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Dream Big

This week we've talked about writing only one book a year versus two or more. That led to the discussion about quantity writing versus quality. Most important to our writing career is producing a love-at-first-read book. If we can only write one a year to get that kind of book, then that's what we need to do.

However, with that being said, I think many of us are ready to challenge ourselves to do more and be better. Sometimes we get into a rut. We've written one book and we keep rewriting it or polishing it, instead of pushing ourselves to write the next novel.

Maybe we have a daily word count goal and it's the same one we've had for the past two years. Perhaps it's time to push ourselves to increase the amount we write on a daily basis. (That's what I need to do.)

Or maybe we have no trouble churning out the daily pages, but instead need to slow down and practice a new writing skill or two. Why wait for the editing stage? Perhaps we need to consciously build a good habit of writing without adverbs or without passive tense in the first draft.

At the writer's conference I recently attended in Denver, the keynote speaker, Debbie Macomber, inspired us to dream big. As a fifth grade dyslexic she struggled to write. When she was a young mother she wrote her first eight books on a type-writer. It took her twenty years to finally start selling books successfully.

Her message was that if we ever want to "make it" we have to practice the power of positive thinking. She encouraged us to write down five goals. The goals could be anything, even the desire to become a best-selling author or have a movie made from one of our books.

Write the goals on paper, she said. When we write down our goals our subconscious works toward them. Our heads will follow the dreams in our hearts.

Her words motivated me to dream bigger. I wrote down my goals, even though I felt a bit presumptuous with a few of them! Ultimately I know that God is in control of my future writing career. But I also believe that the right mindset is essential to success too.

The journey to publication has so many discouraging valleys and steep climbs. It's hard to keep a positive attitude during the long haul. But if we dream big and continue to challenge ourselves to do more and better, then maybe we'll accomplish more than we think possible!

Do you need to dream bigger? What ways can you challenge yourself to grow as a writer?

P.S. Don't you like my new cute tweet widget? (Thanks for the idea, Roni!) If my post was helpful or inspiring to you and you want to share it with others, hit the tweet button and it will show up on Twitter as a retweet.

37 comments:

  1. Love the widget. I'd love to add one of my own. How do I do it?

    Love this post (love all of your posts, actually). Debbie's speech that night was so motivational to me. I think, as Christians, we sometimes fall into the trap of thinking "dreaming big" isn't what God wants us to do. Like we should be content exactly where we are and not ask for bigger things. Or is this just me? Debbie's speech gave me a freedome to express my biggest dreams to God, to write them down, to go after them. While God wants me to be content with where He's placed me, He doesn't want me to be complacent. I'm striving toward those 5 big goals (mine are a bit presumptious too)! thanks for the reminder, Jody!

    How are the revisions going?

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  2. Oh, your post is inspiring me. I tend to let myself get so busy with things I think I should do, but sometimes saying no to some of that and saying a big YES to other things will move us closer to our goals. I think I'll take some time today to write down five goals and see what i can do to start pushing myself outside that comfort zone toward meeting those goals. Thanks, Jody! Another awesome post!

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  3. Great post, Jody. I'n now following you on Twitter.

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  4. Love the widgey. Agree that writing down goals (annual, 5-year, 10-year) is a great motivator. At the Pen-to-Press conference, Cherry Adair gave us lucky students a master form for mapping out career plans. What a great tool.

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  5. Very cool!!! Yes, dreams are huge. Mine are pretty big already:-)

    Challenge myself? Oh, more disapline I think. Yes, much more of that. And to be honest, more prayer.I have a lot of, "OH DEAR GOD HELP!" prayers, but taking the time to really get down and pray deeply with my savior about life and about my writing, that's what I want to do right now. I want to earnestly seek HIS will!

    LOVE the retweet thing. Think I'll try it out for ya. *grin*

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  6. Absolutely! Even when we understand our path is up to God, He wants - expects - us to be proactive. With confidence and faith!

    Great post, Jody.

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  7. I used to have a daily word goal of 500, but with my WIP bumped it up to 1000 words a day. I like it. As for other goals...I need to get rid of a lot of the clutter in my brain. I need to be more focused on prayer time.
    The tweet thing is cute, though I haven't signed on yet b/c I think it could potentially create more mind clutter for me. But it really is cute.
    Have a great weekend.
    ~ Wendy

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  8. I challenged myself this summer putting together a nf book proposal. It was very enlightening to view writing from the nonfiction side, and helped me to finetune any writing I take on, considering the aspects of that proposal.

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  9. I need to go back and read your previous post. I love what you said in this one. I know many writers who write one book and sit on it forever. I've started my fourth one now and want it to be better than all the rest--using the great help and critique I've received from my writing partners from the last. Taking that advice and trying to add in what I've learned everytime I write something new makes me feel like I'm making progress as a writer.

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  10. My goal, rain or shine, is to write something everyday. I am challenged by your post to consider a word count. I admit I have shy away, because I didn't want to commit. But I love writing, and I want my dream.

    Thanks Jody for another great post!

    Happy writing!

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  11. I struggle with dreams and goals. I seem to do better with no expectations, but to set intention. Then I'm not disappointed. I need to balance dreaming with realistic expectations and it's hard.
    Karen

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  12. Jody: I love success stories like this! Twenty years, huh? Wow.

    Several years ago a co-worker challenged us in a meeting to make a dream board, where we cut out magazine pictures representing our dreams and paste them on a poster board. One of the pictures I cut out and included on my board was of an author saying, "You can buy copies of my book at..." That was five years ago, when I was just a columnist with no plan to publish a book. God has used that dream board to help me visulize my dreams, and it's working! He is so sweet...

