Seven months ago I resolved to start waking up an hour earlier every morning to use that extra time to write. I don’t even need a full-fingered hand to count the number of times I’ve actually achieved that goal. The other day I told my boyfriend that my New Year’s resolution is to stop sleeping through my alarm and actually get up and write. Then I told him, “This will be the first New Year’s resolution I’ve ever made!” His response: “You’ve never made a New Year’s resolution?” And I said, “No, because I’ve always been so awesome.” I was kidding when I said that last part. Kind of.
Certainly there are things about myself that I could (or should) improve. But we all have those things. And we’re reminded of them on a daily basis. Advertisements, photos of our friends on social media, and magazine covers in the checkout aisle are constantly telling us to be skinnier, wealthier, smarter, more productive, happier, and just generally more awesome. And frankly, by the time December 31 rolls around, I’m exhausted and ready to pour myself a tall flute of champagne, eat all the leftover Christmas cookies, and let myself off the hook for once.
It’s not that New Year’s resolutions aren’t useful. But sometimes our society gets so hung up on self-improvement that we lose track of the things we’re already doing well. This can be especially true for creative types like writers, who have chosen a craft where there’s always room for improvement. But chances are you’ve improved as a writer in ways that may have gone under the radar. Before you zero in on your writerly flaws, take a step back and appreciate what you’ve achieved by answering these questions:
What writing projects have you finished this year?
What are your existing writing habits that work well?
What have you written that you’re proud of?
What writing have you published?
What books did you finish reading?
What writing skills did you gain?
And if you’re not satisfied with the answers to any of these, then ask yourself questions that solicit answers you’ll feel good about. Use these successes to write off any guilt you feel about your supposed writing failures.
And if you just can’t cut yourself some slack, then no worries—Girl Friday can do that for you. We hereby let you off the hook for the past year’s shortcomings. And we acknowledge all you’ve accomplished. Raise a glass of champagne this New Year’s Eve and toast yourself! We think you’ve earned it.