Looking back at 2009 and ahead at 2010…

By Midge Raymond,

  Filed under: News, On Publishing, On Reading, On Writing

Okay, it’s now that time of year when we look ahead (and make New Year’s Resolutions) and look back (at all the things we accomplished — or not, hence the New Year’s Resolutions).

On the publishing front, literary agent Nathan Bransford looks back at 2009 in his blog … while this Booksquare post looks ahead by forecasting publishing trends in 2010. It’s going to be another interesting year in publishing — and this post covers everything from rights to pricing to independent booksellers. (Yes, e-books “will be huge.”) And it’s hard not to love this Guardian blog post: 2009 was the year of the short story, which proves that “reports of the short story’s death have been greatly exaggerated.”

I also took a few moments to look back on the most popular posts on this blog, and among the top five were posts about social media: Twitter and Facebook. It was great to see readers checking out the Forgetting English Reading Guide and my Q&A with essay writer Brenda Miller, and rounding off the top five were the Stuff for Writers posts. Thanks so much for reading last year — I hope you come back often in 2010!

And finally, there’s nothing like a new year to inspire new writing goals. I recently met with a wonderful group of fellow writers to set goals for 2010, and it was incredibly inspiring (especially hearing about those writers who set and met their 2009 goals).

If you’re ready to do the same, I suggest a three-step process:

– What were your goals last year? If you don’t usually write down your writing goals, this year would be a good time to start. The years  have a way of slipping by if we don’t articulate our goals, and whether this is the year to write your novel, to find an agent, or to start journaling, putting it down on paper will hold you accountable. Better yet, find a writing buddy or writing group so you’ll be able to share the joys and challenges, as well as stay inspired.

– Did you meet last year’s goals? Whether you wrote them down or just had a vague idea of what you wanted to accomplish with your writing, how’d it go? If you achieved your goal — finished a first draft, submitted a story for publication, took a writing class — then think about what enabled to you do that: What had to align in your personal and professional life to make that happen? Take note of what worked, and make it happen again in 2010. If you weren’t able to meet your goals, why not? Take a look at what got in the way, and work to resolve this issue so you’ll have a better chance of completing what you set out to do this year.

– What are your writing goals this year? Finally, make that list. It doesn’t have to be grand, like Writing the Great American Novel — it just has to be something you’ve always wanted to do but have never made the time for. When you outline your goal(s), think about how you can use time to your advantage — this is the one time all year in which you’ve got 12 months (52 weeks, 365 days) in which to work on your goal. Don’t waste a single day. If you start out strong, you’ll find yourself inspired, you’ll get into a routine, and you’ll accomplish more than you ever thought possible.

Happy new year.


  Comments: 3

  1. Great advice, as always! I’m totally inspired – and ready to turn my goals into reality. Thanks Midge!

  2. Truman, it’s a whole new year! You still have 362 days. 🙂

    And this is why I include this second step — to figure out WHY we didn’t accomplish certain things (there’s always something, isn’t there?). I think exploring what went wrong and fixing that makes it possible to have better luck the next time around. So maybe this will help … I’d love to see you get back to “Amber Lane”! Or your memoir. Or to put your stories into a collection. So many possibilities…

  3. Oh, Midge….what goals? 🙂 I think I make specific determinations every year in regards to writing and nothing comes of it. Could it be that had I spent time on “Amber Lane” it might have been finished ages ago, maybe even *gasp* published?? Sigh. Such is life; however, I do believe that the New Year is always a great motivator in that it gives people a starting place. Let’s see how it goes.