Growth as a Priority

I posted that my word for 2019 is growth. I’ve also recently written a post about priorities. In this blog, I want to combine these two concepts and let you know how they’re connected in my life, and how I’m doing. Maybe I can be an encouragement to you.

When I chose growth for my focus this year, I had two areas pinpointed for that growth: growth in my relationship with Jesus, and growth in the craft of writing. Since I write Christian fiction, these two things necessarily go hand-in-hand. My goal in writing is also two-fold. I want to use my stories to reach people, cause them to think and question, then move them, hopefully closer to Christ. And I want to bring praise and glory to my Creator for all that He has given to me.

In order to grow, something must change. In my case, I need new input. For my spiritual growth I am putting more priority on prayer and reading scripture. I recently finished a Bible study on Ephesians and plan to do one on Philippians as well. I am using the audio Bible portion of YouVersion to listen when driving, showering, or doing dishes (you get the idea) to scripture, much as I would a fictional audiobook. This is an area I need lots of work in. I tend not to take time to read my bible unless I am looking up scriptures on BibleGateway to use in a blog post or in my WIP. Not ideal, I know.

I also am enrolled in a study (it hasn’t started yet) on discipleship and witnessing. I am very excited about that as it is something that I feel the Lord has been laying on my heart for a while.

In order to get my work published, I need to improve my craft. This requires study and reading books that explain how to write better. I have purchased several such books and am in the process of reading them. One lovely book was available in audiobook format, and I have listened to it twice already, learning more each time.

I’ve hit a bit of a snag in that I was supposed to be finished with my current novel by the end of the year. That didn’t happen. As of the date of this writing, I am still working on it. I can see the end coming, but it isn’t coming as fast as I would like. Once that happens, I will proceed full speed ahead with the reading of my other books.

I am excited to be trained on the art of writing fiction. Thus far, I’ve been writing on the tiny bit I learned from my high school and college English teachers, who had more things to focus on than just fictional writing, bless them. I guess I learn quite a lot from the voracious reading I did in my younger days, too, because a lot of the story structure I’ve been learning about is already embedded in my instincts. I don’t consciously know why I do certain things, but they turn out to be what is called for by the “experts.”

The book I’ve listened to was Creating Character Arcs by K. M. Weiland. It included tons of great information, not only about character arcs, but also about story structure which I needed. I plan to read Donald Maass book Writing the Breakout NovelPlot and Structure by James Scott Bell, and Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card, one of my favorite Sci-fi authors of all time, to start. I’m sure I will find other books, too. Many have been recommended on ACFW loops by various authors.

So, I have a plan. I have my priorities. All I need is to get on with it. I pray you have been able to find your priorities for 2019, and that they include the One True God–Jesus Christ.