2016 has been a great writing year for me. I was able to exploit my passion as much as I wanted, and I’ve never enjoyed writing as much as I did this year. Looking back, there’s not just joy and satisfaction, but some lessons too, that I’ve learned by writing this year:
Experiment: In the beginning of the year, I’d started two writing practices: Morning Pages and 365 sunsets – writing about the day’s sunset everyday. I quit both on day two. At first I felt guilty for letting myself and the readers who’d been looking forward to it down, but then I realized that I was only beginning as a writer and this was a time to experiment to see what got me writing and what I enjoyed doing. Morning Pages and 365 Sunsets weren’t on the list. It was important to try different things and do what worked for me and abandon what didn’t.
Set Concrete Goals: I’d once set a goal of writing two pages everyday, but it was mostly a drudge: I was uninspired and to not disappoint myself, I wrote in a large, wide-spaced handwriting to fill those two pages somehow. I was cheating myself. So when this time around I decided to start a daily writing habit, I set myself a concrete goal: to write 500 words every day. There was no escaping this one; I couldn’t leave until I’d hit the target. Perhaps that’s why I’ve manged to come so far. I knew what I’d wanted of me, and that made completing the work easier. The lesson I learned was to set realistic, concrete goals and be accountable to myself.
The More You Write, The Better You Get at Writing: I’ve been regularly returning to my old writing – things I’d written before I set myself any goals, and things I’d written after. The change was very surprising. It was hard to believe that those crappy sentences were written by me. I’m glad I didn’t throw those stories away; they serve as a report card of my progress: my words flow more smoothly now and there is more clarity to my thoughts. My writing today is better than it was back in September, and my writing in September was better than my writing in January. Scroll through my archives and you’ll know. Lesson Learned: Practice makes perfect.
No Piece of Writing is Ever Wasted: Though I said that my writing had only become better; it was also true that the pieces I’d written were not all trash. Most of them were rubbish, but when I dug through them, I found some hidden gems in there too. They may be a part of the 2.5 Million Words of Shit I’m writing, but like everything in life, there’s hope in them. I’m currently working on a bunch of stories for publication, all written after I started my writing routine. Sometimes, old is gold.
Other than that, 2016 has been an enjoyable writing year. Scribblings of a Storyteller grew steadily, and things I’ve posted here are some of the best pieces I’ve written this year. I’m really proud with the progress I’ve made; the lessons I’ve learned have been incredibly valuable, and I’m really excited to see how the stories I’m editing currently fare. I hope 2017 turns out to be even better and enjoyable than 2016.
What are the lessons you’ve learned from your writing in 2016? What are your hopes for the upcoming year?
Writing is a learning process. The more you write, the more you’ll learn, and the better you’ll get. -Darren Shan