Having a little more free time than I’m used to at the moment, I found myself catching up on some blogs I follow, re-reading some favorite books, and just having plenty of time for quiet reflection. It was during this time that I read Dr. Dennis E. Hensley’s Christmas/Writing-themed article “What the Wise Men Taught Me about Goal Setting” on the Christian Writers Guild site.
In it he writes: “I’ve spent years researching what drives a person to strive for something great, never resting until a goal is reached. No lessons related to personal achievement have impressed me more than those I have drawn from the account of the Magi.”
I recommend reading his full article, but for those who can’t, Dr. Hensley’s article contains four points:
Focus brings success
Goals provide motivation
Study to be wise
Seek the truth
I tend to be a bit of a scatterbrain when it comes to writing. I get a great idea, I jot it down, I start the new project, I get distracted by another idea that I just have to get down on paper, I forget about my previous project, I get frustrated that I have so many unfinished pieces cluttering my mind and desk, I go back to the original project, then while writing I get another idea. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
I can set all the great goals in the world. I can study and read and practice. I can seek truth in a story. But if I have no set focus I might as well be tossing multi-colored paint-filled balloons at the walls. I’m just going to end up with a jumbled, chaotic mess.
So, following Dr. Hensley’s advice, I sat down over the weekend and reflected on the various stories, articles, and scraps floating around. Many of them have quite a bit of potential that I hope I’ll eventually get some use out of, but I asked myself, “Which of these am I the most passionate about?” I then narrowed it down further by asking, “If I was told I would only write one story before I die, which story would I want it to be?”
And that’s when I found my “Star in the Night Sky.”
I always complain about never having enough time to write. I am now convinced that part of that problem is I was trying to write too many different things at once. With the exception of doing a bit of contracted freelance writing while looking for fulltime work, I may never again have as much time to write my story as I do right now.
With that in mind, I’m setting my gaze on that star and following it to wherever it may lead me.
Photo Credit: NASA, H.E. Bond and E. Nelan (Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.); M. Barstow and M. Burleigh (University of Leicester, U.K.); and J.B. Holberg (University of Arizona) via HubbleSite