Indeed, it is that time of the year again. In this particular case, however, I am referring to the end of the year when my annual gym membership comes due. Yes, along with the usual shopping, family gatherings, and trying to remember who was naughty and nice, I also re-up my gym membership for another year. It's annoying and poorly timed, but it gives me a chance to remind myself just what that membership is all about.
Maybe you already see how this applies to writing, maybe not. The main takeaway of this is that like the gym, writing is something I could do whenever I wanted to, as much as I could, or as little as I cared to do - just like using my gym membership. Going to the gym, like writing, is all a process of self-investment. Nothing obliges us to write every day, or even once a week, month, or year, but ultimately we gain returns in proportion to the effort we put into it. If I spent an hour at the gym every day for the next year, vigorously exercising, I would no doubt be much better off than my usual routine. The same goes for writing, it's just more difficult to identify when you are really breaking through as a writer.
So when that time of year comes along, both for the gym membership and for a personal inventory of my writing situation, I take a moment to determine what I want to get out of the next year in terms of this whole self-investment idea. I recognize rather quickly what I want out of the gym membership, so as long as that agrees with my life plan, it requires very little thought. Then, for my writing situation, I ask myself what I want to invest in the next year as a writer. Are there goals I want to reach, or some other achievement? Do I want to prep myself for NaNoWriMo? Is it time to publish my next book? Is it time to write another book? The personal inventory required in assessing my writing situation is far more complex than just paying for another year's gym membership, and the accountability is far more difficult as well.
When you do any of the things you do during this time of the year, give yourself a moment to assess what you want to do with your writing as well. Take a little time and look at your writing goals, and decide where you want to go with it. Consider that the gift to your inner writer - a one-year membership in dedicating yourself to writing. Then just go out there and meet that goal.
Believe me, it's easier than going to the gym every other day.