Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday Meditations: Are You Going Somewhere With This?

I’ve been doing my End of Year evaluations of my life. You know, the ones we do when we realized twelve months have slipped through our fingers leaving us holding a long list of things we wanted to do. As I consider my writing life in 2010, I realized that I need to get back to learning more about writing.

In past years, it wasn’t unusual for me to go to the library and check out a bag full of writing craft books. I would hoard writing books. As a matter of fact, I have a stack of writing books I’ve purchased sitting on my bedroom floor (mainly because I have no more shelf space). I would dive into these books, doing the exercises and trying to put some of what I learned into practice. But this past year…not so much.

I don’t know why I fell away from reading writing craft books, but I can see the difference they made. I’ve started reading them again. Not so much as a New Year’s resolution. Mostly because I tired of feeling stuck with my writing and learning craft is a great way to grow and progress as a writer.

One book I’ve been reading lately is James Scott Bell’s The Art of War for Writers. My writing library includes all of his writing craft books. I purchased this book over the summer and hadn’t cracked the cover until now. I greatly respect Bell as writer and an instructor. I had the pleasure of talking with him at the Greater Philadelphia Writers Conference several years ago.

In his book, there is a section called Strategy (the book is bases on Sun Tao’s Art of War). The first entry covers strategic planning for writers. Bell states that writers have to approach their writing as a business and create a business plan which includes a vision statement.

Sounds simple, right?

Then why don’t I have a vision statement for my writing?

I don’t have a vision statement. I should, but I don’t. It’s not like I don’t know the power of vision. With a vision, the people perish, right? Don’t I know that scripture to be true? Why, yes. Yes, I do.

When I read Bell’s instruction to create a business plan, I had to seriously ask myself, “Are you going anywhere with this?” Sadly, I’ve been straddling the fence between writing for a hobby and writing as a career for a long time. I’ve spent the past few years running on the fuel my desire to write produced but that wasn’t enough. I need to get off the fence and be serious about my writing. I need to go to the land of career novelist.

Bell’s advice helped me to see that I’ve either get serious about my writing CAREER and figure out where I’m going with this gift that God gave me. God has a plan for this. I just need to figure out what He wants and how.

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