5 Lessons in Writing I Learned This Year (My 2018 Reflection)

Monday, December 17, 2018
As we near the end of 2018, I think it's time for a reflection post. After reading Sue's and Renee's posts about writing goals and their accomplishments, I felt a call to contemplate my own.

I haven't exactly accomplished as much as I was hoping this year, but I have done a lot, in huge part due to the accountability group I joined with WOW (for which, I am so grateful). There have been some teaching moments along the way and I thought I would view my accomplishments through that lens and share five important lessons I have learned this year.

1) Let go of writing projects of the past.

This was a huge moment for me that I talked about in a blog post on my own personal blog. I threw away a bunch of old notebooks from over 10 years ago. It happened when I realized that none of these stories would be used at later point. And I knew it. This isn't a moment I will look back on with regret. In fact, it was one of the healthiest moment of my writing life this year. I needed to let go and I didn't need to hang onto old notebooks as some sort of symbol of my dedication to writing stories.

2) Writing is a daily practice.

I don't have a daily word count. If I'm being totally honest, I don't even write everyday (fiction, that is). However, in order for me to write creatively, I need to do that on a daily basis. This year has shown me that. I discovered that lesson when I looked back over some old freelance pieces from years prior.  When I was looking over old content pieces, I realized how much I've grown as a freelance writer. My writing has vastly improved and that has only happened because I've been doing that type of writing (i.e. blogging, web content, etc) almost daily for several years now. I'm certainly not perfect, but I'm better than I have been. That is the same philosophy I need to take with creative writing.

3) Editing and revising is a different beast.

One of the things I tackled this year was my resistance to editing and revising. I made it my personal mission to edit, revise and to look that beast in the eyes. I have remained true to my word and it's been a challenge this year, but I have come a long way. I am finishing off the year with at least two decently edited pieces and some others under my belt that I am ready to tackle.

4) Life happens. Write anyway.

A few months ago I was let go from my day job. It would be easy to not write, but I am remaining close to my fiction stories and keeping with them as much as I can. It would be easy to get distracted (for good reason too), but this year and the last few months have taught me that I need to write no matter what is going on.

5) Keep challenging yourself.

This was the first year I set writing goals for the year and I am already plotting what my goals are for next year. I'd like to think I'll set myself a daily word count, but in all honesty, I need to remain focused on my revising goal. I am hoping this time next year I will have done some submitting and can say a short story has been published.

So, as I bid adieu to 2018, I will be looking ahead with a renewed sense of accomplishment. One story at a time, one word at a time, I am pushing forward. Happy writing everyone!

Follow Nicole and her writing journey on Twitter via BeingTheWriter or visit her blog theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com.


Angela Mackintosh said...

Nicole ~ You are brave! Throwing out old writing notebooks takes guts, but I bet it felt good to purge all that. I am the type of person who holds onto everything creative I've ever done, but it's not like I ever even know it's there because all those materials are in boxes or shelves in our garage's rafters where I can't access them. And I've carted those boxes around for years. Lol. Throwing that stuff away shows great dedication to your current craft and your belief in who you are now as a writer. I applaud that.

I agree with your philosophy of writing daily. What is the saying about 10,000 hours are needed practicing one thing to become an expert? I don't know if that's true, but writing daily can help you get there.

Congratulations on polishing two pieces! I know how hard you worked on them and just how much of the word count you cut. That's a great accomplishment.

I owe a lot of my writing success this year to our accountability group too. (Thanks, BKers!) If it weren't for the group and my public goal of completing a rough draft of my memoir, I don't think I would've done Nano this year. I'm looking forward to 2019 and shaping what I have into something publishable. Cheers!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Nicole--Getting rid of the old stuff that's not salvageable? How brave (and smart).

Making writing a habit? Also smart (but sometimes tough to do).

I think 2019 is going to be THE year for the BKers.

Renee Roberson said...


I think you've done a great job pushing forward with all that's happened this year! It would be easy to get down but you've done things you needed to do for yourself (cleaning out those old notebooks is big!) and continuing to write/revise and swap work with other writers! I think this first year with the accountability group has helped us all realize we have may have to revise our goals as we go along, because you never know what's going to happen. I also like how you realized how far you've come with your freelance writing. Keep it up!

Nicole Pyles said...

@Angela - Me too! If it weren't for the BK'ers, I'm not sure I would have taken so many steps forward! It's funny, as many notebooks as I tossed, I still have so many lying around (in my defense though, the more recent ones are still being looked at!).

@Sioux - Me too! 2019 is our year!

@Renee - Thanks Renee! I've done more this year than I thought I would actually!

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