Five Things I Learned about Writing in 2010
Written by
She Writes Fridays
December 2010
Written by
She Writes Fridays
December 2010

Deborah Siegel shares what she learned about being a writer this year. Now it's your turn--tag and tweet it! #shewrites2010

When Baby X and Baby Y turned one a few weeks ago, something changed in my brain. A window opened just a crack, enough to let in the crisp air that tells me a change of seasons transpired. I started tweeting. I refreshed my Google Reader to incorporate my new focus on all things writerly and She Writes-y. I started playing around with a Tumblr. And last Friday night, I went on a date with myself—my first since my twins were born.

Give a girl some moules frites, a glass of Shiraz, a notebook as companion, and later in the evening, an old friend and a book party with some fabulous feminists (Gloria Steinem! Eve Ensler! Shelby Knox!) and suddenly she remembers who she is: A thinker. A writer. Ah yes, that.

Last year around this time, I posted “10 Things I Learned about Writing in 2009”. In reality, I posted 5. (Lesson #1? “Adjust your goals accordingly.") I asked you to share your lessons, and then I aggregated some of my favorites, here.

As we turn our collective thoughts toward 2011, I invite all those who posted lessons last year, and all those who are new to this ever-expanding, ever-evolving hive mind called She Writes, to reflect on things you learned about writing—and/or about being a writer—in 2010.

Here’s what to do:

1. Post your lessons on your blog here at She Writes

2. Tag the post “shewrites2010” (so that I can pull a feed and link it all over town!)

3. Tweet it (hashtag #shewrites2010), FB it, send it far and wide so that we can encourage other writers to come on over and share what they’ve learned with us too.

Or just tweet this:

Learned something about writing in 2010? Join the She Writes reflect-a-thon #shewrites2010

I’ll post a mash-up from the lessons you post, so that we all can learn from what you’ve learned, in trademark She Writes style, soon.

Ok, here are 5 things I’ve learned about writing/being a writer in 2010:

1. Saying goodbye to a writing project that turned out to be the wrong one for the year in which I gave birth to twins allowed me to say YES to the projects that are right.

2. Even if the writer-me disappears for a short (ok, long) while, my writing buddies and my agent still want to know me.

3. The only consistent element of my writing and organization system is a commitment to trying out new systems. (I’m currently trying Evernote—thank you, Melissa Silverstein of Women and Hollywood—and old fashioned listmaking—thank you, Rita Arens of BlogHer—in a quad-ruled moleskin with a Sanford Uniball Onyx fine black pen. Scrivener and MacFreedom are on my list to check out in 2011--thank you SheWriMo Extraordinaire Andrea King Collier!)

4. Proofread. Always. 'Nuf said. Sending a news blast to 12,000+ She Writes members without proofing closely is just not worth the nausea that overcomes you when you realize you’ve spelled something wrong. (And to make anyone who might have recently done so feel better, this year I sent a news blast to the readership of Girl w/Pen with “Giirl” in the header. True story.)

5. Fifteen minutes of writing time is better than no minutes at all. I learned (re-learned) this one during Christina Baker Kline’swonderful webinar, Jumpstart Your Writing Life: Getting Started. I managed to write two drafts of an essay I'm pretty proud of this way—during breakfast, on the subway, and while walking in the park.

Your turn, She Writers. What did you learn about writing/being a writer in 2010?


Six Things I Learned from Not Writing My Next Book

What We Learned (Collectively!) about Writing in 2009

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  • M Kathy Brown

    This one will take some thought... will get back to you with mine :~)

    p.s. I like your Twitter suggestion.

  • Michelle Pond

    Don't wait for inspiration look (and listen) for it.


    Sometimes the work follows and sometimes it leads. If the piece starts to take a direction you did not originally intend, let it play itself out. 

  • Ginger McKnight-Chavers

    I described 5 ways NOT to squander contacts and alienate agents that I learned in 2010 on Scribe, the blog for the Writers League of Texas:

  • Donna Baier-Stein

    Tweeted it out!

  • Mary Keating


    Hum - what have I learned this year about being a writer...

    Perhaps the greatest thing I have learned this year: I am a work in progress too, a best seller waiting for the chapters to reveal the next part of my story. In fact, all writers are works in progress. Writing is an ever-expansive landscape and those who call them selves writers can be stirred with the slightest breeze, recreated with time and changed through the seasons.

    To be a writer takes great patience with self, self-determination, determination to set goals, goals to reach a path, paths that lead us to learning and dreams, and dreams to keep us pounding on keyboards and journaling in notebooks.

    I have also learned that writing brings us friendships and connects us to all that is human. In all this, I have also learned there are many who wince at the thought of writing an article; wither when they attempt to manipulate written language into a comprehensible package. For every non-writer, we, the writers, can and often do tell the story of others who gifts lie beyond those of a wordsmith.

    In 2011 – I intend to continue using my gift of writing to tell tales, articulate messages through articles, and learn from those who have successfully walked that path of dreams.

  • Tania Pryputniewicz

    Deborah, your query got me thinking about motherhood, matrices, and accountability. My children are admittedly older than yours,and I confess I still can't seem to get on the "tweet" roll...maybe when they are in college? I always love year-end-reviews, so thanks for the prompt. Here's my response:

  • RYCJ Revising

    I learned...

    ...and I believe this one came from an author here on SHE-Writes, "it's okay to let it go. It's not going to get any better." <--I really get stuck on this one. But in 2011, I'm taking this one on!


    Learned from Stephen King, "before anyone else can be swept away by your work, you must first be swept away." I AM. I AM. And now I don't feel 'concerned' that I AM. ;-)


    Also learned,

    ..."to write from my heart." - the words are there for a reason.

    ..."many writers have the same story." - the true art is in delivery.

    ...AND Practice. Practice. Practice. "Never stop learning and always be about improving."


  • Deborah Siegel Writing

    PS. If you post, don't forget to throw a link here in comments, so we can find you this way too!


    Check out this one from SWer

    M.Louisa Locke's 5 Things I Learned about Writing in 2010 -- especially items 1, 2, 3, and 5.  And 4 too.  I love it -- all of it :)

  • Shannon Drury

    I learned that I need to get on SheWrites more often.  Seriously...