Thursday, January 7, 2016

WHY GOALS AND RESOLUTIONS DON’T WORK

welcome guest blogger, Jane Choate


It’s that time of year again.  We start the year with grandiose goals and enthusiastic resolutions. “This will be the year I sell a book.”  “I will write a thousand words a day.”  “I will submit five proposals every month.”  All of these are great, but they don't take into account the real reasons we aren't already doing these things.  If I really wanted to write a thousand words a day, I’d do so.

I had to do some soul-searching and some pragmatic reasoning (never my strength) to discover why I couldn’t keep my writing resolutions.  Here are what I came up with:

Resolutions don’t work.  Even very specific resolutions like “I will write a hundred words (or a thousand or ten thousand words) a day” don't work without a plan.  It’s great to set a goal.  Hooray.  But a goal is just that.  A goal alone won’t earn you the results you want.   It won’t make itself come true.  Someone—you—has to do the work.

Figure out what that work entails.  If you want to write a book this year, break it up into steps.  What do you need to do first?  Decide upon what kind of book you want to write comes to mind.  The type of book you write will dictate length, tone, research, and a whole bunch of other things.  What else?  Decide when you will write  In the morning before you go to your day job or before you get the family up?  In the afternoon?  In the evening?  At two a.m. when the rest of the family is sleeping?  Work also involves having the right tools and equipment.  If you don’t have the proper computer and software and other tools, you are setting yourself up to fail.  You wouldn’t expect to do carpentry work without the right tools; likewise, you shouldn’t expect to write without the right tools.  Do you need additional training/education to do the work (writing)?  




Understand what it takes to make your plan work.  Understanding what it takes to make your plan work is key.  Part of that—a large part—may be understanding what you need to give up to make your plan work.  Do you need to give up lunches out so that you can write during your lunch hour?  Do you need to give up some socializing to make time to write?  Do you want to quit your day job and devote all your time to your writing?  Do you have the financial freedom to give up your day job?  Each of these decisions requires a well-thought out plan and then the commitment to stick to it.

Recognize the underlying reasons for why you haven't succeeded in the past.
Many of us have tried to lose weight.  If you have succeeded in that, a big congratulations.  You are one of the few who has stuck with it.  Why haven’t the rest of us succeeded?  Lack of commitment.  Lack of support from significant others.  Whatever the reasons, something was holding you back.  It is the same with writing.  If you haven’t succeeded in the past or haven’t succeeded to the extent that you wanted to, something is holding you back.


 

In examining your schedule, do you feel you don’t have the time to devote to your writing?   Are you swamped just trying to keep up with your regular job and taking care of a family?  Perhaps you have an elderly parent to care for.  Whatever is laying claim to your time, identify it, then see if there is a way you can carve out an hour or even a half-hour for yourself every day.  Barter or trade tasks with someone else and then use that new found time for your writing.  (It doesn’t do any good to free up some time and then not use it for your writing.)

What if you have the time, but you lack support from the important people in your life?  This is a tough one.  If someone is belittling your efforts to write with comments like “Why are you wasting your time on that—you’ll never sell anything,” you have my sympathy.  Such comments are hard—make that nearly impossible—to overcome.  If this is the underlying reason you haven’t succeeded in the past, it is time to silence those voices in whatever way you can.   One solution may be to keep your writing private or to share it only with a writing colleague or writing chapter. 

Change your truth.  Before you can change your truth, you need to identify it.  What is the truth that’s keeping you from reaching your goals?  Bear in mind that what you call a truth may not be a truth at all.  It may be another individual’s labeling of you. 

One truth that I allowed to dominate my thinking for years was a rejection letter early in my career.  In this scathing letter, the editor suggested that I “rethink my desire to be a writer” and stated outright that I would never sell or publish a book.  She concluded with the death knell to any project, “Good luck in placing your manuscript elsewhere.”  I admit it:  I was devastated.  It didn’t help matters to realize that she was entirely right about the manuscript.  It was terrible.  Horrible.  Filled with cliches, plot inconsistencies, wooden characters, and just plain poor writing.  Yes, she was right about that book.  What she wasn’t right about was me.  She didn’t take into account my persistence, my desire, my stubbornness that, yes, someday I would sell a book. Still, I allowed this letter to define me.  I kept writing, kept submitting, but I didn’t believe in myself.  Not until I let go of this “truth” did I free my imagination and my heart enough to write something that would sell.  And then I did it again and again.  Not that there weren’t rejections along the way.  There were plenty of rejection letters (and there still are), but I didn’t let them sway me from making my dream come true. 



Another “truth” that I permitted to define me was my father’s-in-law negative comments about each little success I achieved.  It got so bad that I could barely talk about my writing or celebrate a sale because I knew if he heard about it, he would demean it … and me.  If this man—intelligent and educated and a good person in many ways—thought so little of my writing and me, why should I keep trying?  Finally, I learned to let go of his mean-spirited remarks and reminded myself that his words didn’t define me any more than did those of the editor. 

This is a long-winded explanation to say that I dismissed these “truths” from my life, but I had to replace them with real truths.  I had to change the so-called truths that had colored my thinking for so long.  What did I come up with?  “I am a good writer who is getting better.”  What truths are holding you back?  And what can you replace them with?


