by C.J. Darlington
Ringing In the New Year!
24 Authors Share Their Resolutions
The beginning of a new year is a great time to take stock of our lives! We can look back and see what worked (and what didn't), always looking forward to the good things the new year holds. Many of your favorite Christian fiction authors have done just that. We hope you find encouragement in reading their resolutions.
Enjoy! (in no particular order):
Francine Rivers (Marta's Legacy series): I used to write out New Year’s Resolutions and then felt like a failure when I didn’t fulfill them. I still write out a list every New Year’s Eve, but now I called it “Possibilities”. Surprisingly enough, the simple act of renaming the list helped encourage me to strive more toward completing projects and goals. One of the top possibilities every year is to read the entire Bible, and this is possible by using the One Year Bible. Another possibility is to read 25 or more books a year. I keep a list with a notation by each title; fiction, non-fiction, devotional, manuscript or young adult. (One of my children says I’m OCD. And I say, Oh, well.) If I’m not going to eat a balanced diet (impossible!), I can at least have balance in my reading habits.The main thing to remember: every year is full of possibilities! www.francinerivers.com
Melody Carlson (Here's to Friends):
For 2012 I would love to slow down, simplify, and smell the roses. To slow down, I plan to be more focused and careful in how I make career choices, and I’ll probably say ‘no’ more often. To simplify, I’d like to scale down some things and come up with new ways to do more with less. As for ‘smelling the roses,’ I hope to make and take more time for leisure activities and traveling—we’d like to do a big RV trip in the upcoming year. Now this all sounds good and fine, but to accomplish these goals, I know I’ll need God’s help and direction. I also know that sometimes his plans are different than mine, so as always I’m prepared to go with his flow and just enjoy the ride! www.MelodyCarlson.com
Fabry (Not in the Heart):
My resolution for the new year is whether or not to continue my resolution for 2011. In February I told my wife that I would not watch Sunday football at all in 2011. This was a gift to her and the kids (though a few of the boys were bummed) to help create a little more peace and tranquility and not have to plan our days around a football game. It's been an eye-opening season. I can't say it's been easy, but it has shown me I can live without the NFL. Now the question is whether or not to continue the streak. Is this exercise opening my heart more to my wife and kids? And what is it showing about my own heart and desires? www.chrisfabry.com
Julie Cantrall (Into the Free):
Despite my best efforts, I have a habit of making New Year’s Resolutions I don’t keep.
2008: Organize all those old photos and videos. Sigh.
2009: Lose twenty pounds. By the fourth of January, I was done with that one.
2010: Learn Spanish. Two years later, all I know is Nacho Libre.
2011: Increase the amount of money I put into savings each month. Hmmm….didn’t happen.
So this year, I’m sticking to something I really can do. Inspired by River Jordan’s beautiful memoir, Praying for Strangers, in which she chronicles her one-year commitment to pray for a different stranger each day, I am vowing to do one purposeful and unexpected act of kindness each day of 2012. Treadmills and Zumba, I struggle to make time for; but kindness, well, that I can do. www.juliecantrell.wordpress.com.com
Reid (The Mulligans of
I’m taking a lead from David this year. He asked the question, “Is there anyone left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness.” So my resolution this year is a question.“To whom can I show some kindness?” And I know in my heart that God will put untold people in my path all year long for me to either man up or embarrass myself. With His help, I hope I can man up.www.DonReid.net
Alison Strobel (Composing Amelia):
My resolution for 2012 is going to be to slow down and scale back. The past three years have been insane with writing and deadlines and marketing and moving to a new state...I don't feel like I've gotten the chance since PJ was born in '08 to just sit back and breathe. Both my husband and I are job hunting because of the drastic pay cut I took at my “day job” and the fact that I don’t have any more book contracts at the moment, and regardless of what we find it’s going to change the dynamic around here quite a bit. I think we’ll benefit from simplifying both our extracurricular activities and our budget. Spending less money, cramming less stuff into every hour of the day, not trying to multitask as much but focusing more on the present moment and on each other—I’m looking forward to it! www.AlisonStrobel.com
