This should really have been an end of 2023 post, but as is always the case in December, I think I will have time to do a lot and then it turns out (breaking news) that having time does not lead to having energy.
I guess thinking about your writing and what you’ve accomplished is something a lot of us do all year round, but the end of year is an especially egregious time when it comes to the tendency to compare yourself against other writers. It always looks like everyone else did more than you.
I feel like on paper it looks like I was reasonably successful—I had two publications, which was honestly two more than I thought I would have in January 2023—but still, I went into December feeling like I’d barely accomplished anything, because aside from my microfiction ‘Birdsong’ I hadn’t written any new short stories the whole year nor sent out any submissions. I’d spent the year hunkered down working on a novel project, which had as of December only just reached, more or less, a first complete draft that I knew I would have to rewrite anyway, so what did all these words matter?
A lot, I know. They matter a lot. This season of reflection always winds up, for me, being a practice in reframing, over and over again. I think because what we see of writing is always the final product, it’s so easy to lose sight of how important the work is, and to hold yourself to arbitrary standards that aren’t even appropriate to you and where you and your writing are in the first place. It’s a season of reminding myself, as Iet the novel draft rest and give myself time to breathe for now, that I’m not any less of a writer because I’m not writing fast and publishing fast. The me of just a few years ago would be amazed at what I’ve done up to now. To keep moving forward with faith in my work, I have to believe that I’m already good enough.