Wednesday, December 17, 2008
If you’re like me, your holiday schedule is full. Cards to send, presents to wrap, a tree to trim and a home to decorate make this, as the song says, “the busiest time of the year.”
In spite of the hustle and bustle and “to do” lists that never seem to end, let’s take a moment to look back over the past year and reflect on what we’ve learned.
Here are a few of my thoughts:
●Writing inspirational stories about God’s love and mercy is a ministry, yet I am always called to do more. The world is hurting, and I must never fail to help those in need.
●Before I begin a new story, I must have a clear picture of how it will unfold. Like a puzzle, the pieces need to fit. At the onset, the characters and plot twists and red herrings and surprise ending are scattered about helter-skelter. But when placed within the framework of the story, the pieces come together as a whole. Only then am I able to start writing.
●Balance is important. As much as I love to write, I also need time away from the writing to renew my spirit so the work remains a joy instead of a burden.
● Work expands to fill the time available. If I have a lot of time to spend on a project, I’ll use lots of time. When I’m under a short deadline, I manage to complete the task quickly.
●Deadlines keep me focused and on task.
●Pausing to celebrate the completion of one project allows me to anticipate the start of the next.
●Category books can be excellent writing tools. The short word count requires me to focus on the important aspects of the story while discarding any tangents that may slow the pace or detract from the main storyline.
●In order to be compelling, characters must be flawed. Readers identify with handicaps and cheer on a hero or heroine who struggles to overcome seemingly overwhelming obstacles.
●I can’t do everything; therefore, I must use my time wisely.
●Being able to say “no” is an important lesson to learn, sometimes more important than saying, “Yes.”
●Marketing takes time, and as stated above, I can’t do everything. The secret is to start with a few manageable tasks, then add new promotional strategies when time permits.
●Set priorities. God and family come fist. Looking back, I realize my “Call” came at the perfect time, after my children had grown when I could focus full time on my writing.
Think back over what you’ve learned this past year and share a tip or two that might help the rest of us.
As we countdown to Christmas let’s take time from our busyness to prepare our hearts as well as our homes. Only then will we be filled with eager anticipation and overwhelming gratitude for the gift of a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
Live in the moment. Be grateful. Cherish time spent with friends and family. Pause to talk with God daily. And rejoice because a Savior is born.
Wishing you a joyous Christmas and abundant blessings in the New Year,