It’s January.  What kind of writing year are you going to have?  It’s up to you.

Hi Everyone, Audra here. Jane always has such wisdom and encouragement to share. I'm so glad she joined us today! AND, did I mention, Jane has a new Love Inspired Suspense out this month! Jane is giving away a copy of The LIttlest Witness today. Be sure you leave a comment to be in the drawing!!




When Delta Force soldier Caleb Judd's brother and sister-in-law are murdered, the killers turn their attention on his orphaned nephew. Caleb's new mission: protect little Tommy—who hasn't said a word since witnessing his parents' deaths—and figure out who's targeting his family. He needs help, and security expert Shelley Rabb is perfect for the job. But Caleb's used to calling the shots, not taking orders…even when they come from a beautiful former Secret Service agent. Shelley knows firsthand what can happen when business becomes personal, so she vows not to get too close to Caleb and his nephew. She will risk her life to make sure they're safe, but will that mean risking her heart, too?

Jane McBride Choate has been making up stories for as long as she can remember.  When she was in grade school, her friends asked her to tell them stories about themselves.  She complied gladly and told outlandish tales, complete with damsels in distress and the heroic princes who saved them. Now her stories are likely to include a kick-butt woman saving a prince ... and saving the day as well. Writing--and getting paid to do  it--is a dream come true.

102 comments:

Marianne Barkman said...

Jane, welcome! Thanks for having her Audra! This could work for anyone, Author, reader, etc. Great post. Thanks. I'd love to win a copy of you LIS.

Trixi said...

I've never done New Year's resolutions, goals or whatnot. It's not something I've ever considered doing or felt pressured to do, even though other people around me were. Not that I fear commitment or any such thing like that, it's just never "fit" me or who I am. Since I've become a Christian, the only goal (if you will) is to allow God to work His will and His way in my life & to be open to Him every day. My desire is to be a woman after God's heart, to be in His word, listening for His still small voice, to be a channel for His voice to others. I know I'll always stumble somewhere along the path, but I rely on Him to lift me up out of the mire, brush me off & encourage me to go on. Not always easy, but with the Lord, all things are possible :-)

I've also seen other people choose a word for the year. That's something new I've just learned about it & I wasn't considering it for myself. Well, the funny thing is, a few days before the new yea I heard a distinct whisper in my ear. Only one word "Faith". I couldn't shake it from my mind and heart, so God has chosen a word for me. I'm a little apprehensive as to what all that will entail for the year, but excited at the same time. I've not told anyone in my circle of family or church because I don't want to take away from what God wants to do with it, nor do I want any naysayers to place doubt in my mind. I feel like this is something special God gave for just me, if that make sense :-)

Great post today. I can relate to this as a reader in different areas of my life. I'll be printing or posting this somewhere that I can reference in the future! Thanks for the encouragement, Jane. Please add my name for winning "The Littlest Witness". LIS is among my favorite of the LI line :-)

Terri said...

Jane, Thanks for this post. I need to learn to keep other things from infringing on my writing time. I used to always use my lunch hour and I've gotten remiss about that. Thanks for the reminder.

I'm so sorry you've faced such difficulties in your career - especially from a family member. I'm blessed with a wonderful and supportive sister and great writing buddies.

Since I'm targeting LIS, I'd love to win a copy of your latest release "The Littlest Witness".

Vince said...

Hi Jane:

I couldn't agree with you more that setting goals or making resolutions usually does not work. The very probability that we will not be successful is actually 'baked into' the language used. That is, we call them 'goals' and 'resolutions' because we do not want to commit to meeting them.

Can you imagine someone saying this:

"My goal is not to get drunk every Saturday night and drive my car thru the garage door."

That would be a very strange statement to make. People would wonder why you would do such a thing in the first place.

How about this more 'imaginable' author's statement to her editor:

"My goal is to meet the contract deadline so you can get the book to production in time to keep your job."

I think an editor would want a commitment that was substantially greater than a goal or resolution.

Far better it would be to simply say:

"In 2016 I am going to accomplish X, Y, and Z by doing these things: A, B, C, D."

Simply stated:
this is what I am going to do and this is how I am going to do it.

Like I said, I couldn't agree with you more.

Please put in the drawing for "The Littlest Witness." Usually if I strongly agree with an author on Seekerville, I also love her writing. : )

Vince

Mary Preston said...

Resolutions do not work. I have the failures to prove this.

Please count me in for a copy of "The Littlest Witness".

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jane, welcome back! I think you touched on some super important aspects today, that the reason goals and resolutions don't work is that we don't put the proper plan and due diligence in place to make them work.

You outlined that beautifully, that it's a step by step process, and it might not happen overnight. It MIGHT TAKE STINKIN' YEARS!!!! :)

But then in the end the goal is met, and you've created great work habits, and great work habits are always an author's best friend.

Thank you for this. It's straightforward and direct. And I don't make resolutions for New Year's but I set yearly goals and I meet them because I love what I do. I absolutely love making up stories, fixing folks in fiction, and creating/editing/revising.

I love being a writer, and I hope that shows in every smile on my face, and every story I send out.

I'm so glad you're here today, and I brought COFFEE!!!! YES!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Trixi that is so beautifully said! FIST BUMP!!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vince, right????

