Annual Writing Review 2017

This is an assessment of all the writing I did in 2017.

I got this idea from Rachel Geisel, a woman whose blog I love, and whose Writer’s DNA course was fantastic. She got the idea originally from Nicole Gulotta, so it’s a long cycle of paying-it-forward. I love when bloggers do that.

My writing year of 2017 was…interesting, as I’m sure could be said about any writing year. Some things went well, some things did not. I did the whole free download separately, but here’s an overview of my year.

Let’s break it down.

What I Wrote

Creatively: This blog, parts of a fantasy novel, a horror novel, a military/historical novel, many poems (10+), journal (almost every day, hurray!)

Work-related: Lesson plans, PPTs, began template and information for teacher handbook, safety protocols, procedures for; summer camp, filling out forms

Edited: Work procedures, work announcements, work newsletter, memoirs for a friend, creative material for a family member, several posts on Scribophile

What Went Well

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NaNo – I won, third year in a row!

Blogging – I launched it, and wrote several posts I was really proud of. Most of all, I enjoyed it. I love blogging. I’m not in this for the money (of course that would be nice) but I don’t market or advertise or worry too much about that. I just love writing and posting and getting in the community.

Poetry – I’ve started writing, for lack of a better word, poetry. I have no reason to do this, but I wanted to, so I made that my reason. I have an idea to delve into the hows and mechanics of it later, but for now, I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. And joy is what writing is to me. How awesome is that?

Craft Study: I read a bunch of really good books on writing. I’ll make a list sometime in the future, but reading about the craft really helped me. I’ve never believed you can just sit down and write well, but that practice and refining and honing writing is a skill like any other. I also did a brief novel-study session that I’m excited to try again; it involves reading novels you love and analyzing them, first broadly and then scene by scene to get a feel for why the story works (or where it doesn’t). Hello, homework that requires reading? Yes, please.

I found out that I write best in the morning and around seven at night. I used Scrivener almost exclusively for creative work, and it’s been incredible.

What Could Have Gone Better

NaNo – I wrote fifty thousand words, but they weren’t all for one story, or even all in story. I counted my journaling as well since I decided to be a rebel this year. But honestly, the health issues happening meant I couldn’t focus easily, and journaling was therapeutic, so I counted that as slightly more important than focusing on one story. But still, fifty thousand words…

Blogging – It could always be better. I stopped entirely after my health crisis, which is to be expected. And I would like a better “author” blurb and my about page always gives me nightmares, but published is better than perfect, and it’s live and published.

Creative Writing: I left all those novels undone. Some half done, some mostly done, some in their infancy. I didn’t finish another book this past year. I’d like to pick some of them back up, but some of them I realized weren’t the story I was trying to tell, so they’ll be let go.

Community: I didn’t use Scribophile as much as I would have liked. I did a few critiques and received a few that were insanely helpful, but I couldn’t keep it up. I also tried getting a partner, but that petered out after a while as well. I wanted to join a writing circle, but there wasn’t a decent one around my area in Korea. This year, I hope to find a writing circle for real, face-to-face feedback and interaction with other writers. I need feedback and accountability.

Looking Ahead

For 2018, my main writing goals are:

  • Write every day* – blog AND creative
  • Feel good about what I write, even sucky first drafts
  • Join a writing group
  • Get more feedback – via group or some site like Scribophile or Fictionpress
  • Edit a story in full, on paper (didn’t have access to a printer in Korea so this one will be fun!)
  • Finish more stories
  • Write more short stories
  • Write more poetry
  • Read more about the craft

If you’re a writer, I strongly recommend doing Nicole’s Review. It’s been enlightening and uplifting to actually assess my writing year, even the parts that didn’t go as planned.

Happy writing!


*I’ve set my goal at fifty words a day, a very small number by most standards. Usually, I end up writing anywhere from 500-1000 naturally, but I’ve been doing mini-habits, the technique created by Stephen Guise in his book, Mini-Habits, and this way, on the days when I can barely function, I know I can succeed at my goal by writing just fifty words. Always go for the win.

Read my review for Guise’s latest book, How to Be an Imperfectionist, here.