Marcy and I just returned from vacation. Every year we return to the same place at the beach right around the same time of year. We PLAN. We look forward to that two weeks. We make lists to pack, etc.
How often though do we lay out our Life-priorities? Do you have a plan for the direction and purpose of your life?
When I was a doctoral student, one of the most helpful and instructive requirements of one of our courses was to create and present our “Life Mission Statement.” In a recent post “5 Reasons Why You Should Commit Your Goals to Writing,” from Michael Hyatt, he offers a PDF eBook, Creating Your Personal Life Plan, for all those who respond to his post by subscribing for email notification. It’s a great and helpful book with introductory video by Mike. He is the ideal coach because of his success at carrying out so effectively his own Life Plan. After all, he was the CEO of Thomas Nelson and now is their Chairman of the Board.–not to mention a high end blogger and successful Christian writer in his own right.
If you need reasons for creating such a Life Plan or Life Mission Statement, read Mikes post. I’d probably add a couple more here:
6. You will be able to spell out just what you’re life circles around. And you can hand out copies to close friends and family asking them to pray for you in these areas.
7. Living out your Life Mission Statement is an example for others. They see your progress. God wants us to so live that people can see our progress and thank God for the answered prayers they send up on our behalf.
8. There’s tremendous freedom in having a plan. Sometimes there’s freedom in something that appears constraining. A good example of this is a train. Trains don’t do well just going wherever. They don’t run best on sand or in mud. They can’t go where they want, but they have tremendous freedom when on their tracks. They can get where they’re headed much faster on those tracks than off. You have the added benefit of being able to adjust which directions and to which destinations your track (priorities and goals) will go.
Expect adjustments. Eleven years ago, I wrote out my first Life Mission Statement. Sometimes you have to adjust. Under my personal goals, one was to lose 45 pounds by a certain date. The date came and went and I had only lost 10. Rather than become discouraged and give up, I got out my LMS and readjusted the date to reflect a more realistic loss of 1 pound per week. After some time, I realized my goal.
Expect blessings. Involve the Lord as you write out your plan. Scripture says that if you “Delight yourself in the Lord , he will give you the desires of your heart.” I believe that as you worship and enjoy Him, he plants desires. Desires to grow, desires to plan and accomplish wonderful things. Watch the blessings flow as you honor God by being a good steward of your time and life.
As for the benefits in my own life, I have been able, with several adjustments, to:
- Go deeper in the Lord
- Reach weight and health goals
- Become debt-free
- Write several books and publish one
- See my family growing and active together
- Enjoy a marriage of 32 years and we’re still like newlyweds.
- Accomplish several ministry goals
Perhaps these things might have “just happened” on their own. I guess we’ll never know. But knowing myself as well as I do, none of them would. I do not have the organizational skills or the self-discipline (though I’ve grown in both) to accomplish these without a plan. Nor could I have planned and succeeded without the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who led me to write out a plan.
QUESTIONS: Do you have a written plan or life mission statement? Yes or no, as Dr. Phil says “How’s that working for you?”
©2011, David C Alves
If you are a Christian writer and are not yet familiar with WORLD Magazine, then I need to point you to it.
It is the news as it should be reported–objective, truthful, and from a Christian perspective.
I don’t agree with their overemphasis on engagement in politics as the solution for our troubles, but I appreciate and respect their stand. As far as I can see, political solutions are temporary. God is the only one who can solve the issues of our day. We need to trust his sovereignty over national and world affairs.
World will present the issues and give you the information that you need to respond as an informed writer, reader, or fellow traveler on your own spiritual journey.
Though no two people may agree upon the 10 Books that Every Christian writer should own and have assimilated, I offer these as my 10—The ones I have read and found invaluable. I also recommend others for other reasons, but these are a good start and should make up the foundation of any small library of any serious Christian writer. The Bible is not found in this list simply because I have already assumed that any writer who is a believer has several excellent translations in his library already.