This makes perfect sense, and I think it's as simple and/or difficult as "Make your plan. Work your plan."

That's the old salesgirl in me talking!

Jessica Nelson said...

Great post! Know Your Truths...Love it. As for the planning, I'm still working on that. Heh. :-)

Jill Weatherholt said...

Excellent post, Jane! A goal without a road map often remains abandoned. I'm sorry for your experience with that unprofessional editor, but yay for you for kicking her words to the curb. Congratulations on your new LIS. Please put me in for the drawing.

Jackie said...

Hi Jane! Hi Audra!

What a powerful post! I'm sure there was a lot of emotional and spiritual wrestling involved in reaching the new truths. You've given me a lot to think about!

And Jane, congratulations on your book! It sounds great, and I'd love to be in the drawing.

DebH said...

hi Jane
thanks for this wonderful post. simple and yet a bit daunting. figuring out which truths to cling to and which "truths" to kick to the curb. I know I've failed because of the lack of commitment due to lack of belief in myself (and the lack of giving myself permission to avidly pursue my goals).

You've given me much to chew on and consider as I make goals for 2016. Thanks! Would love to be in the draw for The Littlest Witness. Love the blurb!!

Audra Harders said...

Resolutions have never worked for me, I'm more a REVOLUTION type of gal. Lately, that's not doing much for me either, LOL! I'm working on it!

Jane is trying to log in and I'm trying to help her :). Pray this goes well, LOL.

557e4af2-b543-11e5-ae28-83143c335bd0 said...

Hi Seekerville friends. Thanks for having me.

557e4af2-b543-11e5-ae28-83143c335bd0 said...

For some reason, I (Jane) am being identified by this gooblegook thing of numbers and letters.

557e4af2-b543-11e5-ae28-83143c335bd0 said...

Each year I set lofty goals, resolute resolutions, and each year they failed. Or I failed. Now I try to live up to values. Values hold more power. What do you think?

557e4af2-b543-11e5-ae28-83143c335bd0 said...

I apologize for being so long to sign in. I had technical problems. (My husband, the engineer, would refer to them as "operator" problems.) If any of you are married to engineers or other "tech" people, perhaps you will understand. He is a very linear thinker where I am a "scatter shot" thinker, with ideas pinging on me from all directions.

557e4af2-b543-11e5-ae28-83143c335bd0 said...

Audra, I love your comment about being a "Revolution type" gal. Maybe we should all stage a revolution!

Tracey Hagwood said...

Hi Jane, I agree with you wholeheartedly, I don't think I know many people who make resolutions and achieve them. You do have to change what you believe is possible, your truths, then with God's Strength, put it into action. I like the way you just put it, live up to your values.

I am an LIS fan and would love to be in the drawing for The Littlest Witness.

557e4af2-b543-11e5-ae28-83143c335bd0 said...

Tracey, it's taken me a long time to come to this realization. Unfortunately, I don't always live up to my values. (My family will tell you so!) Sometimes I'm lazy and selfish and mean-spirited. Then I try to repent and start over again. Thank goodness the Father and the Savior are all-forgiving.

Cindy Regnier said...

I agree Jane. Part of the reason I never make New Years resolutions is because I dont believe there is anything special about January 1. I can make a resolution any day of the year. What is important, as you said, is my plan I put in place to make it happen. The Littlest Witness sounds wonderful!

kaybee said...

Hi Jane,
I don't do "resolutions." I do do goals, but I've learned to make them centered on what I can achieve and not other people. It's impossible to say, "I WILL have a book published by this time next year" unless you're an indie author. What you do depends on an editor or agent liking your work and thinking other people will like it too -- and on God. So I've learned to focus on the areas I can control -- entering contests, working steadily with my crit partner, visiting this and other sites, a conference or two if I can afford it, and craft, craft, craft.
I also don't bother with "resolutions" because they're like diets. When I was diagnosed diabetic two years ago, I decided right off that I was not going to go on a "diet," I was going to have a lifestyle. I decided what foods I could live without and made careful plans for the ones I couldn't. (Fortunately, your food here is virtual. I could finish a plate of Ruthy's sugar cookies by myself if they weren't.) I think it's okay to set measureable goals, i.e. 1K1hour, if you've programmed them into your lifestyle. Because then they're not goals, they're part of a lifestyle. My goals are a little looser because my secular work and my family life is so unpredictable, I have them by months or even seasons, but the stuff gets done because I want it to.
Good post Jane!

Tracey Hagwood said...

Trixi,
Sometimes God drops those words into our heart and they are just for us. Having a focus on Faith this year will be a wonderful experience for you and if God gives you something about Faith to share with someone else, it will be between you and God how it came to be.

Sharing here at Seekerville things you don't share to friends and family is something I totally understand. It feels like a safe and "private" (haha) place to express yourself. Glad to have "met" you here at Seekerville, you enrich our conversations on writing, reading, life, love and...Faith ;-)

Audra Harders said...

Yay, Jane! Glad to see we connected! Hey, an engineer would be mortified with an ID like that, but a "scatter shot" kinda gal? We flow with the flow, right?? I'm just overjoyed we can talk to you!

557e4af2-b543-11e5-ae28-83143c335bd0 said...

