I have kindly accepted an invitation from Ruth L Snyder to join her 2015 Writer’s Blog Hop. This will be going on about eight weeks, with four posts total, one every other week; on Mondays for me. Check out her website at the previous link to see her original post and go visit other participating blogs.
The topics this year are:
Week 1: Writing Goals – share what you’re planning to work on this year (January 10, 2015)
Week 2: Writing sample – share a sample from your current Work in Progress (January 24, 2015)
Week 3: Favourite character – this can be a real person or a character from one of your fiction stories (February 7, 2015)
Week 4: Lifelong learner – Writers need to be continuously learning. What did you learn in 2014 that helped make you a better writer? (February 21, 2015)
This week is “Writing Goals,” so let me state upfront I am a bit too free-spirited for the fine, noble tradition of goal-setting. I have tons of excuses, my favorite being Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Why make my plans if we’re just going to end up going the way God wants anyway, right?
I’ve observed other goal-setters for years, at least one rather up close. It seems to me they’re often over-ambitious and don’t get to everything they’d hoped to do in a day or in a year. This leads to frustration and disappointment. To my “flexible,” “free-spirited” heart, the best way to avoid such pain is not commit myself to achieving a long list of specifics by rigid deadlines. When I have set such, they’re in smaller units, on a limited scale, things I knew I could manage without a doubt when I set the system up. Today, I often also set up some sort of agreed course of action with the other parties in advance for canceling our plans if something blocks them.
Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to “in this year ahead” goals, I often do have nebulous “penciled in” ideas. For instance, I’d like to finish what I’m currently writing this year and maybe start a next book, if marketing my work or something else important doesn’t end up needing too much time and creative energy.
In terms of publishing goals, I hope to see Helping Hands Press release more of the Web Surfer Series this year in some format, maybe even print by the end of the year. What I don’t want is to be beating myself up for not reaching bench marks I’d set for myself if the Lord has a character-building major catastrophe in mind for me instead.
If folks like me are honest with ourselves, there’s a bit of a spirit of timidity at play here, too. Are we really trusting God? Certainly, setting goals without consulting God is a good way to take a fall, but let’s be honest with ourselves. The lack of confidence that often goes with my style isn’t associated with success.
The verse that comes to my mind is Psalms 37:5, “Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” Or perhaps Proverbs 16:3, “Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.”
See? Planning isn’t a bad thing, but we do need to commit our work and our plans to the Lord and seek God’s guidance on what plans to make, what goals to set, and be willing to let him redirect us. I’ve not known God to work by human time tables, though, so sometimes we do need to be open to interesting answers when we ask God with open hearts what goals God has for us in the New Year.