Pathways to Your #Passion: 2015 Goals and Visions

So, if you’re over 18 you’re probably already familiar with the rhetoric that surrounds the ringing in a New Year–“New Year, New Me”, “This year is going to be better than last”, etc. etc. etc.

Now, in all honesty many people abandon this motto after January or at least after the first trial or obstacle of the New Year smacks them in the face, which is why I generally don’t set resolutions. However, this year I’ve been entertaining two things: vision boards and goal setting. Neither one of them are new concepts and as an educator I’m quite familiar with goal setting, but I’ve never applied the  practice to my new writing career.

Goal Setting

I think my soul sis, Unoma Nwankwor’s posts about goal setting have rubbed off on me. In one of her recent Facebook posts she quoted the late Dr. Myles Munroe in which he stated that your goals should, “create your priorites, determine your desicions, dictate companions, and predict your choices.”  That inspired me to set some wiriting goals (I know I should probably have goals for other areas of my life–give me a break).

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Vision Boards

Vision boards have been around for awhile, but I have been kind of hesitant to create one. A certain part of me felt like, one it’s kind of New Agey and two it kind of takes away from the whole notion of “have your way in my life, Jesus” if I’m drafting up my vision. I believe in Habakkuk 2:2, when it says write the vision, the word meant write the vision that the Lord had given the prophet not the vision the prophet wanted to write, but after some investigating and polling I decided it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. So, I created a vision board. My understanding is there are no rules to vision boards except making sure you have a clear objective.

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I divided my vision board into two parts: the inner man and the outer man–what I want for my spirit in 2015 and what tangible things  I want. I included some scriptures that spoke to the vision I was creating and my faith. Two of those scriptures are:

“If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks. Yea the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver. For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God. Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows. Thou shalt decree a thing and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.” Job 22:23-28

“And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.” 2 Chronicles 26:5 

These scriptures will keep me focused on my ultimate goal–to hear my Father say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” while at the same time they address the fact that I still long for some of the things that the Gentiles long for. I want to be a powerful Christian (decree a thing), I want to live comfortably (gold as dust), and I want to prosper (God made him to prosper). 

The second half of my vision board addresses the areas of my life that I’d like to see the manifestation of these scriptures–in my writing and in my home. A vision is only a vision until you put the leg work to it, but having one gives your legs some direction to walk in. 

What are your goals for 2015? What does your vision for 2015 look like? Please share your goals and vision boards and as I update you on my progress I look forward to hearing about how you have progressed in 2015. 

Fighting with the First Person: Sometimes the Process Has to Match the Voice (FYI This is Not a How To)

If you’ve been following the Neophyte Author then you know that I’m embroiled in a bitter battle that may the result in some really great writing or a major catastrophe (thank you, Jesus for editors). I decided not to give up and try and press through the challenge of using a first person narrator, which is something I have not attempted since I began my writing career. While listening to my Christian Fiction literary role model, Michelle Stimpson on the radio she stated that she loved writing in the first person. I took that as a sign from God if you’re going to do this she going to show you how to do it right. Following her interview we had a great conversation, which she blogged about, “First-Person or Third-Person”  and I am now blogging about the impact that conversation had on me. 

Three great points that came out of that conversation for me:

1. Michelle admitted that one thing that made writing LaShondra of Boaz Brown in first person relatively easy is because she and LaShondra are the same person. 

2. What does the story demand? Is this story about the character or about the plot? That should play a role in determining who tells the story and how the story is told. 

3. She’s a journal writer, so first person is very natural.

With that in mind I thought about:First Person

1. What is my relationship with Kira Seagram, the protagonist of Tempted to Touch. Do I know her? Do I like her? Am I her? The truth is a lot of me is her and I didn’t want to admit that or deal with the issues Kira is struggling with in Tempted to Touch. But, if I’m going to do this as I said in Fighting with First Person (FYI This is not a How To) then I have to own my issues and honor Kira’s voice. 

2. This story is about both the character and the plot. So, the person at the center of everything is the perspective that should be at the forefront of this story.

3. Journal writing is the key to unlocking the first person voice. The process for this piece must change in order for me to unleash the voice within.

Once I latched on to all of that I changed the process for writing Tempted to Touch. As an adult I don’t engage in journal writing as much as I did when I was younger, but yesterday I channeled that energy and instead of sitting in front my computer to type a story I actually immersed myself in the act of writing. By changing the process I was able to unleash the voice I was hearing in my head. In doing this I discovered the process has to match the voice. There’s still more to be done to settle my soul. Michelle also suggested I try rewriting one chapter in the third person and see which one proves to be stronger. Today I’m going to try that at some point, but I think I’ve found my first person groove.

How do you find your groove? What does your process look like when you hit a dilemma like this or are you always sure of the voice from the onset of the story?