Vince, I had to laugh at the "goal" of not driving into the garage door. In fact, I have driven through a garage door (well, really, I backed into it). And no, I wasn't drinking. Just as I have computer "operator" problems, I also have driving operator problems.

557e4af2-b543-11e5-ae28-83143c335bd0 said...

Audra, you've known me long enough to know that I am embarrassingly un-tech savvy. My poor husband was pulling out his hair--and he doesn't have that much to spare!

Audra Harders said...

Oh my, I'm remiss in my hostess duties. Glad Ruthy brought coffee! Since alot of us are studying the Trim Healthy Mama plan, I loaded the buffet with scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, sprouted bread, Greek yogurt oatmeal and berries. I think that should satisfy all S or E plans, LOL!

557e4af2-b543-11e5-ae28-83143c335bd0 said...

BTW, I have an article in the January RWR. It's all about blunders and bloopers. I included some of my own. You'd think I would have been at this business long enough not to do such stupid things, but, apparently not.

557e4af2-b543-11e5-ae28-83143c335bd0 said...

I have always admired, even revered, America's service men and women. I came of age during the Viet Nam era (now I've really dated myself). It broke my heart to see brave men and women returning home and receiving not gratitude for their sacrifice but boos and jeers instead. I dedicated TLW to America's service men and women, especially to the Wounded Warriors.

557e4af2-b543-11e5-ae28-83143c335bd0 said...

Chances are you're like me and bits and pieces of yourself show up in your writing. In TLW, I realized that I am the hero, Caleb Judd, rather than the heroine, Shelley Rabb. Caleb loses his brother and blames himself. Guilt and grief cling to him with unrelenting persistence. I conceived the idea for TLW while my sister was dying. I blamed myself for not being there for her more, for not being more loving, for a host of things. It wasn't until months after I'd finished the manuscript that I realized that I was channeling my guilt and grief in to Caleb. He was the conduit to my pain. I was remarkably un-self-aware of what I was doing or why I was doing it. Have you ever had a similar experience, where you channeled deep emotion in your character and only later realized what you'd done?

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Jane Welcome to Seekerville. Its good to hear from you again. smile

Loved all the tips in the post. Thanks for joining us. Have a fun day.

Wilani Wahl said...

My goals for the year are to continue on, each day trying to improve on my writing. Originally my goal was to write something every day but alas I have already failed and we are only 7 days into the year. But on the days I didn't write, I did get some editing done. I am finding I need to just take it a step at a time developing and learning as I grow.

I am thankful I have friends who encourage me as I write. I don't have support from the family members I live with so I don't talk about my writing when I am around them. Although my brother said he would drive me to a writers conference near me. that is until we found out how much money it would cost. Now I am praying that if God wants me to attend, He will provide the money. God is able to do that if this is the year I am to attend.

Jane I love Love Inspired Suspense books, I will look for yours when I am in Walmart next.

Deanna Stevens said...

I set a goal last year.. didn't even get past the first try.. I'm not good at de-cluttering!
Maybe if it's not a resolution/goal ? ?

557e4af2-b543-11e5-ae28-83143c335bd0 said...

Trixi, I like what you said about choosing a word for the year. Debbie Macomber has a non-fiction book out on just that subject. "Faith" is a great word. I spent some time thinking of what my word could be and came up with "Acceptance." Sometimes, we have to accept the unacceptable. Frequently, we have to accept that the Father's timetable in events is not ours. Just as His plan for us may not be the one that we, with our finite vision and wisdom, would have chosen.

Meghan Carver said...

Good morning, Jane! I agree completely with the problem of making resolutions. There have been too many years of failure for me to make any more of those things! (Hmm, it could be that homeschooling six children wreaks havoc with my time management sometimes.... :-) ) However, I am most definitely goal-oriented, and you and Ruthy are right (of course!). Step by step.

Your cover is quite eye-catching! LIS doesn't often have people on the cover, so one with a little boy? Wonderful!

557e4af2-b543-11e5-ae28-83143c335bd0 said...

Meghan,thank you for your comment. Homeschooling six children--you are a true heroine. I had 5 children (and didn't homeschool), so my hat is off to you. Families come first--always. Now my time is more my own, and I am still struggling to do the things I say I want to do.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I love you, https://openid.aol.com/opaque/557e4af2-b543-11e5-ae28-83143c335bd0

That is just hysterical, I don't think this has ever happened in Seekerville before, Jane!!!

LAUGHING!!!!

And by the way, that url leads to NOWHERE.

:)

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, Jane, WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE!!

LOVED your post because you hit upon so many truths that we need to hear -- and address!

You said: "I dismissed these “truths” from my life, but I had to replace them with real truths. I had to change the so-called truths that had colored my thinking for so long. What did I come up with? “I am a good writer who is getting better.”

WOW!! I am SO impressed because this is a MAJOR truth for every author, and YOU did it!! Especially when you had some bozo editor tell you what he/she said to you -- what an insensitive boob!!

You know, I'm not typically either a suspense or an LI reader (other than Seeker books), but I have to tell that your new book is very appealing to me because of the cover -- the idea of a child being a witness reallllly strikes a chord with me and probably most readers, so I hope it flies off the shelf!

Auds, thanks for bringing Jane to Seekerville -- great post!!

Hugs,
Julie

557e4af2-b543-11e5-ae28-83143c335bd0 said...

