I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Perhaps it’s because I fail so miserably at keeping most New Year’s resolutions that I make. It is so very discouraging for me. I have these lofty goals and have such good intentions but a week into the New Year and I’m already making excuses or giving up entirely on any resolution-keeping I may have made. The same is equally true when it comes to making writing goals for the New Year. I have these lofty ambitions, I make writing deadlines for myself, schedule my days and then inevitably something comes up and I have to scrap my plans and start all over.
A writer’s life is full of lofty goals and ambitions, but it is also filled with distractions, re-writes, re-writes, rewrites…and occasionally scrapping the project entirely and starting from scratch. *sigh*
My life verse is, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 I have embraced that verse because I have learned that if I make any kinds of plans on my own, I have to be willing to also look out for the God-sized U-turns that may have me scrap my original plans and follow another course direction that He has set for me. Faith is all about setting off in an entirely new direction, knowing that His leading is always best.
When I make my own plans, I tend to fail. I don’t have the stamina or the endurance to stay the course. New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside. Writing projects get put aside and artistic procrastination sets in. I’m the queen of excuses when it comes to keeping writing deadlines. Distractions abound that seem to take far more precedence than my writing. Again, all my best laid plans tend to dissolve and another opportunity for writing ministry wasted.
With New Year’s resolutions, the only way I can succeed is if I know there is a greater goal in keeping them. For example, I have been told by my doctor that I must walk more to stave off a chronic health issue. The quest for fitness is not just a New Year’s resolution now, it is necessary for long term health. That’s important to me because I’ve got to keep up with very active grandbabies! With a new, more purposeful focus, I can be disciplined and stretch towards the finish line. Unfortunately, I will fail in the attempt, if I think I can do this on my own. Prayer and a good accountability partner will guarantee a positive result. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:13
It is the same with writing. I consider my writing a ministry. As soon as I refocus on why I write in the first place, I can rededicate myself to the task at hand. I am not writing for myself. Every project, every article is ultimately to bring Glory to God. I believe God is actively involved in leading me to those writing projects He wishes me to contribute to, and He is with me throughout the writing process. He requires me to be disciplined in setting goals and keeping them. It is important that I pray for His direction throughout the process.
If you are setting writing goals for the coming year, here are a few scripture verses to ponder:
“My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.”
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”
And lastly, I sometimes replace the words “speaks” with “writes” in the following verse to further encourage and challenge me as a writer.
Lynn Dove is the award-winning author, of the YA “Wounded Trilogy”- a contemporary Christian fiction series with coming-of-age themes. A wife, mom, grandmother, and free-lance writer with articles published in several magazines and anthologies including Chicken Soup for the Soul books, her blog, “Journey Thoughts” is a Canadian Christian Writing Award winner. Readers may connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and at lynndove.com