The order I have chosen lays a foundation in its class (esthetics, craft of writing, publishing, enrichment, etc.) and builds upon it. Some of the books have been mentioned already in my “14 Helpful Websites for Christian Writers.” A second mention merely underscores a particular book’s importance.
Each book is available in my “Featured Books” List to the right (for as long as this blog is on my front page, thereafter check my “Essential Books for Believing Writers”). Simply click on the book’s title and you can purchase the book either new or used. So . . here you have it:
Help in Forming A Christian Aesthetic:
- The Christian Imagination, Leland Ryken
- The Mind of the Maker, Dorothy Sayers
- Mystery and Manners, Flannery O’Connor
- A Stay Against Confusion: Essays on Faith and Fiction, Ron Hansen
- The Elements of Style, Strunk and White
- The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style, Hudson & Townsend
- Writing for the Soul: Instruction And Advice from an Extraordinary Writing Life, Jerry Jenkins
Publishing and Marketing
- Book Proposals that Sell, Terry Whalin
- Christian Writer’s Market, Susan
- Writing Non-fiction, Dan Poynter
- The Well-ordered Office: How To Create An Efficient And Serene Workspace, Kathleen Kendall-Tackett
Hope you find these helpful. Have a blessed holiday season!
I welcome all serious comments to this community of readers. Please leave comments which would be helpful to any Christian writer. It could have been 10 or 100 Books that every Christian writer should have read, so please add to our list if you know something with the following three qualities: relevant, readable and significant.
Feel free to leave legitimate links that relate to our topic. You may also point us to your blog if it will serve the purposes of this article (Consider that you are in my home, and I am protective of my visiting readers. So I always reserve the right to delete comments or links that are not helpful to the community that visits my site). Consider also your own reputation as you comment. I would like it to continue unsullied.
Have you ever wished that someone could point you to a few sites helpful to a Christian writer? The following are nine websites that I believe Christian writers will find helpful. Though they may also serve other species of writer, I have chosen them specifically to assist my brothers and sisters whose vocations issue from a calling by the Lord to write.
I have ordered the annotated list in a loose chronology of the writing process (i.e. first you query or propose, then you write, then you record, you network and sharpen your craft and marketing abilities:
2. http://www.fictionfactor.com/articles/wordcount.html I include this link from the same site so that you have some sense of the industry standards for the length of your works.
3. Terry Whalin’s site is a must, chock full of good stuff for us from the vantage point of a veteran editor for various Christian publishers. His insight into the proposal process is invaluable. His book, Book Proposals that $ell, is worth its weight in gold—a great buy at any price. Someday it’s going to help you land a contract!!
4. If you like his blog, you might want to try his website for writers:http://www.right-writing.com/index.html
5. This is a reference site of books online. I use it to find quotes, to recall anecdotes or just to take a break from my writing: http://www.bartleby.com/
6. If you’re like me, it’s hard not to quote C. S. Lewis. Here’s your gold mine: http://www.quotedb.com/authors/cs-lewis
7. The Christian Writer’s Guild is worth checking out and participating in. http://www.christianwritersguild.com/
The Christian Writer’s Guild is headed by Jerry Jenkins. I recommend his book in my blog entry, “10 Books Every Christian Writer Should Own.” The Christian Writer’s Guild sponsors an annual Conference for networking with other writers, editors, and publishers.
8. At some point you will need to know something about how the laws and copyrights affect you.
9. Michael Hyatt’s site is a MUST if you’re serious about publishing and social media as an author. You will be glad you subscribed there.
10. Saving the BEST for last, you will want to go to Stickyink.com’s contribution to indie-publishing: A Complete Guide to Publishing Your Own Book. You will find this full of help and best of all, it’s FREE!. Has a great table of contents so that you can use it as a bookmarked resource and dip in wherever, whenever.
Hope you find these helpful. I’ll post more as I discover them.
QUESTION: What sites have YOU found helpful?