Scott Bell (Conflict & Suspense, One More Lie):
A few years ago, on my birthday, I determined that the next ten years of my writing would be the most productive of my life. I upped my goal for the number of words I wanted to write for the year. I planned out a dozen specific projects I wanted to complete, with ideas for a dozen more. And so far, I'm on track. And so, in 2012, I am resolving to complete 12 new projects. Seven of them are backlist titles I own the rights to and will bring out as e-books. The other five will see the light of day somehow, including the traditional way. But if I can do these 12, it will be a new record for me by a factor of four. I will have to plan well and stay disciplined, but I've managed to do that for 20 years. Why stop now? Especially in these amazing times we live in! www.JamesScottBell.com
Rue (Unexpected Dismounts):
My resolution for 2012 isn’t so much something I’ve resolved to do, like lose ten pounds or work out every week or give up watching re-runs of N.C.I.S. (I’m not sure I could give up Mark Harmon anyway . . .) . It’s more a thing I’m being Nudged to. Ever since I started writing The Reluctant Prophet trilogy I’ve been paying more attention to those divine pokes (and sometimes shoves). Fortunately, God hasn’t asked me to take Harley lessons again, but this new Nudge may be just as hard to heed: ‘Do less, and do what you do more deeply.’ More time on the brakes and less on the throttle. Fewer miles on the odometer, longer stays wherever the journey leads. How will I do that? I’m not sure, but I do know I won’t be riding alone. Got your helmet, God? ‘Cause here we go. www.nancyrue.com.
Although I love the fresh start a new year offers us, I don't usually make a New Year's resolution per se. Oh, there's always the "lose some weight," and "exercise more faithfully" vows. But as I was thinking about the question, the lyrics of a song from one of my favorite musicals, "Godspell," kept going through my head.
Day by day
Day by day
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day
((c) Stephen Scwartz)
This would be my prayer for the new year. For me a day by day resolution is far more effective than a one-time resolution. www.GoldenKeyesParsons.com
Ewen (Dancing on Glass):
My new year's resolution is to fine-tune my writing schedule. I'm going to write four hours every morning, six days a week. Afternoons for research.
First, no more reading past midnight. I love to snuggle in bed with a good book, pencil in hand for exclaiming, opining, deconstructing, questioning. Lights out at twelve, no matter what, and rise and shine by 8 a.m.
Second, no peeking at emails in the morning, a writer's greatest enemy.
Emails divert, mess with your endorphins, fire up the wrong set of
synapses in your brain. Plus, there's deleting all the junk mail. I've
ignored that little issue for years, and now have about five thousand
old ones in the
Third, I'll will (I will) ignore the ringing phone. Phone calls shoot a good line of thought right into the ether. But then come the questions--Don't you have caller I.D.? Don't you have time for me?
Sigh. Especially when it's mom.
But this year I'm gonna DO IT! Happy New Year everyone!www.PamelaEwen.com
Jerry B. Jenkins (The Betrayal):
For the coming year I resolve to make no New Year’s resolutions. I sure hope I can do it. This is the one I broke last year. www.jerryjenkins.com
Adam Graham (Tales of the Dim Knight):
Near the end of the Muppet Movie, after Kermit the Frog presents his pitch to Orson Welles. When the frog finishes, the great man presses a button and tells his secretary to "Prepare the standard rich & famous contract."
If only life were as simple as a movie.
My goal has never been being rich and famous. I simply would like to pursue my fiction full time. I know a few people who have done that and they are neither particularly rich nor particularly famous. They are, however, able to pursue their passion full time.
This past year with a first novel published has had its share of stresses. Big efforts have yielded little rewards. Countless blog interviews and promotions have yielded tens of sales. At the same time, I've seen others enjoying great success in selling their works which has only deepened my self-doubt. I've thought that the time I've spent in my "day job" has been me wasting my life because I've not had the right stuff to go out and selling 60,000 books and be able to pursue what I love full time.
