A couple years ago, I posted about a particular word that I felt God was impressing on my heart for the upcoming year(s). That word was STRETCH. And for the past two years, I have been stretched. In ways like attending conferences for the first time to improve my writing knowledge and skill. Putting more work out there. Entering more contests. Taking on new freelance work I might not have considered before. Submitting my manuscript proposal to agents. Getting an agent and working with him on submitting my proposal to publishers. Then, the toughest and longest stretch of all, facing my fear of public speaking and teaching two classes at the FaithWriters conference this past August.
You know how stretching hurts and feels good at the same time? That's how I've felt while being stretched in my writing. But every stretch made me more limber and took me to a new level. I've by no means made it to the top (heck, I'm still on the bottom rung) and I'll continue to be stretched in new ways, but I feel it's time for a new word.
So I've been praying for one. A word I feel God wants me to claim this year. And I have one:
It's no secret that I struggle with discipline. This is evidenced by "losing 40 pounds" being on my New Year's Resolution list for the past seven years. With writing, I can focus, but I tend to be easily distracted (perhaps you recall my blog post SQUIRREL!). I realize this is a mind thing. I need to retrain myself to block out all of those pesky distractions and concentrate on what's important. This will usually mean considering the end goal: "Losing 10 pounds will not happen if I eat this bowl of ice cream" or "I will not get a contract if I don't sit my butt in the chair and write."
So, here are the main things I want to FOCUS on this year:
- MY WRITING. Obviously. I have started many novel-length manuscripts but have typed "The End" on only one. I've written plenty of short stories, but I want to prove to myself and to my agent that I have what it takes not just to write one complete book but to be a novelist.
- MY HEALTH. The one good thing about pigging out over the holidays is that by January 1st, the Self Disgust-o-Meter is at an all-time high, which means the motivation to lose weight is even higher. But, more than lose the weight, my focus this year will be on getting healthy.
- MY FAMILY. My son only has a year and a half until he graduates from high school. This precious time of "everyone under one roof" is quickly fading. I am determined to make every moment, every meal, every word spoken count. I may fail a few times along the way, but I'm going to give it my all.
- MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. Daily devotions are a part of my morning routine, but I'll admit that sometimes they consist more of a quick read and an even quicker prayer. I compare this with my craving for intimacy with my husband. I can imagine that God isn't too pleased with my surfacy and shallow efforts. My goal this year is to dig deeper into Who God is and just how much I need Him - especially when it comes to focusing!
So what is your word for 2011?
What one word do you think God is impressing on your heart for the New Year?