I write two Christmas lists. One I give to my family listing what I would like from them (and I never know what to put on it, so it gets shorter every year, therefore I must be getting old) and the other one is for me. This second list is the one where I identify what I want to give to myself over the following year, through my writing. (This one seems to get longer every year.)
This year, I wanted to secure a publishing contract for a new non-fiction book. I can tick that off my list (more about which, next month). I also wanted to go to a new writing conference - and I did - which gave me access to a literary agent who offered me some good advice.
Another present I wanted to give to myself, was to learn more about the Amazon Kindle, and self-publish a second e-book - which I have also achieved this year, and seen sales too.
This is the time of year when many look back at what they've achieved over the last 12 months, before trying to gaze in to the future and identify what they hope to achieve in the coming year. But instead of creating a set of New Year Resolutions, why not write down an extra Christmas list for yourself, detailing the writing presents that you will give yourself over the next 12 months?
This does two things:
- Writing it down helps you to focus on what you want to achieve.
- It reminds you that you're the only one who can give yourself that present. (If you want to write an article every month, then only you can give yourself this present by sitting down and writing one ... every month!)
When we reach a certain age in childhood, we discover that Santa is not the well-fed chap with the bright red outfit and the facial hair problem. Christmas presents do not materialise down the chimney one night. They happen because real people make them happen. They go out and battle the crowds of shoppers to buy them, or they go to the effort of making a hand-made gift to give to you. So, if you create a Christmas list of what you want with your writing next year, just remember that Santa won't be the one to deliver it to you - only real people - you - can make that happen.
And this is where your first Christmas list comes in - the one you give to friends and family identifying the gifts you'd like to receive from them. Choose carefully, and those gifts could help you give yourself the present you want from your writing next year. If you're still stuck for things to put on your Christmas list of presents that others can buy for you, here are a couple of ideas:
- A subscription to a writing magazine (Writing Magazine, The New Writer, Writers Forum.) When your creativity is flagging, the next issue will help reinvigorate your muse.
- Notebooks, pens, and Post-It notes to help you to jot down those inspirational ideas.
- Useful writing books (more of which, next month :-) but here's some ideas, in no particular order or preference).
- Ask friends, or relatives, to buy you a ticket to a literary festival event.
- Or perhaps, they don't have to give you anything of financial value - they can simply give you an IOU - I Owe You two hours of peace and quiet, so that you can write!
So, over the next few weeks, while everyone is busy watching the repeat of Mary Poppins or The Great Escape, why not take a bit of time to think about the writing gifts you'd like to give yourself over the next 12 months?