Monday, December 28, 2015

Make Progress on Your Writing Journey in 2016 by Taking Time to Look Back

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

The writer’s path is a journey of a lifetime—one fraught with discovery and discouragement. We can avoid some of its pitfalls if we define that path early on. Today, I want to share some insights into my writing journey and the markers I look for to help me stay at least in the vicinity of the path.

This time of year, between Christmas and New Year's, my thoughts turn backward. I use this time to evaluate the past year and prepare for the next one. I've given up New Year's Resolutions completely and find the freedom from those expectations (and failures) a major relief. 
But I have implemented something else instead. My husband and I spend some time looking back at our spiritual markers for the past year. We evaluate them individually, as a couple and as a family. I also look at them in regard to my past year as a writer.

This is particularly helpful, because staying on the writer's path is difficult because each of our paths are so unique and varied. In the past I've had trouble evaluating my progress because I was comparing my journey to someone else's. I’ve come up with some questions to help me process where I’ve been and where I’m headed. 

Questions to Get Me Started
  • What were some of my writing successes this past year? (Not necessarily the most lucrative, but the most rewarding)
  • What were some of my writing setbacks this past year?
  • What writing advice stands out in my mind because it seemed to have been aimed directly at me?
  • What brought me the most joy? (Writing related) 
As I map out these spiritual markers, the path God has had me on becomes quite clear. And, by knowing where I've been, it becomes clearer where to go next. 

The other thing I do this time of year is to choose my ONE WORD and SCRIPTURE for the next year. I've been choosing a Bible verse for the upcoming year since 1996, but I just started choosing a single word to go with it sine 2012. My close writing friend Beth Vogt started me on it and the practice has proved invaluable.

This year, the ONE WORD I've chosen is MARGIN. I really feel like God has been showing me that my life is too full and I desperately need some margins and some white space. 

The verse I feel like God has led me to to go along with this is:

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. I Peter 2:21

I'd love for you to share your ONE WORD and/or Bible verse for the year, and hear some of your answers to these questions. 

Don’t forget to join the conversation!




  1. Edie, Thank you for sharing. You have a bold verse. My Word this year is Focus. I have it written on my writing planner. My life verse is "To live is Christ." This year I remain with 2 Corinthians 8:11 "Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means." I have a hard time completing a task, or I wait until the last minute. I get overwhelmed with all that I have to do. God is helping me remain focused and break down each task into bite size pieces. Happy New Year, my friend. I pray for you daily.

    1. Cherrilynn, that's a great word! I also struggle with ADD and focus is always a challenge. Thanks for sharing your word! Blessings, E

  2. Transition is my word for 2016.
    In writing, transitions make a piece flow like a gentle brook moving forward. In life, transitions can also be a natural flow forward when trust is accepted in God's natural way of things. My journey has not been an even flow as a writer because I didn't trust God that He could make me a writer. My lack of faith dammed the flow of words, thoughts, and messages. I wasn't willing to accept the phases of transition. However, God has used your message here today to push me onward to accept "transition" as a natural part of a writer's journey. Thank you, Edie.

    Teach on!

    1. Carolyn, wow, what wonderful insight! I think we all struggle with our own dam building. Thanks for sharing your journey! Blessings, E

  3. Wonderful post today. I was so excited to hear that others discern a "word" for the year too. My word for 2016 is Wholeheartedly. I have been distracted this past year and found myself obsessing about so much - eating habits, financial status, desire to write but not following get the drift. I feel God is telling me to approach each day 'wholeheartedly'. Live in the moment and take it one day at a time. My life verse is from 2 Chronicles 20:15 "This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.

    1. Judy, I love that word! That's definitely a lesson I need to apply as well. Thank you for taking time to share! Blessings, E

  4. Thanks, Edie, for helping me learn how to evaluate my past year's writing journey. I guess y word for 2016 must be PERSEVERE as there was great discouragement on my journey in 2015. I love, though, how God has His way of encouraging us to persevere just as we feel ready to give up. He reminds us that He is the one who strengthens us to do His will. I guess that leaves Philippians 4:13 as my verse for 2016, right? :) "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

  5. Edie,
    I just now read this and we are well into the new year..But I need to recognize my one word goal for the year. Redemptive. That I might recognize this new year as time to focus on the redemptive aspect of stops and starts of my writers journey. Letting go of my expectations and letting God lead when my journey makes no sense whatsoever.

  6. Edie,
    My word for 2016 is PEACE. It must truly be the right word for me. Since writing it out and making the commit ti focus on PEACE this year I have been challenged to live in peace. The pain of a broken toe was just my first chalkenge to live in peace regardless.