Janette Johnson Melson
Defining Goals and Redefining Success
As I edited my last blog before publishing it, I realized that I was using the word “goal” a lot. And I came to the conclusion that there is a reason for that. According to some of the greatest minds throughout history, goals are a way to keep life exciting, successful and productive. After all, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time,” Zig Ziglar once famously said. Now while that may sound like success, we all know that achieving nothing is the height of failure. No one wants to be a success at being a failure. LOL! So set goals.
As a pre-published writer (I like the sound of that better than “unpublished”), I have set several new goals in the last several months. Of course, the overarching one is to get published as an author of Christian fiction. But from now until then, I also have several smaller ones which are constantly changing as I reach one goal or another.
1. Publish a Christian novel
Go to first writers’ (ACFW) conference √
Get an agent interested in my novel √
Enter First Impressions Contest √
Improve as a writer √
Write for at least one hour a day
Create a website √
Start a blog √
Create a newsletter √
Join a critique group √
Keep up with my website √
Write a new blog entry every 4-6 weeks √
Create a newsletter every 4-6 weeks √
Go to second ACFW conference √
Enter First Impressions Contest again √
Finish half of rough draft (approx. 40,000 words) √
Finish rough draft of novel by Sept. 2020
Enter Genesis Contest in March 2021
Write 2,800 words per week (approx. 400 per day) √
Read other Christian authors √
Go to third ACFW (or other) conference
Wow! You know what? I’m really glad I did that. The check marks are goals I have already finished or am consistently reaching. And it feels good to look at all I am accomplishing because it often feels like I’m not doing enough or am moving at a snail’s pace. Some of the goals, like writing for an hour a day or writing 400 words a day, are not consistently met. But my weekly goal of 2,800 words is. Like Bruce Lee said, "A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at." And as long as I am aiming at that daily word count goal, I am going to reach it sometimes. And as long as I am reaching it sometimes, I am working toward that ultimate goal of publication. And as long as I am working toward that ultimate goal which I believe is God’s current plan for my life, then I am succeeding, regardless of the outcome. According to Allen Arnold, Christian author and publisher, we Christians need to redefine success. Am I doing what God wants? If so, I have already achieved success because success is in the process and not something to chase after.
So, in the words of the most interesting man in the world, “Stay thirsty, my friends”—thirsty for the discovery of God’s plan for your life, thirsty for reachable and lofty goals that add excitement to your life, and, ultimately, thirsty for that success which can only be found when you are doing what He wants you to do.