by DiAnn Mills, @diannmills
The first of every year finds me cleaning, tossing, and organizing that which no longer has purpose in my life. In short, I get rid of the junk. The same is true of my writer’s life. What habits are challenging my success?
The process shoves the question into my life—Is this thing or event useful?
Sometimes it’s easy to choose what isn’t worth keeping, especially when I evaluate the items cluttering my work space or no longer of value.
- My desk is covered with to-do notes that need to be completed then tossed.
- No point in keeping this stack of papers when I have the information in electronic form and backed up.
- My to-be-read stack is taller than I am. Time to prioritize and give away.
- This pile of magazines is ten years old. Do I really need them?
- My laptop needs replaced. Time to explore and research a replacement.
Other times, the process is difficult when a bad decision has the potential to create havoc.
- Is my reader’s blog unique, interesting, or do I need more _______ ? (fill in the blank).
- How many writer conferences should I attend in 2018?
- How many writer conferences to teach or speaker invitations should I accept in 2018?
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- Am I spending enough quality time with my husband and family?
- Am I spending enough quality time with my friends?
- Am I keeping God first place in my life?
- Is my quiet time taking me spiritually deeper?
- My latest book is completed. Do I send it to my editor or read it through one more time?
- How many fiction and nonfiction books should I be reading per month?
- Am I spending too much time being unproductive?
- What can I do differently or change in 2018 that furthers my career?
How do we gauge if a writer challenge is productive or destructive?
Will the challenge help me be a better writer?
Our skills need to grow as though we are in a perpetual state of learning. Nothing of value is free, either time or a financial investment. Some of the items that strengthen our skills are reading the how-to books, reading bestsellers, attending conferences, editing our work, mentoring a serious writer, and taking advantage of online blogs, podcasts, and webinars.
Will the challenge help me grow spiritually?
Many writers believe their work is a form of worship. If you are one of these writers, then deepening your relationship with God may cost you time and friendships. Is a Christian writer strong enough to stand up for his/her beliefs?
Will the challenge help my readers?
Successful writers don’t create for themselves but for readers so they will be entertained, inspired, and encouraged. Reaching readers is an effort. Sometimes it’s frustrating and mistakes are made. But when writers explore what readers need and where they hang out on social media, we can join the conversation and provide what they are looking for.
Perhaps our obstacles are really ladders to professionalism. How do you approach the challenges in your writing life?
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When Saudi Prince Omar bin Talal visits Houston to seek cancer treatment for his mother, an attempt on his life puts all agencies on high alert. FBI Special Agent Kord Davidson is the lead on the prince’s protective detail because of their long-standing friendship, but he’s surprised – and none too happy – when the CIA brings one of their operatives, Monica Alden, in on the task force after the assassination attempt. Kord and Monica must quickly put aside inter-agency squabbles, however, when they learn the prince has additional motives for his visit – plans to promote stronger ties with the US and encourage economic growth and westernization in his own country. Plans that could easily incite a number of suspects both in the US and in countries hostile to Saudi Arabia. Worse yet, the would-be assassin always seems to be one step ahead of them, implicating someone close to the prince – or the investigation. But who would be willing to commit high treason, and can Kord and Monica stop them in time?
DiAnn Mills is an award winning writer who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She currently has more than fifty-five books published. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won placements through the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Carol Awards and Inspirational Reader’s Choice awards. DiAnn won the Christy Award in 2010 and 2011. DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a Craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. Find her on the web at www.diannmills.com.