Trixi, I looked up the Debbie Macomber book. It's called ONE PERFECT WORD, put out by Howard Press.

Vince said...

Hi Ruth:

" due diligence"?

It MIGHT TAKE STINKIN' YEARS!!!! :)


What's with the lawyer talk? Your comments are causing me a little cognitive dissidence this morning.

Vince

Sally Shupe said...

Thanks for the great post, Jane! One thing I've learned with contests is to take what each judge says and weigh it against what the other judges said. And I try to remember it is geared toward the writing, not me the writer. Sometimes easier said than done lol. My word for this year is uncommon hope. Then I stumbled across this verse last night, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." Proverbs 29:18 Do you have a vision? Work out a plan to make that come to pass. Remember, God is able to do exceeding, abundantly more than we could ask or imagine!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Jane, I am going into the settings and allowing you to post anonymously today. Just sign all your comments -Jane so we know who you are.

Tina

Tina Radcliffe said...

Now then. WELCOME BACK, JANE.

Your cover is absolutely wonderful!!! I hope you sent the cover team a thank you note for that baby. GORGEOUS STAND OUT!!


I don't do resolutions.

I do plans of ACTION. Frogs. I am the EAT THAT FROG queen.

Spread sheet, plans and action.

For example. I plan to sell 12 stories to Woman's World this year.

Of course I am now unemployed so I have more motive and more time.

This is January 6. Submitting 4 a month is the plan. With a 3/4 rejection rate of per historical statistics, I have to submit 48 to sell 12.

One a week is the plan. I started three weeks ago and have submitted 3 so far.

Tina Radcliffe said...

"Where there is no vision, the people perish." Proverbs 29:18 Do you have a vision? Work out a plan to make that come to pass. Remember, God is able to do exceeding, abundantly more than we could ask or ima

Sally Shupe!!! I am printing this up!~~~ Thanks.

Debby Giusti said...

Jane,

I love heroines who carry a gun! :) Your latest sounds wonderful. The little guy tugs at my heart...

Truths that aren't. Important to recognize! Thank you for an insightful blog post today. Years ago, an agent rejected my work and I didn't write for six months. Silly me. I've learned my lesson...although rejection is still hard to receive.

557e4af2-b543-11e5-ae28-83143c335bd0 said...

I'll throw this out to the rest of the group: if you chose one word that you wanted to define you for this year, what would it be? It doesn't have to be about writing. It could be about how you want to see yourself, or a quality you want to build upon.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, Vince, the lawyer kid was home for the holidays. It must have rubbed off!!! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Tina, I'm amazed. Tweleve stories to WW. And you've already submitted three.

But then, you always amaze me.

Perhaps I need a spread sheet.

:)

Debby Giusti said...

Jane, I'm right with you about our military heroes and Wounded Warriors! God bless them all!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jane, I'll jump in... Resilient.

Now that's not to be confused with my one word which is "gloria".

To give God glory.

But for a personal definition, note I didn't jump to kindly or sweet or affectionate...

Nope.

Resilient!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

TINA!!!! GO YOU!!!!!!!!

Carol Garvin said...

'From the perspective of my advanced years' I've learned that resolutions are a mistake for me, so many years ago I gave up making any. Why set myself up for inevitable failure? Breaking a resolution was like breaking a promise, and was depressing. I *do* have intentions, of course -- things I'd like to achieve -- but not immediately fulfilling an intention doesn't feel like a failure. There's no guilt involved.

I totally LOVE this post of Jane's (and would love to win a copy of her LIS), and am going to share it. It makes so much sense!

Tina Radcliffe said...

My one word is FOCUS.

We do this every year in Seekerville.

Last year we had Rachel Olsen who wrote the book here.


F-O-C-U-S!

Now back to work with me.

Janet Dean said...

Jane, thanks for the inspiring post! I've failed to meet goals and keep resolutions enough to know you're spot on. It may take digging deep to see why we don't do what we claim we want to do. Often it's fear. Or lack of priorities. Or... :-) We're all different and have to find what works. But for sure we need to feed truths to ourselves and not believe the negative voices in the room or in our heads. You've certainly proved them wrong. Congratulations on your latest release!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Vince, like your I'm going to do it and this is how I'm going to do it. As always you cut to the chase.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Sally, you are so right! But God wants us to take that step. When the Israelites needed to cross the Jordan, they had to put a foot into the river before the water receded. God wants to know we're serious about what we want to take action.

Janet

Sandy Smith said...

Thanks, Jane. This is a great post. I always set writing goals but never come close to meeting them, although I did make my Speedbo goal last year. I like the thought that I need to make plans in order for my goal to work. What I really need is discipline, so that is probably my word of the year. Perseverance would be a close second.

Please enter me in the drawing.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Carol Garvin, I see you sneakin' over here!!!!

I had to double check tarantella music and here you are!!!! :)

I can't imagine how writing books was so much harder before Mr. Internet came along. I LOVE YOU, GOOGLE!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, everyone, for your insightful comments. I learn so much from all of you when I guest at Seekerville. As in so many things, I receive more than I give. (Need to change that around.)

Jeanne T said...

