My 2022 Accomplishments and 2023 Goals

A new year, already! It’s 2023, leaving me to once again marvel at how fast the time really does fly. It seems like just yesterday I was taking stock of my 2021 achievements and goals for the coming year. Now, I get to do that all over again.

Last year, we talked a little about making and keeping new year’s resolutions that are small and under our own control. For example, instead of vowing to get a book published (something that isn’t necessarily entirely up to us as writers), the goal of writing a poem each week is much more manageable (and places the control back into our hands). I still think it’s immensely important to recognize that some things are beyond our control and other things can be entirely brought about by our own actions.

I think this past year has 100% solidified this belief for me. During the course of 2022, I focused on improving my skill as a writer by continuing to practice and learn. I’m excited to share my results!

In order to hold myself accountable, I want to take a quick look at the writing resolutions I made last year. Here’s what I wrote down in terms of writing goals:

When it comes to making sure I improve with each story I write, there are several different ways to go about it. At the time of writing this goal down, I wanted to make sure that I was learning something from whatever I write and apply the techniques I’d learned from previous stories and classes. Which I definitely did! I feel like each story teaches me something new, even if the first draft itself isn’t so shiny.

Looking back on it now, I think putting the pressure on myself to “make each story better than the last” can be a bit much. First drafts are never really…good, per se. And I’ve been working on early drafts a lot this past year. Maybe a better way to phrase this goal is to “always be learning and growing as a writer.” And I can confidently say that I achieved this goal in 2022.

I’ve also continued to submit my work for publications. And even though my 2022 submissions so far haven’t yielded results, I accomplished what I set out to do on my end; this goal is all about putting my work out there, not necessarily about getting accepted. Even though I don’t have any new publications to announce just yet, know that I’ve always got stories in the works and that I’m no longer afraid to send my book babies out there to see what sticks.

I’m also doing a lot more sharing when it comes to my writing, considering I’m now part of two writing groups! Even though I don’t usually like to share my work unless it’s super polished and ready to go, I’ve been learning to show my work to others and see what they think if I run into a problem or issue that stumps me. Having writing friends is a great way to brainstorm and get several different pairs of eyes on a particularly tricky story.

As for the final goal, I’ve been doing a lot of exploration when it comes to writing what I want to write and read. Ever since graduating RWW, I’ve discovered that my writing style has leaned more toward adult literary fiction than the YA fantasy I’ve been doing all my life. That’s not to say my interests have completely changed; they’re just evolving. I’m still writing a lot of fantasy – my work just has a mix of several different elements to it that I’m still working out. One side effect of my “always be learning and growing” goal is that my writing style is constantly changing as new ideas surface. If I had a certain type of muse before, there’s now a gaggle of muses that sometimes work together and sometimes start cat fights. Never a dull moment in this writer’s brain!

Looking back at 2022 feels so strange. When I think about all I accomplished, it’s hard not to feel hopeful for the coming year as well. Here are some exciting things that happened in 2022 (writing and otherwise):

  • I graduated from the Rainier Writing Workshop with my MFA in creative writing! After three years of hard work, a frenzy of drafting, and meticulous revision, I have a total of 12 short stories (3 of which found homes with literary journals), all bundled together nicely as a makeshift collection. I’m still tweaking a few stories here and there, but I pretty much wrote an entire short story collection during my time at RWW, which I count as a pretty cool accomplishment.
  •  I continued my immersion in the writing community by joining two writing groups, as well as committing to weekly writing sessions with friends. The latter helped me to write for large chunks of time at least twice a week, something that’s great not just for being productive but for feeling a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. To borrow (steal) an already-stolen quote from one of my writing groups, “Writers write.” 
  • I’ve become more involved in my community outside of writing. In order for me to write believable and natural characters, it’s important to live a rich life outside of the craft, so that’s what I’ve tried to do in 2022. Compared to the plethora of activities that extroverts do on a daily basis, my calendar wasn’t all that impressive. But getting out and living life has been such a big change for me, and I can already feel the difference.

It’s a fun thing to celebrate accomplished goals and positives from the past year – however, I also want to hold myself accountable for the coming year and keep the self-improvement going! In the spirit of the new year, here are a few 2023 goals that I’m setting for myself:

  • I will give myself more freedom and grace to write terrible first drafts, so that I finish the story and have something to revise.
  • I will continue to submit to literary journals and be even more open to sharing my work with friends and writing groups.
  • I will write more poetry. 2022 was a great year for my short stories and other longer projects, but I miss writing poems too. Expect to see more of those in the coming months! (There: now I have to write them, or else I’ll look like a fool.) (✿◠‿◠) 
  • Improve time management. There can always be improvement, and I’m going to commit to planning ahead for my writing projects as well as my work life.

This is sort of a longer post, but seeing as how I’ve been away for months, I actually had a lot to say! I hope this strategy of goal-setting for controllable areas is helpful to you in the coming year; I find that writing down the accomplishments of the previous year inspires a lot of hope for the next. 

Let’s have a happy and fulfilling 2023! Cheers!

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash