Tuesday, May 19, 2015

15 Questions to Help Writers Launch Their Summer

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowell

Summertime and the season for….. writers conferences, book conventions and intense writing sojourns! I have discovered that each time I return to an annual event, it is helpful to use it as an intentional time of evaluation and focus.

So, whatever your writing/speaking milestone is this summer (I will be returning to the Christian Bookseller’s Convention – ICRS and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association - AWSA), may I encourage you to take some time and consider these questions?
Because both looking back and dreaming forward are good for a storyteller’s soul…

Since I was last at this writers/speakers event 
(or this time last summer)….
  1. What has been my most significant achievement?
  2. What new person did I meet who has begun to speak into my life?
  3. What mistake did I make and how can I prevent that for the future?
  4. What new technology have I incorporated into my life and work?
  5. Which colleagues (other writer/speakers) did I promote and encourage?
  6. What new blogs did I begin following and why will I keep them or move on?
  7. What prayer did God answer and how?
  8. What steps did I take to expand the reach of my ministry/writing/speaking?
  9. What words are emerging as themes for my life and writing/speaking?
  10. What books or lectures are still resonating in my heart and requiring a response?
  11. What has been my best received presentation, blog, book or seminar and why?
  12. How have I taken care of my soul and spiritual life?
  13. What is my current goal between now and this time next year?
  14. What is my most “impossible” prayer?
  15.  To whom will I now write/phone a thank you or an encouraging word?

Even as we reflect on the past year, it is also important to remember that God gives us a “future and a hope” and we are encouraged to dream big and dare to live the vision God has placed in our hearts. I shall pray that each reader of this blog will experience a breakthrough this summer, perhaps even due to the examining of one of the above questions. If so, do let me know – cindy@encouragingwords.net

“Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run;
hurry and scurry puts you further behind.” (Proverbs 21.5 MSG)

15 Questions to Help Writers Launch Their Summer - via @LucindaSMcDowell on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is the author of 11 books, contributing author to 25 books, and has published in more than 50 magazines. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, she studied at the Wheaton Graduate School of Communication and served as Communications Specialist for the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (Thailand) and Editor for Billy Graham’s International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists (Netherlands). A member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA), she has received “Writer of the Year” awards from both Mt. Hermon and Blue Ridge Writers Conferences. Cindy speaks internationally through her ministry “Encouraging Words” and co-directs the New England Christian Writers Retreat. Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, she writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England. Visit her online at www.EncouragingWords.net 


  1. Thank you so much for this post to encourage us readers to think about the past year and to encourage us to do this each year.

  2. Right before reading this, I was thinking about my goal fail. However, I'm encouraged that I've done many of the things on this list! They may not have been specific goals I had written out, but this shows me I am moving! Great list, I'll save it to refer to.

  3. Awesome post! I'm going to a women's retreat next week and was wondering what I'd spend my time writing about. I copied Lucinda's list and will focus on that while I'm there. Thanks so much:)

  4. Those questions came just at the right time for me. As of May 18, I had written every single day for an entire year. I wanted writing to be a part of my lifestyle, and after I made my goal of 30 days in a row before my first writers' conference, I kept going. I don't think my method would work for many people, nor do I recommend it (unless you're somebody who wants to force the time issue like I did), but I am stubborn enough that I didn't want to break that streak. Now I can reflect and set a new work pattern thanks to your reflection questions in this post. Thank you!