Jane, I love how you focus on figuring out why the goal isn't being met, what's holding us back, and then changing the truth. That makes so much sense! We need to know the whys behind what's holding us back. For me, it often boils down to fear. This year is a great year to work on trusting God more with my dreams, and my goals. There's a mix of my work and collaborating with Him. Which will require me to trust Him, both to help me and to work things out in His timing. But, I must do the work He gives me to do. :)

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Now I (Jane) am "Anonymous." This is what happens when a non-tech person tries to do something outside her comfort zone.

Tina, I love the word "Focus." I seem to be getting more scattered, the older I get. I think much of my scattered approach to life comes from when I was a young mother, trying to multi-task and divide myself between family (5 children), church, community, writing, etc. I need to pick a single task, do it, and then move on. Of course I have a long list of "shoulds."

Trixi said...

Jane, as I said, I didn't intentionally pursue choosing a word for the year. In fact, I wasn't going to! God had other plans as you see, HE was the one that dropped one word in my heart (whispered more like it). And since I couldn't shake it or forget it or ignore it (as if I could!), I had come to the conclusion that's what HE wanted me to focus on this year. It's actually the first year I've ever heard of people doing this, definitely something new to me. I have no idea how/why/or when HE will use this, I just trust that HE will...somehow, someway. And that I'll grow because of it :-)
I've attempted to read a Debbie Macomber novel once, it just never grabbed me, sorry to say! I think she's a secular writer (please correct me if I am wrong)....and I don't read secular novels. They lack the spiritual thread I love so much in Christian writing. Personal preference only and is in no way a reflection on the said author! I've heard quite a few people rave on her writing, including my sister-in-law who loves her books. If I have offended anyone by saying that, I am truly sorry. That was never my intent to bash an author! I just know what I read and why I read it....again, my own personal reading tastes :-) And I would never judge someone for reading secular books. What a mess I got myself into...OY!! I'll just go quietly in my corner and read my current novel....please pardon me!

Anonymous said...

Julie, thank you for the encouraging words and the comments about the cover. Harlequin's art department really outdid itself, I think. I am a sucker for stories with children. And, of course, kick-butt heroines and heroes to die for. TLW was a departure for me in many ways. I was crying as I wrote much of it. (And I still cry when I read it.) Isn't it wonderful that God, in His wisdom, gave us both tears and smiles? How would we navigate this world without either?

Sally Shupe said...

Tina, I printed this up for me too!

Janet, yes, we have to put forth the effort. My writing motto: Write and see. I'll write as God directs, and then see where He leads. He's already done so much!

Anonymous said...

Trixi, I understand completely. DM does write secular books, but they usually center around home and family. (Two important themes in my life.) The book I suggested has a very Christian/inspirational tone to it.

Isn't it wonderful that there are so many stories we can spend our reading time with? I have piles of books around my house. In fact, we say that we are decorated in "Early Book."

Myra Johnson said...

Busy day of church stuff, topped off by Internet issues, so late arriving today. Excellent advice, Jane--thanks so much for being our guest!

I could just strangle the editor who suggested you rethink your desire to be a writer. DREAM KILLER!!!!!! I've run into a few of those types, too. Maybe our work isn't ready yet, but with encouragement, guidance, and continued practice, who know how far we can go with our dreams?

Anonymous said...

Letting God direct us is always good counsel. As Sally said, though, He expects us to do our part. I'm afraid I'm often slothful. (I love the word slothful--sounds so much more important than lazy.)

Mary Connealy said...

Writers are also dreamers I think. I do a lot of day dreaming. Thanks for this nice, clear, call to action.

Chill N said...

In this scathing letter, the editor suggested that I “rethink my desire to be a writer” and stated outright that I would never sell or publish a book.

Gracious, Jane! Good for you for realizing the 'untruth' in what that editor wrote to you! In my first fiction contest entry, a judge wrote on the scoresheet that I would never be able to sell my writing. Talk about being slammed against the wall. Later it dawned on me how wrong the editor was ... I'd been making money for years as a journalist. I had learned how to write non-fiction -- I just needed to learn the craft of fiction writing. I think that's a life-long endeavor :-)

I appreciate your post -- the questions and the logical steps. Much to ponder.

Nancy C

Anonymous said...

Myra, I like the term "Dream Killer." Yes, that editor did her best to kill my dreams. But, in a way, she did me a favor as she made me more determined than ever to succeed. We need to fill our world with cheerleaders rather than dream killers. More, we need to be cheerleaders for our family and friends.

Valri said...

Great post today! I've always made goals (not New Year's resolutions!) and you do have to make a plan, not just a goal! I write them down and then look at them every day! When you slip a little, you just have to try again, not get upset! That's the key for me!

I love the cover of your new book, Jane! Precious! I want to read it! Count me in!

Melanie Pike said...

Another great post this week! Wow, I picked a good week to return to the fold. :)

Jane, I'm so sorry about your father-in-law's negativity. I know how that is, although not necessarily connected to my writing; it just hit everything else in my life--from my parents who not encouragers at all. I react not-well to any kind of criticism and don't believe most encouragement, feeling as if I don't deserve it. Sounds like I need to "replace them with real truths" ('bout time at age almost-57, huh?). I'm trying! I even have a smallish resin bear on my desk that I received from my hubby for Christmas; he has the words "Jesus loves you" beside him because I struggle with that.

