Saturday, December 11, 2021

Choose to Celebrate Your Imperfect Writing Life

by Beth K. Vogt @BethVogt

“You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” 
John Wooden (1910-2010), American basketball player & coach

I want to tell you one thing today: You did a good job this year.

You—yes, you!—did a good job this year.

I realize you’re probably in the middle of all the holiday rush, but may I ask you to stop for just a moment?

Thank you.

Now look back over your shoulder at the past 12 months. Focus on your writing life and recall things you did as the clock ticked off minutes and hours and days and weeks and months:
  • Words you wrote
  • Words you revised
  • Days you stared at a blank page or a blank computer screen
  • Deadlines you met 
  • Deadlines you missed
  • Contests you entered 
  • Synopses you wrote
  • Writers you mentored 
  • Success you achieved – small ones, big ones, unexpected ones
  • Disappointments you persevered through
  • Health challenges you faced
  • Times you heard yes … and times you heard no
Maybe 2021 was everything you hoped it would be … and more. 

Maybe 2021 was a dance of disappointments and you would have preferred to decline the invitation.

Still, I’m repeating one thing today: You did a good job this year.

Let’s choose to sift through all the circumstances of our lives and find the good. It’s not wrong to want to have accomplished more, but in the longing for more, we can overlook all the different ways we’ve been blessed, all the “not as good as we’d hoped for” results that still add up to something good.

During this season when people are singing, “all I want for Christmas,” give yourself the gift of choosing to celebrate an imperfect writing life. 

How do you do that?
  • Forgive yourself when you didn’t live up to your expectations. Truth is, we tend to expect too much of ourselves. We set goals for ourselves, signing ourselves up for a virtual writing marathon rather than being more realistic and admitting we should have signed up for a 5k.
  • Look for opportunities to learn. Want to up your writing game? You can’t do that on your own. Be willing to invest time and yes, money, in books and workshops and conferences to improve as a writer.
  • Don’t drag 2021 into 2022. When the ball drops declaring it’s a new year, let last year go. What’s done is done. Don’t weigh down the coming year with any regrets from the past 12 months—you’ll only hold yourself back. 
I’m going to say it again: You did a good job this year. The best gift you can give yourself as you finish 2021 and set your sights on 2022? The gift of grace … add a lavish amount of grace to your remembrance of this year. 

Embrace this year. 

Release this year. 

And then move on into the new year with hope.


Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Having authored nine contemporary romance novels and novellas, The Best We’ve Been, the final book in Beth’s Thatcher Sisters Series with Tyndale House Publishers, releasers May 2020. Other books in the women’s fiction series include Things I Never Told You, which won the 2019 AWSA Award for Contemporary Novel of the Year, and Moments We Forget. Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Learn How to Write a Novel and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers. Visit Beth at


  1. BEth,

    What a terrific way to look at our imperfect writing life. Thank you. Each of us have things to celebrate and things to forget and improve in the year ahead. I printed this post and plan to read it again from time to time. Yes it had that much of an impact on my writing life.

    With Gratitude,

    author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition)

    1. Thank you, Terry, for your encouragement. It means a lot to me as I wrap up 2021 and move on to 2022.

  2. Great encouraging words this morning! Thank you for sharing with all of us. We always need a blog like this to keep us going with our writing.

    1. Diane, Stay the course and move on into 2022 with high hopes, knowing God goes ahead of you.

  3. What a wonderful gift you have given us in this post, dear Beth! Thank you!

  4. Thank you, MaryAnn. I'm so glad you were encouraged.

  5. Discovered your blog the other day and glad I did. I'll celebrate my imperfect writing life, celebrate the fact that I revised half my WIP, improved upon the story, and not think of it as a failure that I didn't finish this year. Thank you for the encouraging, uplifting words.

    1. Robin: Exactly! You did improve your story and that's the hard work we all need to do. Bravo!