At the end of 2017, I took a few days to reflect. Not only on the year just ended, but also on the new one about to begin. Here are three questions that guided my time.
What did I learn in 2017 that made me grow as a writer, and as a person?
As a writer, I tried new things in my writing. I wrote a contemporary thriller with deep psychological undertones. I continued working on my fantasy series, reading and studying how the masters of the genre have done it. I stretched myself by attending conferences and sitting in on marketing, social media and indie publishing workshops. I risked pitching my favorite unpublished novel to one of the top Christian agents. And received an encouraging response. No offer of representation yet.
As a person, I learned the value of humility and trust as I went through a near-death experience in April. My relationship with God grew closer as I realized he cares for me and arranged for me to be in the right place at the right time for excellent care and follow-up once I returned home.
From these experiences, I’ve learned to value relationships more. First with my wife and kids and then with my writing partners who have challenged me and encouraged me when I wanted to quit.
I’ve grown as a person through new friends we’ve made through serving in our church. I’ve learned to let myself step out of my introverted personality and to be open and vulnerable.
What challenge, problem, or obstacle did I face that proves I am stronger and more capable than I thought I was?
- My health issues.
- Learning new writing genres
- Trusting in God and others more in my heath, my life, my writing.
- Turning more to him. Trusting him for answers even when he seems to be taking a long time to answer
- Stop trying to control everything
- Learning patience
Looking ahead to 2018
My wife is retiring from her nursing career, which, while exciting, will also mean some adjustments as we work towards a new normal for us. There are projects to do on our property. And I’m not the greatest handyman in the world. My tools should have labels that read “This End Up,” along with warning labels. But we’ll be doing them together.
We’re looking to do more traveling. To places we haven’t seen and to family and friends we don’t see often enough, especially a new grandson who joined us in October.
And we anticipate more opportunities to serve in our church.
As 2018 begins, I am evaluating my writing career and facing some decisions about how to continue this adventure. Nothing is clear right now except to humble myself more and to put my ego aside so I can hear from God. Not sure where it will all end up, but I’m looking forward to making the journey under his guidance.
My word for 2018 is obedience to whatever God calls me to do and to be. Even if I don’t agree or if I’m frightened. He’s brought me through all these years, sometimes kicking and screaming—me, not him. Obedience is the only way I’ll taste any success.
My Scripture for 2018 is Isaiah 43:19 (Voice). Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there had been none.
I heard this Scripture from three different sources over three days. I figure God’s trying to get my attention.
What did you learn about yourself in 2017? What are you looking forward to in 2018?