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Dream On, Writers
“Never quit dreaming.” That’s what my eighty-seven year old mother-in-law told us. Even at her age, she dreams and works toward them. Good advice, and one we writers should take to heart with each new year. Dreams change, but should never depart.
When I started learning the craft of writing, I listed my six- month goal which I made; my three-year goal, which I didn’t make, but that’s okay; and, my lifetime goal which I plan on achieving.
My first January I took an online course from Suzanne McMinn which was wonderful. One assignment she gave us was to determine our goals month by month for a year. I’ve continued that practice.
During the time I took the course, a sermon at church jarred me from my lukewarm ideas. “Are you talking to me, Lord?” I took out pen and paper and began an acronym. Daily, I read it and meditate on the words. After all, we’re word freaks. Right?
Here’s what I have listed:
D Decide how many things you can balance with your other obligations. If and what should you write? What do you read? What do you enjoy?
R Record goals to give you something to work toward. Look back at them from time to time with a realistic approach.Should they be changed? Enlarged?
E Educate yourself in the craft. What do you need to study? How can you best train – writing groups, loops, online courses, books, critique groups, conferences or a combination of all? How can you best spend your time and money?
A Associate with people who help you, build you up. Become accountable to a mentor or critique partner. Network with authors online and in person whenever possible. Listen to them. I’ve heard it said, more writers become published through the recommendation of another author than by a pitch to an editor. With certainty, we can learn from their experience.
M Measure your success and your commitment each year. What have you done to further your writing career? Do you maintain a strong desire and/or need to keep writing? Where have you failed or procrastinated?
Now at the beginning of this new year, survey your desires and accomplishments in the past year. After you’ve done that, write your goals for the year, for the month, for the week. Make it something you can control. Being published or contracting for more sales is technically out of our hands, but following these guidelines with persistence makes those things doable. So, survey, keep goals, and dream on, writers.