2017 Successes and Failures #IWSG

It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I encourage you to check out their website and even sign up for the IWSG Newsletter. Today I will look back 2017 and consider my successes and failures, as I answer this month’s IWSG Day question:

As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures,

if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

Rating My Successes and Failures

My writing life is comprised of several different aspects. I’ll share a few of them and how I view my successes and failures in each one. I will give each a rating from 1-5, with 5 being completely successful to 1 being a complete failure.

My Blog

During the first part of the year, I really struggled with consistency, not only in getting posts out on a regular basis but with the quality of those posts. Part of the problem was not having a specific audience in mind for my blog. After all, I write about cancer, caregiving, and writing. About halfway through the year, I read a book by Meera Kothand called The One Hour Content Plan. It completely recharged my battery and got me on track. I’m now making plans to have 2 websites in the near future: one that focuses on supporting a loved one with cancer, and one that focuses on writing. On the successes and failures scale, I’d give my blog a 4.

My Email Newsletter

This was by far, my biggest failure. I went months avoiding sending out a letter to my subscribers. I think it’s my introversion rearing its ugly head. My latest series, Appointment 101, on making medical appointments more effective has helped. It has enabled me to give my subscribers something extra to go along with the series: Printables to help them keep track of essential information to bring to their appointments. On the successes and failures scale, I’d give my email newsletter a 2. It wasn’t a complete failure, but I will need to remain consistent in order to better serve my readers in the coming year.

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My Next Cancer Book

I’ve worked hard on my book on parenting when you have cancer. The problem is that I have pushed it aside for the past 6 months. This is due in part because the book is tough. Really. It’s a book that deals a lot with the effect a parent’s cancer has on their children. We’ve seen it up close with our own kids. So, with Dan feeling good, the temptation is to pretend it will be this way forever. Unfortunately, it’s even harder to write about cancer when we are in the trenches of the battle. So, I need to resolve to get this book completed and published in 2018. On the successes and failures scale, I’d give working on my next cancer book a 3.

My Novel

Finally, there’s my mystery novel. I have spent a lot of time on it this year. A huge part of my success in working on the novel is my critique group. They give me honest feedback and accountability. One problem I had this year was attendance. I had foot surgery which kept me away. I also participated in the Citizen’s Academy. While that kept me away from the group, it did help a lot with research. On the successes and failures scale, I’d give working on my novel a 4.

Learning from Failure

No Area of my writing world was perfect this past year. No area was a total flop either. By learning from my successes and failures, I can strive to improve in the coming year. That might mean reevaluating what I spend my time on.

I’d love to hear what you are hoping to change next year to turn a past failure into a success?


I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!


I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012. Since then, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness.

My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.

My book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, is available on Amazon.com

The Erickson Family, Photo by Everbranch Photography

12 thoughts on “2017 Successes and Failures #IWSG”

  1. Sounds like a full year! And you have the perfect attitude, too: everything is about learning from what went right and what didn’t.

  2. That’s a powerful line, Heather–“with Dan feeling good, the temptation is to pretend it will be this way forever”. That is me, with my RA and AS. When it’s remissing, I want to ignore it. Writing a book about it (in my case, just keeping Dr appts) would bring it all back.

    • Hi Jacqui. I didn’t know you have RA and AS. You are amazingly productive while dealing with them. I have RA and it can really drain me (not to mention the pain). Wishing you a healthy and happy 2018.

  3. Hi, Heather! I’m sorry that your family has been dealing with a challenging situation, and I hope that Dan is continuing to feel good. Kudos to you for turning a difficult period in your life into a book that will help others with the same struggles. You have a lot on your plate ~ Congratulations for all that you have accomplished! All the best for you and your family over the holidays and in the coming year!

  4. Having an idea of what you can offer in your newsletter before you start really helps. I sent out my newsletter monthly for two years, but next year I’ll be doing it bi-monthly so I can write more and not have to worry about what to share.

    • Hi Chris. I had hoped to send it weekly, but without a whole lot of extras to offer that frequently, that’s not practical. Have you found that monthly keeps your readers engaged? I would love to have that option. Happy holidays!

  5. Other than the newsletter, you scored well.
    You’re dealing with a difficult subject, and toss in writing, blogging, and all that, it’s a lot. Just do the best you can.

  6. I will just give you a 100 on all of it! So there ya go! Love you, SR

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