Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody.
Welp, another year over (yay!), a new one just begun (ARGH!). It’s that time of year when all of our apps send us emails about how many books we read, what music we listened to the most, or how much exercise we got. In this online world of ours, it’s important that we quantify what we’ve done so that we can make our passions more closely resemble math homework. And your writing career is no different. Taking stock of what you’ve done this year is like your annual review at work, except without the possibility of your boss giving you a raise at the end of it. For some writers, looking back at the year that was is like admiring a full trophy case (or possibly a bookshelf full of one’s own publications). For the rest of us, the annual review involves dwelling on a dozen short-story misfires, reliving cringeworthy interactions with your favorite author at a convention, or failing to come up with a funny third beat in a comedy triplet.
Lucky for you, there’s hope. Before my divorce, my marriage counselor liked to say that the difference between success and failure is all about how you frame things. I’m passing this good advice along by showing you how to take an honest look at your the past year in your writing career, then spinning that honest look into something that doesn’t look like you’ve just been spinning your wheels for twelve months.
Celebrate your successes. For example, you got paid for writing a magazine article? Pat yourself on the back, you’re obviously doing something right! But success isn’t only measured in money. There are many achievements that you can take pride in that don’t necessarily involve you cashing a check. Get an agent for your novel? Hey, not too shabby, buster! Buy a fancy new pen? That’s cause for celebration in my book! Abandon your NaNoWriMo project that was making you miserable? I will personally throw you a parade! The nice thing about being your own boss is that you get to decide what success looks like. Unless you’re relying on your writing to pay the bills, in which case you definitely should measure success with money. I hope you like beans and rice!