And that editor? Makes you wonder what happened to her that she did something like that... Or was she just having a bad day? Who knows...she could have woken up the next day with the sun shining on her and she regretted that letter to you. But you turned it around for good! Congratulations! :)

Ruthy, you love being a writer? I did not know that! *snicker* And, like you wrote, it boils down to "Make your plan. Work your plan." I'm pretty good at doing that for concrete things (birthday parties, some church stuff), but not so much when it comes to doing things for me (writing, weight loss). I've also never been good at goal-setting. (I make myself sound like a basket case!) Yep, I need a few new "real truths" in my life. (And I think I need to move to the other side of Rochester and show up at Ruthy's house every day to get a lesson in "Pull up your big girl panties" or however that goes!)

Oh, Tina...! Proverbs 29:18 is perfect. :)

Jane, please toss my name in for your book. Love the cover. :)

Blessings!





Anonymous said...

I am better about writing about this subject than I am in implementing the steps I listed. That's true with so much in my life: I know what to do, but doing it requires a whole different skill set. Whether it's in eating better or writing more or exercising more, I know the what, it's finding the how that's so hard. What about the rest of you?

Sarah Claucherty said...

Jane,

My one word--or one of them--would be DETERMINED. I am determined to find a job in the first part of this year. And more importantly, I am determined to grow in my faith in this new season of my life.

Thanks for the giveaway! TLW sounds like a good read!

Anonymous said...

Melanie, almost 57, huh? That makes you a "youngster."

About my FIL--as I said, he is a good and devout man. He and I just don't click and I react poorly. But it's my choice to believe him (or that editor) or no. I'm trying to believe the good voices in my life. When we've been knocked down a lot, it's hard to believe the cheerleaders. I'm trying to do better at it.

I can see that I've found a whole community of cheerleaders in Seekersville. What a great place.

Becky Dempsey said...

Jane, thank you for this post. I had finally gotten my writing train rolling last year and decided that I'd enter a contest. I knew I had lots of growing to do, but I figured I could learn from what the judges told me. One of the judges wrote something along the line of "Some people write well, you are not one of them". It really kicked me out of my groove and I sort of disappeared for about 6 months. I'm still struggling to get back on the track.

My word for this year is REST. "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST" Matthew 11: 28

Leslie Ann aka LA said...

Jane! So good to see you here. I laughed and then pondered your title before I read the post. Such great insight.

I'm excited b/c this year, I'm approaching my writing in a different way. One that will allow me to finish and publish my 7th book, but also in a way that allows me to have the retired life I've so been wanting to embrace.

We'll see if it works.
Happy New Year & Happy Release of your latest of 30th+ book!
L.A. Sartor

writeranne said...

Jane, I admire your strength(in regards to what the editor said). I wonder if I would have had the strength to stand up and say, NO! That's not true. And successfully prove her wrong. Kuddos for you.

PS Adorable book cover

Vince said...

.
A resolution
is a solution
with reservations.

Missy Tippens said...

Jane, I'm with you on resolutions. I've failed keeping them so many times that I quit making them years ago. But I do love your suggestions! Truth is a word that keeps popping up to me. I think it's going to be my One Word this year. :) Thank you for sharing with us!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Becky, I think we've all gotten judging remarks like that, and you know what? They just made me mad enough to ensure I wouldn't quit.

I took those negatives and just stuffed them away because success is the best revenge.

And I'm not a vengeful person, but the saying holds true for those folks who rain on your parade.

They can't tell that from one entry or even five entries, because writers grow with time and practice.

You stay right here in Seekerville and practice and write and learn... and show them what you're made of.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Becky!! No writer would ever, ever say that to another writer. Why? Because we were all there once.

I am ashamed of that judge.

Ignore her.

Here's a good, good laugh for you. Check out these posts and toast 2016.

The Joy of Rejection


Rejection and Despair: Just Another Day in Writer Paradise



AND MY PERSONAL FAVORITE BECAUSE EVERY THING IN THIS POST HAPPENED TO M (Even the Mom part):

Exploring Contest Mood Disorder

Amanda Cabot said...

Jane -- Your subject line alone got me reading, because I wasn't sure I agreed with you. I'm still not sure that goals don't work, but there's no doubt that the steps you've outlined will help us all. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Sarah,

I loved your word--"determined." That would be a great one for all of us, in all areas of our lives.

Do you find (to everyone) that the steps to become successful in our writing lives are the same as the steps to become successful in other aspects of our lives? Of course, success has many meanings with many manifestations of it. But the idea of reaching and working and striving and struggling is something that we all do, in our quests to be more spiritual, more giving, more creative.

Anonymous said...

L.A., thanks for stopping in. Congratulations on finding a new way of writing. And a BIG congratulations on being able to publish your 7th book!

Anonymous said...

Amanda,

What I should have said is that goals don't work if you don't work them. That's probably more accurate. Too often, it seems, goals become sticks to beat ourselves with instead of stars to reach for.

Tanya Agler said...

Jane, Thank you for your post. Whenever I feel led to start something new, I try not to make a resolution out of it, but to incorporate it into my life right then and there. As far as one word, hmmm. That's difficult for me. I guess perseverance, because I want to write and I want to get better. It's just staying the course and thinking up plots with some fresh twists.