Fighting with the First Person (FYI This is Not a How To)

I got into a fight this week. Not a knockdown drag out brawl more like an artistic affray. I just began working on a novella, entitled Tempted to Touch. Now my heart’s desire is to write this piece in third person. Do you think the protagonist, Kira Seagram is allowing me to do that? No, that would be too much like right (I don’t know why these people in my head are always acting up).

You would think after writing two novels a novella ought to be a piece of cake, but with Kira trying to tell the story herself I don’t know what to do with myself. Third person narration works for me as a writer. It’s great to know and share what everyone in the room is thinking and feeling. First person won’t allow me to do that. As the author I know the characters, but Kira doesn’t. First person will limit what I can reveal and when. First person means Kira has to become my new confidante. I like being allegiance free. Do you see the limitations here? Do you see the struggle?storytelling word in wood type

My first instinct was to do what I know, but then where is the growth for me as a writer and for my characters? There is none. So, now I’m on a mission to get through Tempted to Touch. Of course, this isn’t something that I can do alone. After sitting in front of my computer screen and praying for some divine intervention I also looked up some great articles on point of view to help me get over my fear of sounding trite and redundant (I sat, I walked, I thought, I. I. I). Sentence structure and lyricism are always heavy on my mind. I don’t think I’m completely over my fear, I’m still trying to figure out how I can manage to squeeze in a chapter or two in the third person (pray for me). However, I’m still typing. 

Writer’s what’s your favorite point of view to use in your writing? Readers, which point of view do you prefer and why?

 

Links to the articles I read for anyone else who, like me is embroiled in a battle with the first person:

First Person or Third

First Person Point of View

Me, Myself, and I: Writing First Person Point of View

Don’t Ditch the Dream–Do the Dream

So, the smoke has cleared and the dust has settled and I am sorry, but Shonda Rhimes commencement speech at Dartmouth wasn’t

From Rollingout.com
From Rollingout.com

“epic” as some say and I don’t think she “gets it”. 

Were valid points made? Yes. Important points? Yes. Life does suck after college graduation. We all should commit some of our time to a cause that we care about and it is true when trying to multitask in life whatever apparent professional success you have foreshadows some failure elsewhere in life. After writing a butt kicking lesson or meeting a writing goal I’ve set means I’ve neglected my husband or I didn’t do my daughters’ hair. But that’s just proves the old adage to be true a jack of all trades is a master of none. 

Before writing this post I contemplated writing this post several times. I don’t want any beef with Shonda’s followers. I sat down and watched the whole speech rather than glean off of what others had already written. Challenging Shonda and the residents of Shondaland is entering dangerous and hostile territory, but a week later I really think she should stick to her territory (writing for television) because telling people to ditch their dreams and diminishing dreams into momentary flights of fancy isn’t a lesson. It’s condescending. 

Granted, she’s right we all need to have our own dreams and not desire to be someone else or live their life and their successes. We can’t step on the scale of life and hope that someone else’s weight shows up. But then again we must all begin somewhere. The truth and the lesson to be learned about dreams is we shouldn’t ditch the dream–we should, we must do the dream.

Dream Big, Set Goals, Take Action chalk drawingDo what you are dreaming of doing. Don’t just get “any job” so that you can be happy “doing” because according to Shonda all of the truly “happy, really successful people, interesting, engaging, and powerful people” are “doing”.

You don’t have a job…search and wait for the one you want in the field you want otherwise you’ll end up bitter, unsuccessful, and disengaged with very little power over your life let alone those around you.

I know because I tried it once.

I had a dream. It was bright and glitterly…it was bold and fanciful…it was poetic…it was magnetic…heck, other people even bought into my dream of becomning a writer. I started out on the right track after I graduated from college. I sent out my articles–a professor even set up an interview for me at Parents Magazine. I was on my way, however after a couple of rejection letters from some magazines and a little pressure from my then boyfriend to just “do something” now that I had graduated college I ditched the dream.

I went and got a job. Not the perfect job…not even a job close to what I wanted (I was selling sneakers) and my life sucked more than a Dyson. My life sucked for several years as I did, did, and did…until I realized I was doing, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do. 

Then something happened. I began teaching. Ahhh…they were just writing workshops for kids, but I was getting closer to the glitter. Turned out I liked teaching, so I found out how to “do” that. I was happy until someone challenged me and asked whatever happened to your dream. Why are you teaching? Why aren’t you doing your dream?

After some prayer, after some prodding, after some writing…my dream returned to me. It was bright and glittery…it was bold and fanciful…it was poetic…it was magnetic…it was alive and I was doing it. Once I began doing it…the Lord began opening doors and avenues for me that I hadn’t even dreamed of. I began to learn and to see things that I could not imagine not even in a dream, but I had to begin somewhere.

Dreams are beginnings. Dreams are diving boards. Dreams are road maps. Don’t ditch your dreams–do your dreams.8ccbeb54-bb2b-49b5-b531-c91f2cb4b177

How do you feel about dreams? Do them? Ditch them?

Join the conversation.