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  13. I love making goals...it's one of my favorite things in life. When I turned 30, I made a goal to write a certain number of books in the next decade. Since I'm clueless about what the rest of life holds for me in that decade, I did not put a more specific timeline on it, but I love the idea of pushing myself to write so much during that span of time!

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  14. Hey, Jody!

    I think my first goal would be to set a word count! I usually write a chapter at a time--but I don't write every day. It kind of evens out, I guess. But I would love to get to where I write everyday, even if it's not a full chapter.

    There's an awesome autumn wind outside... I want to go sit in my swing now and start dreaming! Thanks for the encouragement!

    Have a great weekend!

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  15. My big dream is just to get a first draft of the next book written!

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  16. Good thoughts! I need to set a goal and just do it. :O)

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  17. I used to think my goals were too lofty but then I remind myself my God is bigger. I need to have those dreams to spur me on and move me from my seat of contentment. I desire nothing more than the Lord to use me as a vessel to move mountain through. I just want to be a part of His glory. Love your posts Jody. I'm still curious... what's your average word count??? =)

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  18. I love to dream and I'm a goal setter, but I also know that God is in control so I lift them in prayer and let Him lead me wherever He wants me to go. Sometimes it's to write 2,000 words in one day and other times it's to sit back for a day with a cup of tea and read so that I'll come back refreshed and opened to His next project.

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  19. What a beautiful post! I'm happy to say I'm dreaming big and getting to where I want to be. Life can be so wonderful when we keep our eye on those big goals!

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  20. Great post Jody. I'm a great believer in being the You that God created (I have a personality test on my website so people can find the real you) because He's already given me ALL I need to fulfil his purposes, and 'dreaming big' only means bigger than is usual for my finite mind, but it's never bigger than his. Wow! That was a long sentence. Ought to get my red pen out. From one author to another . . .

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  21. This was a wonderful post for today. I've been in a major rut lately--afraid to really dig in on a new project. It's time.

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  22. I think my dreams are big but I tend to downplay them. Or to believe they aren't possible--at lest not anytime soon.

    I am really trying to challenge myself with my next book. To start from scratch and do a complete outline, which I never do. And an in-depth character chart, which I never do. And writing it for NaNo will help me with the word count. I'm really focusing on making this book my "breakout" novel.

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  23. I'm doing the same thing as Cindy just said. I have never outlined, and I'm trying to do it with this new project. I'm also challenging myself to do NaNo. That will almost double my current daily writing goal. I think continuously challenging ourselves is key to improving.

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  24. Love this! Yes! I actually downgraded my word count goals for each day, because I was tired of missing them. But, on the other hand, I'm consciously making an effort to write better in my first draft.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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  25. I thought her speech was wonderfully encouraging too! I wrote down my five though I'm not sure where I put them now. I've never read her books but I knew she was famous and it was just awesome to hear her story. Wow.
    I probably need to first get my booty in a chair and start working on my wip again. And after that I'll try to up my wordage, since I was on a roll with 1k a day. I'd like to hit 1500 at some point. :-)

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  26. Jody, I'm like you, I felt presumptuous too while writing out my goals. It's difficult to break away from thinking that only happens to so-and-so. I'm trying to be more positive and more disciplined with my writing--consistency is my issue as of late!

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  27. Why dream itty-bitty dreams when you can dream big? It's all about giving yourself permission. Great post!

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  28. Without specific goals it's too easy to get complacent. An earlier goal of mine was just to write every day, but eventually I found I was counting journalling, blogging and e-mailing as writing while doing minimal work on my projects. I have to pair my goals with self-discipline if I expect to accomplish them.

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  29. Dream big is something I believe in. I don't think we can ever dream big enough when we serve such a MASSIVE God. :)

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  30. Hi Jody -

    Until recently, I fit into your first scenario of writing and editing my first book. I needed to get that second book started.

    Rachelle Gardner's post urging writers to have two completed manuscripts influenced me. As of today, my second book is a tad under 24,000 words.

    Thanks for an inspiring post.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  31. Hi Jody-
    Thank you for the reminder that God in in charge of our writing careers. My spiritual director reminds me of this often when I get off and running with anxiety and concern. She said to me last month, "Steph, do you really think you are in this alone???" I laughed...how right she is.
    xo

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  32. Jody, I am definitely being challenged by your recent posts. I feel like I have big writing dreams but as a mother of five, I am constantly being asked to temper those with my very important obligations at home. It sounds like I am making excuses for not dreaming bigger, but I think that's because my biggest dream is set on attaining heaven, and that takes into account many things, not just my writing. So, this is more complex to me than just setting writing goals. But I truly love your attitude and believe that if not for that, I would not be published, wouldn't be a columnist, etc. It's all come about because of dreaming big, but then letting God sort of lead me where He wants me at any given point in my life. I look forward to seeing some of your big dreams come true, and sharing some of mine with you in the coming years. :)

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  33. Just wanted to stop by and say hi. Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

    Take care,
    Karen

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  34. I am trying to figure out what dreams I should have.

    Recently, I prayed: "Lord, what dreams have you dreamed for me?"

    What does he want to do with my life? Have I been thinking too small?

    C.S. Lewis wrote in one of his books that we tend to be too easily satisfied.

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  35. Positive attitude is powerful!

    I write a different genre. YOu don't need to read the opening chapters to appreciate the middle chapters. So, I can give small pieces of writing to people for evaluation and they can give fair feedback without having read the whole book. That helps boost confidence in the work.

    Good post, Jody.

    wb

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  36. I may have to write a few of my goals down on paper! :) The power of positive thinking is an awesome thing!

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