At this time of year, its inevitable that we reflect, list our achievements and make plans for the next big thing. But if we haven't quite managed to hit our goals, should we hide in the shadows and let others shine? Or celebrate the small things that we've achieved and forget about comparisons.
There's a strong writing community online, and in particular on Twitter. It's full of tips, opportunities and support, and a crucial part of my writers life. Its also a place where success looks different to everyone and where trying to balance your own achievements with that of others can feel difficult.
I've toyed with a list of my writing year achievements but come up short. Personally this has been a good year for me as a writer, my best in fact. But my output is nothing compared to that of others. People list submissions made, word counts, acceptances, rejections. And I feel worthless. It makes me consider the value of quality over quantity & question my own approach. I've won one competition this year and had about 6 small pieces published. I've only written those pieces. There's no back catalogue or collection waiting for a place. I write, I submit, I wait. Then I write some more.
When you look at writers profiles and the way they work, it's hard not to feel insignificant. But everyone works in different ways. There's an article from the Guardian I share with all my groups & classes, ten top tips for writers, by writers. It shows just how different the approaches of writers are to getting work done and how everyone should embrace their own way of working. There is no right or wrong way. Just focus on what works for you.
So I'm not making a list. I'm celebrating my small wins and carrying on as I have done. And I've taken part in a lovely review that reflects not just on what's worked, but on what hasn't. Vic Watson puts together a great annual collective review by local writers and I'm thrilled to have been part of it.
Don't worry about what others are doing. Consider what you want, what you need and what you can manage, Aim for that, and the rest will come. Celebrate you.