However, as the
year ends, I've been realizing that God has seasons in my
life and second that God is not primarily concerned about
making me into a full-time writer but to make into the person he created
me to be. My goal for next year is to lay aside self-doubt, be thankful
for where God has brought me in my writing and do all I can to make
it as successful possible. The key for me in 2012 will be to be content
without being complacent. www.DimKnight.com
Jones Gunn (Love Finds You in Sunset Beach Hawaii): My
resolution for 2012 is to do a better job of responding to readers. Lots
mail I receive comes from teenage girls. I'm sure there is nothing more
disheartening when you are thirteen years old than to take the time to
write an author and give a detailed, passionate response to the book
you just read and then not hear anything back for months. My objective
is to take better care of the flock entrusted to me. How do I anticipate
this objective being accomplished? I recently hired an assistant to help
get me organized. So far, so good. I'm looking forward to greater success
in the year ahead. Mele Kalikimaka!
Tang (Protection for Hire):
My New Year's Resolution is to run another marathon in 2012. I ran my first marathon in December 2010--I ran the Honolulu Marathon, since I'm from Hawaii and all my family were there to cheer me on. :) I didn't have time to train for another marathon in 2011, but I'd like to run one again in 2012, maybe the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in Las Vegas in the beginning of December, because they run the marathon at night along the strip with all the lights! It took me about 7 months to train for the Honolulu Marathon, so I'm starting my training now for the Las Vegas Marathon so I'll have plenty of time to get into shape! www.CamyTang.com
In 2011, I focused on reducing clutter. Why did I keep a wok, an electric skillet, and an electric griddle when one basic skillet would do? So our family eliminated unnecessary possessions, a task assisted by our recent move to a smaller home. Living in a more streamlined environment exposed other cluttered areas in my life, like my agenda. Why fill precious time with activities or events of little or no lasting value? In 2012, I resolve to spend my days more deliberately, to add more meaning to life through increased prayer, service to others, and use of my talents for God. My strategy for accomplishing this? To pause before I add anything to my to-do list in order to ask myself, "Is this important to God?" Better yet, I should ask God, "Is this important to You?" If it isn't, then it shouldn't be important to me. www.DianaPrusik.com
James (The Queen):
I’ve been thinking lately about how the word “resolution” comes from the same word as “resolute”—but we don’t tend to think of resolutions as quite that set-in-stone. When I’ve made them in the past they’ve often been sort of amorphous. Wishes without feet. This year, though, I’m resolutely setting out to meet my deadlines. That’s it. That’s the one. And yes, those of you who know me know that’s a biggie.
Since I write best in the mornings and evenings I’m committing to spend my prime time each day on my books and slide the less important stuff to the afternoons. I’m not a 1000 word-a-day kind of guy because I might add 2,000 one day and then delete 10,000 the next. So, instead, I’ll be using a stopwatch and trying to put in 5-6 hours of actual manuscript time each day (this doesn’t include coffee breaks, bathroom breaks, sharpening pencils, checking email, etc…) A resolute resolution for 2012. www.stevenjames.net
Tricia Goyer (Along Wooded Paths):
My New Year's Resolution is to listen closer and to care more--to those in my home, in my community, and in my writing world. Too often the overwhelming activities of life force us to treat people like to-do items on our list. I'll do this by making eye contact, asking questions, and focusing on hearts, not situations. The more I focus on others, the less concerned I am about myself...and I think that's exactly the way God likes it. www.TriciaGoyer.com
Allan (The Edge of Grace):
My resolution for 2012 is to have an attitude of gratitude. Lately, I've felt overwhelmed by the stress of knowing I'll be returning to teaching after a semester sabbatical, the frenzy of moving into a new home, the expectations that seem to accompany the holidays, or any combination thereof. It's as if I am so focused on the wrapping, I forget there's a gift inside.
