What fun! This is the season we set our writing goals for the next year. Some of you are cringing ... I can feel it. Others are moaning ... I can hear it. But if we don’t evaluate our progress in 2013 and list what we’d like to accomplish in 2014, where is our career going? Let’s discuss the pitfalls of 2013, then we can zip into our dreams and desires for the new year.
Take a look at last year’s goals. Be honest. Did you accomplish those expectations? If so, congratulations! If not, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, examine the causes.
Unrealistic goals. Sometimes in our exuberance to meet high goals, we demand too much of ourselves. Pushing ourselves invites less than quality work and radical disappointment.
Unrealistic goals is a good indicator of omitted prayer.
Priorities. We are responsible human beings who live in a world of relationships. When we reach heaven, God is not going to ask us how many books we’ve written, but how many people we touched for His kingdom. God comes first, then family, ministry needs, and finally our careers and writing. Yes, we must carve out time to write, but not at the expense of neglecting those divinely placed in our lives.
Time. Full time jobs and family take an enormous part of our day. Look for ways to carve out time for writing. To satisfy the creative muse, a writer may need to get up earlier in the mornings, give up midmorning coffee breaks, brown bag lunches, write when the rest of the household goes to bed, or give up a weekend activity. If God is in the project, He’ll help the writer find time to create.
Learning the Craft. Before a writer makes the bestseller list, she needs to learn the craft. A dancer always practices her steps. A pianist keeps her fingers nimble. An artist continues to experiment with color and technique. And a writer reads and rereads every article, blog, and book that may enhance the craft. Writers attend conferences and look for those challenging workshops. Writers need review to snap them back into their project, making their book projects even better than before.
Fear. I’ve saved this aspect of to the end. Why? This is personal. Psychological. Many talented writers never get beyond their first chapter because they’re seized by fear.
What if I’ve done all this work and no one is interested in my book?
What if I fail and look like a fool?
What if an editor things I have other books in me and this is all I have?
Old tapes paralyze your creativity, pray through them now. If God called you to write, then He will help you overcome fear. You may need a mentor or counselor.
Now that you’ve evaluated 2013, get those nimble fingers moving on a file titled “2014 Goals.” You know why last year was a success or a disappointment. I dare you. Make those goals and celebrate life.
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She currently has more than fifty-five books published.
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won placements through the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Carol Awards and Inspirational Reader’s Choice awards. DiAnn won the Christy Award in 2010 and 2011.
DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America, Faith, Hope & Love, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a Craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.
She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.