Thursday, January 5, 2012

Writing Resolutions

Every new year I go through the same debate: should I or should I not make some resolutions? My general feeling is that to 'resolve' to do anything puts far too much pressure on me to 'pass' or 'fail'. So instead, I like to call it goal setting. But isn't it just the same thing and do I really have to do it?

Part of me wants to say: no, I don’t have to do it – I resolve never to make a resolution again! But another part of me, which at times feels wiser but at others simply obsessed, knows that I operate best when I place down some markers. This is in all areas of my life. Do I want to remain the same or do I want to change?

I’m sure there are some areas of yourself that you quite like and don’t want to change; others that you would like to, and still others that you simply must for the sake of everyone concerned. On a personal level, I know that I need to work more on my patience. I seem to have very little of it with my daughter at the moment. I know that I cannot change her but I can change myself. I can’t do it on my own of course, but as patience is listed as a fruit of the Spirit, I’m committing to ‘work’ on this with God this year. I’m not off to a very good start as today is her first day back at school and we had a tiff as she dragged her feet this morning. Oh dear.

But back to writing. Like most of you I should imagine, I feel discouraged when a book or script proposal is rejected; or the ‘big break’ I was hoping for seems as elusive as ever. It’s at times like this that I need to look back on some of my past goals. Last year I set myself 10 writing goals. Seven of them have been achieved. That’s not bad going and I need to force myself to look at what I have achieved rather than what I haven’t.

I will be setting some new goals for this year over the next couple of days. Perhaps you are doing the same. If so, here are some things to consider:

  1. Before setting new goals, prayerfully go over last year’s goals and thank God for what He has already done for you.
  2. Ask Him to guide you in this year’s goal-setting.
  3. Break down your year into chunks: what do you want to achieve by Easter, the end of summer, etc.?
  4. Make sure the majority of your goals are in your power to achieve. Do you have the technical ability to achieve them? Do you have the time available to achieve them? Is the final decision for or against, in your control? For instance, ‘getting a big publishing deal’ is not in your power; writing the best manuscript you can then sending it off to publishers is.
  5. Write down some goals that are impossible in your own strength. This seems like a contradiction of the previous point, but if you only restrict your goals to what you know you can do, you won’t leave room for God.

Finally, delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this. (Ps 37:4-5)

Happy New Year!

Fiona Veitch Smith’s apartheid thriller, The Peace Garden, is now available on Kindle. Her latest children’s book, David and the Kingmaker , is available in shops in the UK but may be ordered from anywhere in the world through the Crafty Publishing website.


  1. Thanks, Fiona. I too go round and round on whether or not to make resolutions. I like the goal setting idea much better. I need to set some, but life always seems to upset my planned deadlines.

  2. Hi LeAnne. I think deadlines need to be flexible. If I don't achieve one of my goals by the set date I then re-evaluate. Was this a realistic goal in the time frame? If not, I'll just carry it over. I've had some goals (such as finishing a novel I'm working on) being carried over for three years! But at least it's still moving forward. I've set it again for this year - hoping to break the back of it in the summer - but I've just been offered another ghostwriting contract so the novel may have to go on the back burner yet again! I think though that goal setting is not really about making sure things get done but rather making sure we take time out to evaluate our lives in light of God's goals for us. Sometimes when I haven't achieved a goal it's really because it wasn't God's will for my life at that time. Anyway, God bless you in your goal setting!

  3. I, too, prefer goals to resolutions. I've chosen that over the past few years, keeping my goals somewhat flexible. Still, they are something to aim at. I have my 2011 recap on Friday, Dec 30, post, and my 2012 goals on today's.

    "They" say that if you don't know what you're aiming for, how will you know if you hit it?

  4. What fun to see that we're on the same wave length. I gave up making resolutions years ago, but usually set goals for the new year. Fiona, your reminder to pray first and to say 'Thank You" for goals reached is excellent.

  5. Couldn't help but read this one and comment since you finished with some of my favourite bible verses. Thanks Fiona.Will try your suggestions.

  6. Happy New Year everyone and may your goals draw you closer to the Lord. A fruitful writing year to you all.