by Mindy Obenhaus
I’ve been a regular at my local gym for many years and during that time I’ve noticed there’s always an uptick in attendance in January. Almost double or triple the usual number as people try to uphold their New Year’s resolutions. By February, though, the numbers begin to decrease and by mid-March only a couple of those new folks remain. Why is that?
I suppose it could be the expense, but more often than not, it’s a lack of commitment. If one is truly committed to becoming fit, whether they do it at the gym or somewhere else, they’re willing to put in the time and effort to achieve that goal.
Writing is no different. It takes commitment, time and effort. First, one has to learn the craft and hone their skills. Then, once you sign that elusive contract, the work continues. There are deadlines to be met, edits that have you wondering why they bought your book in the first place, and countless other things that require time and effort.
Commitment is defined as “a state of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.” So what does commitment look like?
Commitment means you’re always learning– From the day I attended my first writers’ group, I have never stopped learning about the craft and/or the business of writing. And the fact that you’re reading this blog post proves your desire to keep learning, too. Whether it’s through books, blogs, virtual workshops, writers’ conferences or online groups, there are so many opportunities to learn and connect with other writers. And being with like-minded people is imperative to learning. Like it says in the book of Proverbs, iron sharpens iron.
Commitment involves sacrifice – That could mean writing during your lunch hour instead of going out with a friend, attending an online workshop on a beautiful Saturday afternoon when you’d rather be outside, or forgoing your television time to do some research for your story. It could even mean waking up at three or four in the morning to write while the house is quiet, like someone on this blog does.
I don’t work outside the home, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a gazillion and one things demanding my time. So I choose to have regular business hours where I’m in my office either writing or addressing the business side of my career. Back when I had kids in the house, I carved out writing time based on their schedules. When something is important, you make time for it.
Commitment leaves no room for excuses– Just like going to the gym, there are times when it is so easy to find excuses not to write. I don’t feel like it or the story isn’t working. But those are simply code for, “Writing is hard, and I don’t want to do it.” Yes, writing is hard, some days more so than others. That’s when you have to ask yourself how badly you want to be a writer. Because it’s not going to get any better once you’re published. So throw those excuses aside, put on your big-girl pants and get to it.
Commitment means following in obedience– When I first began writing I didn’t even know there was such a thing as Christian romance. Even when I did learn about it, I discounted it because I couldn’t imagine how God could use a sinner like meto write stories for Him. But God was persistent. He used people and music to speak to me and gently bring me into obedience. And even when I did give in, I said, “Okay, God, I will do this, but You’re going to have to help me.” Yeah, I still envision Him smiling down at me, all the while shaking His head.
Writing what God has called you to write, whether it’s for the secular or Christian market, is a humbling experience. We say that if He calls you, He will equip you, but I would add that if God calls you, the enemy will do anything he can to thwart you. So gird yourself with the armor of God so you’ll be able to extinguish those flaming arrows.
We’re not even a week into 2021. Have you set any goals, resolutions or chosen your “one word?” I’ll give you one guess what mine is. ?Whatever you set out to achieve, ask yourself how committed you are to it. Will you throw in the towel by March or are you willing to make a commitment to see it all the way through December?
Oh, and in case you haven’t heard, I’ve got a new book releasing late next month. So how about I giveaway a copy to one lucky commenter (U.S. mailing addresses only, please).
He didn’t realize he wanted a family… Until he suddenly became a single dad.
After his sister’s death, rancher Mick Ashford’s determined to ensure his orphaned niece, Sadie, feels at home. And accepting guidance from Christa Slocum is his first step. But just as Christa and Sadie begin to settle into Mick’s heart, Sadie’s paternal grandparents sue for custody. Now Mick must fight to keep them together…or risk losing the makeshift family he’s come to love.