September 22, 2016

To Review Or Not To Review by Alan Anderson

The prompt for this month’s blog is timely and needful for me.

Thank you to Tracy for the motivation to review more.  I’m writing this post from a lounge in the cruise ship my wife and I are travelling on.  We are enjoying the experience of Alaska!  I am a bit distracted trying to write this blog. My apologies if the post is not up to standard.  Anyway, I digress.

Life review is an important and useful part of my work in spiritual care.  It offers people an opportunity to consider the worth of their lives.  It may hopefully be an encouragement to them that their lives matter.  Doing a life review may cause people emotional pain.  They look back and see their mistakes.  They may also take stock of the fact they accomplished a lot of good things.

Reviewing goals of my writing is something I am working on.  I consider them like a life review for my writing.  Just like me, my goals are a work in progress.  A review will give me an honest consideration of where I want to go with my writing.  It can also help me see if I am on track.

I am currently reading You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins.  This book is helpful to me.  One of the most recent things I am paying attention to is to complete projects before beginning new ones.  After reading a particular chapter in Jeff’s book I realize I have a number of stories started.  I am now concentrating more on completing than beginning.  It feels good to complete something!

Here is some counsel from Jeff Goins that has helped me.  “Cancel all backup plans, pick a project, and move forward.  It doesn’t matter what you pick.  Maybe it’s a book, and article or whatever.  Write it.  And finish it.  Because once you learn how to finish, you’ll be able to start again.  You’ll start another great project and finish it.  And another.  And another.”

I probably have five or six stories started.  I am slowly concentrating on finishing them one by one.  I am currently working on a book with some great writers.  I will finish my stories for the book before going on to other projects.

My mind is constantly caught up in developing new stories.  Does anyone else experience such strokes of genius in your mind?  I might be sitting in a coffee shop and a story comes across my brain.  I may be sitting with friends yet my mind is concentrating on how to revise something I am writing.  Some people may think I am super quiet at a gathering or even aloof.  The reality is I am often thinking over a story.  Does this happen to you?

Life is indeed full of all kinds of responsibilities.  I’m a husband, a dad, a grandfather; I have a job and I am also the chair of the elder’s team of my church.    In addition is my love of writing and goals that come with this passion.  A regular or at least yearly review of my goals seems like a good habit to adopt.  My writing deserves it.



  1. I just recently finished Jeff's book! I'm definitely a starter too, and not a great finisher (getting trapped in the murky middle!) You make a good point that our writing goals deserve to be reviewed. And our successes celebrated!

  2. I enjoyed reading Jeff's book - lots of inspiration in it. I think the notion of 'just finishing something' is ver sound.

  3. No apologies needed for the standard of your blog, Alan. You've included lots of good topics for thought. I too have read and appreciated Jeff Goin's book, You Are a Writer. Thanks for the timely reminder of his "finishing projects" philosophy. I may have to reread this and start my own "finishing school."


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