January 01, 2019

Incentives to Write - by Sandi Somers


New Year’s Greetings for 2019 to everyone!!
January is usually the time we write new goals for the coming year. This month, our writers will look deeper, exploring incentives that help them keep on track with their writing goals.
Goals and Goads?
Several years ago while reading comments on a blog about goals, I came to this typo: “I have realised the importance of writing the goads down.”  (She wasn’t an InScriber. Whew!!)
This writer spoke more truth than she realized.

Now a goad is a club, sometimes with sharp nails, that ancient farmers used to get a balky ox to cooperate. While Saul (later called the Apostle Paul) was persecuting Christians, God was speaking to him, but he was kicking against the goads (Acts 26:14).
Sometimes we need goads—er—incentives to keep us on track with our goals.

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Our Courage, God's Strength
Humour aside, as I was thinking of this blog, God brought to mind the following verse:
“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart” (Psalm 31:24).
God was prompting me to rethink "incentives" from the viewpoints of my courage and His strength.

Courage to bring my goals before God
God has a message for me to write and speak, and opportunities come up that point me in His direction. For example, this Fall I was given an opportunity to lead a healing prayer time on a mission trip to Haiti (to come in February). This project involves preparing a training seminar for Haitian prayer leaders. I needed to write a training manual so that it can be translated into Haitian Creole.
God’s strength and inspiration to focus on this project comes with His reminder: “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

Courage to set long-term goals while focusing on short-term plans.
          While attending one writers’ conference, I found a secret that made sense to me: to break down my goals into three-month or even one-month or weekly plans. This helped keep my focus whereas longer goals sometimes got derailed by other life events.
          God’s strength comes from His promise: “Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure” (Proverbs 4:26).

Courage to keep my vision in mind when other events in life overtake me.
          One of my coaches suggested that when life takes over, we still write for five or ten minutes each day—a thought, an idea. It may not seem like much, but it captures a key component which contributes to one of my current projects. And often those five minutes add up to a few more moments stolen from a busy day.
God’s strength comes with His promise: “May your strength be sufficient for each day you live" (Deuteronomy 33:25).

* * *  
What incentives keep you on track with what you hope to achieve? How are God's nudgings part of your incentives?
You may wish further suggestions. These blogs (Jeff Goins here, James Clear on repetitions here and our own InScribe Shirley Tye here) may give you some food for thought.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for these ideas and 'incentives'. Happy New year and may God bless you in your writing and in everything you put your hand, heart and mind to do!

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    1. Thank you, Tracy! and Happy New Year to you, too! I've been thinking a lot about incentives, a theme that I'll focus on in the early days of 2019.

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  2. I was reminded on Sunday of the need to put God before you in all circumstances. Having the courage to bring our goals to God helps keep Him at the forefront of our plans. Such a great post for the beginning of the year, thank you!

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    1. Thanks for your focus thought of bringing our goals to God. It's so easy to make plans, and it's so important to get His perspective on what He wants us to accomplish.

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  3. Thank you Sandi for these tips and the verse from Prov.4:26. I've been searching for a verse for 2019 and when I read this one I felt it was right since I wrote my last blog on pondering. Ponder sounds like a great 2019 word also. I am going to try your suggestion of just writing for 5 minutes when life overtakes. :)

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    1. How good it was for you to choose a verse for each year, Gloria. Thanks for the prompt to do so. Perhaps mine should be Psalm 31:24. I wonder how many of our InScribe members do so? It might make a good topic for next January's blog.

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  4. I like what you are saying here, Sandi: "God has a message for me to write and speak, and opportunities come up that point me in His direction." How wonderful to hear this. How wonderful that God has given you a gift in healing prayer and the ministry to teach this practice to Haitian leader and the challenge to write this manual for the leaders. This is exciting news.

    I will pray for you regarding your preparation and during your mission in February. Thanks for sharing this news, Sandi. Blessings.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for my trip to Haiti, Sharon. I appreciate your support for this ministry. I'll update you more in the coming weeks.

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