The Practice of Creativity

Reckoning with Our 2013 Writing Life: Tips from Rochelle Melander

Posted on: December 2, 2013

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be sharing some insights about how to prepare for the coming New Year and lay the foundation for making headway on our creative dreams. Today when Rochelle Melander’s wise newsletter landed in my inbox, I knew this was a perfect prompt to begin introspective work.

The Reckoning by Rochelle Melander

Truth walks toward us on the paths of our questions…as soon as you think you have the answer, you have closed the path and may miss vital new information. Wait awhile in the stillness, and do not rush to conclusions, no matter how uncomfortable the unknowing. —Jacqueline Winspear, Maisie Dobbs

I’m a huge fan of Jacqueline Winspear’s mystery series featuring Maisie Dobbs, a private investigator working just after the end of World War I. At the end of every case, detective Maisie Dobbs sits with her case map and does a reckoning. She reviews her notes, makes decisions about how to deal with any loose ends, and thinks about how she’ll use what she’s learned in her life and with future cases.

Before we dream up a brand new exciting year of writing, we need to take a look at 2013 and do our own reckoning of sorts. Yeah, I know you’re still living it. But you have enough of the year under your belt to reflect on what rocked and what didn’t.

Here’s a brief process to help you start your reckoning:

1. Make a list of the creative work you’ve done in the past year. Include everything in your list, even the stuff you do because you have to (like hanging out on Twitter, doing research, or sending out invoices.)

2. List what you value most about your work as a writer. Again, include everything from the philosophical (exploring new ideas) to the practical (earning money, working at home).

3. Evaluate how this past year’s creative endeavors (list #1) matched up with your values (list #2). In other words:

–Did you get to do enough of the stuff that brings you joy?
–Did you meet your practical needs through writing?

4. Finally, as you review the two lists, ask:

–What kinds of creative work do I want to do less of?
–What kinds of creative work do I want to do more of?

That’s it for now: make your lists, check them twice. Then hold onto them: there’s more reckoning to be done. And some dreaming, too.

Rochelle Melander

Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is an author, a certified professional coach, and a popular speaker. Melander has written ten books including Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It).

As the Write Now! Coach, she teaches professionals how to write books fast, get published, and connect with readers through social media. Get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at



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Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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