closer to having a real life book to market. Thankfully, I’ve grown up in a family of entrepreneurs and I’ve been one myself so this isn’t scary to me, but it is a lot to prepare for so it’s been good for me to start thinking about it early.

Up until now, much of my focus when it came to writing was about craft and learning to write a good book. Now that I also have to start setting up my business, it’s been encouraging to surround myself with businesswomen and look at my writing life through different eyes. This month, FEA encouraged us to review our year, asking leading questions about what we accomplished, what we didn’t, and why. When I first looked over the workbook, I didn’t know how much I’d have to say on the topic. I edited a book. I don’t need a whole workbook to tell me that.

But as I put more thought into each question, I realized I’d actually done so much more than that. I got an agent, I overcame obstacles I was sure were impossible, I presented my first workshops, I coordinated workshops for the Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association, I grew as a writer and a person, and I surrounded myself with a community that kept me going, even during the hard times. After writing all that down, I had to admit to myself that this has been my best year yet.

As writers, it often feels like we’re only checking off one or two accomplishments a year, and that can make the journey seem long and arduous and discouraging. But often times we’re chalking up a lot more wins than we realize. Here are 3 reasons why you should sit down with yourself and do a year-end review before 2015 begins:

  1. You don’t have a boss. We’re called “authorpreneurs” for a reason. Whether or not you’re published or making money with your writing yet, if you are actively writing, you’re building something that will one day be a small business. You are your own boss, with no one to pat you on the back and tell you “good job”, and no one to let you know where you could have done better. Part of being a business owner is managing and validating yourself and a year-end review is a great way to do that.
  2. You’ll discover where there’s room for improvement in your process. If you set goals for the year (and I hope you did! if not, add this to your list for improvements!), take a look at what you weren’t able to accomplish. And even more important than that, why. When you understand why, you can put plans in place to avoid those pitfalls again in the coming year.
  3. You’ll be grateful for all the progress you didn’t realize you made. In my own year-end review, once I got the ball rolling on my accomplishments, I was shocked to find I’d soon run out of room on the page! As a writer, there’s so much more to growing than what can be easily calculated with numbers. Seeing in writing all the ways I’d improved my craft, my understanding of the industry, and my personal growth made my heart swell a size or two. Take the time to be proud of yourself and let your favorite employee know how much you appreciate their hard work.

So try to carve out a quiet hour during this crazy busy time to celebrate the year and plan for the year to come. You’ll be amazed at what you learn. Here are a few questions to get you started: – What did you accomplish this year? – What did you do to make those things happen? – What did you hope to accomplish but didn’t? – What held you back? – What can you do to make sure these same challenges don’t hold you back again next year? – What do you want to accomplish in the year to come? I wish you all happy holidays and your most productive year yet!

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Jamie writes Women’s Fiction about women searching for truth in life and love. She is currently working on revisions of her first novel in preparation for submission to publishers. In the meantime, she blogs about her journey toward a well-balanced life and a career in publishing–her struggles and successes along the way. She lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and two young daughters and is a Workshop Coordinator for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. You can read more about her here.

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