Becky, I'm so sorry about that judge. My poor husband can tell you all about some of the comments I've received from judges, both the good and the bad. Keep writing.

Tina, Good luck with your Woman's World submissions.

Both the post and the comments were so helpful today. And I'm going to add a personal note. It's my wedding anniversary today. My wonderful husband and I are celebrating our 21st.

Anonymous said...

Goals and resolutions. Dreams and reaching for the stars. Whatever language we use to get us working and writing, I say "Go for it." The important thing is that we never give up. Sometimes I have consciously tried to give up writing because the rejections (and there were literally hundreds, thousands if you count articles and short stories) brought so much pain. But the thrill of sharing my words with others was stronger than the fear of pain. I heard something on TV last night: "Let your faith be bigger than your fear." That's a good reminder, in writing, in life.

Anonymous said...

Being on Seekerville, "chatting" with you faithful writers, is so energizing and inspiring. Thank you for having me and for reminding me that I am never alone in my writing. Friends like you and the Lord keep me going.

Anonymous said...

Becky,

I am fuming on your behalf over the judge's comment. (Could she be related to the editor in my story?) It sounds like she has too much pain and bitterness in her life to be able to share any love or compassion with others. I'm with Ruth--use that comment to show her what you're made of.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, everyone, once again for inviting me to join you today. It's been a fun, informative, and inspiring time.

Caryl Kane said...

JANE, thanks for the great post! I don't make resolutions. I seek to keep my eyes on the Lord day by day. Blessings to you...

Sarah Claucherty said...

Becky,

I'm going to add your REST to my own DETERMINED. That's such a wonderful verse to trust in, and it sounds like the other half of my thoughts on DETERMINED - I can be determined to rest in Him despite the uncertainty and up-in-the-air-ness of my life right now. Doesn't hurt a whit that this particular verse is one of my church's mainstays!

librarypat said...

I read mysteries and suspense books long before I discovered romances. I enjoy the combination of the two. I like the role reversal in THE LITTLEST WITNESS. Having a strong and capable man needing help from a strong, capable woman is a nice change. It just reinforces that no matter how strong we are, we sometimes have to reach out for help.

Edwina said...

I don't do resolutions - I found out a long time ago that I wouldn't keep them. I do pray and ask for a word for the year. This year that word is BREAKTHROUGH!

Please enter my name in the drawing for your book - and thanks for such a great post!

Vince said...

ONE WORD

Observation: In all the time Seekerville has been doing OneWord, I haven't seen anyone pick a word I didn't think was a good one. Many are tempting to take as my own. However, last year's OneWord worked so well and was used almost everyday that I am going with it again this year.

SYSTEMS

Here's how it works: whenever I encounter a recurring problem, like not being able to find something, I right then and there take the time to set up a system so that that annoyance will never happen again. Doing this can take an hour or more but I just stop everything and do it. After that the problem does not happen again.

For example: last year I had all my keys re-cut (different colors & key shapes) so I could tell which was which in the dark. Then I made all my extra key sets to be just like all the others. That was $30 for three sets of home and office keys but my major daily key annoyances are gone for good.

This system is for problems that keep coming up. You don't need a system for a 'one-off' problem. However, I have found that there are enough recurring annoyances to keep this system in operation year round.

Vince

Chris Bailey said...

Jane,
JOYFUL! Writing is living the dream and loving the gift of words. I'm so glad you addressed the belittlers. They're tough to ignore. Thank you for an inspiring post.
Chris

Betti said...

I must admit I try not to make resolutions, but rather set a goal to try to do better at whatever that might be. In this way, I don't deal with the guilt of not following through, but rather am encouraged to continue to try :) Please enter me in the drawing for 'The Littlest Witness'. Thanks :)

Vince said...

To belittle is to be little!

I've always noticed that others tend to belittle what they fear. If someone belittles your writing, they may actually be telling you that they fear your being successful in your writing endeavors. This tells you more about them than it tells about you.

If someone belittles something you try to accomplish, ask yourself this: "Why would they fear me being successful?"

You'll be amazed with how reasons you can come up with and how these reasons can reveal the belittler's own insecurities.

I always look at belittling as being little.

Vince

P.S. I'm taking Janet's advice and instead of leaving a comment about her post today, "Scene and Sequel," I'm reading her "The Bounty Hunter's Redemption" with a mind to compare her teachings with her production. This adds a deliciously naughty flavor to the reading experience.

P.S. Actually, I do want to comment. A great lesson I've learned by reading many best selling authors is that they tend to accomplish seven or eight writing goals in each scene. Average writers may accomplish only one to three goals. This difference makes reading the best sellers seem much richer in comparison.

Adding extra story goals to a scene can be done using the same or even fewer words than a one goal scene. The key here is having an author who understands the potential power of fully packing a scene with goal advancers. : )

marilyn leach said...

Goals are tricky, but you've a great job of making them credible. Thanks, Jane. Can't wait to read your book. Cheers

Deb said...

Jane I so appreciated your comments and suggestions on goals and New Years Resolutions, especially your suggestion to replace a "negative truth" with a positive, affirming truth!
Debra

Tami said...

Great article! Affirmations are a good way to change negative thought. Look yourself in the mirror when you say "I can do it!" Loved it!