Last year, I said to some friends that if I did not get busy writing, it was time to shutter the whole thing. And in 2018, I did virtually no writing. Is this the end?
Maybe. There is a trend if you read the essays on this website. After I wrote Scintilla and Bellicose, I found it harder to write on. There’s a finished draft of Luctation, and a fully plotted Imbroglio. But no progress. I tinker with other gigs, etc. But, nothing to show of any of it. In other words, I have been avoiding the Postal Marines.
When I read anything I’ve written, it reads pretty well. The problem is not the tactical mechanics. I had an editor take a look at Bellicose, and the feedback was sound. When I sat down to re-write it, however, I could not. While I enjoyed writing Postal Marines, the series was too dark and violent for me.
This year has been one of reflection for me. The biggest question I’ve asked myself is “Why.” What is my purpose. There are a lot of ways to ask this question. One of the popular being “what would you want people to put on your obituary?”
I like Simon Sinek’s approach to Why and purpose. He says that you should use a simple cloze phrase: “To <blank> so that <blank>.”
Here is what I believe my purpose is:
To show God’s Truth to others so that they can understand Reality.
I have a corkboard in my office, right above my monitor. On it today:
- A Business Model Canvas on being a self-published author
- A printout of The Bible Project’s graphic on Psalms
- A note card on writing productivity
- A few notecards about God & my faith
- “Anything outside God is misplaced glory”
- “Place God’s Ideas into the minds of others”
- “Shape other’s view of the world by showing the the truth”
- “Pray continuously” (a copy of this is also on my monitor at work)
- A quote from Smee: “Mankind has to know his limitations” (borrowed from Megadeath)
- A sundry of cards about my goals
I still want to write. It is a difficult endeavor as one may literally spend years working at it and never accomplish anything with it.
When I thought about writing, it was about income replacement. I thought maybe I could make enough money that I could stop writing. While I thought that, the stubborn reality is that few authors ever really make a living at it. I am too far into my career, and I have a fairly realistic expectation of lifetime earning. Writing is unlikely to put a dent in that. Looking at my purpose statement, there’s nothing there about making money.
If my purpose is to extend the right perception of reality, then making money should not enter into it. To think of it differently, God has let me to a place where want of money is not at issue.
Goals for 2019
So what are my goals for next year? I set my goals in October, my birth month. Michael Hyatt suggests setting 7-10 annual goals related to Being, Relating and Doing. Rather than do the 7-10, I’ll narrow it down to at least one for each of these categories.
- Masters in Technology Management. I am starting an executive masters degree at George Mason University. I am a technologist, and to continue in my career I have concluded more formal education is needed. This starts in January and will run for about 18 months.
- Develop a New Series. I have already started a new series. Although, when I say “started,” I mean I am starting the world-building phase.
- Manage Weight. Last year (October 2017-October 2018) I dropped 35 pounds. I’ve regained three of them since. My long-term goal is to meet the Army height/weight requirement for my age. I have twenty more pounds to lose to hit the weight ceiling.
- Church Involvement. Having been a Christian for nearly 36 years, church involvement has always been an issue. When I was a teenager it was easy. As an adult, it has become harder. Partly because I am an introvert, and partly because I enjoy interaction over the ceremony. As far back as college, I preferred the small group context. As a family, we have been lurking at a church for a while. I hope to get more involved this year.
- Meditative Reading. I want to try a different way of reading the Bible this year. Olive Tree provides a way of listening to the Bible that syncs with the verses. There are also several English versions available. The goal is to listen to the Bible, full books at a time. Further, I will read intentionally, one Psalm per day and one chapter somewhere else. I once followed a practice using the Navigator’s questions that went from one topic to another, which was a slower pace. I may try that again.