One way I anticipate fulfilling this resolution is
to keep a daily journal to remind myself of the blessings in my life,
and I pray I
learn to appreciate even the challenges set before me as opportunities
to stretch myself toward God. www.christaallan.com
McCourtney (Here Comes the Ride):
My New Year's resolution: I keep getting requests from readers for more books in my Ivy Malone Mysteries series, and I keep promising that I'm going to write another one. So this year, my resolution is that I'm actually going to get a Book #5 in the Ivy series written! How do I anticipate fulfilling this resolution? Oh my - fulfilling a resolution is much harder than making it. But what I'm going to try to do is finish up the contracted-for book in my new Cate Kinkaid Files series early so that I'll have time to work on Ivy before I need to start the next Cate Kinkaid book. A special thanks for 2011 is for all the wonderful readers who have written to me. www.LorenaMcCourtney.com
Liparulo (The 13th Tribe):
Only one? My list is as long as my arm, but the one I’m most focused on is balancing my family and work time. I’m so passionate about both, I tend to get lost in one or the other. I’ve tried in vain to achieve balance on my own, so I’m turning to the One I should have turned to all along: God. I’ve been praying fervently for structure and better time management, and I’m already starting to see results. After my “normal” bible reading and prayer time in the morning, I’m spending another twenty minutes asking for His help specifically in this area. Then, instead of rushing into the story I’m writing, for example, and losing track of time for ten or twelve hours, I’m using both a things-to-do and a scheduling program to establish milestones in my writing and definitive cut-off times. So far, so good, and I’m optimistic about achieving balance on a daily basis in 2012 . . . with His help. www.robertliparulo.com
My New Years Resolution involves two rather opposing goals: eat raw greens for lunch every day and enjoy each day. I'm signing up for a 28-Day Challenge at Whole Foods to hold me accountable for eating all the greens. Greens are a superfood, and I need all the "super" I can get these days! I also want to focus more on enjoying each day, and less on all my goals and
plans. I live under the shadow of deadlines and always think I'll be able to relax once I meet each one, but a new deadline always comes up. So I might as well relax right now! www.gingergarrett.com
McLaughlin (Journey to Riverbend):
I don’t like the word “resolution.” It reminds me of all those New Year’s Resolutions that were forgotten by January 10th. To me, “goal” is a more forceful word, a word with significant meaning, a word that implies commitment to achieve it. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.
My primary writing goal for 2012 is to complete at least two novels in a new historical series.
How do I intend to achieve it? Through the self-discipline every writer who wants to be a writer must apply. First and foremost, put my butt in the chair for a minimum of 2,000 words per day, 5 days per week. For me, achieving a goal depends on managing my time. Besides scheduling time for writing, I will also schedule time for research, including travel. My commitments to my critique partners come next. The discipline of saying “No” to other commitments that may be worthy but drain time away from my primary goal must be practiced.
Finally, I will keep this primary goal in context with my other personal, family, and spiritual goals for 2012. www.henrymclaughlin.org
(From Darkness Won):
My New Year's resolution is to work fewer hours and be more productive. I get distracted when I sit at my computer. I sit down to work, and the next thing I know, it’s lunch time and I haven’t written a word. Email, Facebook, marketing---it all distracts me. Then I end up working on Saturday to make up for what I didn’t do during the week.
So I’ve come up with a plan to tackle this. Monday will be my marketing and podcasting day. I scheduled a half hour each morning for email and social media. And Friday afternoons will be email catch-up time. The rest of each day will be spent writing books, which is what I really want to do.
I hope I can stick with this and build a new routine, so that I’ll be able to go home from work each day and leave my work at the office. www.jillwilliamson.com
I don’t particularly like change. I enjoy my daily humdrum routine. Early to bed and early to rise. In winter, I love waking in darkness to watch the sun transform the sky from my perch on our living room couch, where I sip coffee and write before my daily walk. Hold on there, I just thought of a gaping hole. Amazing I didn’t fall into the crevice! Each day, I should read Scripture and pray prior to writing, what I do at bedtime, creature of habit that I am. In fact, I’m not waiting for the first of the year. Tomorrow morning: My new routine begins! www.katelloyd.net
C.J. Darlington is the award-winning authof of Thicker than Blood, Bound by Guilt, and Ties that Bind. She is a regular contributor to Family Fiction Digital Magazine and NovelCrossing.com. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs, a cat, and a paint horse named Sky. Visit her online at her author website. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.