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Navigating Your Writing Goals by Guest Blogger, Penny Reeve

Have you ever stood at the edge of a road, holding the hand of a small child, getting ready to cross the road safely? You glance up the street. You look back down the other way. You take notice of the cars and the traffic lights and when all is clear and safe and your small person is ready, you head towards your destination.

Goal setting for writers can be a bit like that. You generally know the direction you are headed; you need this or that manuscript to be researched/written/edited/revised/submitted and so forth. But pinpointing the goals into language and tasks that make them manageable and successful can be a little tricky. Sometimes the oncoming traffic of our to-do list feels overwhelming, or the rejection truck swerves closer than we would like, tipping us off balance. Occasionally we can even find ourselves standing still, lost and unsure of the direction we should be heading and why.

Because of this, it can be helpful to slow down and carefully navigate our way forwards in regards to our writing goals. Here are four directions we need to look in order to prioritise our writing goals for 2020:

  • Look Back

Looking back is remembering our writing dreams and reflecting on the progress we’re made so far. We can celebrate our writing achievements and be kind with our disappointments. Even a rejection can indicate progress if it means we’re putting in the hard work and growing as writers! Looking back allows us to deliberately build on last year’s progress and provides powerful motivation for our new year’s writing goals.

  • Look Ahead

Looking ahead as a writer means thinking strategically about what we’d like, or need, to achieve in the New Year (and beyond). It means realistically considering what might be achievable (for example: write a children’s devotional, or complete my middle grade novel), but it can also mean allowing yourself to dream. This is especially important if you’ve had a tough year writing wise.
Looking ahead allows us to create goals that move our writing forwards.

  • Look Down

Looking down means checking what’s already on our writing desks. Literally, this may mean doing a clean-up. Clear your physical and mental space for new projects. Sort the paperwork, tidy your desk, flick through your ideas notebook and choose the fun ones you’d like to work on this year. Looking down also means checking the status of your works-in-progress. It ensures us there’s nothing in our way to trip us up as we step out to achieve our writing goals.

  • Look Up

Looking up means reminding ourselves of God’s perspective. It’s so easy to get swept away in the try harder mentality, or to be discouraged because our writing dreams haven’t turned out as we might have liked. But when we remember Christ and the extent of his humility and love (Philippians 2: 5-11) it reminds us that our writing is but a small thing in the scope of God’s glory. Our task is obedience. Walking humbly in step with the Spirit of God, we write as an expression of worship.


So as you step onto the curb of the New Year, don’t forget to look ahead, look back, look down and look up as you journey through goal setting for your writing in 2020.


Which direction do you find easiest to consider when setting new goals? Which one makes the most impact in your planning? Leave a comment below.


Invitation: If you’d like to spend some more time reflecting on your writing priorities and goals for the New Year, why not join the Summer Writer’s Refresh Facebook Group? It’s a January 2020 challenge for writers of any stage and genre, to celebrate, reassess and reflect on their writing. Join here:

Penny Reeve is the award-winning author of more than 20 books for children and older readers. She lives in Sydney, Australia and writes picture books, junior fiction, children’s Bible Studies and young adult fiction (she also writes as Penny Jaye). Penny is also a writing workshop leader, conference presenter and writing coach with a particular interest in equipping children’s book writers. For more information visit or follow her on Facebook:


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Writing Resolutions for 2018

Have you made personal new year’s resolutions for this year? If you did, now that we’re two weeks into 2018, how many resolutions have you kept?

Have you set any new year’s resolutions for your writing? It’s not too late. Here are a few resolutions for you to consider:



Of course you’d expect prayer to show up on any “Christian” list of things to do, but prayer is more than something we do, it’s the basis for how we approach life. Still, when you pray writing-related prayers, what do you actually pray for? Check out this post for new ideas on how to pray for your writing.

Set goals

Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll wind up somewhere else.” Where do you want to go in your writing this year? Do you want to complete and submit a magazine article? Finish a book? Learn rhythm and rhyme? Set a goal and work toward it. December 31, 2018 will be here faster than you think!

Learn something new about your writing craft each week

Subscribe to writing blogs or newsletters. Read books on writing. Learn about your target audience—their values, culture, likes and dislikes. Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, learn nuances of your craft. A good writer never stops learning. Which leads us to another possible resolution…

Attend at least one writers’ conference

Don’t wait until you need an agent or acquisitions editor before you attend a writers’ conference. The workshops and continuing classes provide copious amounts of information to help you develop as a writer. Just as important, attending conferences provides opportunities to network with other writers and publishing professionals.

Purpose to write for at least one hour each day

I’ve yet to meet a writer who says she has more than enough time to write as she balances her other responsibilities. It’s up to us to make time to write. Get up an hour earlier. Or schedule time to write the way you would schedule other important appointments. If you can’t find an hour, carve a half hour. Whatever you do, be consistent.

Join a critique group

It’s a big step to let someone else read your writing. It’s a bigger step to allow them to critique your writing. As writers, we need to develop a thick skin and a willingness to apply constructive criticism. You can find writers groups through your local library, writers’ associations, and Word Weavers International.

A new year stretches out before us. Twelve months from now, what will you have accomplished?