One Step Forward in 2018

Untitled designEach year my writer’s group, called The Guild (this picture is not us, BTW), gathers during the holiday season to reflect on the past year and to look forward to the new one. Each of us picks a word for the upcoming year. My word was “release” for 2016 and 2017. Turns out I released a fair number of things in those two years. Life is lighter when the heavy things are gone.

For 2018, however, it’s time to step ahead. My word for this year is “advance.” One of the definitions is “move forward in a purposeful way.”

We talk often in my writers group, at the Breathe Christian Writers Conference (, and among writer friends about taking the next step. Doing the next thing. Doing that thing that is right in front of you. It could be writing a blog post or a poem; submitting a short story or an essay to a literary journal; finishing the next chapter or contacting an agent. It also could be leaving a job, dropping an agent who isn’t a good fit, or saying goodbye to things or people who drain your energy.

It’s taking the next step in order to move forward in a purposeful way. It’s advancing inch by inch and step by step.

Here it is February already, and have I advanced at all? Yes! Taking those next steps, one by one whether I’m gasping in fear or not, has brought new things into my writing life. Ghostwriting a book with an entrepreneur from Haiti; first job through a group that links publishers/authors and freelancers; using social media more and better (this might take until June!); the release of Christian Publishing 101 in January. PBK15Render

I’m no different than every other writer out there. I’d rather do a whole lot of nothing than step into something that might be difficult or scary. But I look at that word—advance—and take the next little step and the next one and the next. Sometimes nothing happens except me taking that step—which is enough! Sometimes something does happen, which is even better.

How are you advancing in your writing life? What small steps—or big ones—have you taken this year already?

I’ll list some of those advances in a future blog post. And choose one person to win a free copy of Christian Publishing 101!

We’ll all be inspired by your next steps.


11 thoughts on “One Step Forward in 2018

  1. Sadly, not much yet this year. The last few months of 2017 I was brave and aubmitted some writing. Blessed that all were accepted. Plus decided to join a local writing group. This year I’m blocking out time for a few writing conferences, looking at content schedulers to make posting easier and more consistent. Once a daughters wedding is over, want to begin to work thru some online writing groups material, make daily writing time happen. Plus, read more about the craft.


  2. Ann~Your words delighted me. Our yearly words to help guide us, don’t they? And I celebrate your steps forward. I especially loved this what you said: “…whether I’m gasping in fear or not.” Fear is our companion–more often than not, so thanks for mentioning it. I can so relate.
    My new steps: forming an indie publishing company, finishing its logo, learning about social media, bumping up word quota to 1,000 words 5x a week. It feels GOOD!


    1. One sabbatical and you are a whole new person! Fear holds us back in so many areas of life. But if we can overcome fear in our writing lives, I’ll bet we can overcome it in other parts of our lives, too.


  3. Ann, advancing in our writing careers (or, joy job, as I like to think of it) is indeed an empowering but scary thing to do. Yet I do it because I know that I can’t go anywhere just sitting here at my computer, waiting for the next idea to form and take off. In the two years I have really been advancing hard after the writing craft and building platform, I have seen God do amazing things. But, in 2018 alone, I have seen him open so many doors, and all in a matter of weeks. And I’m just tootling along, sending an email here, visiting someone there, calling a few people, securing guest blogging opportunities, being asked to write for a column, networking with one or two here… Amazing to see the results of hard advancing effort. Oh, and I can’t forget about the writing part of it 🙂 —I’ve actually discovered that even though my current manuscripts seems to be in shambles, according to me, it’s been easier to tuck little things or expand on the scenes because of the wonderful resources I’ve been able to hold in my hands, such as, CP101!


  4. Ann, a recent post on my blog addressed a similar endeavor I made, but it did not go in anything like the direction your “next thing” did: my year in which I put other things aside to be devoted to becoming a more-published writer became one in which I became more of a mother and grandmother when SIX of our grandchildren moved nearby. Four have now moved away again. That year that was going to be dedicated to writing has passed, and I may not be any closer to having a novel published than I was when I made my bold plans; but I do have several well home-schooled grandchildren who can do math and create art, and a boat-load of wonderful memories! 😀 Time to reboot and get writing!


  5. Ann, Your post was so timely to read today–my recent blog post on was about a similar plan! Like you, I had designated a time for goals. I took leaves of absence from other things to devote a year to becoming a more-published writer. Then six of our grandchildren from far away moved nearby, and I got to teach home-school math and art, take holding-hands walks to McD, and do whatever else was needed. Oh, the joy! My “getting published” year has come and gone, but I left words and lessons in young hearts instead of written pages. Four have moved far away again, and NOW I need to reboot and ADVANCE. This year? I’ve finished two online courses to prepare to teach, write curriculum, and/or facilitate online theological courses for national pastors in remote areas who would otherwise not have the opportunity for biblical studies. Not what I had planned to write, but I loved it!


      1. Yup–that pretty well sums it up–I just do the next thing. I just never thought of it as advancing before–more like drifting gently through whatever door God opens next. I like advancing better. Thank you! PS I have no idea why I had two very similar posts for my first time on your blog. Perhaps I got sidetracked into doing the next thing as I finished the first one and thought I had to start over. ;-D


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