Today we turn the page. We’ve crammed all we’re allowed to write onto the page entitled 2015. Now we flip to a blank page named 2016. The sheet rests snowy white before us, beckoning us to impress our mark upon it, filling the blank space with thoughts, hopes, dreams, and stories.

But first we must pause to ponder our first intrusion into this void of whiteness, hesitant to leave our footprints upon the unbroken surface.

Where will this year take us?

Before imprinting our first step upon it, we must look back to evaluate the 2015 page.

  • What did we learn?
  • What will we change?
  • What habits do we wish to carry on to the new?
  • Which do we wish to eliminate?

As writers, the contemplation of the previous year can prevent us from repeating the same worn paths that did not work. We can determine what steps are necessary and possible to aim the direction we wish to go. If we want to arrive at a particular destination, new habits can be begun that head us the right way.

Likewise, we can assess our spiritual condition as it relates to our writing. Are we staying true to our calling? Did we forget God’s sovereign control over our outcomes, our successes, and the events that we may have labeled as “failures”? Have we neglected to yield to God’s timing and leading? How can we follow Him closer?

Three years ago, my thorough examination before stepping onto that field of white enabled me to determine that I had lost myself. I had aimed at what others wanted, trying too hard to please. I hadn’t published yet, and I felt invisible and worthless because of it, hinging my sense of self on this, rather than on my identity in Christ.

At the dawn of 2013, I wrote:

“I will not lose myself. I will be true to who I am, true to this specific piece of God’s artistry that I am.

“I will stay on the path God has set for me. I will listen to the inner voice—my sense of story and rhyme and reason, my conviction of what God wants me to say and how He wants me to say it, my conscience as it urges me to say it rightly, and the feeling in my gut that I have said it well.

“I will move at the pace God has set for me. I will not lose hope, though the way is long and the path is daunting. I will trust in God for the results.

“That is all I can do. That is everything I can do.

“I am resolved.”

My contemplation and resolution helped me to grow as a follower of Christ and as a writer. I became more self-aware. Pausing to reflect and to resolve instilled confidence, enabling me to stay true to my calling and to reach my goals. I grew. I transformed.

As we begin 2016, where do you find yourself? Are your steps aimed toward what you hope to achieve as a writer? Is your walk even closer with the Savior?

What have you learned? What have you resolved?

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Fiction - help the author, fiction is the modern-day parable.