Looking Back to Look Forward by Tracy Krauss

As 2015 comes to an end, it is natural to reflect on the year that has gone past. I’m one of those people who likes to set goals. I like making lists and checking things off as I accomplish them. This year was no different. Word count, publishing goals, marketing strategies, professional development … all of these categories made it onto my roster for 2015. This activity helps me stay motivated and also serves to encourage me when I feel like I’m not accomplishing anything.


Finishing what you start is a very satisfying thing. However, I have noticed a strange phenomenon that usually takes place once an item is off the list. As soon as one novel is finished, I’m immediately thinking about the next thing I want to write. I find this is true of producing plays as well. No sooner has the final performance ended than I am thinking about what play we will perform next.

Reflecting on the past helps to set the stage for the future. I liken it to the saying, “If you don’t know where you’ve been, you won’t know where you’re going.” Setting goals is a valuable activity. It brings focus. It spurs action. But it also serves as a benchmark for reflection.


Inevitably, I am always surprised by just how much I manage to cross off my list each year. The things that I don’t manage to do just get rolled over onto next year’s list. There is no point in beating myself up about not getting everything done. Once the calendar rolls to January 1, I just start over again fresh.

As another year draws to a close and a new one is about to begin, I encourage every writer out there to make a conscious effort to reflect on the accomplishments of this past year, even if the list only contains one item. Then turn the page and set some goals for the future. Look back in order to look forward.

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